Former Nazi SS Camp Guard Trial has begun in Munster, Germany

By Pipodesign Philipp P Egli [CC BY 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Johann Rehbogen will be tried in a juvenile court as he was below 21 years of age when he was an SS guard.

Johann Rehbogen, a former enlisted Nazi went to trial on November 6 in Germany. The 94-year-old is charged with accessory to murder for the crimes he committed during the Second World War when he was a guard at the SS managed Stutthof concentration camp. The camp is presently located to the east of Gdansk, a city in Poland. As per records, he served from June 1942 and continued until September 1944.

Rehbogen, who hails from Borken, an area in the western part of Germany, is accused of being an active accessory to the slaughter of hundreds of camp prisoners. The Muenster regional court has pressed the charges more than 70 years after the end of World War II. This trial is a fresh attempt in Germany's aim to prosecute any surviving Nazis after a legal precedent made in 2011. He was a watchman and aged below 21 at that time. The main pivot of the case against him is his capacity as a guard when the killings went on outside.

The list of those Rehbogen killed included in excess of 100 Polish prisoners. The Poles were gassed to death during a span of two days, June 21 and June 22, 1944. A few hundred Jewish prisoners were slaughtered in August and September 1944. These murders were part of what the Nazis termed the "Final Solution" operation.

Stutthof was established in 1939. Until the end of World War II, the camp held approximately 110,000 detainees. About 65,000 perished in the in-between years from 1939 to 1944. Rehbogen is being tried in a juvenile court as he was under 21 years of age when he was a guard at the camp.

According to Andreas Brendel, the Dortmund prosecutor, a large number of people were left to die hungry, shot or gassed while Rehbogen stood guard. As a member of the security team, the accused fully knew the killing methods. Rehbogen denied all such charges. When German police interrogated him in August 2017, he insisted he had zero knowledge of what was going on inside the camp confines.

When prosecutors asked Rehbogen why he did not wonder as to the reason prisoners appeared so thin, he reportedly answered that food was scarce for everyone in the camp, explaining that two guards could fit into a single uniform. Since he is of extreme old age, the former Nazi will be tried in a court where the hearing will last for two hours per day at the maximum.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter