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'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' Dies Without Ever Serving Sentence

13 March 2018

Groening, a former SS sergeant, was convicted in July 2015 of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews.

A Nazi serviceman dubbed the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" for his role as an accountant at the death camp has died without ever serving out the sentence he received upon being convicted as an accessory to 300,000 murders.

Groening admitted he was morally guilty for the work he carried out at Auschwitz, which included sending bank notes he found in Jews' luggage to SS offices in Berlin, where they helped to fund the Nazi war effort. Oskar Gröning was 96 when he died Friday at a hospital in Germany, the Guardian reports.

Groening testified at his trial that he oversaw the collection of prisoners' belongings and ensured valuables and cash were separated to be sent to Berlin.

There were several occasions when he was assigned to "ramp duty", which involved processing new arrivals.

The legal basis for prosecuting former Nazis changed in 2011 with Germany's landmark conviction of former death camp guard John Demjanjuk. A federal court rejected Groening's appeal in November.

He said he was "very sorry" for his actions. Jews were targeted for killing as part of a larger-scale event involving the persecution of other groups, among others the Roma and the so-called "incurably sick", as well as Nazis' political opponents, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, ethnic Poles and a number of other groups.

A court doctor had decided that Groening was able to serve his sentence, providing he was given appropriate nursing and medical care.

He was sentenced not for atrocities he was known to have committed, but on the basis that he served at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland - for having been a cog in the Nazis' killing machine.

In a last-ditch bid to avoid jail, a formal "request for mercy" was filed in January. He was in hospital when he died and had yet to begin his sentence.

'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' Dies Without Ever Serving Sentence