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

13 March 2018

In 2015 he became one of the last people to be convicted over Nazi Germany's slaughter of millions during World War II.

German magazine Der Spiegel said Groening died on Friday but prison authorities had yet to receive a death certificate.

The 96-year-old former "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" died before starting his jail sentence for participation in the Holocast, according to a Sunday report.

He was accused of counting the cash found in the belongings of new arrivals at the camp and sending it to Nazi headquarters in Berlin.

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Groening's role at Auschwitz rose to prominence when he gave interviews in 2005 about his work at the camp.

It was unclear when Groening would have begun his prison sentence.

During his trial, Groening acknowledged "moral guilt" but said it was up to the court to rule on his legal culpability.

At least 1 million people were killed at Auschwitz concerntration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

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Groening was pursued through the courts following a landmark case that allowed prosecution for aiding and abetting the Nazis.

His first plea for clemency was denied by German prosecutors a day after it was made public, but he never served the sentence due to a raft of further appeals.

In 2011, former OH autoworker John Demjanjuk became the first person convicted in Germany exclusively for serving as a death camp guard without evidence of being involved in a specific killing. He was in hospital when he died and had yet to begin his sentence.

In 2016, former SS sergeant Reinhold Hanning was convicted on 170,000 counts of accessory to murder for serving as an Auschwitz guard.

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For decades after the war, German courts argued that the top Nazi leadership was principally to blame for the mass murder of Jews and that lower-ranking individuals in the Holocaust machinery were bound by a chain of command and, therefore, less culpable.

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