The “Accountant of Auschwitz” is testifying in his much delayed trial. He is charged with being an accessory to murder of 300 000 people. Oskar Groening, now 93, is one of the SS people who guarded and sent to their deaths at least 450,000 during the Holocaust from that concentration camp alone.
In a perverted nod to orderliness, guards were tasked with collecting money stolen from the unfortunates. They also kept tallies of various other items collected or produced from the bodies of the slaughtered.
While the trial of Groening is 70 years late, he is not alone in escaping justice for so long. In 2013 there were still 50 former Auschwitz guards alive and living in Germany. The government knew about them. Groening had been investigated but deemed to be too small a player to be prosecuted.
There is some diversity in the story as to why these people were not prosecuted in a timely manner but allowed to live a long and normal life. One version of the truth says that German laws are being interpreted in a new way. Another version states that the laws were on the books for years and that these Nazis are being prosecuted now because of pressure from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Simon Wiesenthal was a famous Nazi hunter after surviving a death camp. He was instrumental in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the principal organizers of the death camps. Wiesenthal long sought to bring another monster to justice, Josef Mengele, but Mengele died before he was captured.
Auschwitz was where Mengele practised his horrific experiments. A survivor, Eva Kor now 81, testified how at the age of 10 years she and her twin sister were turned over to his tender mercies.
As horrific as Auschwitz was, even more killing of Jews, Roma and anyone that the Reich deemed non-Aryan took place in Poland where an estimated 1.4 million Jews were murdered. By the time that the Nazis were defeated in 1945, six million Jews and five million “unsuitables” had been butchered.