A 93-year-old man is on trial in Germany for crimes of complicity in mass murder at a Nazi death camp during World War Two has voiced regret for his actions. Bruno Dey is accused of contributing to the killings of 5,230 prisoners between 1944 and 1945 in the Stutthof camp in what is now northern Poland.
Mr Dey admitted serving there and having knowledge of atrocities being carried out at the camp.But the former SS guard said he was not complicit in any murders.
Still, his lawyer told AFP news agency that “he felt sorry for what he did”.
He also said it was clear to Mr Dey that inmates at the camp were there not because they were criminals but for “anti-Semitic, racist and other reasons”.
“He had compassion for them,” he said. “But he did not see himself in a position to free them.”
He added that Mr Dey “did not join the SS voluntarily” and that “he did not seek to serve at the concentration camp”.
In court on Thursday, Mr Dey – seated in a wheelchair and wearing a hat and sunglasses – shielded his face behind a red folder.
The trial is likely to be one of the last against a former Nazi guard.
The hearings will be restricted to two-hour sessions no more than twice a week, because of Mr Dey’s ill-health
The prosecution alleges that Mr Dey – who was about 17 when posted to Stutthof – was one of the “cogs of the murder machine”.
he is accused specifically of killing 5,000 people by creating and maintaining hostile conditions, 200 by gassing and 30 using a Genickschussanlage – a device for surprise executions with victims shot in the back of the neck.
The court will decide whether he “knowingly supported” the killing of Jewish prisoners in particular, as the prosecution alleges.
As he was not yet 21 at the time, Mr Dey is being tried in a juvenile court.
Prosecutors only opened the case against Mr Dey in 2016, after investigators found SS clothing with his name and signature in the Stutthof archives.
His trial comes after a landmark case that overturned a 1969 ruling that being a staff member at Auschwitz was not enough to secure a conviction.