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Former Nazi extermination camp guard goes on trial

April 21, 2015 - GERMANY

Oskar Groening, the former German death camp officer known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", goes on trial in Lueneburg.

Now 93, Groening is charged with at least 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, the estimated number of people who perished in gas chambers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in occupied Poland between May and July 1944. The trial is expected to be the last, or one of the last, of its kind.

Reporting on the trial, AFP notes that 55 co-plaintiffs, mainly survivors and victims' relatives, will be represented at the trial. The wire service explains that Groening's job included counting the banknotes gathered from prisoners' luggage and passing them on to the SS authorities in Berlin, and also helping to remove the luggage of victims to cover up the traces of the mass killings.

An estimated 1.1 million people, mainly European Jews, perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau, operated by the Nazis from 1940 until it was liberated by Soviet forces on Jan 27, 1945. Ceremonies in 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp.

Trial date set for 'Auschwitz bookkeeper' Groening (BBC 2 Feb 2015)

German, 93, to face trial in April over Auschwitz deaths (AFP/Expatica 2 Feb 2015)

Date written/update: 2015-02-11