One of the last employees of the Auschwitz death camp Oskar Groening died in German Hanover. The former SS man lived to be 96 years old.
In the last years of his life, Oscar Gröning was known more as an “accountant from Auschwitz”. Such a nickname he owed to his service in a fascist concentration camp.
For aiding and abetting the killing of 300,000 prisoners, Groening was sentenced to four years in prison in 2015. However, he did not have to wait for his due. Shortly before his death, the court rejected his petition for pardon. Therefore, the prosecutor’s office of Hanover issued an order to begin the execution of punishment. The next step was to consider the request for pardon by the Minister of Justice of Lower Saxony. However, before this case it also did not come.
As reported by the publication Spiegel, Oscar Groening died on Friday at the hospital. A representative of the Hanover Public Prosecutor’s Office reported: “We received a letter from his lawyer.” The death certificate has not yet been submitted to the justice bodies.
Oscar Groening is known for having, in a lengthy letter during the trial, apologized for his crimes to relatives and loved ones of the prisoners who died in the concentration camp. He was one of the last Nazi criminals of the second row, who in the decades after the war found the German legal bodies. Earlier, justice was directed only against so-called “excessive criminals”, known for their terrible deeds. However, of the 6,500 SS members who served in Auschwitz, only 49 people were convicted.
In May 1985, the Frankfurt-on-Main prosecutor’s office began the process against Gröning and a dozen other people from the concentration camp administration. However, it was suspended due to a lack of “evidence of a crime”. Only in 2014 the Hanover prosecutor’s office again opened the case and filed a charge in court.
Groening began to talk about his past himself to contradict people who deny the Holocaust. He wanted to open his eyes to all those crimes of the Nazis, which were kept quiet for a long time. According to the former SS man, all the soldiers who worked in Auschwitz knew about the system of mass destruction. Nevertheless, he considered himself not a criminal, but accidentally dragged into this “death machine” by a young man.
In an interview with Spiegel magazine, he confessed: “I feel guilty for the Jewish people, as I served in the army that committed these crimes, but I was not a criminal.” I apologize to the Jewish people, and before God, I ask for mercy. “