94 year old Oskar Gröning, a former Auschwitz death camp guard, has been convicted by a German court for his role in the killing of 300,000 Jewish people and was sentenced to four years in jail. The German court concluded he was an accessory in the killings.
Oskar Gröning, born in 1921, joined the SS in 1940 and held the rank of “SS-Unterscharführer” during the war and while stationed in Konzentrationslager Auschwitz his responsibilities included counting and sorting the money taken from prisoners, and he was in charge of the effects prisoners had arrived with. On occasions he witnessed the procedures of mass-killing in the camp. On 10 June 1945 he was captured by British soldiers after his unit surrendered to the Allies. He was interned into a Prisoner-of-War camp and worked as a forced labourer. He later returned to Germany.
In September 2014 he was charged by German prosecutors with murder accessory for his role in the killing of 300,000 Jewish people. The trial began in April 2015 and was held in Lüneburg, Germany. Today, 15 July 2015, he was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison.
Oskar Gröning is known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz” and has admitted moral guilt earlier today: “For me there’s no question that I share moral guilt.”, “I ask for forgiveness. I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide“. Judge Franz Kompisch, said Groening had willingly taken a “safe desk job in a machinery designed entirely for the killing of humans” – a system that was “inhumane and all but unbearable for the human psyche”.
Gröning had publicly discussed his role at Auschwitz, making him unusual among former guards. He said he was speaking out in order to silence those who deny the Holocaust (Endlösung) took place.