94-year-old former Nazi goes to German court

A 94-year-old former Nazi SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp, accused of murdering at least 170,000 people during WWII, will be tried in the city of Detmold today.

Reinhold Hanning is accused of serving as SS sergeant from January 1943 to June 1944 in Auschwitz, where over 1.1 million people were slaughtered, most of them European Jews.

Photograph: Bernd Thissen/AP

“Mr. Hanning, we are nearly the same age, and soon we will stand before the highest judge,” said Leon Schwarzbaum, a 94-year-old holocaust survivor from Berlin, who is as co-plaintiff.

“I would like to call on you to tell us the historical truth.” But Hanning declined to speak.

It isn’t certain whether the defense team will argue that Hanning did not work for the camp at all.

Before Hanning’s trial, the camp survivors held a press conference. They wanted to stress the importance of trial taking place, saying it should have happened 50 years ago.
The trial will resume on Friday with further testimony from Schwarzbaum.

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