A 94-year old German who worked as bookkeeper at the Auschwitz death camp was sentenced to 4 years in prison for being an accessory to the murder of 300 thousand people. Oskar Groning did not physically kill anyone himself while working at the death camp in Poland, but the prosecutors claimed he participation by sorting bank notes from arriving Jews, helped back a regime that was responsible for mass murder.
Goring’s trial had started in April 2014 and he admitted he was morally guilty, while he added that he could only ask forgiveness from God as he was not allowed to ask it from the victims. The trial explored the essence of the question of whether individuals acting as smaller cogs in the Nazi regime during WW2 but did not actively take part in the killing of 6 million Jews could be considered as war criminals.
The German justice system had until recently ruled that the lesser accomplices in Nazi Germany could not bear that guilt. Goring’s role involved collecting belongings of deportees and inspected Jewish luggage. Goring admitted having joined the SS at 21 “It is hard to describe it to someone of your generation who was not there. It is simply inexplicable.” Goring denied he knew what went on at the concentration camp saying he only knew it was a place he did not want to go.