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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
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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?

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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?

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Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Facebook in July said it had deleted hundreds of offensive posts since implementation of the law

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An illustration picture shows a man starting his Twitter app on a mobile device in Hanau near Frankfurt. VOA

German states have drafted a list of demands aimed at tightening a law that requires social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove hate speech from their sites, the Handelblatt newspaper reported Monday.

Justice ministers from the states will submit their proposed revisions to the German law called NetzDG at a meeting with Justice Minister Katarina Barley on Thursday, the newspaper said, saying it had obtained a draft of the document.

The law, which came into full force on Jan. 1, is a highly ambitious effort to control what appears on social media and it has drawn a range of criticism.

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Twitter allows publishers to monetise video views globally. (VOA)

While the German states are focused on concerns about how complaints are processed, other officials have called for changes following criticism that too much content was being blocked.

The states’ justice ministers are calling for changes that would make it easier for people who want to complain about banned content such as pro-Nazi ideology to find the required forms on social media platforms.

They also want to fine social media companies up to 500,000 euros ($560,950) for providing “meaningless replies” to queries from law enforcement authorities, the newspaper said.

Till Steffen, the top justice official in Hamburg and a member of the Greens party, told the newspaper that the law had in some cases proven to be “a paper tiger.”

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If we want to effectively limit hate and incitement on the internet, we have to give the law more bite. Pixabay

“If we want to effectively limit hate and incitement on the internet, we have to give the law more bite and close the loopholes,” he told the paper. “For instance, it cannot be the case that some platforms hide their complaint forms so that no one can find them.”

Also Read: Facebook Allows French Regulators to Oversee Hate Speech Control

Facebook in July said it had deleted hundreds of offensive posts since implementation of the law, which foresees fines of up to 50 million euros ($56.10 million) for failure to comply. (VOA)