The following is the English text of Judy's statement read to the courtroom on the opening day of the trial of Johann Rehbogen:
Statement by Judy Meisel, Minneapolis, co-plaintiff in criminal proceedings against Johann Rehbogen in front of the LG Münster.
When I was 12 years old, my family was imprisoned by the Germans in the ghetto of Kovno. There I learned to live in completely overcrowded rooms, to labor and to starve as a child, I saw daily humiliation and arbitrary terror, and yet - I was not prepared for what came afterwards.
Then came Stutthof and I experienced the unimaginable. Hell, set up and executed by the SS. Everyone had only one garment, no sanitary facilities, almost no food. Death became a daily companion in my life. The prisoners died slowly, tormented by malnutrition and disease. Every morning a pile of bodies piled up in front of the barracks. Or, if they had not been selected upon their arrival, such as the children, the elderly and those who were too weak to work, then the weakest were appointed day after day for the slow and terrible death in the gas chambers.
The last time I saw my mother, we were standing in front of the gas chamber without any clothes, together with a group of other women. When there was an opportunity for me to walk back to the barracks, my mother urged me to leave her behind.
Stutthof, that was the organized mass murder by the SS, made possible with the help of the guards. The defendant, along with the other guards, made sure no one could escape from hell. He made sure my mother could be murdered. And he almost succeeded in helping me to be murdered.
The fact that the defendant is confronted at the end of his life with his participation in this crime, which is beyond human understanding, is simply a question of justice. This justice comes late, far too late, and I do not understand why the German judiciary has waited more than seven decades in bringing those men to justice involved in the mass murder in Stutthof. This criminal case means justice to me, and it brings late justice to my murdered mother.
It may be that the defendant did not choose to become a security guard in Stutthof. But he has to face the responsibility for what he did when he was in Stutthof, responsibility for helping with this unimaginable crime against humanity, for helping to murder my beloved mommy whom I have missed all of my life.