'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' Dies at 96, Before He Can Serve Term

Oskar Groening known as the'bookkeeper of Auschwitz who in 2015 became one of the last people to be convicted for crimes in the Nazi genocide has died aged 96

Although he didn't directly participate in killings, Groening was called the bookkeeper since he had to count cash taken from victims when they were brought to Auschwitz.

The man was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of three lakh people in the infamous concentration camp.

For decades after the war, German courts argued that the top Nazi leadership was principally to blame for the mass murder of Jews and that lower-ranking individuals in the Holocaust machinery were bound by a chain of command and, therefore, less culpable.

Groening was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people at Auschwitz.

Groening was convicted in 2015; the pursuit of justice and conviction in open court exposed his crimes on the global stage.

Despite his conviction, the start of his sentence was delayed by legal wrangling and his ill health.

Groening was charged under a recent provision of German law: That he had been a "cog in the wheel" of the larger murder machine.

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A Red Cross worker helps former SS guard Oskar Groening, right, leaves the court after the verdict of his trial. On his first day on the ramp where Jewish prisoners exited the trains, he saw an SS colleague grab a crying baby and slam its head against a truck until it was quiet.

"I ask for forgiveness", Groening told the judge during his trial.

"The screams became louder and more desperate but after a short time they became quieter again", Groening said.

One million European Jews were slaughtered in Auschwitz, only a sixth of the number who died as part of the Nazi regime overall.

The 96-year-old former "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" died before starting his jail sentence for participation in the Holocast, according to a Sunday report.

Groening's conviction extended the doctrine further, opening a door to further trials of alleged Nazi criminals.

His 2005 interviews, a bid to persuade Holocaust deniers the genocide had taken place, put him on the radar of prosecutors.

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