''Bookkeeper of Auschwitz'' Oskar Groening dies before starting sentence


''Bookkeeper of Auschwitz'' Oskar Groening dies before starting sentence

Soefker says the office is awaiting an official death certificate.

Oskar Groening, a former Nazi guard known as the so-called "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" due to be sentenced for his war crimes, has died, his lawyer announced Monday.

Groening insisted in a 2005 interview with Der Spiegel that he had been no more than a "cog in the gears".

The entrance to the infamous Auschwitz prison camp.

At the trial, Groening admitted only to gathering money and valuables found in the luggage of the death camp victims and turning the property over to his superior officers.

The Lueneburg court concluded that although there was no evidence of involvement in a specific killing, Groening knew that Jews were being slaughtered at the German death camp and supported the killings through his actions.

His trial went to the heart of the question of whether people who were minor participants in the Nazi atrocities, but did not actively participate in the killing of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, were themselves guilty.

Oskar Groening at his trial. A federal appeals court had rejected his appeal a year ago. Most recently, his lawyers made one final bid for clemency, a decision on which still was pending.

The former Nazi was convicted in 2015 for his role in the Holocaust. 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.

He died in a hospital on Friday, according to Spiegel Online.

The legal basis for prosecuting former Nazis changed in 2011 with Germany's landmark conviction of former death camp guard John Demjanjuk.

Hanning apologized for his wartime service, telling Holocaust survivors that "it disturbs me deeply" to have been a part of the Nazis' genocidal machinery.