A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard will appeal his five year prison sentence after being convicted on 170,000 counts of accessory to murder.
Reinhold Hanning served at the infamous camp from January 1942 until June 1944. He was sentenced last week after camp survivors acting as joint plaintiffs gave testimony painting a harrowing picture of life in the death camp.
Given the considerable length of the appeals process, it is unlikely Hanning, 94, will ever spend any time behind bars. He will remain free while it is ongoing.
He previously told the court, “I am ashamed that I saw injustice and never did anything about it and I apologise for my actions”.
Because of Hanning’s poor health and old age, the trial was limited to two days a week, and the defendant frequently arrived in court in a wheelchair. His health and age may have motivated the appeal.
An offender’s age is considered a mitigating factor in the amount of prison time served, and some Nazi collaborators and officers have previously avoided prison time due to old age.
In 2002, a 92-year-old French Nazi collaborator, Maurice Papon, was released from prison having been deemed too old and sick to complete his sentence. It’s also thought 95-year-old Oskar Groening, sentenced to four years in prison for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, will avoid prison time due to the likely length of his appeals process.