German former SS officer Oskar Groening, dubbed the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", confessed during his trial to feeling "moral guilt" for serving as an SS sergeant at Auschwitz. On July 15, 2015, ,a court ruled that he was guilty of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews and sentenced him to four years in prison.
The 94-year-old, who testified that he oversaw the collection of prisoners' belongings and ensured valuables and cash were separated to be sent to Berlin, listened expressionlessly to the verdict after a 2 1/2-month trial that could set a legal landmark.
The verdict, and presiding Judge Franz Kompisch's thorough and impassioned detailing of the Lueneburg state court's ruling, renewed hope of more 11th-hour prosecutions of former members of the SS who served at death camps — no matter their age.
"This verdict was critical, because this is the first case brought where the prosecution charged a person who wasn't involved in the physical side of mass murder," said the Simon Wiesenthal Center's head Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, in a telephone interview from Belgrade.
"This paves the way for additional trials of individuals who did not literally pull the trigger but who were part of the implementation of the Final Solution." (AP)