Oskar Gröning, a former Nazi officer who was found guilty of aiding and abetting the atrocities carried out at Auschwitz, has died aged 96 right before beginning his four-year sentence. Gröning oversaw the collection of prisoners’ money and belongings at the concentration camp during WWII.


Auschwitz Photo Credit: Isaac Harari/Flash90

Former SS officer Oskar Gröning, known as “the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” has died before starting his four-year prison sentence. Gröning, 96 at the time of his death, was found guilty in July 2015 of aiding and abetting the murder of 300,000 people in the Nazi extermination camp.

Gröning died at a German hospital on Friday, according to a report in Der Spiegel Online. His sentence had been delayed for several years due to multiple pleas for clemency on the grounds of ill-health and his advanced age. Last month, Gröning final appeal to Germany’s highest court was rejected after a court physician ruled that he was fit to serve his term.

The former Nazi officer was charged for being an accessory to murder for his role at Auschwitz during the Second World War, which consisted of collecting the money and valuables of the victims who were transported to the camp. Gröning had previously gone public with his experiences in 2005 and was reportedly an outspoken critic of holocaust denial.

From the beginning of the trial in 2015, Gröning admitted his moral guilt but said that it should be up to the court to decide whether he should be deemed legally guilty. Gröning expressed remorse during the proceedings and said that he could only ask God to forgive him since he had no right to ask forgiveness from the victims of the Holocaust.