MAINZ, Germany, Dec. 16 (UPI) — A 93-year-old former SS guard at the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp will face trial next year on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, a German court ruled.
The court said there is enough evidence to proceed with the case against Oskar Groening. No trial date has been set, but the case could go to court as early as April.
The court said the charges are related to the period between May 16 and July 11, 1944, during the so-called Hungary Operation, when at least 300,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the gas chambers.
For years, German prosecutors and investigators have been sifting through files related to at least 30 suspected Auschwitz guards believed to be living in the country. Many have died or been declared unfit for trial.
Groening has acknowledged his time as an SS guard at the infamous camp in Poland, but said his role was more of an observer than a participant in the atrocities. At Auschwitz, Groening was reportedly in charge of the money taken from those brought to the death camp. He also stood guard as transports of people arrived at the camp.
Groening’s involvement was brought to attention in 2005, when he appeared in the BBC documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis & the ‘Final Solution’. He said he wanted to speak out to oppose Holocaust deniers.