A former SS concentration camp guard, tried in Germany for complicity in the murder of thousands of people, apologized Monday to the victims of the Holocaust, just days before his sentence is handed down.
“Today I would like to apologize to those who suffered this crazy hell, and to their families. Something similar should never happen again,” said Bruno Dey, 93, in his last statement before the verdict expected on Thursday.
The witness statements have allowed him to understand “the full extent of the cruelty” of the acts carried out in the Stutthof camp in northern Poland, he added.
“I would like to reiterate that I was never a volunteer to enlist in the SS … or in a concentration camp,” he said, and said that he would never have been there if he had had the possibility of avoiding it.
Accused Of Complicity
Bruno Dey is accused of complicity in the murder of 5,230 people, between August 1944 and April 1945, in the Stutthof camp, near what was then Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland.
He is tried in a juvenile court because he was between 17 and 18 years old at the time of the facts. According to the prosecution “supported the horrible murder, especially of Jewish detainees.”
His lawyer Stefan Waterkamp asked for a dismissal of the case on Monday, or in the worst case, a punishment with suspension of prison sentence, in accordance with the legislation for minors.
It must be taken into account that the fact of “being assigned to a concentration camp was not then considered a crime”, the lawyer alleged.
Created in 1939, the Stutthof concentration camp, the first to be built outside of Germany, was initially intended for Polish political prisoners. However, it ended up holding some 115,000 deportees, many of them Jews. Some 65,000 people perished in it.
In recent years, Germany has tried and convicted several ex-SSs for complicity in murder, illustrating an increasing severity, albeit belated, of their justice.