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2015-07-17 digital edition

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July 17, 2015  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Ex-Auschwitz guard, 94, sentenced to 4-year prison term

BERLIN – (JTA) Oskar Groening, a 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard, has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews in the concentration camp.

He had admitted to being tasked with gathering the money and valuables found in the baggage of murdered Jews and handing it over to his superiors for transfer to Berlin. Groening said he had guarded luggage on the Auschwitz arrival and selection ramp two or three times in the summer of 1944.

Groening expressed remorse and accepted moral responsibility for his role; he did not ask for leniency.

Welcoming the sentence, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said in a statement that “there must never be impunity or closure for those who were involved in mass murder and genocide, irrespective of their age. The sentence exceeded the 31/ years of jail time requested by the prosecution, the German news agency dpa reported. The court must determine whether Groening’s health will allow him to serve the time.

During the trial, Groening asked for forgiveness while acknowledging that only the courts could decide when it came to criminal guilt.

Plaintiffs in the case included more than 60 Holocaust survivors and their relatives. Several survivors testified during the trial, which lasted about three months.

Groening was held in a British prison until 1948. He eventually found work as a payroll clerk in a factory.

On the same day Groening was sentenced, Germany charged a 92-year-old man who served as a guard at Auschwitz with complicity in murder.

The unnamed man from Hanau, a city near Frankfurt, was charged for his alleged role as a Nazi SS guard. Since he was 19 or 20 at the time of his alleged crimes, the unnamed man was charged in juvenile court, according to reports. He allegedly watched over transports of deportees from Berlin, and from the transit camps Drancy in France and Westerbork in Holland.

Clues leading to some of the suspects came from the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg, which made a major push to identify former death camp guards after the conviction of John Demjanjuk in 2011 for his role in the murders of nearly 30,000 Jews in the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

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