Oskar Groening Trial: ‘Accountant of Auschwitz’ Sentenced to 4 Years in Jail

Left: Oskar Groening as a young man in an SS uniform in an undated photo; right: Groening in the dock of the court in Lueneburg, northern Germany, April 21, 2015. AP

Left: Oskar Groening as a young man in an SS uniform in an undated photo; right: Groening in the dock of the court in Lueneburg, northern Germany, April 21, 2015. AP

LUENEBURG, Germany — The 94-year-old former guard known as the “accountant of Auschwitz” was convicted Wednesday on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.

Oskar Groening was sentenced to 4 years in jail by the state court in the northern German city of Lueneburg, where a small group of protesters stood outside carrying a white “Don’t forget Auschwitz” banner.

Presiding judge Franz Kompisch noted the importance of such prosecutions even after decades had passed.

“Even after 70 years, one can create justice, and one can find a verdict,” he told the court. “There is a hope that the victims could find some peace and some reconciliation,” he said.

Prosecutors had asked for a 3 1/2-year sentence. It was not immediately clear when and how Groening would serve his time — both sides have a week to appeal the verdict and Groening will remain free in the meantime.

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