The Bookkeeper of Auschwitz

Oskar Groening filed a plea for clemency – he was convicted for his role as an accessory in the murders of 300.000 people in the Auschwitz death camp. In 2015 he was sentenced to four years in prison but so far he has not yet started his sentence due to his poor health.

In December last year, however, Germany´s constitutional Court ruled that he has to go to jail anyway. The arguments from Groening´s lawyers that it would violate his right to life were rejected.

A plea for clemency does not delay the start of a prison sentence and his high age is not enough to refrain from enforcing the penalty. Appropriate health care can be provided in prison as well and a jail sentence could be interrupted in case there are severe changes in his health.

Oskar Groening was responsible for sorting through banknotes seized from Jews that arrived in the camp. The money was sent to Berlin where it helped fund the Nazi war effort. With that he supported the regime that killed millions of people. Sometimes he was on ramp duty processing deportees that arrived in Auschwitz.

Until now Oskar Groening has been living at home. He said he never personally harmed a prisoner but admitted that he was at least morally guilty. From the 6.500 personnel who survived the war only 50 have been convicted.

to file (fl) – hier: auf etw klagen

plea (pli:) – das Appell, die Bitte, das Gesuch

to convict (ˈkɒnvɪkt) – jdn schuldig bekennen, verurteilen

accessory (əkˈsesəri) – der Helfershelfer, Mitschuldiger

to sentence (ˈsentən(t)s) – die Strafe, das Urteil

prison (ˈprɪzən) – das Gefängnis

to violate (ˈvəlt) – etw brechen, verletzen, gegen etw verstoßen

to reject (rɪˈʤekt) – etw ablehnen, zurückweisen

to delay (dɪˈl) – etw verschieben, aufhalten

to refrain (rɪˈfrn) – sich zurückhalten, unterlassen

to enforce (ɪnˈfɔ:s) – etw durchsetzen, erzwingen

penalty (ˈpenəlti) – die Strafe, Starfmaß

appropriate (əˈprəʊpriət) – angemessen, passend, entsprechend

to provide (prə(ʊ)ˈvd) – etw zur Verfügung stellen, liefern

to interrupt (ˌɪntəˈrʌpt) – etw unterbrechen

severe (səˈvɪəʳ) – schwer, schlimm, stark

responsible (rɪˈspɒn(t)səb) – verantwortlich

banknote (bæŋknəʊt) – der Geldschein, die Banknote

to seize (si:z) – etw beschlagnahmen

to process (ˈprəʊses) – etw abfertigen, bearbeiten

deportee (ˌdɪpɔ:ˈti:) – Abzuschiebende(r)

to harm (hɑ:m) – jdm Schaden zufügen, etw antun, verletzen

to admit (ədˈmɪt) – etw zugeben, eingestehen

guilty (ˈgɪlti) – schuldig

personnel (ˌpɜ:sənˈel) – das Personal, die Mitarbeiter, Belegschaft

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