‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’, 93, goes on trial in Germany

‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’, 93, goes on trial in Germany

LUENEBURG – Agence France-Presse
‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’, 93, goes on trial in Germany

Former Nazi death camp officer Oskar Groening sits outside during a break of his trial on April 21, 2015 in Lueneburg, northern Germany. AFP Photo

A former Nazi death camp officer dubbed the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz” went on trial in Germany on April 21, with almost 70 Holocaust survivors and victims’ relatives at the court.

Oskar Groening, 93, is being tried in the northern city of Lueneburg on 300,000 counts of “accessory to murder” charges for deported Hungarian Jews who were sent to the gas chambers, and faces up to 15 years jail.

Given the advanced age of most German war crimes suspects, Groening is expected to be among the last to face justice, 70 years after the liberation of the concentration camps at the end of World War II.

Prosecutors claim Groening served as a bookkeeper who sorted and counted the money taken from those killed, collecting cash in different currencies from across Europe.

He also performed “ramp duty”, guarding the luggage stolen from deportees as they arrived by rail at the extermination and forced labor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, they say.

Groening, unlike most former Nazis, has spoken at length in a string of media interviews about what he did and saw at Auschwitz, although he claims he is not guilty of harming any inmates.

Prosecutors say that by serving at the camp, he played a role in the mass murder that claimed over a million lives, building their case around 300,000 deaths from May to July 1944.