Nazi Auschwitz Accountant Has Died

By Nelson Pérez, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

“Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” dies in the hospital before serving his four-year sentence.

“Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” and former SS guard from the Nazi regime, Oskar Groening died in the hospital, at the age of 96. Groening passed away before he could start the four-year sentence in prison, as he was an accessory to the murder of thousands of Jews.

Der Spiegel, the German weekly, was the first newspaper to report the death of Groening on Monday. However, Hans Holtermann, the lawyer, failed to respond immediately when he was asked to confirm his client’s death. Kathrin Soefker, the Hannover prosecutor, said her office was waiting to receive an authentic death certificate.

Guilty of being an accessory

When Groening was working in Auschwitz as a guard, he had the task of separating and sorting out the prisoner’s belongings, such as banknotes. Due to this activity, he got the title “Accountant/bookkeeper of Auschwitz.”

In 2015, the court declared Groening guilty, as he was an accessory in the killing of 300,000 people. Despite the court’s judgment, Groening didn’t go to jail, due to various appeals and his ill health.

The camps in Auschwitz were responsible for killing 1.1 million people, mainly Jews, who were the primary victims of genocide committed by the Nazis. Other minorities such as disabled people, gay people, and Poles were the other victims in the camps.

Overall, Nazi concentration camps have claimed the lives of approximately six million Jews.

His defense lawyers even asked the court to grant him mercy, given his old age. However, last year, the Hanover prosecutors deemed Groening was fit enough to go to prison.

When Groening lost his mother at the age of four, his father, an ultranationalist, raised him. He joined the ranks of the Waffen-SS when he was 20-years-old.

Groening admitted in court that he was morally guilty for all the crimes that took place in the Auschwitz death camp. However, he always denied that he murdered the prisoners personally.

Groening finally speaks out

Groening continued to work as an accountant, for several years, after the end of WWII. He suppressed what he had participated in and witnessed in the Nazi death camp.

When Holocaust deniers started making false statements, Groening decided it was time to tell the world that he had witnessed the killings personally.

His statements drew the attention of the public, which led to his prosecution. During Der Spiegel’s interview in 2005, he said that he was only a “cog in the gears.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, said, “unfortunate, at least on a symbolic level,” about Groening’s inability to serve time in prison, before passing away.

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