Nazi bookkeeper dies before serving prison sentence

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Oskar Groening was a death camp guard known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz” and convicted of being an accessory to murder. Sentenced four-years in prison, he died Monday at 96 before ever entering a cell.

From Fox NewsGroening, a former SS sergeant, was convicted in July 2015 of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews. He was expected to start his four-year prison sentence, but died at a hospital, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing Germany’s Der Spiegel. 

German prosecutors deemed Groening to be fit enough to go to prison as long as there was appropriate medical care. A federal court rejected Groening’s appeal in November.

The BBC reported the following about Groening after his 2015 trial: Mr. Groening, known as the “book-keeper of Auschwitz”, was allegedly responsible for counting banknotes confiscated from prisoners.

Prosecutors in Lueneburg, northern Germany, also allege that he hid victims’ luggage away from new arrivals, to disguise the victims’ fate.

Mr. Groening, who began work at Auschwitz aged 21, admits witnessing the mass killing of Jews but denies he was an “accomplice”.

He has spoken publicly about his role in the camp – and it is that aspect of his case that observers such as Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff say makes it particularly important.

“It’s the first in recent history in which a defendant has talked [publicly] about the horrors of Auschwitz, that’s something you almost never see,” Mr. Zuroff told the Wall Street Journal. last year.

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