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Guilty of being a Soldier ?

Roger · 7 · 795

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Online Roger

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I'm not sure about this. No one would defend Nazi concentration camps but consider this case a bit more. Bruno Dey was 17-18 years old at the time he was assigned to Stutthof. No doubt concripted into the SS he may have had no choice in the matter of where he served. Not apparently accused of any personal brutality or complicity in such, he was convicted because, "prosecutors argued he was an accessory to murder by preventing inmates escaping from the camp". Now this is a serving Soldier - I think he had no choice but to follow his orders.

Just MHO but to pursue cases like this smacks of revenge - (why not maybe ?). But there must be many thousands of Germans who served in the forces, equally culpable of maybe, being nothing more than a conscripted Soldier. He was given a 2 year suspended sentence.

"A 93-year-old former guard at a Nazi concentration camp has been found guilty for his role in the murders of more than 5,000 prisoners during the Second World War. Bruno Dey, who had been an SS guard in the Stutthof concentration camp in German-occupied Poland during the final months of the conflict, was given a two-year suspended sentence on Thursday."

https://news.sky.com/story/former-nazi-guard-found-guilty-over-more-than-5-000-murders-at-second-world-war-concentration-camp-12034662
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I'm not sure about this. No one would defend Nazi concentration camps but consider this case a bit more. Bruno Dey was 17-18 years old at the time he was assigned to Stutthof. No doubt concripted into the SS he may have had no choice in the matter of where he served. Not apparently accused of any personal brutality or complicity in such, he was convicted because, "prosecutors argued he was an accessory to murder by preventing inmates escaping from the camp". Now this is a serving Soldier - I think he had no choice but to follow his orders.

Just MHO but to pursue cases like this smacks of revenge - (why not maybe ?). But there must be many thousands of Germans who served in the forces, equally culpable of maybe, being nothing more than a conscripted Soldier. He was given a 2 year suspended sentence.

I don't know my history well enough to know if there was a general amnesty after the war and former soldiers were given the opportunity to come forward and admit their parts.

There is a significant difference between a regular soldier and an SS camp guard, and whilst I agree he would not have had a choice he has had literally decades to come forward and confess his part. Clearly he wanted to keep it secret until the grave. He could have saved the German taxpayer a great deal of money by pleading guilty. I think a suspended sentence is a light penalty given the issues he has now undoubtedly caused his children and grandchildren.


Online Roger

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CK - "I agree he would not have had a choice he has had literally decades to come forward and confess his part." Yes but his part is being, "nothing more than a conscripted Soldier".

      - "He could have saved the German taxpayer a great deal of money by pleading guilty." Yes but guilty of what? And the German Authorities could have saved the money by leaving him alone.

      -  "I think a suspended sentence is a light penalty given the issues he has now undoubtedly caused his children and grandchildren." Yes CK but he wasn't being tried for causing 'upset' in the Family was he ?

Once in the SS, as you say, he would not have had a choice. The bit that jarred with me, was Bruno Dey claiming he didn't know what was happening in the Camp.

I just don't see the point of the Prosecution of a 93 year old ex-Soldier. I really hope (but doubt) that all those complicit in forming Nazi doctrine, persecution and atrocities have been caught and punished. 
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CK - "I agree he would not have had a choice he has had literally decades to come forward and confess his part." Yes but his part is being, "nothing more than a conscripted Soldier".
Not quite. He would have known his part involved a concentration camp and him being a member of the particularly noxious SS.

      - "He could have saved the German taxpayer a great deal of money by pleading guilty." Yes but guilty of what? And the German Authorities could have saved the money by leaving him alone.
I see your point, but that's very tricky. At what point does the German government apply a blanket amnesty? And to do so would undoubtedly require a change in German law that would reignite international debate about Germany and the war. They just don't have the option to quietly forget.

      -  "I think a suspended sentence is a light penalty given the issues he has now undoubtedly caused his children and grandchildren." Yes CK but he wasn't being tried for causing 'upset' in the Family was he ?
No, absolutely he wasn't. But he could have spared his family the exposure (and if it's reached this tiny forum as a topic, it has certainly done that).

Once in the SS, as you say, he would not have had a choice. The bit that jarred with me, was Bruno Dey claiming he didn't know what was happening in the Camp.
That's really the crux of the matter: none of us believe that's true. My point is he could/should have told his story 50+ years ago and let the authorities and courts decide his fate. I strongly suspect he told his family he served in the regular army and has hoped this would never emerge.

I just don't see the point of the Prosecution of a 93 year old ex-Soldier. I really hope (but doubt) that all those complicit in forming Nazi doctrine, persecution and atrocities have been caught and punished.
There can't be many left alive. The problem is the likes of Bruno Dey become a lightning rod to the lunatic fringe who think there is something laudable about being a nazi. 


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The only hypocrisy in all of this is that after the war various more senior nazi's, either fled abroad, or with the the aid of various support groups, governments in Europe and the Catholic Church, adopted new identities that allowed many to continue living normal lives and even prosper in the post war years.

Just seems its easier to go after the soft targert. 


Online Roger

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I agree with that Caller   :)

CK  - hang on he's SS not Gestapo - and he's just 17/18 years old and maybe sitting in a watch tower           doing bigger all.

       - your 'amnesty' point assumes that being an SS soldier is an offence in the first place ?

       - he spared his Family the exposure for what, 60 years or more ? Got caught out !

       - not telling the Family - I'm sure that's so. What would you have done ?

       - I don't see the Far Right nutters worshipping a simple SS Guard . . .

Thanks CK. Enjoyed the thinking through of   8)
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Online Roger

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Thinking about this again - whilst many senior Nazi's have escaped justice as Caller says, very many have been hunted down and punished in the last 75 years. AS CK said, "There can't be many left alive. The problem is the likes of Bruno Dey become a lightning rod", in this case a focus for retribution.

I'm no apologist for Bruno Dey, but at the age of just 17/18, after years in the Hitler Youth, (?), in 1945, with the SS fully occupied on more important matters, he sits in a watchtower at a concentration camp. Hardly a ruthless crack Soldier ? Perhaps he never fired a bullet in anger or exercised any violence.

Just MO but the effort that went into this would have been better directed at the current 'lunatic fringe' that CK mentions. Nice day all.

« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 10:03:50 AM by Roger »
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein