101 Year Old Former Nazi Guard Sentenced by German Court

Photo: ndtv

The Facts

  • On Tues., Josef Schütz was found guilty of being an accessory to murder while working as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, between 1942 and 1945. At 101 years old, he's the oldest person to go on trial for complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust.

  • During the trial, Schütz denied working as an SS guard and instead claimed that he had worked as a farm laborer during the period in question. The court, however, based its case on documents relating to an SS guard with his name, date, and place of birth, as well as other documents.

The Spin

Narrative A

While those responsible for the Holocaust should rightfully be held to account, it's unclear just how much justice victims and families will truly get by convicting perpetrators who often don't have to serve their sentences because of their advanced age. It's time to consider alternative but equally promising ways of dealing with unresolved Holocaust crimes.

Narrative B

Even if the perpetrators don't ultimately serve their sentences, trials like this are vital to keeping the tragedy of the Holocaust in our collective memories, and they send an important signal, reaffirming the political and moral responsibility of individuals in authoritarian regimes. The neo-fascist far right is strengthening throughout Europe, and those who commit atrocities need to know they will be held responsible for their actions.

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