Oskar Groening in court

Oskar Groening in court

by Stephen Oryszczuk

A British Holocaust survivor who last week gave evidence against Nazi SS guard Oskar Groening in Germany has said she “felt nothing” towards the “old yellow man slumped in the chair”. 

Hungary-born Susan Pollack, 84, a former Auschwitz inmate as a child, was the last of 15 co-plaintiffs to sit before a judge, as the 93-year old sat charged with accessory to the murder of 300,000 people.

Back in London, Pollack said: “I just had a quick look at him then faced the judge. I didn’t feel any emotions. There was no hatred there, no aggression, everyone was very attentive, including this little old yellow man sat slumped in his chair. I felt nothing towards him. I just concentrated on the memories. 

Pollack said the judge heard about her childhood before being told how her family were torn apart on arrival at the camp. Reflecting on her attendance, she said it had been a “strangely empowering” experience.

“The judge genuinely wanted to know. I felt like someone placed value on me now, like I matter, having been through this. With someone of his calibre asking me about it, in Germany, I felt important for the first time in 70 years.”

It capped a momentous week for Pollack, who had been shaking hands with the Queen only two days’ earlier at the Royal Garden Party.

With Groening’s trial ongoing near Hamburg, judges at the Cannes Film Festival were left impressed by Holocaust drama ‘Son of Saul’ by Hungarian Laszlo Nemes, which drew rave reviews for depicting 36 hours at Auschwitz.

Nemes, who lost several family members in the gas chambers, said the film was to keep the history of the Holocaust alive “for the generations that soon will have no direct contact with the witnesses”.