There are always opportunities to learn from the past. But, in order to do so, we must be willing to open our eyes to the mistakes made by our forebears.
There are two arguments that come from this case. The first is that he is an old man who has breached the century mark. At his age, he might not last five months in prison, much less five years.
The second is that he, like his cohorts, has blood on his hands. Though he was not responsible for everyone who died at Nazi hands, this conviction is still justice served. In my mind, five years is nothing compared to the persecution, starvation, and torture that the victims experienced, it is still something.
This man (whose identity is being kept from the public) was able to live a long and full life. The people he had a hand in killing were denied that opportunity simply because of who they were and what they believed. The message from this conviction is loud and clear. Anyone who participated and is still alive will get their day in court.
Though we cannot go back in time and prevent the death of millions, we can ensure that they are never forgotten and their murderers are seen for what they are.
May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.