Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Auschwitz Guard, 96, Must Serve Prison Sentence, Germany’s Highest Court Rules

(JTA) — Germany’s highest court has ruled that a 96-year-old former Auschwitz guard should serve his prison sentence for his role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at the concentration camp.

Oskar Groening was convicted and sentenced in July 2015 to four years in jail for his role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at the concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. A federal appeals court rejected his appeal a year ago. He had remained free while waiting for a determination of his fitness to serve time in prison after requesting that the sentence be suspended.

After a regional appeals court in November ruled that Groening could receive the care he needs due to his advanced age in prison, attorneys for the former Nazi guard challenged his prison sentence to the constitutional court in Germany, arguing that it violates his “right to life.”

The constitutional court, the country’s highest court, on Friday rejected Groening’s appeal, ruling that he could receive appropriate health care in prison, and that his jail sentence could be “interrupted” should there be a change in the nonagenarian’s health.

“The high age of the applicant is in itself not sufficient to refrain from enforcing the criminal penalty,” said the court, AFP reported.

Groening, nicknamed the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” had admitted to being tasked with gathering the money and valuables found in the baggage of murdered Jews and handing it over to his superiors for transfer to Berlin. He said he had guarded luggage on the Auschwitz arrival and selection ramp two or three times in the summer of 1944.

During the trial, Groening asked for forgiveness while acknowledging that only the courts could decide when it came to criminal guilt.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.