Former 'Bookkeeper Of Auschwitz' Dies Prior To Jail Sentence


Oskar Groening was among the last former Nazis to face trial for their roles in World War II, more than 70 years after the conflict, thanks to a landmark case allowing prosecution for aiding and abetting the German killing machine.

A former Nazi SS guard dubbed the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" has died at the age of 96, almost three years after his conviction for being an accessory to murder, German media said Monday. The office is awaiting an official death certificate, Soefker said.

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

At the trial, Groening admitted only to gathering money and valuables found in the luggage of the death camp victims and turning the property over to his superior officers.

Oskar Groening as a young man in an SS uniform.

His trial went to the heart of the question of whether people who were minor participants in the Nazi atrocities, but did not actively participate in the killing of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, were themselves guilty. A federal court rejected Groening's appeal in November.

Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said it was unfortunate that Groening's conviction didn't result in "at least symbolic justice" for the victims of Auschwitz.

"Legally speaking, I am innocent", he told Der Spiegel in 2005. He was in hospital when he died and had yet to begin his sentence.

His first plea for clemency was denied by German prosecutors a day after it was made public, but he never served the sentence due to a raft of further appeals.

In 2016, Reinhold Hanning, a former SS guard at Auschwitz, was convicted of having assisted in the deaths of 170,000 people and sentenced to five years in prison.