Germany has charged a 93-year-old former guard at the Auschwitz death camp with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.
The former guard and his lawyer said he “only” witnessed murders and in any case was only a “cog” in the Nazi death machine.
Groening, in good health, is one of approximately 30 former Auschwitz guards who face possible charges.
He previously has talked freely about the Nazi slaughter of Jews and told Der Spiegel in 2005 that once he heard a baby crying and “I saw another SS soldier grab the baby by the legs… He smashed the baby’s head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent.”
But he was only a cog, right? Just following orders.
Twenty Auschwitz survivors and relatives of victims are co-plaintiffs against Groening, and one of them, Thomas Walther, told the Associated Press, time is running out “to participate in bringing justice to one of the SS men who had a part in the murder of their closest relatives.”
Groening was a guard at Auschwitz in 1944, and his job was to take and count money from hundreds of thousands of Jews who Nazis crammed into cattle cars and transported from Poland to Auschwitz. Most of them were butchered or gassed to death, but only after Groening made sure their money was counted and in the hands of his superiors.