“Accountant of Auschwitz” sentenced for 300,000 deaths 158



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On the one hand he was a bean counter just doing his job. But on the other, he helped run the most brutal of workplaces: a Nazi death camp.

Oskar Groening, who became known as the “Accountant of Auschwitz”, was convicted on Wednesday for being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews during his time as an SS sergeant during the Holocaust.

The 94-year-old confessed to feeling “moral guilt” about his role, however a Canadian Holocaust survivor questioned the sincerity and depth of this emotion.

Max Eisen was 15 years old when he was sent to Auschwitz in 1944. His mother, sister, and two brothers were all killed in the gas chambers.

Now 86, Mr Eisen said he did not sense that Groening felt any remorse.

“We were hoping he would say that he felt guilty, but there was not a single bit of emotion,” Eisen said. “This man bought this Nazi supremacist ideology and he lives it to this very day.”

One of Groening’s duties at Auschwitz was to collect any valuables from the incoming jews. He would slash toothpaste tubes, rip shoulder pads of clothing and crumble any food the victims carried before they came into the camp.

Anything of any value he found was sent to Berlin to fund the war effort.

Mr Eisen testified at Groening’s trial and, even though 70 years had passed, the experience was gruelling.

“It was a shock to see him —to see an SS man was not a very pleasant situation for us,” he told Canadian TV.

In Groening’s defence, his lawyers argued that his role as a bookkeeper meant he wasn’t directly involved in the genocide that took place at Auschwitz, however German judge Franz Kompisch said Groening helped the camp to run smoothly. He willingly took a job in a system that was “inhumane and all bur unbearable for the human psyche.”

“You didn’t want to stand on the sidelines,” Justice Kompisch told Groening. “You wanted to be there.”

Groening was sentenced to four years in prison, which may seem woefully inadequate considering the crimes of his past. Due to his age, it is unlikely he will actually serve any jail time.

Nevertheless, survivors were happy with the outcome.

“He’s been found guilty, so for me, that is a tremendous achievement,” said Hedy Bohm, 87, who was a teenager when she was sent to the death camp with thousands of other Jews.

More than 170,000 people have been investigated for Nazi war crimes and around 6,000 have been convicted. Only a handful of them have served time in prison.

More than one million people died at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945.

Do you think justice has been served in this case? 



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  1. Good that they got him. Now maybe Israel will apologise for the murder of British troops, some of whom were hung slowly while others had their throats cuts in Palestine after WW2. Some of those British troops had helped liberate jews from nazi concentration camps. Their murderers may yet be living in Israel so how about bringing them to justice?

    9 REPLY
    • you make a fair point but Israel can use the Holocaust as an excuse for their own atrocities.

    • When will the English apologise for all the Jews that they murdered going back to King Richard’s time. All the money and land they stole from the Jews over hundreds of years. After all the jews were murdered and those that escaped, jews were forbidden to live in England for more than 500 years. George Reid – looks like your knowledge of history is appauling. Your anti-semitism is showing.

      1 REPLY
      • Is it anti-Semitism to mention what happened at the King David Hotel, were they freedom fighters or terrorists, that is a question for the world to ask and the world to answer. If Israel did not have nuclear weapons would Iran be so keen to develop nuclear weapons.

    • The point I was making was that some of the people who killed those British soldiers may still be alive and should be held to account.

    • History is exactly that history, if the whole world had to apologize to everyone for sins and atrocities committed in the past , it would be never ending. Glad he has been sentenced but saying sorry ! Enough already !!!

  2. Most of the big names fled to South America and lived life in peace until they died of old age. We let some into Australia because they were scientists

  3. Justice would have been served had these animals been caught and jailed just after the war. Sadly they have lived their lives now, while those they murdered never had a chance.

  4. It was WAR….people gunna die!!

    7 REPLY

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