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Nazi death-camp guard found unfit to stand trial by German court

About 65,000 people were murdered or died at Stutthof, which is near what is now the Polish city of Gdansk.
Image: A wheelchair-bound man appeared in court in Muenster, Germany, accused of helping to murder hundreds of people at a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two
The defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared in a court in Muenster, Germany, in November.Guido Kirchner / reuters file

MUENSTER, Germany — A German court has closed the trial against a 95-year-old former guard at a Nazi death camp, almost certainly ending one of the last such Holocaust prosecutions.

The defendant, a German who cannot be named for legal reasons, is now considered permanently unfit to stand trial due to health problems, the court in the western city of Muenster said Wednesday.

A medical report found that physical and cognitive constraints linked to heart and kidney problems meant the man could not follow the proceedings.

The man first appeared in court in November and was accused of assisting in the murder of hundreds of people at Stutthof, a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

But the former guard in the SS paramilitary wing of Hitler's Nazis denied the charges.

During the trial, the wheelchair-bound man told the court that he had never been a Nazi and that he was not indifferent to the suffering of inmates.

The man was accused of knowing about killings between 1942 and 1944, when he served at Stutthof, which is located near what is now the Polish city of Gdansk. About 65,000 people, including many Jews, were murdered or died there, according to the Stutthof museum's website.

"People were killed with a shot in the back of the head. People were left to starve, to freeze," Chief Prosecutor Andreas Brendel, one of Germany's most active Nazi hunters, told the court.