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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Commentary on the Verdict Against a Former Concentration Camp Guard: Justice Demands the Truth

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To: 06/28/2022 17:58

Guilty verdict against former Sachsenhausen concentration camp guard not about retaliation, but justice, says Thomas Baumann. Finally, the judiciary carefully watches and works on the atrocities of National Socialism.

A commentary by Thomas Baumann, RBB

What counts in today’s guilty verdict is not so much the sentence. There is no adequate punishment for crimes of this nature. What counts is the conviction itself.

We owe it to the victims of the concentration camps that the executioners and accomplices did not come out unscathed. Not even if they are over 100 years old, sick and frail. It’s not about revenge or revenge. You don’t have to apply punishments if they hit the elderly inhumanely.

But humanity also includes justice – and that requires truth. To bring to light what really was. Therein lies the value of these processes.

Judicial processing failures

Procedures like this often came too late or not at all. The lax prosecution of Nazi crimes is one of the greatest failures of the German justice system. She often prevented the investigation of crimes because her judges were themselves Nazis. That’s a shame.

Furthermore, for decades the West German legal system required proof of actual participation in a crime before a concentration camp staff member could be convicted. But that was how it was: the concentration camps could only develop their horrible functionality with many followers. This included security guards. In the GDR, dealing with Nazi injustice was no better – on the contrary: the Stasi used its knowledge of Nazi perpetrators in many ways and offered them impunity for their cooperation. What a lie.

The good news today is this: if there are Nazi perpetrators or accomplices among the defendants in the six national cases that are still pending, then they must be afraid. German justice no longer looks the other way – finally.

Editorial Note

Comments always reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

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Source www.tagesschau.de

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