Accountant in Holocaust sentenced to four years in prison
Oskar Groening who was the book-keeper of the Auschwitz concentration camp has been sentenced to serve 4 years in prison for being responsible for 300,000 deaths. The 94-year old who did not kill anyone himself, was accused of being an accessory to the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and sending thousands of Jews to the gas chambers.
The Holocaust was the mass killing of millions of Jews and other people. 7 out of every 10 Jews were killed in Europe between 1933-1945 by the German Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler. Hitler wanted to wipe out all the Jews and other undesirable people and also killed anyone who spoke against him by sending them to concentration camps.
John Demjanjuk, a 91-year-old Ukrainian man was sentenced to five years in prison for the death of 28,060 Jews. Demjanjuk was convicted as he served as a Nazi guard at the Sobibór concentration camp where he led the Jews to gas chambers. Even though there was no evidence against Demjanjuk, prosecutors said his mere presence was enough for him to be called a murderer.
The reasons stated by Munich Regional Court for the conviction of John Demjanjuk had satisfied the families of the Holocaust victims. The court said even if there was no evidence that Demjanjuk had killed people with his own hands, his mere presence and help at a camp whose sole purpose was to kill Jews was enough for him to be an accomplice to crime.
2012 saw a dramatic rise in the convictions of Nazi War criminals by five folds. A total of 63 investigations were opened: 45 in Germany, 9 in Austria, 6 in the U.S., and the rest in Argentina, Hungary, Italy and Canada with the total investigations against suspected Nazi criminals touching 1138. While Germany convicted only one criminal, Italy convicted 9 Nazi criminals.
The news of 93-year old Auschwitz accountant going on trial for conviction had sparked a debate. The prosecutors argued that it was the last chance for the victims to claim justice for the barbarous holocaust after 70 years. Others said there was no point in punishing those who weren't involved directly as the conviction of people who were just an accessory was not justified.
Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center produces an Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi war criminals. The 2015 list has 10 people in the "Most wanted Nazi Criminals" and Oskar Groening featured on that list.