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‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ Oskar Groening dies without serving a day in prison

auschwitzOskar 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, writes the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Reports of his death surfaced on Monday, though the German publication der Spiegel reported that he died Friday and authorities had not yet received his death certificate. He was 96.

Groening, who was sentenced to four years in prison for his crimes, died without spending a day serving his term. The man known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” was convicted in July 2015.

He had been expected to enter prison at the end of January, but the continued wrangling over the state of his health kept him from beginning to serve his sentence.

“The death of Oskar Groening just before he was scheduled to begin to serve his sentence in a German jail following his conviction three years ago for accessory to murder is quite unfortunate, at least on a symbolic level,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and an expert in Nazi war criminals, said in a statement issued  Monday.

Zuroff pointed out that two other Nazi war criminals — John Demjanjuk, who was convicted in 2011, and Reinhold Hanning, who was convicted in 2016 — also died while awaiting decisions on their appeals.

“As fate would have it, [Groening] too has now escaped justice, casting a shadow of sorts on the judicial processes,” he said. “Without at least symbolic justice these trials, as important as they are, lose an important part of their significance. Their victims never had any appeals, nor did their tormentors have any mercy, consequently these perpetrators don’t deserve either.”

A clemency plea filed by Groening’s attorney with German prosecutors was rejected in January, and earlier this month he asked the justice minister of Lower Saxony, the northern German state where his 2015 trial took place, to pardon him so that he did not have to go to prison. A federal appeals court had rejected his appeal a year ago.

Groening had admitted to being tasked with gathering the money and valuables found in the baggage of murdered Jews and handing it over to his superiors for transfer to Berlin. He said he had guarded luggage on the Auschwitz arrival and selection ramp two or three times in the summer of 1944.

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


Jewish Telegraphic Agency


See the source image

Oskar Groening (1925 - 2018)


+1 #3 AL 2018-03-14 10:43
Quoting TT:
Another one "gets away with it". Along with Churchill, Blair et al.
"Do as we say, not as we do".

Blair hasn't got away with it yet, there's still hope that this man will do some time behind bars where he should be.
-1 #2 Darren 2018-03-13 19:34
The Germans, like the Portuguese, intentionally cast a shroud over their fascist dictatorship past. Both share many similarities. After WW2 Hitler era judges, as with the Salazar ones after the 1974 Portuguese'Revolution', remained in their posts. So -in both countries - any attempt to prosecute the known bad guys, or flush out the rest, never happened. Older judges training up the new ones. Germany - in reinventing itself, now dressing up that period as Nazi -National Socialism. No Germans involved. Poland is at least attempting to address its communist era judges
Portuguese nationalists do not even bother such is their contempt for the losers - those thousands of their countrymen wanting a new way of running their country who disappeared or were found dead in ditches. Their relatives never knowing how swiftly or painfully their fathers, uncles and sons died.
+1 #1 TT 2018-03-13 18:15
Another one "gets away with it". Along with Churchill, Blair et al.
"Do as we say, not as we do".