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Germany court rules 92-year-old woman unfit to stand trial for Auschwitz deaths

[JURIST] A court in Kiel, Germany, ruled Friday that a 92-year-old woman charged with Nazi crimes is unfit to stand trial. The woman was identified only as Helma M. due to German privacy laws and is reportedly partially deaf, blind and suffering from an internal illness. Helma was charged [AP/Reuters report] with being an accessory to the murder of 260,000 people while she worked as a radio operator at Auschwitz. According to prosecutors, Helma would receive [Times of Israel report] reports of people sent to the camp during the time she worked there from April to July 1944.

German courts have recently seen an increase of war crime charges against former members of the Nazi party. Prior to 2011, German prosecutors often chose not to charge individuals they regarded as "cogs" in, rather than active members of, the Nazi war machine. The 2011 conviction [JURIST report] of former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk may have emboldened German prosecutors to pursue cases against all those who materially helped Nazi Germany function. In December a German court allowed [JURIST report] the trial of a 95-year-old Auschwitz paramedic accused of being an accessory to the murder of 3,681 people at Auschwitz. In September 2014 German authorities imprisoned Oskar Groening, known as the "accountant of Auschwitz," who was charged [JURIST report] as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people. Last year Groening was given a four-year jail sentence for his role at Auschwitz, a sentence he said he would appeal [JURIST reports].

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