Josef Schuetz, 100, a former SS member serving in the Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, reaffirms his innocence. Today, the man appeared in court for the trial that sees him accused of complicity in the massacre of 3,518 people between 1942 and 1945. He is the oldest defendant to be tried in Germany for crimes of the Nazi era.
Leaning on a walker, Schuetz appeared on 8th October before the court in Brandenburg / Havel on charges of having “knowingly and voluntarily” assisted in killing thousands of prisoners. His lawyer Stefan Waterkamp covered his face with a blue folder as he entered the courtroom and informed the judges that his client would provide “only information about his personal situation” during the trial. “It was all ripped out of my head”, remarked Schuetz, also complaining that he was the only one to appear before the courts.
“I am innocent,” said the man when questioned about his work as a guard at the camp, insisting bluntly that he “knew nothing” of the atrocities committed and did “absolutely nothing”.
The allegations against the centenary include complicity in the “execution by shooting of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942”, as well as the use of Zyklon B gas to kill prisoners.
While he is not accused of shooting anyone in particular, according to a court spokesman, his serving role as a guard implies a role in the atrocities in the camp.