[JURIST] A German court deemed Monday that a 93-year-old former SS sergeant, charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly serving as a Nazi camp prison guard, is fit for trial. Reinhold H, whose last name was withheld for privacy, was declared by a doctor to be fit for trial [AP report] as long as each day’s proceedings are capped at two hours. The lawyers have two weeks to submit responses to the expert opinions, and then the court will decide whether to commence a trial. H maintains that he was assigned to the portion of the camp not involved in mass murders.
German courts have recently seen a flurry of war crimes-related charges against former members of the German Nazi party. Prior to 2011, German prosecutors often chose not to charge individuals they regarded as simply “cogs” in, rather than active members of, the Nazi war machine. The 2011 conviction [JURIST report] of former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk may have emboldened German prosecutors to pursue cases against all those who materially helped Nazi Germany function. The most recent person imprisoned for their role in the Holocaust was Oskar Groening. Known as the “accountant of Auschwitz,” Groening was charged [JURIST report] in September of last year as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people. In June, Groening was given a four-year jail sentence for his role at Auschwitz, a sentence Groening said he would appeal [JURIST reports].