HAMBURG (VINnews) — A former Nazi concentration guard standing trial for his crimes during the Holocaust apologized to Holocaust victims during proceedings at the Hamburg court Monday.
Bruno Dey, a 93-year-old who was sent in 1944 to serve as a guard at the notorious Stutthof camp when he was just 17 years old, spoke at his high-profile trial which could be one of the last trials of former Nazis. Because he was so young at the time he is being tried in a juvenile court.
Dey said that “today I would like to apologize to those who went through the hell of this madness, as well as to their relatives. Something like this must never happen again,” said Bruno Dey from the dock.
Dey is accused of complicity in the murder of 5,230 people at Stutthof which was situated near Danzig, now known as Gdansk in Poland. The new approach of prosecutors in Germany is not to focus on the murders of Jews but rather on the fact that all those involved in the death camp system were essential accessories to mass murder. In 2016 investigators found SS clothing with Mr Dey’s name, along with his signature in the Stutthof archives.
Dey testified earlier in his trial that he saw people being led into the gas chamber, followed by screaming and banging sounds behind the locked door but claimed that he didn’t know they were being gassed.
Dey said that about 20 or 30 prisoners were led in, and that they didn’t resist. He said he couldn’t say whether they were men or women, because their heads were shaved, or whether they were Jews or other prisoners. And he also couldn’t say what happened afterward.
“I didn’t see anyone come out,” he said.
The court is expected to issue the verdict Thursday, with prosecutors demanding a three-year prison sentence.
In his summary on Monday, Dey’s defense lawyer Stefan Waterkamp asked the court for an acquittal or a suspended sentence, saying that his client “would not survive” jail.
Dey himself has denied any guilt for what happened at the camp, and said that the trial had “cost a lot of strength.”
“I would like to stress again that I would never have voluntarily signed up to the SS or any other unit — especially not in a concentration camp,” he said in his final statements before the court delivers its verdict.
“If I had seen an opportunity to remove myself from service, I would have done so.”
He claimed that he only became aware of the “extent of the atrocities” upon hearing witness testimonies and reports. However one Stutthof survivor dismissed Dey’s comments Monday.
“I’m speechless. I don’t want his apology, I don’t need it,” Marek Dunin-Wasowicz, a 93-year-old camp survivor told AFP via telephone from his home in Warsaw.