AFP Josef Schütz at his trial last year
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 03:38
Former SS man Josef Schütz, who was convicted at an advanced age for complicity in the murder of thousands of prisoners in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, has died at the age of 102. He received a five-year prison sentence last year for his involvement in the murder of more than 3,500 people, but did not spend a day in jail because he was allowed to await his appeal in freedom.
Although historical research has shown that Schütz was a guard in the Nazi concentration camp near Berlin between 1942 and 1945, he himself has always denied any involvement. “I don’t know why I’m on the dock here. I’ve never had anything to do with this,” he claimed last year when hearing his case. He says he was a farmhand at the time.
The judge did not agree. “You knowingly and professionally supported the mass murder,” said the judge, who considered it proven that he was complicit in the shooting of prisoners of war and the gassing of people in Sachsenhausen, where some 200,000 political prisoners, Jews, gays and Roma and Sinti have been imprisoned. Tens of thousands of them were murdered by the Nazis in the camp.
Since the conviction of Sobibor camp guard John Demjanjuk in 2011, very elderly Nazis have been regularly prosecuted in Germany. At the end of last year, former Nazi secretary Irmgard Furchner (97) received a two-year suspended prison sentence for involvement in the murder of at least 10,500 people in Stutthoff camp, near Gdańsk.
Last year, at age 101, Schütz became the oldest Nazi ever convicted of his role in the Holocaust.