Former 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz' to go on trial in Germany

At 93, former SS officer Oskar Groening will face a German court and says the screams from the gas chambers still haunt him.

February 2, 2015 15:42
1 minute read.

Survivors of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz arrive to the former camp in Oswiecim.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A former officer at Auschwitz concentration camp is set to go on trial in April for 300,000 charges of being an accessory to murder, AFP quoted a court as saying Monday.

Defendant Oskar Groening, who is now 93, will face the court over charges regarding the 425,000 people deported to the death camp between May and July 1944 and the deaths of 300,000 people in the camp's gas chambers.

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Known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz," Groening's job at the camp as a 21-year-old officer was to count the cash taken from the luggage of prisoners and transfer it to Nazi authorities in Berlin. He would also remove victims' luggage to cover up signs of the mass murders.

He was initially charged in a regional Hamburg court in September. The next stage of the trial is set to take place in Lueneburg, Germany on April 21.

In court, the former SS officer will face 55 plaintiffs, mostly survivors and relatives of victims.

In a 2005 interview, Groening said that he regretted that he worked at the death camp and reportedly still hears the screams from the gas chambers.

"I was ashamed for decades and I am still ashamed today," he said. "Not of my acts, because I never killed anyone. But I offered my aid. I was a cog in the killing machine that eliminated millions of innocent people."

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