German court upholds conviction, prison sentence of former Auschwitz guard, 95

Marcy Oster

Oskar Groening, 93, arrives for the first day of his trial to face charges of being accomplice to the murder of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz concentration camp, April 21, 2015, in Lueneburg, Germany. (Andreas Tamme/Getty Images)

Oskar Groening, 93, arrives for the first day of his trial to face charges of being accomplice to the murder of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz concentration camp, April 21, 2015, in Lueneburg, Germany. (Andreas Tamme/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Germany’s highest federal court upheld the conviction of a 95-year-old former Auschwitz guard for being an accessory to murder.

Former SS member Oskar Groening was sentenced in July 2015 to four years in prison for his role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz.

Germany’s Federal Court of Justice upheld the conviction and the sentence, Groening’s attorneys said on Monday, according to the German news agency dpa, in response to an appeal. Reuters reported that the court had made the decision in September, but only publicized it on Monday. It is not known if Groening is well enough to be put in jail.

Groening 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. Groening said he had guarded luggage on the Auschwitz arrival and selection ramp two or three times in the summer of 1944.

ADVERTISEMENT
Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

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

Groening was held in a British prison until 1948. He eventually found work as a payroll clerk in a factory.

The first investigations of Groening took place in 1977, but it was only after the successful trial against convicted Sobibor guard John Demjanjuk in 2011 that the courts were emboldened to try camp guards on charges of complicity in murder.