About twenty cameras are pointed at him when Josef S enters the courtroom. The 100-year-old man walks with the help of a walker. His face is hidden behind a blue file kept by defense attorney Stephen Waterkamp.
Joseph S. worked as a guard in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp between 1942 and 1945, except in the fall of 1944 when he served in another camp. He is now accused of aiding and abetting more than 3,500 murders. The trial, which may be one of the last against a person who participated in the Holocaust, led the world’s attention to the small town of Brandenburg an der Havel, west of Berlin.
And against 100 years Joseph S.
– His voice is a bit loud, as the accused says about the size of the headphones he wears so that he can hear the voice of the judge.
The accused was wearing gray pants with a zip and a colored jacket. When the judge asked about his background, he said he was born in Lithuania, is a widower and is 100 years old.
I turn 101 in November, he says, with a chuckle.
to the audience It is difficult to determine whether a man understands the seriousness of the situation. When Prosecutor Cyril Clement described how people were killed with firearms and gas chambers while Joseph S. guarded Sachsenhausen, the 100-year-old alternately looked at the prosecutor, defense attorney and down the table.
Back in the hall, Leon Schwarzbaum, a Holocaust survivor, is seated in a wheelchair with a headrest. He is the same age as Joseph S. and has gone to the courtroom in the hope of hearing the accused plead guilty.
– I wish he would speak. To tell us what he did, so that everyone knows. Leon Schwarzbaum says in a weak voice that it is important to do justice.
The first day of the trial disappointed him. When the judge asks if Joseph S. wants to say something about the allegation, defense attorney Stefan Waterkamp takes charge.
The lawyer will not comment on the charges.
Christoph Hubner The deputy chair of the Auschwitz Committee said the decision made him suspect that Joseph S. regretted what he had done.
– He does as ss always did: tiger. It’s very clear — the survivors talk, but the perpetrators are silent, he says.
At least 21 hearings remained before the conclusion of Joseph S.’s trial. The last chance takes place in early January. Christoph Hubner says he hopes the accused will change his position over time.
Hope does not disappear. I hope he is affected by the prosecutors’ words. He behaves like a human being and chooses to say.
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