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Former Nazi SS officer dies before serving a four-year jail term

[JURIST] Authorities in Germany have announced [Der Spiegel report, in German] the death of Oskar Groening, a former Nazi SS officer who was known as "the bookkeeper of Auschwitz." Groening was sentenced [JURIST report] last November to four years in prison for being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people at Auschwitz during World War II. Previously, Groening's lawyer had argued that he was too old to serve a four-year prison sentence, but it was concluded that he would be able to serve out his sentence as long as he had access to appropriate medical care while in prison.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center [advocacy website] called [statement] Groening's death just before his sentence was to begin is being called "unfortunate, at least on a symbolic level." Former Nazi guards John Demjanjuk [JURIST news archive] and Reinhold Hanning were each convicted by German courts on concentration camp-related charges in recent years, and each received a five year sentence [JURIST reports]

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