Former Nazi guard, 93, says images of 'misery and horror' haunt him

21 October 2019, 17:18 | Updated: 21 October 2019, 18:47

A former guard at a Nazi concentration camp said the "images of misery" have haunted him his whole life.

Bruno Dey, 93, is on trial in Hamburg charged with thousands of counts of being an accessory to murder because he served as a guard in Stutthof.

In court, he said "the images of misery and horror have haunted me my entire life".

He apologised to victims of the camp and said he had been posted there unwillingly because he was unsuitable for combat duty, as he suffered a heart ailment.

It is the first time Dey has spoken at his trial, which began last week.

There is no evidence that Dey was involved in specific killings at the camp near Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk, but prosecutors argue that the fact he was a guard helped the camp to function.

He faces 5,230 counts of accessory to murder for killings while he was there from 1944-45. He is being tried in a juvenile court because he was 17 at the time.

He faces a possible six months to 10 years in prison if he is convicted. There are no consecutive sentences in Germany.

Dey has been open with investigators about serving in Stutthof, saying he heard screams from the gas chambers and watched as corpses were taken to the crematoria to be burned.

As he was trained as a baker's apprentice he told the court he tried to get to an army kitchen or bakery when he was transferred to the camp, but wasn't successful.

As a guard, he was assigned to watch over prisoner labour crews, but he says he never once fired his weapon.

He also once allowed a group to smuggle meat from a dead horse back to camp.

Dey was rebuked by the presiding judge Anne Meier-Goering at one point when he compared having to stand naked in front of the camp doctor to prisoners having to do the same thing.

She asked whether his comparison wasn't a "slap in the face" to the survivors.

Dey revised his comment, adding: "It was certainly different, in any case. One can't make that comparison."

Dey's case is sitting for just two hours a day and two days a week, because of his age, and he will return to continue giving testimony on Friday.