Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' Dies Before Ever Serving Time

'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' Dies Before Ever Serving Time

Hannover prosecutor Kathrin Soefker said a lawyer informed her office that Oskar Groening, 96, died in a hospital on Friday.

Oskar Groening, the former Auschwitz guard convicted in his 90s for his role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at the concentration camp, has died in Germany.

The "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", convicted as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people, has died before starting his jail term.

For decades after the war, German courts argued that the top Nazi leadership was principally to blame for the mass murder of Jews and that lower-ranking individuals in the Holocaust machinery were bound by a chain of command and, therefore, less culpable. He was likely the last surviving Nazi war criminal to face trial, Deutsche Welle reports.

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The start of Groening's prison sentence was delayed by legal action and ill health.

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

He also told of an incident in late 1942 when he witnessed Jews being herded into a converted farm house near the camp.

At least 1 million people were killed at Auschwitz concerntration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

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"This is the only time I participated in a gassing", he added, before correcting himself: "I don't mean participated, I mean observed".

He gained attention in 2005 as he described in job in interviews for proving to Holocaust deniers that the killings did take place.

Second, that despite Groening being "just" a bookmaker at Auschwitz, his role as an enabler of genocide was rightly recognised as enough to convict him for his part in the Holocaust.

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