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'SS Guard' charged with 170,000 murders

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'SS Guard' charged with 170,000 murders
A fence still standing at Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors have charged a 93-year-old former SS member with complicity in at least 170,000 deaths during his time as a guard at Auschwitz.

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As a  guard at Auschwitz concentration camp the accused is supposed to have played a role in the deaths of at least 170,000 inmates during his posting there from January 1943 to June 1944, a regional court in north-western Germany has revealed.

The prosecution alleges that the former SS member was aware of all the methods of killing employed by the Nazis and therefore contributed to or facilitated the thousands of deaths. .

He was also aware that the systematic murder was only possible if the victims were being guarded by minor officials like him.

According to findings by the North-Rhine Westphalia centre for the examination of Nazi war crimes, the accused was deployed to the Nazi death camp in January 1942.

As a member of the SS Death's Head guard battalion, he was responsible for the surveillance of the main camp and is alleged to have guarded the arriving trains and the 'selections', where inmates were marked for immediate death or set to work.

The accused has admitted to his deployment to Auschwitz; but he denies having taken part in any acts of killing.

The regional court must now decide whether the elderly man will stand trial.

by Matty Edwards

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