Referred to as the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz, the former SS Officer has today (July 15th) been given a four year prison sentence.
The proceedings have been long, with Groening’s advanced age and ailing health contributing to delays. Many believed that due to his age and health he would not in fact serve jail time.
Groening had previously admitted ‘moral guilt’ but had stated that it was up to the law to decide his fate. Today Groening listened as he was declared guilty by Judge Franz Kompish “the defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases”, referring to 1944 when Jews were deported and sent to gas chambers.
Groening served as a Bookkeeper at Auschwitz and was responsible for money that had been acquired from those who were to be used as slaves or killed. He’d sort and count the money, shipping cash back to the Nazis that he’d collected in numerous different European currencies.
In his final attempt to be acquitted, he spoke of how remorseful he was for his involvement “No one should have taken part in Auschwitz… I know that. I sincerely regret not having lived up to that realisation earlier and more consistently. I am very sorry”. 1.1 million people died at the Nazi death camp that Groening was stationed.
In testimony Groening had talked of his horror and his numerous pleas (three) to his superiors to be transferred to the front after the crimes he had witnessed on arrival at the camp in 1942. He was not permitted this transfer until 1944.
Becky A @Bex18W