VBox7 logo

Germany: 93-year old Nazi guard's trial of 'great historic significance' - prosecutor

10 17.10.2019 Инфо

M/S Bruno D. and relatives being escorted into a courtroom by police and lawyer *BLURRED*
W/S Chief Prosecutor of Hamburg Nana Frombach, speaking to journalists
SOT, Nana Frombach, Chief Prosecutor of Hamburg and court spokesperson (German): "As a guard, the defendant had the task to prevent escapes, riots and a liberation of the inmates. This is why we accuse him of supporting the main act - the mass killings of Jewish inmates ordered by the state - as he knew about the overall circumstances. The young age of the defendant - he was 17 or 18 respectively at the time of the crime - is the reason why the juvenile court is responsible. However, as murder never falls under the statute of limitations, the case was brought in front of court 70 years later now."
M/S Frombach speaking to journalists *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Nana Frombach, Chief Prosecutor of Hamburg and court spokesperson (German): "This is about the abetment of murder in 5,230 cases."
M/S Frombach speaking to press *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Nana Frombach, Chief Prosecutor of Hamburg and court spokesperson (German): "The case has great historic significance and it has enormous significance for the relatives of the victims. We cannot say yet if it was the last process of this kind. Possibly it is due to the age of the SS guards."
M/S Lawyer of Bruno D, Stefan Waterkamp, speaking to journalists *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Stefan Waterkamp, Lawyer of defendant (German): "For him it is not understandable that he is being indicted now, in 2019, although he went to the police in 1982, explaining things. That is due to the German post-war history, and I tried to explain this already. Germany has not committed to proper reprocessing. Nazi war criminals were acquitted under the most abstruse justifications by the courts, or were declared not criminally responsible, cases were protracted or not held. For those who have done nothing wrong from the point of view of back then - which means they haven't killed, tortured or molested anyone - they find themselves confronted with a completely reversed jurisdiction today."
M/S Director of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, speaking to press *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Efraim Zuroff, Director of Simon Wiesenthal Centre: "We owe the victims. And what we owe them is to make a serious effort to find the people who turned them - innocent men, women and children - into victims, simply because they were categorised as enemies of the Reich. But I would add two things, actually three things in this regard: One is that this is not Himmler here, over here. He's a low level guard and there are many people who wonder whether or not he has any responsibility."
W/S Press talking to Ben Cohen, Grandson of side plaintiff Judy Meise *CUTAWAY*
SOT, Ben Cohen, Grandson of side plaintiff and Holocaust survivor Judy Meisel: "For my family, these trials are very personal. At the same time I don't have any personal connection to the accused and I hope that these trials might be an opportunity. It's really our last chance to ever hear from someone who was a guard at a concentration camp and to understand: how does someone become a guard at a concentration camp? What was it like to be a guard? Why did they do this? My grandmother constantly asked "Why did they do this? How could they do this?" And we hear from survivors, we know my grandmother's story for so long. But we never hear that answer. We don't know that answer. So I hope we can maybe get an answer to those questions out of this trial."
W/S Press
W/S Court building, Hamburg
SCRIPT
Hamburg's Chief Prosecutor Nana Frombach said the trial of the former Nazi concentration camp guard Bruno D., which began in Hamburg on Thursday, was of "great historic significance."
The defendant, 93 year-old Bruno D. entered the court room in a wheelchair, covering his face with a folder. He is facing 5,230 counts of accessory to murder relating to his time as a guard at Stutthoff concentration camp, near Gdansk, while aged 17-18.
"The case has great historic significance and it has enormous significance for the relatives of the victims. We cannot say yet if it was the last process of this kind. Possibly it is due to the age of the SS guards," said Frombach.
The defendant's lawyer, Stefan Waterkamp, said that his client does not find it "understandable" why he was indicted in 2019, despite giving a statement on the matter to the police in 1982.
"Germany has not committed to proper reprocessing. Nazi war criminals were acquitted under the most abstruse justifications by the courts, or were declared not criminally responsible, cases were protracted or not held. For those who have done nothing wrong from the point of view of back then - which means they haven't killed, tortured or molested anyone - they find themselves confronted with a completely reversed jurisdiction today," said Waterkamp.
Ben Cohen, the grandson of one of the side plaintiffs and holocaust survivor Judy Meisel, was also present. He expressed hope that his family would find answers to many questions through these type of trials.
Efraim Zuroff, the Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, also attended. "We owe the victims. And what we owe them is to make a serious effort to find the people who turned them - innocent men, women and children - into victims. Simply because they were categorised as enemies," he said.