94-year-old former SS Auschwitz guard apologizes for the Nazi Holocaust

Hanning could face a 15 years in prison if he gets convicted but given age it is very unlikely that he will ever spend time behind bars.

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Reinhold Hanning, a 94-year-old former guard at Auschwitz, arrives in the courtroom before his trial in Detmold, Germany. Image Source: Time.com

DETMOLD: A former SS sergeant aged 94 years admitted that he had also worked as an Auschwitz death camp guard. He apologized to the Nazi Holocaust survivors in German court that “I’m ashamed that I knowingly let injustice happen and did nothing to oppose it.”

“I want to say that it disturbs me deeply that I was part of such a criminal organization,” he said while sitting wheelchair and talking with a weak voice. “I am ashamed that I saw injustice and never did anything about it and I apologize for my actions. I am very, very sorry.”

Leon , survivor of Nazi Holocaust arrives at the courtroom. Image Source: thesun.co.uk
Leon , survivor of Nazi Holocaust arrives at the courtroom. Image Source: thesun.co.uk

Leon Schwazbaum was one of the 40 Nazi Holocaust Survivors who have come together as co-plaintiff and said he was happy Hanning apologized but that it wasn’t enough.

The Former SS sergeant is charged with being accessory to the murder of at least 170,000.

Hanning told the Detmold state court that he has never in his life  spoken about his wartime service in Auschwitz .He haven’t even discussed this with his family, but wanted to use this trial to set the record straight.




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“I have remained silent for a long time, I have remained silent all of my life. I’ve tried to repress this period for my whole life. Auschwitz was a nightmare, I wish I had never been there,” he added.

Nazi soldier killing jews ,a scene from the movie schindler's list . Image courtesy : youtube.com
Nazi soldier killing jews ,a scene from the movie schindler’s list . Image courtesy : youtube.com

To this the 95 year old said “I lost 35 family members, how can you apologize for that? I am not angry, I don’t want him to go to prison but he should say more for the sake of the young generation today because the historical truth is important.”

He also said “I accept his apology but I can’t forgive him.” Prosecutor Andreas Brendel said there was good evidence already that Hanning served in the Nazi camp, but that his admission could help win a conviction.

“Today’s statement contributed a little more to establish that he was there, because he admitted that, and more importantly to the fact that he knew about the killings in the main camp _ that also is a crucial fact,” Brendel told The Associated Press.

Hanning could face a 15 years in prison if he gets convicted but given age it is very unlikely that he will ever spend time behind bars.

This case is said to be the Germany’s last trail which linked with the holocaust killing in which more than 6 million , mostly jews were killed by Nazis. A verdict is expected on May 27.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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  • Mr Data

    He is not personally responsible for the killings, which is what the original Nuremburg trials were for – finding those responsible. The crime he is being charged with is not fighting against those responsible. Considering that those who did were shot on the spot as traitors, what choice did he have but do nothing and hope to stay alive?

  • Mr Data

    He is not personally responsible for the killings, which is what the original Nuremburg trials were for – finding those responsible. The crime he is being charged with is not fighting against those responsible. Considering that those who did were shot on the spot as traitors, what choice did he have but do nothing and hope to stay alive?