Convicted Auschwitz guard dies before jail

Photo: Reuters


Oskar Gröning, 96, was sentenced to prison for his role in the murder of 300,000 people at Auschwitz death camp. He was likely the last surviving Nazi war criminal to face trial, Deutsche Welle reports.

The former SS guard at Auschwitz death camp, Gröning, died before serving his four-year sentence for aiding and abetting the murder of 300,000 people during the Holocaust.

The so-called “bookkeeper of Auschwitz” passed away on March 9 at the age of 96, according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine. His death was first reported on Monday.

Gröning voluntarily joined the SS, the armed wing of Nazi party, at the age of 21. His task in Auschwitz was to sort and assess money and valuables taken from prisoners before sending it on to Berlin. During the 2015 trial, Gröning told the court he felt a “moral guilt” for his service in Auschwitz, but denied personal involvement in mass murder.

He was declared guilty and sentenced to four years. However, his lawyers asked for the sentence to be suspended on  the basis of the defendant’s advanced age. Germany’s top court denied the request in December 2017. He was declared fit to serve his sentence, but had not yet been jailed.

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