Statement of Dr. Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi-hunter of Simon Wiesenthal Center on death of Auschwitz bookkeeper Oskar Groening

Statement of Dr. Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi-hunter of Simon Wiesenthal Center on death of Auschwitz bookkeeper Oskar Groening

March 12, 2018 

The death of Oskar Groening just before he was scheduled to begin to serve his sentence in a German jail following his conviction three years ago for accessory to murder is quite unfortunate, at least on a symbolic level. To date, three death camp operatives have been convicted in Germany following the change in German prosecution policy vis-à-vis Nazi war criminals. Demjanjuk was the first in 2011, and he was followed by Groening in 2015 and Hanning in 2016. In each case, the convicted filed an appeal, which initially postponed their incarceration, but Demjanjuk and Hanning died before their appeals were heard in court, and thus escaped punishment. Groening 's appeal was rejected and he was about to start serving his sentence pending the outcome of his appeal for mercy to the governor of Lower Saxony. As fate would have it, he too has now escaped justice, casting a shadow of sorts on the judicial processes. Without at least symbolic justice, these trials as important as they are, lose an important part of their significance. Their victims never had any appeals, nor did their tormentors have any mercy, consequently these perpetrators don't deserve either.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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