A survivor of the Stutthof concentration camp has said he cannot forgive the 93-year-old camp guard who was given a two-year suspended sentence for accessory to 5,232 murders last week.
Manfred Goldberg arrived at the camp in August 1944 as a 14-year-old with his nine-year-old brother Hermann, who was later murdered.
Bruno Dey also arrived at Stutthof in August 1944 as a Wehrmacht, manning the watchtowers, and joined the SS the following month.
Speaking to the Times, Mr Goldberg, 90, said the sentence was insulting to survivors.
“I am not vengeful,” he said. “After my experiences, spending three and a half years in camps, I cannot bring myself to forgive.
“It may seem cruel, almost inhuman, to subject him to this ordeal at his age. On the other hand, I’m a mere three years younger. He was there aged 17, I was 14.”
Instead of a jail sentence reflective of his crimes, which Mr Dey would unlikely have lived out, Mr Goldberg thought he should have received a “much stiffer nominal sentence”.
Mr Goldberg, who now lives in north London, could not remember seeing Mr Dey at the Stutthof camp, but recalls a watchtower guard training his gun on him when he ventured near the perimeter fence.
“He wouldn’t have hesitated to shoot me because there was no consequence for these guards. All the SS seemed to have absolute power over our lives — Jewish lives were worthless,” he said.
While apologising for victims’ suffering in court, Mr Dey claimed he was unaware of the “extent of the atrocities”.
But Mr Goldberg remembers SS guards shooting those “who could no longer perform the solid day’s work the Germans expected. So these guards claiming that they actually didn’t kill any Jew personally are playing with words.”
Stutthof was liberated by the Soviets in May 1945. It is thought that more than 65,000 died there, from gas, execution and malnutrition. Mr Goldberg was taken on a death march that April, before being liberated. He and his mother travelled to Britain and were reunited with his father.