Man charged over 36,000 deaths at WW2 Nazi camp
95-year-old worked as a guard and contributed to countless prisoner deaths
German prosecutors on Friday charged a 95-year-old man with more than 36,000 counts of accessory to murder over his alleged time as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II. The allegations against the accused, identified only as Hans H, concern atrocities committed at the Mauthausen camp in Austria, the Berlin public prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Hans H is believed to have belonged to the SS-Totenkopfsturmbann (Death's Head Battalion) between summer 1944 and spring 1945 at Mauthausen, part of the Nazis' vast network of concentration camps where inmates were forced to perform slave labour. Prosecutors argue that by working as a guard at the site, the accused contributed to tens of thousands of prisoner deaths. During his time at the camp, at least 36,223 inmates died. Guards took part in killings by gas, fatal injections, gunfire and other means, while many more prisoners died of hunger or frostbite, prosecutors said.
"The accused is believed to have been aware of all the methods of killing as well as the disastrous living conditions of the inmates," their statement said. A Berlin court must now decide whether the case against Hans H can proceed. Germany has been racing to put on trial surviving SS personnel, after the legal basis for prosecuting former Nazis changed in 2011 with the landmark conviction of former Ukrainian guard John Demjanjuk.
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