The trial against Oskar Gröning – the bookkeeper of Auschwitz – started seventy years after the end of World War II, in Germany, Luneburg. He is accused for the murder of 300 thousand people. Gröning, 93, has always declared that he never took part directly in the killing of prisoners. Nevertheless, the never denied his job in the famous concentration camp, and he always admitted the inhumanity of what happened in the Nazi extermination camps. He also expressed his desire to oppose every kind of denial of the Holocaust thanks to his stories and confessions.
He was born in 1921 in Bremen; he grew up in a very nationalist family. Oskar Gröning’s mother died when he was 4 and he was brought up by his father, who was a member of the paramilitary organization Der Stahlhelm, which worked for the “regeneration of German people”. When he was 18, Gröning took part in the National Socialist Party of German Workers (NSDAP) and after one year, he became a member of Waffen SS, the armed officers of the Nazi Germany, which were created in March 1933 to be the military wing of the SS.
Because of his knowledge in accountability, he was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he worked for two years. His job was to sort the luggage of displaced people, to count the money found among their personal belongings and send it all to Berlin.
Nevertheless, “through his job he helper Nazis from a financial point of view and he supported a killing policy”, this was reported by the power of attorney of Hannover. Gröning’s lawyer, Hans Holterman, rejected the accusations stating that his job at the concentration camp did not make him an accomplice in the killing of prisoners. He was in court before, in 1985, he was called to testify during a trial. Accusation against him – who has also written his experience in a book, has told it during interviews and in a BBC documentary – were not enough to find him guilty and the process was abandoned.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa