Germany Charges Former Female Auschwitz Guard

A 91-year-old woman in Germany has been charged as an accessory to the murder of 260,000 people at Auschwitz, The Telegraph reported Monday.

The woman, who has not been named under German privacy laws, is accused of having served as a member of the SS at the concentration camp.

The case is the latest in a series of attempts by German prosecutors to bring surviving Holocaust perpetrators to justice while there is still time.

The crackdown on Nazi war criminals began following the 2011 Munich trial of John Demjanjuk, a Nazi war criminal charged of assisting in the murder of 28,060 people at the Sobibor death camp and sentenced to five years. He died in 2012.

The latest charges come after Oskar Groening, nicknamed the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, was sentenced to four years in prison earlier this year for serving as an SS guard at the camp.

Groening’s defense lawyers have filed an appeal against his conviction of 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.

The 91-year-old woman, a resident of Schleswig-Holstein, is accused of having been an SS radio operator at Auschwitz from April to July 1944.

Although her involvement in the mass killings at the camp may have been peripheral as a female member of the SS, prosecutors argue she can be held accountable because she helped the camp function, noted The Telegraph.

Of the 6,500 former SS members who served at Auschwitz and survived the war, only 50 have been convicted in Germany.

German courts long maintained that only the senior Nazi leadership could be held responsible for the crimes of the Holocaust, but that changed with the conviction of Demnjanjuk.

Since then, prosecutors have been scrambling to bring surviving concentration camp staff to justice.

A court must now decide whether to bring the case against the 91-year-old woman to trial, noted The Telegraph.

Several prosecutions have collapsed after the elderly defendants were ruled too unwell to stand trial. Some have even died before their cases could be brought to court.

There is currently no indication the 91-year-old woman is unfit to stand trial, Heinz Döllel, a spokesman for prosecutors, told reporters. A decision on the case is not expected until next year.

Jewish groups have welcomed convictions of Nazi war criminals but have also urged justice authorities to maintain pressure on ones who haven’t yet been charged.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200955

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