The German authorities have intensified their efforts in recent years to hold to account men and women, most of them now over 90, who played smaller roles in helping the Nazis round up and murder Europe’s Jews in their network of concentration and death camps.
Throughout the Cold War, these people were overlooked by a justice system that demanded evidence of direct involvement of a Nazi-era crime in order to bring charges against a perpetrator.
As the survivors grew older a reunited Germany began emphasizing the importance of remembrance and atonement, giving a prominent place to a Holocaust memorial in the heart of its new capital and establishing funds worth millions to compensate long overlooked victims of Nazi crimes.
Over the past decades, the courts, too, have shifted their perspective, following landmark rulings in 2011 and 2015 that established that individuals who played supporting roles in Nazi crimes could be convicted on the argument of association.
Last week, another former guard from Stutthof, age 95, was charged with similar crimes.
Because Mr. Dey was only 17 when he began his guard duties, he was tried as a juvenile. Prosecutors had sought a three-year prison sentence for his role at the camp, where he was tasked with making sure that none of the inmates, mostly Polish Jews and political prisoners, escaped.
More than 60,000 people — roughly half of whom were Jews — are believed to have died or been killed at the camp, which was the first to be established by the Nazi regime outside of Germany’s borders. Located in the small Polish town of Sztutowo, it served as a prison camp after the invasion of Poland in 1939. Gas chambers were put into use in 1944, and the camp was one of the last to be liberated.
More than three dozen survivors testified in the trial, which began in October. They told the court of seeing relatives die in the electric fences that surrounded the Stutthof camp, collecting the bones of other victims and being chased from their barracks, naked in subzero temperatures.