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93-Year-Old Man Charged as Accessory to 300,000 Auschwitz Murders
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nazi prison guard

Summary: A 93-year-old man in Germany has been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for his work in a Nazi death camp.

World War 2 proved such a trauma that America, Europe, and the world as a whole continue to buzz with what it means and what it tells us about the limits of human cruelty. It seems as if all this went down in a world far away, but there are still a few SS member alive, and one in particular, Oskar Groening, has recently been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for his work in a Nazi death camp, Auschwitz.

  
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Groening, who is now 93 years old, is being charged for the second time: prosecutors attempted to make a case against him in 1985, but was dropped for lack of evidence. Prosecutors have been revitalized in their efforts after the 2011 case of John Demjanjuk, a former camp guard who was convicted of crimes against humanity despite problems of the statute of limitations running out.

Groening collected luggage from incoming trains, and, as prosecutors claimed, had to know that those people, were doomed to soon be murdered.

“The accused must have known that those arriving, mostly Jews, inmates who were deemed as not being fit for labor after the selection process, would immediately be murdered in the purpose built gas chambers,” reads the court statement against him.

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“With his actions, the accused helped the Nazi regime gain economic profit and supported the killing that was going on….Between May 16 and July 11, 1944 at least 137 prison trains arrived at the camp Auschwitz Birkenau, carrying around 425,000 prisoners from Hungary. According to the charges at least 300,000 of those were killed.”

Thomas Walther is the lawyer representing 20 Auschwitz victims and their relatives in this case, and they are hoping for a last chance for “justice to one of the SS men who had a part in the murder of their closest relatives,” as the Associated Press reported him as saying.



Three other Nazi guards were pursued recently, but two were unfit for trial, and the third died. Groening alone was found healthy and fit for trial. His is perhaps the last trial the world will see of a living Nazi charged with war crimes.



 

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