16 Sep 2014

Germany charges 93-year-old with at least 300,000 counts of murder

Germany charged a 93-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen-SS on Monday with at least 300,000 counts of accessory to murder over his time at the Auschwitz death camp.

The charges relate to the around 425,000 people believed to have been deported to the camp in occupied Poland between May and July 1944, at least 300,000 of whom were killed in the gas chambers.The accused helped remove the luggage of victims so that it was not seen by new arrivals, said prosecutors in the northern city of Hanover.

Auschwitz

"The traces of the mass killing of concentration camp prisoners were thereby supposed to be covered for subsequent inmates," prosecutors said in a statement. Prosecutors said the accused was aware that the predominantly Jewish prisoners deemed unfit to work "were murdered directly after their arrival in the gas chambers of Auschwitz".

A regional court must now decide whether the accused will go on trial. The German office investigating Nazi war crimes last year sent files on 30 former Auschwitz personnel to state prosecutors with a recommendation to bring charges against them. The renewed drive to bring to justice the last surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust follows a 2011 landmark court ruling.

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