German court drops case against Auschwitz medic over dementia diagnosis

A German court officially dropped its case against a 96-year-old former Auschwitz medic because he has dementia.

The decision came after Hubert Zafke was found unfit to stand trial for his role in the murder of more than 3,600 people at the Nazi death camp.

German prosecutors submitted a motion last month to the Neubrandenburg state court asking it to dismiss the case.

Zafke, who uses a wheelchair, was diagnosed with dementia in October 2015, which led to doubts about his ability to stand trial.

His trial had failed to begin as planned in February 2016 after a doctor ruled he was unfit to be transported to Neubrandenburg state court, and the next month Zafke was ruled unfit for trial. Subsequent medical examinations this year by at least two independent physicians backed that assessment.

Zafke was charged with being an accomplice to the murders of 3,681 people at the death camp. Prosecutors say the medic’s unit in which he served placed the Zyklon-B pesticide crystals into the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where up to 6,000 Jews were killed per day, and was “supportive of the running of this extermination camp,” according to Deutsche Welle.

Zafke does not deny he served at Auschwitz, but he has said he did not see or participate in any of the murders. His attorney says he knew people were being murdered at Auschwitz but never took part in the killings.

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