The 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' dies aged 96 before starting his prison sentence

The 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' dies aged 96 before starting his prison sentence

The 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' dies aged 96 before starting his prison sentence

Oskar Groening, a former SS guard at Auschwitz, has passed away aged 96.

A bank clerk in pre-war Germany, Groening never denied his Nazi past and accepted "moral responsibility" for the Holocaust on the first day of his trial. His task in Auschwitz was to sort and assess money and valuables taken from prisoners before sending it on to Berlin.

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. Groening joined the Waffen-SS at the age of 20 and arrived in Auschwitz in 1942.

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

Groening's defense lawyers pleaded for clemency, given his advanced age, but prosecutors in Hanover past year deemed him "fit for prison".

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Groening was convicted in 2015; the pursuit of justice and conviction in open court exposed his crimes on the global stage. "I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide".

After the war, he made a life in L√ľneburg Heath, Lower Saxony, Germany, and worked in a glass-making factory.

In 2016, former SS sergeant Reinhold Hanning was convicted on 170,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an Auschwitz guard.

Mr Groening's court case was seen as one of the last major cases related to the Holocaust, where some 6 million Jews were murdered by Adolf Hitler's regime.

"Their victims never had any appeals, nor did their tormentors have any mercy, consequently these perpetrators don't deserve either", the group said in a statement.

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