Johann Rehbogen wasn’t even 20 years old when he started working at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland.
Though the estimated death toll at the camp — originally a labor camp, later to be installed with a gas chamber — numbered over 64,000 people, Rehbogen (whose hand is shown holding a cane in the image above) claims he didn’t participate in the heinous murders for which he’s charged.
He does admit that he worked there, as All That’s Interesting pointed out about the case.
But he insists he was even not aware of the hundreds of deaths that allegedly happened on his watch during two of the six years the camp was running.
More than 70 years since those events, prosecutor Andreas Brendel is doubtful about that claim, to say the least.
“Anyone who heard the screams from outside the gas chamber would have known that people were fighting for their lives,” Brendel reported.
As strange as it may seem for someone who is today in his mid-90s, Rehbogen — who served as a guard between June 1942 and September 1944 — is being tried in a juvenile court in Berlin, Germany, right now because he was not yet 21 at the time he committed crimes for which he’s charged, as The New York Times and other outlets have reported on the case.
His maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.
Lists of the diseased on the indictment include as many as 100 Polish prisoners, a minimum of 77 Soviet P.O.W.s, and an overwhelming and “unknown number [of] — at least several hundred — Jewish prisoners.”
In addition to the other sickening means that were used on scores of innocent souls, the Jewish prisoners were brutally killed in gas chambers, by execution, or by injection of phenol “straight to the heart of the individual prisoner,” the indictment alleges, as The Times noted.
During the winter of 1943-44, in the bitter cold, 140 mostly Jewish woman and children were put to death by means of lethal injection. Many prisoners froze to death as well.
The Stutthof camp was located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, by what is now the city of Gdansk in Poland.
Brendel, the prosecutor, maintains that the former Nazi was very well aware of what was taking place at the camp.