A 93-year-old man is on trial in Germany on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder over allegations that he helped the functioning of the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland by serving as a guard there.
As his trial opened, 93-year-old Oskar Groening acknowledged having helped collect and tally money as part of his job dealing with belongings stolen from people arriving at the camp, earning him the nickname “Accountant of Auschwitz”.
Oskar Groening is accused of serving at Auschwitz between May and June 1944, when some 425,000 Jews from Hungary were taken there and at least 300,000 almost immediately gassed to death.
Prosecutors say that, among other things, he helped to collect and tally money as part of his job dealing with the belongings stolen from camp victims.
The former Auschwitz guard told his trial that he bears a moral share of the blame for atrocities at the camp, but it is up to judges to decide whether he deserves to be convicted as an accessory to murder.
In his statement to judges, he did not detail direct participation in any atrocities.
He concluded: “I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide.”
Groening does not deny serving as a guard but says he committed no crime.
He told reporters as he arrived at the court in Lueneburg, south of Hamburg, that he expects an acquittal.