A 93-year-old former Nazi guard was found guilty on Thursday of 5,232 counts of accessory to murder at the Stutthof concentration camp. The former guard, who was also convicted of attempted murder, was handed a two-year suspended sentence.
Bruno Dey was 17 and later 18 when he served as a guard toward the end of World War II and he was tried at a juvenile court in Hamburg. Dey confessed to having served as a guard at the camp from August 1944 to April 1945, but he did not have an option at the time, he reportedly told the court during the hearings.
The trial that began last October saw testification from over 40 co-plaintiffs from France, Israel, Poland, and the United States against Dey, who admitted to having heard screams from the concentration camp's gas chambers, according to NBC News.
He reportedly saw bodies of victims being taken to be burned. However, he said did not fire a weapon while serving as a guard. According to prosecutors, while Dey was not an "ardent worshipper of Nazi ideology," his support to the killings at the time served "small wheel in the machinery of murder."
The nonagenarian apologized for being a party to Nazi crimes. "Today, I want to apologize to all of the people who went through this hellish insanity," he said, the Associated Press reported.
Dey's case came to light during the trial of former Sobibor SS guard John Demjanjuk, who was indicted last April. Demjanuk's indictment stated, Dey willingly supported the "insidious and cruel killing" at Stutthof concentration camp, CNN reported.
The Stutthof prisoners were fatally shot in the back of the neck and poisoned with Zyklon B gas, the report added. They were also denied food and medicine, the indictment reportedly read. Concluding just over 75 years after World War II ended in Europe, it will be one of the last trials of a former Nazi.
There are over a dozen ongoing investigations at the special prosecutor's office that is investigating crimes during the Nazi era, most of them connected to the concentration camps of Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen and Stutthof. Last week saw another former Stutthof guard, aged 95, was charged with war crimes during the Holocaust.