GUILTY Germany - Oskar Gröning, 'The Accountant of Auschwitz', goes on trial, age 93

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by zwiebel, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    The trial of 93-year-old Oskar Gröning (Groening) begins today in Lüneburg, (Lueneberg) Germany. Gröning is known as the 'accountant of Auschwitz' (Buchhalter von Auschwitz) because of his role on the selection ramp of the infamous concentration camp, collecting and counting the cash and valuables of newly-arrived victims. He volunteered for the SS at age 20 and is charged with the deaths of 300,000 people. The charges stem from the period May - July 1944 when 425,000 Hungarian Jews were deported there from their homeland. He worked at the camp from 1942 - 44.

    In the past, Gröning has spoken openly about his role because he said he wanted the world to be aware what happened. Since his arrest his attorney has advised him to remain silent and the German legal system allows no plea to be entered before a trial begins. 60 survivors or their relatives from Canada, the US and Israel are co-plaintiffs with the prosecution and will give evidence over the coming weeks. They include Judith Kalmann and Hedy Bohm from Toronto.

    This, and the pending prosecution of two other men in their nineties, are a last-ditch attempt to obtain justice before those involved in running concentration and death camps pass away from old age. The prosecutions have become possible by the precedent set in the prosecution of guard John Demjanjuk, who died before he could serve his sentence.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ath-camp-guard-oskar-groning-on-trial-germany

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/world/article19071615.html

    German language:
    http://m.bild.de/news/inland/auschw...verziehen-40625378,variante=L.bildMobile.html

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/w...al-for-oskar-groening-accountant-of-auschwitz
     

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  3. Tssiemer

    Tssiemer Well-Known Member

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    So. No due process or right to a speedy trial in Germany? Let's wait 70 years. It will be great.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Update on the trial so far, heard via radio, is that Gröning has said he has a 'moral responsibility' for what happened and is remorseful but he did not murder anyone. He said he requested transfers three times after witnessing atrocities and mass killings, but permission was refused.

    If found guilty, he will receive a sentence of between three and 15 years.

    ETA Sorry, the last application was accepted and in October '44 he left and was then wounded fighting in the Ardennes.
     
  5. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Oh, he also said the moment he arrived at Auschwitz the other guards gave him vodka to drink as they all drank vodka to cope with the mass killings.
     
  6. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Here is a photo of the selection of Hungarian Jews on the ramp in May 1944, when Gröning still worked at the camp (he didn't leave until October). As this was a death camp though, there was really very little selection. Most if not all of the people in the photo went straight to the gas chambers. The lady with the baby being directed left was definitely heading for death. The only children allowed to live for a while there were twins (and a family of circus dwarfs I think), for experimental purposes.

    http://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Selection_Birkenau_ramp.jpg
     

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  7. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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  8. Momoffourboys

    Momoffourboys Well-Known Member

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    He lived a full life. Millions didn't.
    The photos of the SS guards laughing make me sick.
     
  9. Hoosgirl

    Hoosgirl Well-Known Member

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    Zwiebel, is that a translation error, or did he truly refer to the child as "it"?

    Or eta, not necessarily a translation error, if he was speaking in English on BBC, or would that be a common error for a native German speaker to make?
     
  10. shadowraiths

    shadowraiths LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Special Staff Member Moderator

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    He's accused of committing war crimes which are prosecuted quite differently from the constitutional amendments United States citizens enjoy.

    Chapter 44. War Crimes

    Please don't be blinded by his walker (or, for that matter, his age). This man can claim to be "morally guilty" all he wants. His words do not reflect any remorse whatsoever. Some statements from this article:

    • "The Jews had to hand it in. They did not need it anymore."
    • "In the early days of Auschwitz-Birkenau, they used that farm for gassing. That was the only time I found dead bodies."
    • "What I went through in Auschwitz has accompanied me through all my life"
    • "I was only 80 meters away from the ovens"
    • Groening mused that he didn't know what could have been done differently.

    After 70 years of "what [he] went through all of [his] life" and still, he "does not know what could have been done differently?" I feel no less sorry for this man than I did for Demjanjuk.
     
