Over 30 Auschwitz guards between the ages of 86 to 97 could be prosecuted in the near future for old charges of Nazi war crimes being brought back against them as accessories to murder, the Monitor reported this Tuesday, Sept. 3. Under a new legality, or legal theory being considered in Germany, these guards could be put on trial, despite their old age, for their previous roles in Nazi concentration camps as a “conspirator and operator of death.”
The Auschwitz guards are being possibly charged by a special prosecutors’ office in Germany that continues to investigate past Nazi war crimes. The division confirmed this Tuesday that its office is recommending that prosecutions be set against 30 Auschwitz guards, carrying with that statement the potential to bring new trials back for accessory to murder charges that were dismissed nearly 70 years ago following World War II.
One federal prosecutor said that an in-depth investigation of exactly 49 surviving suspects who played roles as Auschwitz guards in Nazi death camps yielded a substantial amount of evidence to pursue these serious charges against 30 individuals in Germany, all of whom are in their 80s and 90s now.
Although several suspects that live outside of Germany are still under official investigation, the prosecutor’s office hopes that their suggestion to charge these 30 individuals for past Nazi war crimes is accepted, and soon. With the oldest accused suspect being born back in 1916 and even the youngest in 1926, all those who could be charged would be between the ages of 86 to 97.
There is still some doubt in charging these men and women (yes, some women are also part of the over 30 former Auschwitz guards who could be prosecuted for accessory to murder) due to their age, as it brings into question whether they are capable of standing trial or even retain substantial memory of their misdeeds.
"The biggest enemy is time," concluded the head prosecutor in the case.
Do you believe these Auschwitz guards should be taken back to trial for Nazi war crimes committed up to 70 years ago? Or is this possible new legality in Germany a wrongful legal theory?