Former concentration camp guard in court

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Before the Hamburg district court the trial against the former SS-Wachmann Bruno D. has started. The public Prosecutor’s office accuses him of accessory to murder in more than 5230 cases. A Reportage from the courtroom.

At the time only 17 years old: the process in front of the youth Board met in Hamburg

The courtroom is full. The mood is calm, but curious. Benjamin Cohen is at the small barrier at the front of the courtroom, to have the only process involved in the entry and looks around carefully. It looks as if he wanted to save everything photographically in his memory – to be able to it later to his grandmother’s home in the USA tell.

To exhausting the trip to Hamburg for the 94-year-old Judy would have been Meisel. In 1944, she was interned together with her mother and sister for several months in the concentration camp Stutthof inter. They were tortured, two SS-soldiers, the hair cracks-you once told Cohen. Her mother, Benjamin Cohen’s great-grandmother, did not survive. “It was total brutality,” he says. At least once a week to speak with his grandmother even today – 74 years later – about this terrible experience.

Defendant Bruno D. between a family members and his lawyer

Experience, the has witnessed a man in the room, in a sense, from the other side – outside of the barracks and gas chambers – on the part of the offender: Bruno D. Stiff, and with regloser facial Expressions of the defendant sits on his wheelchair. Carefully trimmed mustache, the combed white hair neatly to the back, upright posture. With a quiet, clear voice, the 93-Year-old gives his personal data to log. The judge will ask: so you’re from the vicinity of Danzig? “Yes,” is the prompt reply.

In spite of high age, he seems to be everything, what is said to be very good to perceive, follows closely the designs of the judge and other people involved in the process, takes eye contact. He is accompanied by his daughter and other family members.

Bruno D. informed in Detail

The public Prosecutor read out the indictment: Bruno D. is accused of murder in more than 5230 cases. The former SS guard is said to have supported between August 1944 and April 1945 in the concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk and the killing of Jewish prisoners “by consciously establishing and maintaining hostile conditions such as food deprivation and denial of medical care”. At the time the defendant was only 17 years old. His task was to prevent, in the context of the security service, the escape, revolt, and liberation of prisoners.

From 1944 onwards, the charge is more, began the systematic killing of the majority of anti-Semitic persecuted inmates of the camp. Bruno D. have heard the screams from the gas chambers, how he had told investigators. He had been informed in Detail. So well, that he had no doubt as to what actually happened.

The concentration camp at Stutthof near Danzig

Then the prosecution has a list of 30 inmates has been said by SS-men, their body size had to be measured, you should ask to a wooden stick on the wall. Innocently, you followed the instructions and were fired through holes in the wall of SS-soldiers in the next room in the back of the neck. Immediately, the bodies were brought to the crematorium and burned. The next were already waiting in front of the door.

From the autumn of 1944, the Verga started with the poison, Zyklon B, is it in the charges. Especially women have been murdered. 35 of them were naked, led into a chamber, to take a shower, allegedly to””. Then the poison was inserted through a shaft in the ceiling. First it hit the women in the middle of the room. In agony, she tore the hair from his head, scratched her skin and cramped in mutual embraces, until they eventually suffocated. Only two hours later, the chamber was re-opened, so dangerous the Gas was.

It is a well-oiled mass murder machine, which describes the Prosecutor’s office. As a result of scheduled hard work, systematic denial of food and water, most died, while around 5,000 people in their own excrement. All these Details are important in order to understand what experience people like Judy Meisel and have survived.

“He was sorry, but he was not able to help”

While all the reading is, not that the daughter of Bruno D. turns away their gaze from their father. You seems to be confused or in disbelief or reproach? Maybe she is just concerned about the state of health of your father. Bruno D. looks at least more stubborn, straight ahead with no visible emotion on his face.

To the service in a concentration camp “condemned”: defender Waterkamp calls for D. s innocence

Defender Stefan Waterkamp paints a different picture of his client, does not want to speak today. Against his will he had been with 17 years in the concentration camp guard in Stutthof “” condemned, because he was classified as not for combat. Against his will he was part of the SS. “At the age of 17, this is an age in which one should ask: how I would have been there, I would have tried to escape, or I would have tried to revolt, or I would have tried to complain to superiors in 1944 – these are the questions everyone should ask,” said Waterkamp later in the Interview.

Bruno D. would have done the prisoners suffering. “He had compassion for them, but was able to free them or something. Because he was simply not able to at the time, and I think if you think about it, wouldn’t you have been there yourself.” However, he sees no fault in himself because he had actively killed anyone, so the lawyer.

In addition to the claimant and representative Cornelius Nestler sees it differently: “a helper as D. ensured that none could escape from the hell of Stutthof.” His client hope that D. to a dialogue on responsibility. “It is a question of justice,” says Nestler. Bruno D.’s defender announced that, in fact, that d will answer in the next week ask the office of the public Prosecutor.

Judy Meisel survived

Not only is Benjamin Cohen, and many others in addition to plaintiff hope. “My grandmother has always said: one Person can make a huge difference. And Bruno D. can do here very much. He could help by talking about what happened in Stutthof.” About a lawyer read the Declaration of Judy Meisel tells the story of a reminder in the concentration camp Stutthof: Naked you and your mother are in the queue in front of the gas chamber, on the verge of entering. As it is sent, then 14 years old, of a security guard back in the Barracks. It is the last Time she sees her mother. But they themselves survived.

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Atrocities in the concentration camp Stutthof

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Atrocities in Stutthof concentration camp: A former inmate reported

“Your story is the story about the power of the human spirit. It is not hateful got out of there and not with revenge. But she has her life now dedicated to those who are persecuted and human rights,” says her grandson, Benjamin Cohen.

The process takes place at all, evaluates it as a personal success for himself and his family. “I just wish this process would have happened ten years earlier. I wish my grandmother could look him directly in the eye.”