A 100-year-old former guard at the Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp will stand trial in the fall, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported on Sunday.
The district court of Neuruppin, a town in the eastern state of Brandenburg, recognized the charges of accessory to murder in some 3,500 cases. The trial is scheduled to start in October.
Despite his age, the defendant should be able to take part in proceedings for up to two and a half hours per day, a court spokesman told the German newspaper.
The accused, who was not named for legal reasons, worked as a prison guard at Sachsenhausen from 1942 to 1945.
Tens of thousands of the more than 200,000 prisoners interned at the camp died as a result of hunger, disease, forced labor and mistreatment or “were victims of systematic extermination operations by the Nazis,” according to the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum website.
The death camp in Oranienburg, just outside Berlin, was in operation from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945.
Director Leni Riefenstahl developed groundbreaking cinema techniques for her documentary on Berlin’s 1936 Summer Olympics. But since she was the filmmaker behind powerful Nazi propaganda, such as “Triumph of the Will” (1935), “Olympia” is a controversial work. Yet it also prominently features the achievements of African-American athletes, such as Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the games.
“Race” depicts Jesse Owens’ path to Olympic gold, along with the racial discrimination he faced throughout his career. It includes a scene showing Leni Riefenstahl clashing with Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels on how the athlete should be portrayed in “Olympia.” It stars Stephan James (right) in the lead role, and one of the film’s main locations is Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
Jamaica’s national bobsleigh team made its Olympic debut in winter 1988 in Calgary, Canada. The Disney comedy “Cool Runnings” is loosely based on their story. Pursuing their dreams despite all setbacks, the team certainly embodies the saying of the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part.”
This is another biopic based on an athlete who made it to the 1988 Calgary Winter Games despite all odds: Michael “Eddie” Edwards. He’s portrayed as a tenacious outsider who manages to break Britain’s ski jumping record at the Olympic event — despite finishing last. Taren Egerton (left) stars in the lead role, alongside Hugh Jackman as his coach.
This historical drama, which won four Oscars, is based on the true story of two British runners in the 1924 Olympics: Scottish athlete Eric Liddell, a devout Christian, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew. The soundtrack by Vangelis is best remembered for its iconic main theme, which went on to be used several times in slow-motion sequences referring to the film’s “beach run” scene.
The true crime drama “Foxcatcher” is based on the story of John du Pont, an eccentric multi-millionaire who recruits US Olympic wrestling champions to train for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. However, the philanthropist (portrayed by Steve Carell, r., with Channing Tatum, l.) has mental problems, eventually leading to murder. “Foxcatcher” won the best director award at the Cannes film festival.
Filmed in mockumentary style, this black comedy is based on one of the most infamous scandals in sports history. Figure skating champion Tonya Harding’s entire career came crashing down after her ex-husband orchestrated an attack on her fellow skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan, hoping it would incapacitate her from taking part in the 1994 Winter Olympics. Margot Robbie starred in the title role.
Steven Spielberg’s 2005 action thriller does not focus on the Summer Olympics held in Munich in 1972, but rather the tragedy that largely overshadowed the sports event, as the Palestinian terrorist group Black September killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. The film goes on to depict how the Israeli government secretly retaliated against Palestinians allegedly involved in the massacre.
While most Olympic films are based on true stories, “Asterix at the Olympic Games” is of course an adaptation of the comic book by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive non-English film ever made, with a budget of €78 million ($93 million). The movie’s marketing was mainly based on this record; critics didn’t find it very funny.
Before the current Tokyo Games there was Tokyo 1964: At the time, it was seen as an opportunity for Japan to showcase its modernity and its newly rebuilt infrastructure, which had been destroyed during World War II. Filmmaker Kon Ichikawa was commissioned to document the games; it is viewed as one of the best sports documentaries of all time, focusing on the humanity of the event’s participants.
Prosecutors are still trying to bring a handful of Nazi-era suspects to justice some 76 years after World War II ended.
A landmark case in 2011 paved the way for more prosecutions when a Munich court ruled that working in a concentration camp was enough for a conviction, even if there was no proof of a specific crime.
John Demjanjuk was a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was convicted in 2011 on almost 30,000 counts of accessory to murder.
jsi/mm (Reuters, EPD)