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Trial starts for man, 94, accused of being Nazi camp guard

By
Clyde Hughes
Defendant Johann Rehbogen arrives for a session of the trial against him at the Regional Court in Muenster, Germany Tuesday. His face was pixelated in photos on court order. Pool photo by Friedemann Vogel/EPA
Defendant Johann Rehbogen arrives for a session of the trial against him at the Regional Court in Muenster, Germany Tuesday. His face was pixelated in photos on court order. Pool photo by Friedemann Vogel/EPA

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- A 94-year-old man accused of being a former enlisted SS guard in Poland during the Holocaust went on trial Tuesday in Germany.

Johann Rehbogen is charged with being an accessory to murder for crimes committed while he allegedly served at the Stutthof concentration camp run by the Nazis near Gdansk, Poland, from June 1942 through September 1944, according to The Telegraph.

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According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, more than 60,000 died at the camp. Some died of typhus epidemics that swept the camp in the winters of 1942 and 1944 while others judged by guards as too weak or sick to work were killed in a gas chamber.

Stutthof camp doctors also killed sick or injured prisoners in the infirmary with lethal injections.

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Prosecutors have argued that being a guard at the camp made Rehbogen an accessory to those who died there, even though there is no specific evidence linking him to a particular crime.

German prosecutor Andreas Brendel charged that Rehbogen told investigators he was not aware of the killings at the camp and did not participate in them. A special prosecutor's office in Germany has continued to investigate Nazi war crimes.

John Demjanjuk, a retired Ohio autoworker, was the first to be convicted in an accessory prosecution, The Telegraph noted. He was accused of being "Ivan the Terrible," a guard who had murdered thousands of Jews at a concentration camp in Treblinka, Poland.

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Demjanjuk was convicted in 1988 in Israel, but the country's Supreme Court overturned the ruling. He was later deported to Germany and found guilty again, according to the New York Times.

He was appealing a five-year prison center that he received in Germany when he died in a nursing home in 2012 at 91.

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