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December 12, 2018

Alleged 95-year-old Nazi camp guard faces 36,000 accessory to murder counts

November 24, 2018
People arrive at Austria’s Mauthausen concentration camp, where one alleged camp guard is charged with being an accessory to murder. (Rubra / AP)

A 95-year-old man, believed to have once been a Nazi concentration camp guard, has been charged with more than 36,000 counts of being an accessory to murder.

Hans Werner H., whose last name wasn’t released because of privacy regulations, is accused of serving as an SS guard at the northern Austrian camp of Mauthausen from mid-1944 to early 1945, say prosecutors in Berlin.




During that time period, 36,223 people were killed at Mauthausen. While many were lethally gassed, others suffered fatal injections, shootings, starvation and exposure, said prosecutor Martin Steltner.

Hans Werner has not been accused of a specific death, but prosecutors assert he was complicit in the deaths working for the camp. In all, it is estimated a total of 95,000 victims perished at the camp, including 14,000 Jews, Spaniards who rebelled against Francisco Franco and Soviet prisoners of war.

“With his service as a guard, (Hans Werner) aided or at least made easier the killing of many thousands of inmates,” said Steltner.

Hans Werner, who had to be transported by gurney, denies the charges. He is believed to have been a corporal-level soldier who protected Mauthausen’s perimeter as well as minding prisoners who worked at a nearby quarry.

Steltner says the SS officer must have “known about the various methods of killing as well as the disastrous living conditions of the imprisoned people.”

German law has evolved to hold former Nazi camp guards responsible for accessory to murder even if no evidence is present that they murdered a specific person.

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