Daesh left 200 mass graves in Iraq
Defendant tells prosecutors he was unaware of the killings and did not participate in them MUENSTER, GERMANY—A 94year-old former SS enlisted man went on trial Tuesday in Germany, facing hundreds of counts of accessory to murder for alleged crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp.
Johann Rehbogen was pushed into the Muenster state court trial in a wheelchair, a wooden cane at his side and briefcase on his lap. He appeared alert and attentive as presiding judge Rainer Brackhane asked him questions, answering in slow, concise sentences.
Rehbogen is accused of working as a guard at the camp east of Danzig, which is today the Polish city of Gdansk, from June 1942 to about early September 1944.
There is no evidence linking him to a specific crime, but more than 60,000 people were killed at Stutthof and prosecutors argue that as a guard, he was an accessory to at least hundreds of those deaths.
The retired civil servant showed no reaction as prosecutor Andreas Brendel read the accusations against him, detailing the horrific way prisoners at Stutthof were killed.
Some were given lethal injections of gasoline or phenol directly to their hearts, shot or starved.
Others were forced outside in winter without clothes until they died of exposure, or put to death in the gas chamber.
“Anyone who heard the screams from outside the gas chamber would have known that people were fighting for their lives,” Brendel said.
Rehbogen, a former SS Sturmmann — roughly equivalent to the U.S. army rank of specialist — does not deny serving in the camp during the war, but has told investigators he was unaware of the killings and did not participate in them.
No pleas are entered in Germany and Andreas Tinkl, one of Rehbogen’s attorneys, would not comment on his client’s defence.
He said Rehbogen would address the court at some point during the trial, which is scheduled into January. Former SS guard Johann Rehbogen holds his walking stick at the beginning of his trial in Muenster, Germany, on Tuesday. He is charged with accessory to murder for serving at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp. BAGHDAD—MORE than 200 mass graves holding as many as 12,000 bodies have been found in areas of Iraq that were once controlled by Daesh, UN investigators said on Tuesday.
The 202 graves verified by investigators are concentrated in northern and western Iraq.