Germany:
Indictment for Auschwitz guard who aided murder of 13,000 Jews

Suspect's defense based on purported ignorance of background, aims, and details of killings.

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Mordechai Sones,

Auschwitz guard tower
Auschwitz guard tower
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German prosecutors have charged a 94-year-old former SS guard at Auschwitz as an accessory to murder, report AFP and the Associated Press.

The public prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart said it filed murder accessory charges with the Mannheim regional court against the unnamed suspect, a German citizen born in Ruma in today’s Serbia.

Prosecutors in Stuttgart said the suspect was charged as a juvenile because he was 19 at the time of the alleged offenses.

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The accused began training as an Auschwitz guard in Nazi-occupied Poland in October 1942 and worked from December 1942 until January 1943 “supporting camp operations and thus acts of extermination,” prosecutors said, during which time an estimated 13,335 people were sent to the gas chambers.

“In this time, at least 15 rail transports arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp after which people were immediately ‘selected’ based on their ability to work,” prosecutors said.

“The prosecutor’s office assumes that at least 13,335 of these people were classified as unfit to work and murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.”

According to prosecutors, the suspect's defense is based on his purported ignorance of the background, aims, and details of the killings.

More than one million people, mostly European Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1940 until it was liberated by Russian forces on January 27, 1945.

The current German push to bring the last surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice follows a 2011 landmark court ruling.

For more than 60 years German courts only prosecuted Nazi war criminals if evidence showed they personally committed atrocities.

But in 2011 a Munich court handed a five-year prison sentence to John Demjanjuk for complicity in the extermination of Jews at Sobibor, where he served as a guard, establishing that all former camp guards may be tried.

Three cases against former Auschwitz guards since then have gone to trial in Germany, says AFP.

Two of the aged defendants, Reinhold Hanning and Oskar Groening, were convicted and have since died while the case against a third, Hubert Zafke, was thrown out in 2016 following complaints the judges were biased.








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