A 101-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday in Brandenburg for being an accessory to the murder of thousands of prisoners in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In the trial before the Neuruppin district court, the man had denied to the last that he had been a guard in the concentration camp.

Prosecutors had asked for five years in prison for the man. Co-plaintiff representative Thomas Walther pleaded for a prison sentence of several years, which should not be less than five years. Two other co-plaintiffs called for a guilty verdict without naming a specific penalty. The defense had asked for an acquittal.

The 101-year-old had denied in the process that had been running since October last year that he worked in the concentration camp and stated that he had worked as a farmhand near Pasewalk in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania at the time in question. However, the public prosecutor’s office bases its indictment on documents relating to an SS guard with the man’s name, date of birth and place of birth, as well as other documents.

Between the time it was built and the end of the Second World War in 1945, more than 200,000 people were imprisoned in the concentration camp, which was set up in the summer of 1936 by prisoners from the Emsland camps – among them were political opponents of the Nazi regime and members of the Nazis National Socialists persecuted groups such as Jews and Sinti and Roma. Tens of thousands of prisoners died from starvation, disease, forced labour, medical experiments and abuse, or became victims of systematic SS extermination operations.

For organizational reasons, the trial was conducted in a sports hall in Brandenburg/Havel, where the 101-year-old lives. The elderly man had only limited capacity to stand trial and was only able to take part in the trial for around two and a half hours a day.