The accused Josef S. covers his face as he sits at the court room in Brandenburg, Germany, (AP)

100-year-old former Nazi camp guard goes on trial in Germany

Neuruppin, Germany: A former SS guard, now 100 years old, hobbled into a German courtroom on a walking frame on Thursday to face charges of helping to send more than 3500 people to their deaths in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

Prosecutors say Josef S, a member of the Nazi party’s paramilitary SS, contributed to the deaths of 3518 people at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp by regularly standing guard in the watchtower between 1942 and 1945.

Doctors have said that the man, whose full name was not disclosed due to German trial reporting rules, is only partially fit to stand trial: sessions will be limited to just 2½ hours each day.

As the trial began, his lawyer held up a blue folder to conceal his client’s face as he was brought into the court in Neuruppin, near Berlin, and he shielded his face as the trial began.

Some people interned in Sachsenhausen were murdered with Zyklon-B, the poison gas also used in other extermination camps where millions of Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Sachsenhausen housed predominantly political prisoners from all over Europe, along with Soviet prisoners of war and some Jews.

“It’s a lot of emotion … I can’t really speak,” said Antoine Grumbach, 79, before turning abruptly away as he was overcome by tears. His father, a French resistance fighter, died in the camp.

Read the article by Annegret Hilse in The Sydney Morning Herald.