[JURIST] Prosecutors have asked for three and a half years imprisonment for Oskar Gröening, who is charged with 300,000 counts of acting as an accessory to murder in Auschwitz before the Lüneberg District Court [official website, in German]. Gröening, 94-year-old former S.S. sergeant and Auschwitz guard, has been dubbed [Der Spiegel report, in German] the “Accountant of Auschwitz” for his duties of guarding, collecting and tallying possessions taken from the prisoners upon arrival at the concentration camp. During opening statements, Gröening admitted feeling moral guilt [JURIST report] for his actions at Auschwitz, but has left it to the court to determine his legal guilt. Prosecutors have recommended up to 22 months may be deducted from Gröening’s sentence, as he was not granted a speedy trial.
Despite the age of the accused, the Nazi crime investigation unit [official website, in German] is dedicated to prosecuting the few remaining living Nazi war criminals who have escaped justice. There are currently 11 other proceedings taking place against former Nazi officers on charges of accessory to murder. In December a German court threw out a case [JURIST report] against a former SS soldier who was accused of being involved in the largest massacre in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. In 2013 German prosecutors brought a 92-year-old former Nazi to trial whose case was subsequently dropped [JURIST reports] in January due to too many gaps in the evidence. January marked the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] stated [JURIST report] that the world is still haunted by the tragic events of the Holocaust and continued discrimination.