Ex-SS guard convicted for complicity at Auschwitz
DETMOLD - Agence France-PresseA former SS guard was on June 17 convicted by a German court for complicity in the mass murders at Auschwitz death camp, capping what is likely one of the last Holocaust trials.
More than 70 years after World War II, Reinhold Hanning, 94, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment over his role at the Nazi-run camp in occupied Poland.
“The accused is sentenced to five years’ jail for accessory to murder in 170,000 cases,” ruled the court in the western German city of Detmold.
“He was aware that in Auschwitz, innocent people were murdered every day in gas chambers.”
During the four-month trial, which involved witnesses giving harrowing accounts of the living hell they faced, prosecutors outlined how Hanning had watched over the selection of prisoners deemed fit for slave labor, and those sent to the gas chambers.
They also accused him of knowing about the regular mass shootings and the systematic starvation of prisoners.
For Holocaust survivors and inmates’ descendants, the trial marked “a big, even though a late, step towards a just examination of the mass murders in Auschwitz.”
This is because it for the first time focused on “the division of labor in the collective mass murders at Auschwitz,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement.