Suspected Nazi war criminal Oskar Groening.
(photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
BERLIN — German prosecutors have charged a 93-year-old man with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for his service as a Nazi SS guard at Auschwitz during World War II.
Oskar Groening of Hannover, Germany, has acknowledged that he was a guard at Auschwitz but said he did not personally commit any of the atrocities, The Associated Press reported Monday. He was a guard at the concentration camp from May to June 1944. Some 425,000 Hungarian Jews came to Auschwitz during that time; about 300,000 were murdered in its gas chambers.
In an email to The Jerusalem Post
on Tuesday, Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of its Jerusalem office, wrote: “This is very good news and we fully support the final efforts being made by German prosecutors. It is unfortunate that this proactive approach has only been applied so many years after the end of World War II.”
Groening, who is reportedly in good health, is one of about 30 former Auschwitz guards who were recommended by German federal investigators to be charged by state prosecutors following the conviction of John Demjanjuk, who died while his case was under appeal.
Some 20 Auschwitz victims and their families are co-plaintiffs in the case against Groening, according to AP.
According to Germany’s mass circulation Bild newspaper, previous investigations against Groening were dismissed because of inconclusive evidence.
An inquiry by the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office in 1985 was dropped against Groening.
The new prosecution against Groening is based on the investigation of the Central office for National Socialist crimes in Ludwigsburg.JTA contributed to this report.