The story about a 94 year old man that was sentenced to four years imprisonment has been circulating around, Oskar Groening who was recently found guilty for the death of about 300,000 people.
Here is a little simplification of the crux of the story:
Oskar Groening, known as “the bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” was a former Nazi officer during Hitler’s time. Apparently “Auschwitz” was the place/camp where Nazi officials detained and killed offenders and ‘rebels’ of the Nazi party from 1942-1945 (70 years ago).
During World War II, about a million people were brought to Auschwitz death camp in Poland to be killed, BBC reported. Among them included over 300,000 Jewish people who were disliked by the Nazi group.
In a bid to be part of a regiment, Oskar Groening joined the SS (Nazi officers) at age 21. According to him, he willing joined the SS where he was posted to Auschwitz. However, he was unaware of the activities that went on in the camp prior to his acceptance of the job.
His duty was to preside over the new arrivals’ belongings and collect their money, count it and send the cash to SS offices in Berlin to fund the Nazi military tour de force. After which the new prisoners were marched to their death in gas chambers.He was however not directly linked to the killings.
Groening’s trial began in April, where he faced the court and acknowledged, “It is beyond question that I am morally complicit. This moral guilt I acknowledge here, before the victims, with regret and humility.” CNN reported.
As a result of working in the death camp, the German court under the judgment of Judge Franz Kompisch sentenced Groening to four years imprisonment for the death of the 300,000 people, which is more than the three and half years the prosecutors requested for.
Although Groening claimed that in 1944, he requested for permission to leave the camp when he witnessed the atrocities committed there, he was not given permission until the third request.
Judge Franz believes that Groening played a part in the camp that allowed the Nazi regime to murder hundreds of thousands of Jews. Despite claims that he did not kill anyone himself, prosecutors stated that his time in Auschwitz amounted to helping the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland function at the particular time when hundreds of thousands of Jews from Hungary were brought to the Auschwitz complex. Most were gassed to death without delay, RT reported.
You may wonder why it is at this late period of his life that he was charged to court. Initially, he could not be convicted because he was not directly involved with the deaths, but in 2011, the German courts convicted Ukranian-born Nazi guard John Demjanjuk, as an accessory to the murder of 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp because of his association with the camp, Groening case was then brought forward.
Before that change in approach, prosecutors had pursued only cases where there was evidence of a suspect’s personal involvement in the killings.
The case against Groening related to a period between May 1944 and July 1944, about 70 years since the crimes were committed.
Groening’s defense had called for him to be acquitted, emphasizing that he did not facilitate mass murder in his capacity as a bookkeeper. But according to Jens Lehmann, the lawyer for a group of Auschwitz survivors and relatives of victims who are joint plaintiffs in the case, “by sorting the bank notes he helped the Nazi regime to benefit economically.”RT reported.