‘Accountant of Auschwitz’: I am morally complicit in the murder of Jews

[From The Guardian]

Oskar Gröning, charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Holocaust victims, expresses remorse during trial in Germany.

A former SS guard expressed remorse for the role he played in the Holocaustwhen he went on trial charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews.

In a lengthy speech, Oskar Gröning, 93, referred to as the “accountant of Auschwitz”, recounted the two years he had spent at the extermination camp after volunteering for the SS, the Nazi party’s protection squadron.

Former SS guard Oskar Gröning sits outside court in Lueneburg
 Former SS guard Oskar Gröning sits outside court in Lueneburg. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP

Survivors of the Holocaust, many of whom have travelled from the US, Canada and Hungary in the hope of seeing justice done for their relatives who were murdered after a wait of 70 years, listened intently as Gröning spoke in court in Lüneburg, northern Germany.

“It is without question that I am morally complicit in the murder of millions of Jews through my activities at Auschwitz,” the retired bank clerk said, clutching his notes and looking directly at the bench. “Before the victims, I also admit to this moral guilt here, with regret and humility. To the question as to whether I am criminally culpable, that’s for you to decide.”

His statement came at the end of a detailed 50-minute account of his time at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which included how he was initially sent there and his attempts to get transferred elsewhere because of the atrocities he had seen, including seeing an SS colleague bashing a baby to death against the side of a lorry.

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