German court jails 101-year-old ex-SS guard

STORY: A German court sentenced a former SS guard, now 101 years old, to five years in jail on Tuesday (June 28).

He was accused of assisting in the murder of 3,518 people at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

The verdict brings an end to one of the last Nazi trials in Germany.

Prosecutors said that Josef S., a member of the Nazi party's paramilitary SS, helped to send people to their deaths at the camp by regularly standing guard in the watchtower between 1942 and 1945.

Some people at Sachsenhausen were murdered with Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas also used in other extermination camps where millions of Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Lili Grumbach, the granddaughter of a Sachsenhausen prisoner, welcomed the verdict.

"I think it's really important that my generation and the future generation that there will no longer be direct witnesses of this history, that we keep on this memory. And I think this trial, as my father said, there has been a huge memory work, huge work on what happened in this camp that was almost forgotten, although (it is located) in the suburbs of Berlin. And I think it's really the message we wanted to give with my father today is that the important thing here today was that he was proven guilty."

Sachsenhausen housed mainly political prisoners from across Europe, along with Soviet prisoners of war and some Jews.

Recent years have seen a spate of charges brought against former concentration camp guards for World War Two crimes against humanity.

A 2011 court ruling paved the way for these prosecutions, stating that even those who contributed indirectly to wartime murders, without pulling a trigger or giving an order, could bear criminal responsibility.

Defense lawyer Stefan Waterkamp said his client would appeal Tuesday's ruling.

And that a higher court would decide whether "general guard service without concrete participation" provided sufficient grounds for such a verdict.