A German court has sentenced 101-year-old Josef Schütz, the oldest person tried for Nazi crimes, to five years in prison for complicity in the murder of thousands of people while he was a concentration camp guard.

Schütz, a former non-commissioned officer, was convicted of “complicity” in the murder of 3,518 prisoners between 1942 and 1945 in the Sachsenhausen camp, north of Berlin.

“Mr. Schütz, you played an active role for three years in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where you were an accomplice in mass murder,” said court president Udo Lechtermann.

The magistrate stated that by his presence at the scene, the accused supported the actions committed in the concentration camp.

“All the people who wanted to flee the camp were shot. Therefore, any camp guard actively participated in these murders,” the judge said.

When the sentence, which is longer than the three years allowed under German law in cases of complicity in murder, was read, the accused remained stoic.

“I’m ready,” Schütz said earlier as he was wheeled into the courtroom, dressed in a gray shirt and pajama bottoms, sitting in a wheelchair.

His lawyer had already announced that if he received a very harsh sentence, he would resort to an appeal, which would delay the execution of the sentence until the beginning of 2023. Given the advanced age and fragile health of the accused, who appears free, it is unlikely to be imprisoned.

During none of the nearly 30 hearings in the case, the defendant expressed the slightest regret.

On Monday, before the end of the trial, he again denied responsibility.

“I don’t know why I’m here. I’m telling the truth. I have nothing to do with the police or the army, everything that was said is false,” the accused simply said, his voice trembling.

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