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Former Nazi officer Groening sentenced to four years in prison

By
Tomas Monzon
Former Nazi officer Oskar Groening was convicted of being an accessory to 300,000 counts of murder at the Auschwitz death camp. Screenshot: Ukraine Today/Youtube
Former Nazi officer Oskar Groening was convicted of being an accessory to 300,000 counts of murder at the Auschwitz death camp. Screenshot: Ukraine Today/Youtube

LUENEBURG, Germany, July 15 (UPI) -- A German court sentenced a former Nazi officer to four years in prison Wednesday for his role in 300,000 counts of murder.

Oskar Groening, 94, dubbed "the bookkeeper of Auschwitz," was convicted of being an accessory to murders at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland during World War II.

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Groening's role in the camp was rounding up the cash found in the belongings of new arrivals and sending it to Nazi headquarters in Berlin.

The Lueneburg court took Groening's age into consideration when handing down the verdict, claiming he should have the opportunity to live some his life as a free man after serving his sentence. However, it ultimately refrained from handing down a sentence shorter than four years. It blamed Groening's failure to help clarify other crimes possibly committed by former Nazi officers that he knew.

Groening's trial began in April of 2015, after admitting to being involved with what happened at the camp. Although Germany originally did not consider service in a concentrartion camp as a crime under the law, the 2011 trial of accessory John Demjanjuk changed that. Demjanjuk was convicted of being involved in the murder of 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp.

This paved the way for Groening's trial. Groening said that he was morally complicit with the killing and acknowledged regret and humility before the victims.

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