Oskar Groening, 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,' dies at 96

Oskar Groening, 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,' dies at 96

The Hannover public prosecutor's office said it had been informed of Groening's death by his lawyer.

Reports of his death surfaced on Monday, though the German publication der Spiegel reported that he died Friday and authorities had not yet received his death certificate.

A former Nazi death camp guard dubbed the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" has died before he could begin serving his four-year sentence, a lawyer told German prosecutors.

Groening, a former SS sergeant, was convicted in July 2015 of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews.

Groening was only the third person to be convicted as an accessory to Nazi murders.

Groening testified at his trial that he oversaw the collection of prisoners' belongings at Auschwitz and ensured valuables and cash were separated to be sent to Berlin - the actions that earned him the "Accountant of Auschwitz" label.

More news: James Levine Fired By Metropolitan Opera Over Sex Harassment Claims

During his trial, Groening acknowledged "moral guilt" but said it was up to the court to rule on his legal culpability.

In 2011, former OH autoworker John Demjanjuk became the first person convicted in Germany exclusively for serving as a death camp guard without evidence of being involved in a specific killing.

In statement posted online, Dr Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust research group, said Groning's death just before he was due to serve his sentence was "unfortunate, at least on a symbolic level".

In 2016, Reinhold Hanning, a former SS guard at Auschwitz, was convicted of having assisted in the deaths of 170,000 people and sentenced to five years in prison.

He had been expected to enter prison at the end of January, but the continued wrangling over the state of his health kept him from beginning to serve his sentence.

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