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''Bookkeeper of Auschwitz'' Oskar Groening dies before starting sentence

13 March 2018

German prosecutor Kathrin Soefker said he died in hospital on Friday. Soefker says the office is awaiting an official death certificate.

Oskar Groening died March 9th, 2018, prior to starting his four-year prison sentence for his role as acting as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews at German concentration camp Auschwitz, the Daily Mail reported.

The lawyer, Hans Holtermann, did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

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Groening had admitted to being tasked with gathering the money and valuables found in the baggage of murdered Jews and handing it over to his superiors for transfer to Berlin.

The 96-year-old former "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" died before starting his jail sentence for participation in the Holocast, according to a Sunday report. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court rejected his appeal in a December 21, 2017, ruling and sentenced him to four years in prison, CBS News reported. Most recently, his lawyers made one final bid for clemency, a decision on which still was pending. He did not take part in any killings himself but counted cash taken from victims on their arrival at the camp.

The legal doctrine under which Nazis can be tried in Germany began to evolve with the conviction in 2011 of another convicted Nazi war criminal, John Demjanjuk, as an accessory to the murder of 28,000 Jews in the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

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In 2016, Reinhold Hanning, a former SS guard at Auschwitz, was convicted of having assisted in the deaths of 170,000 people and sentenced to five years in prison.

Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said it was unfortunate that Groening's conviction did not result in "at least symbolic justice" for the victims of Auschwitz. He, too, died before he could begin serving his 5-year-sentence.

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''Bookkeeper of Auschwitz'' Oskar Groening dies before starting sentence