94-year-old Nazi guard is now on trial in connection with some of the camp's 60,000 deaths
Prosecutors allege that Johann Rehbogen stood guard while people were killed. There were deadly injections, starvation, and gunshots. Rehbogen claims he did not know what was going on.
Rehbogen, 94. admitted to serving in a Nazi concentration camp while World War II went on in Germany. He was an SS soldier from 1942 to 1944 and guarded the Stutthof death camp in Gdansk, Poland.
According to Spokesman, no evidence connects Rehbogen to a particular crime. Regardless, prosecutors argue that his position makes him an accessory to hundreds of deaths.
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However, Rehbogen insists he was unaware of the murders and did not take part in any. His rank during his time at Stutthof was equivalent to a specialist in the US Army or a corporal in the British Army.
With that in mind, prosecutor Andreas Brendel said:
“As a guard, he was necessarily informed about these killings. And it is our contention that the camp was not so large that he couldn’t look around from a watchtower and see clearly what was happening there.”
In explicit detail, he said that "anyone who heard the screams from outside the gas chamber would have known that people were fighting for their lives."
Prisoners were killed using gas chambers. Some were injected with phenol to their hearts, others were put outside in the winter air without clothes so as to die of exposure.
Andreas Tinkl, Rehbogen's attorney, said that his client would give a statement at the Muenster state court. The trial, set to go on until January, is running on no more than two-hour periods.
The man's age and health were the main reasons for shortening the trial. Since Rehbogen's age was below 21 when he was a guard, the state is trying him in juvenile court. Rehbegon now lives in Borker, a western municipality near the Dutch border.
Head Nazi h unter of The Simon Wiesenthal Center made the remarks that:
"The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of Holocaust perpetrators and old age should not afford protection to those who committed such heinous crimes."
This is reflected by the number of open cases against war criminals. Victims' relatives are also stepping in as co-plaintiffs where required to get justice.
In Rehbogen's case, he is the first to be prosecuted as a concentration camp guard as opposed to a death camp guard.
Back in August 2018, a 95-year-old former SS member was deported from the US after spending 25 years avoiding justice.
Jakiw Palij was sent to Germany after admitting to his involvement in a concentration camp as a guard. He also claimed he was not aware of the killings.
A more positive story regarding the Holocaust came when a reunion took place in March 2018.
Eliahu Pietruszka thought he had lost his entire family in the war. He did lose his parents and one of his twin brothers.
Source: YouTube/ euronews
But, unbeknownst to Eliahu, his twin brother named Volf survived. Sadly, he passed away at 88. But a cousin in Canada reached out to Eliahu's grandson.
She let them know that Volf had had a son named Alexandre. Eliahu contacted him and uncle and nephew finally met.
“I have waited 70 years to see you. 70 years! You are a copy of your father,” Eliahu told his nephew. He went back to his home in Israel with his heart fuller than it had been in 70 years.
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