A 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard has been charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.
Oskar Groening, who lives in Hannover, Germany, worked as an SS guard at the Nazi death camp, which was based in Poland, between May and June 1944—during which time an estimated 425,000 Hungarian Jews were sent, of whom, at least 300,000 were immediately gassed to death.
Prosecutors claim one of Groening’s many crimes was helping fund the Nazi regime, by collecting and tallying the money and belongings stolen from camp victims.
"He helped the Nazi regime benefit economically, and supported the systematic killings," Hannover state prosecutors said in a statement.
Groening has previously admitted to working as an Auschwitz guard—but claimed he wasn’t responsible any atrocities himself, although he witnessed many being committed by others.
In an interview with Der Spiegel back in 2005, he recounted one occasion when he heard a baby crying and, “saw another SS soldier grab the baby by the legs..." claiming the guard “smashed the baby's head against the iron side of a truck until it was silent."
Twenty Auschwitz victims and their families are listed as co-plaintiffs in the case against Groening—their attorney, Thomas Walther, said Monday that it's their last chance "to participate in bringing justice to one of the SS men who had a part in the murder of their closest relatives."
"Many of the co-plaintiffs are among the last survivors of Auschwitz," he told The Associated Press.