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100-year-old man on trial for being accessory to murder at Nazi camp pleads innocent

100-year-old man on trial for being accessory to murder at Nazi camp pleads innocent

A 100-year-old man, Josef Schuetz, on the trial of allegedly being an accessory to murder at a Nazi camp during World War II has pleaded that he is innocent.

The defendant is charged with 3,518 counts of accessory to murder for being a Nazi SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. He is alleged to work at the camp between 1942 and 1945 as an enlisted member of the Nazi Party's paramilitary wing.

The defendant told the German court that he is innocent. During the second day of his trial at the Neuruppin state court, he denied the charges and insisted that he knew nothing about what happened inside the camp, reported Al Jazeera.

Sachsenhausen is infamous for killing over 200,000 people between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands of people died of starvation, disease and exhaustion from forced labour. They were also subjected to medical experiments and systematic SS extermination operations including shooting, hanging, and gassing.

Prosecutor Cyrill Klement argued at the court that Schuetz "knowingly and willingly aided and abetted murders by conscientiously performing guard duty which was seamlessly integrated into the killing system."

The defendant's denial of charges was objected to by the plaintiffs. Christoffel Heijer (84) asked how he slept peacefully for so long. "Have you not thought about it? Never felt guilty?" He added that he can understand that Schuetz was driven by fear of the Nazis to not leave the job.

German prosecutors are trying to bring the last of surviving Nazi perpetrators to justice over 70 years after World War II. In 2011, former guard John Demjanjuk was convicted and it set a precedent for other cases.

German courts have handed down several guilty verdicts on the grounds of serving as part of Adolf Hitler's killing machine. Individuals are not judged on the basis of murders or atrocities directly linked to them.

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