On Monday a German federal judge denied an appearl from Oskar Groening, a former Nazi guard who was convicted in July on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. In April, when the trial began, Groening, who was a bookkeeper at Auschwitz, said, “It is beyond question that I am morally complicit. This moral guilt I acknowledge here, before the victims, with regret and humility.”
Groening, 95, now faces a four-year prison sentence. Reported the AP:
In throwing out Groening’s appeal, the Federal Court of Justice noted his responsibilities had included keeping watch on the inmates and preventing resistance or attempts to flee by force.
It also rejected appeals from several survivors and their relatives who had joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as is allowed under German law, and had sought a tougher conviction.
My forgiveness does not absolve the perpetrators from taking responsibility for their actions, nor does it diminish my need and right to ask questions about what happened at Auschwitz.”
I told the media that he was a small screw in a big killing machine, and the machine cannot function without the small screws. But obviously he is a human being. His response to me is exactly what I was talking about when I said you cannot predict what will happen when someone from the victims’ side and someone from the perpetrators’ side meet in a spirit of humanity.
According to the AP, the court’s denial of Groening’s appeal marks “the first time an appeals court has ruled on a conviction obtained under the logic that simply serving at a death camp, and thus helping it operate, was enough to convict someone as an accessory to the murders committed there—even if there was no evidence of involvement in a specific killing.”
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