‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ Oskar Groening sentenced to 4 years in jail

The railway leading up to the main gate at the Nazis' former Auschwitz II (Birkenau) concentration camp. Credit: Michel Zacharz via Wikimedia Commons. 

(JNS.org) A German court sentenced Oskar Groening, 94, who was known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” to four years in prison.

At his sentencing, German judge Franz Kompisch said Groening “is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases.”

A former Nazi SS officer, Groening sorted and counted money taken from those who were killed or used as slave labor at the Nazi death camp in Poland, before sending the money back to Berlin. During the sentencing, Groening expressed remorse for his role in the Holocaust, saying that he was “very sorry” and that “no one should have taken part in Auschwitz,” AFP reported. 

Groening said during the trial that he was horrified by what he saw at Auschwitz when he arrived in 1942 and had asked to be transferred three times, a request that was not granted until 1944. 

Jewish groups welcomed the prison sentence for the former Nazi bookkeeper. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said that “there must never be impunity or closure for those who were involved in mass murder or genocide.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, said the verdict was “critical” because “this is the first case brought where the prosecution charged a person who wasn’t involved in the physical side of mass murder,” the Associated Press reported.

Zuroff added that he hopes the verdict will “pave the way for additional trials of individuals who do not literally pull the trigger but who were part of the implementation of the Final Solution.” 

Posted on July 15, 2015 .