  11. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Yes, in German Das Kind' is neuter so it's not necessarily meaningful. I can't say the same about his comparing the child to a sick chicken though....
     
  12. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    81-year-old Eva Kor (who lives in Indiana now) went head-to-head with Gröning in court today. She was one of the dozens of sets of twins saved from the gas chambers so Mengele could experiment on them. She told the court how the last sight she and her twin had of her mother was as she was dragged away with their siblings, arms outstretched towards them. They were 10.

    She asked him if she knew what Mengele injected she and her sister with, but the judge wouldn't allow him to answer. His lawyer said Gröning wanted to help but he didn't think he knew Mengele.

    In his testimony today, Gröning revealed his horror at the cattle truck arrivals of the Hungarian Jews was also tempered with more practical thoughts:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/...tz_n_7117396.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067
     
  13. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/o...vor-catches-fainting-nazi-guard-court-n346226
     
  14. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    http://www.theguardian.com/world/20...no-rights-but-fierce-determination-to-survive
     
  15. RR0004

    RR0004 New Member

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    And how many of those who were complicit in these crimes fled and lived relatively normal lives in other countries?

    ETA: a few years back I was vacationing in Mexico. We were dining in a very "local" restaurant and I noticed a family sitting nearby. Something grabbed my attention...and I told my daughter that I knew, despit their fluent Spanish, that they were a German family. Sure enough, shortly after they gave their order, they began to speak German amongst themselves. I told my daughter that I had the most intense sense that this family were relatives of some "former" Nazi. I can't explain it, but in my heart I just knew.
     
  16. RR0004

    RR0004 New Member

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  17. Zuri

    Zuri Active Member

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    When I read about the holocaust and the atrocities that occurred, I am moved to tears. The above picture is haunting. I don't know if there will ever be justice for anyone as whatever punishment rendered could never, ever be enough. I was listening to CNN on my car radio and the anchor was talking about a baby's head being smashed into a wall because the baby wouldn't stop crying. Unimaginable cruelty.

    I have been torn about driving a German car, owning an imported Oldenburg horse etc. In a way, I feel disloyal to those that have suffered and endured such abomination. However, good things have come from Germany since the Holocaust, such as my DH, who is first generation American. Perhaps a poor justification, but I hope we can, as a world, move forward and never ever allow that to ever happen again. IMO
     
  18. RR0004

    RR0004 New Member

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    Thanks Zwiebel for keeping us abreast of the trial.
     
  19. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    I find it hard to accept Gröning's insistence that train arrivals and selections were calm, quiet and in 'ordnung'. Maybe he only saw the good ones.

    I've read too many stories from victims, guards and resistance workers that suggest some horrific scenes, especially when trains had been delayed in the hot summers and arrived full of people dead and dying from lack of water and heat. I think there was trouble when Berlin Jews arrived as well, as they were very angry and knew exactly what would happen to them?

    Something that really stuck in my mind and makes me think shouts and brutality were the norm were accounts from guards and working prisoners about the arrival of Macedonian Jews - how the arrival of the wealthy, healthy, well dressed, totally bewildered victims caused even the guards to fall silent and be polite. One woman even tipped a working prisoner for taking her suitase 'for her'. I think some accounts also refer to these victims as Greek Jews.
     
  20. Momoffourboys

    Momoffourboys Well-Known Member

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    OT (kind of) There was a huge scandal at my local school district a week ago when two teens were photgraphed wearing tees with swastikas. This was at a private house party. The local jewish community was furious and have put together a committee to educate the community about the Holocaust. Tomorrow, will be the first step, as a Holocaust survivor will be speaking to our middle schoolers. My son being one of them.

    My son, is the grandson and great grandson of survivors.
     
  21. RR0004

    RR0004 New Member

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    You have to wonder how those two managed to get past their parents wearing those shirts.
    Yes, I'm afraid the world will forget. I have to give Germany credit for allowing these trials to continue, but time is running out.
    Momoffourboys, how lucky you all are.
     

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