Nazi Known As 'Bookkeeper Of Auschwitz' Dies Before Serving Time

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A former Nazi SS guard dubbed the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" has died aged 96 almost three years after his conviction for being an accessory to murder, German media said on Monday.

A German court convicted Groening in 2015 as an accessory to murder and sentenced him to four years in prison.

Hannover prosecutor Kathrin Soefker said a lawyer informed her office that Oskar Groening, 96, died Friday in a hospital.

In 2015 Oskar Groening became one of the last people to be convicted for crimes in the Nazi genocide during World War Two.

He was not involved in the actual killings, but counted cash taken from victims on their arrival at the camp. Groening himself did not kill murder any people at Auschwitz.

More than 40 years later, he decided to make his activities at Auschwitz public.

January 1945 after it was liberated by Soviet troops
January 1945 after it was liberated by Soviet troops

"Legally speaking, I am innocent", he told Der Spiegel in 2005. Groening then made a plea for clemency January 15.

He was sentenced not for atrocities he was known to have committed, but on the basis that he served at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland - for having been a cog in the Nazis' killing machine.

The legal basis for prosecuting former Nazis changed in 2011 with Germany's landmark conviction of former death camp guard John Demjanjuk.

German prosecutors say they have been notified that a former guard dubbed the "accountant of Auschwitz" has died.

The trial of Hubert Zafke - then 95 and accused of being an accessory to at least 3,681 murders at the same camp - also began in 2016, but ended in September previous year after he was deemed no longer fit to stand trial due to dementia, according to Reuters.

"Without at least symbolic justice, these trials - as important as they are - lose an important part of their significance", he said. "Their victims never had any appeals, nor did their tormentors have any mercy, consequently these perpetrators don't deserve either".

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