94-Year-Old Nazi War Crimes Suspect Faces Trial in German Juvenile Court

Fencing surrounds Buchenwald concentration camp on January 26, 2018 near Weimar, Germany. Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

A 94-year-old German man accused of being accessory to hundreds of killings in a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two is set to face trial in a juvenile court, according to authorities in the city of Münster.

He will not be tried in an adult court, because he was below the age of 21 at the time of the alleged offences. The man, whose name has not been revealed for legal reasons, denies the accusations against him, Reuters reports.

The accused, who was once a guard in the SS—the paramilitary wing of Hitler's Nazi party—stands accused of knowing about the killings of people at Stutthof concentration camp, near Gdansk in Poland, where he served for three years.

Prosecutors in Münster said that hundreds of prisoners died at the camp between 1942 and 1945, according to Der Spiegel. Many were killed in gas chambers or via lethal injections into the heart, while others also died of exposure or cold.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for German prosecutors to try people accused of being involved in Nazi crimes because the handful of suspects that are still alive are extremely old.

As a result of the man's age and his poor health, the hearings in the juvenile court, which begin on November 6, will only last a maximum of two hours each day.

German laws regarding the prosecution of former Nazis was changed after the conviction of former concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk in 2011.

Demjanjuk was a former soldier in the Soviet Red Army who was captured as a prisoner of war. He volunteered to be trained as a camp guard as part of a special program which recruited central and eastern European collaborators for the Nazi war effort.

He was convicted not for any war crimes he committed but for being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews while serving as a guard at the Sobibór extermination camp.