Reinhold Hanning: First image of former Nazi SS guard on trial over murders of 170,000 people in Auschwitz

Publié le par Mirror by Steve Robson

Reinhold Hanning: First image of former Nazi SS guard on trial over murders of 170,000 people in Auschwitz

Hanning, 94, is accused of being an accessory to the mass killings when he was a guard in occupied Poland

 On trial: Reinhold Hanning, pictured for the first time in a German court room

On trial: Reinhold Hanning, pictured for the first time in a German court room

This is the first image of a former SS guard as he stands trial in Germany over the murders of 170,000 people in a Nazi death camp.

Reinhold Hanning is accused of being accessory to the mass killings.

He is the first of four such cases to be heard in the western city of Detmold starting today.

The three men and one woman accused are all in their nineties and will be tried over the next few months.

Hanning was 20 years old in 1942 when he started serving as a guard at the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland where more than 1.1 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.

History: Reinhold Hanning was 20 when he joined the SS at Auschwitz

History: Reinhold Hanning was 20 when he joined the SS at Auschwitz

Sombre: Hanning sits in the courtroom ahead of his trial in Detmold, Germany

Sombre: Hanning sits in the courtroom ahead of his trial in Detmold, Germany

Prosecutors said he voluntarily joined the armed SS at the age of 18 and participated in battles in eastern Europe during the early stages of World War Two before being transferred to Auschwitz in January 1942.

Accused by the prosecutor's office in Dortmund as well as by 38 joint plaintiffs from Hungary, Israel, Canada, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, Hanning will face the accounts of contemporary camp witnesses.

 

Evidence: Prosecutors say Hanning joined the SS aged 18 and took part in World War Two battles

Evidence: Prosecutors say Hanning joined the SS aged 18 and took part in World War Two battles

Scene: Defendant Reinhold Hanning arrives at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) building in Detmold, Germany

Scene: Defendant Reinhold Hanning arrives at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) building in Detmold, Germany

Frail: Hanning, 94, walks into the court

Frail: Hanning, 94, walks into the court

Justice: Victim Erna de Vries escaped Auschwitz but her mother died

Justice: Victim Erna de Vries escaped Auschwitz but her mother died

"I survived, but up until today I don't know how exactly my mother was killed," de Vries said ahead of the trial.

"The last thing she said to me was, 'You will survive and tell what happened to us.'

"I am not hateful but it somehow feels like justice to see this man, who was working there when my mother died, on trial," die Vries added.

Investigations by Germany's special Nazi war crimes office in Ludwigsburg show that Hanning served as a guard at Auschwitz until at least June 1944.

While Hanning admitted to his guard duties in a statement to the prosecution, he denied involvement in the mass killings.

But investigators say he also served at Auschwitz's Birkenau sub-division where about 90 percent of more than 1.2 million killings in the camp were carried out in four gas chambers.

 

Horrors: Nazi death camp

Horrors: Nazi death camp

Campaign: Hanning is one of four people all aged in their nineties who will go on trial

Campaign: Hanning is one of four people all aged in their nineties who will go on trial

Prosecutors maintain that the Nazis' killing machinery hinged on people like Hanning guarding the prisoners and accuses him of expediting, or at least facilitating, the murders.

Precedence for such charges was set in 2011 when death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk was convicted of being an accessory to mass murder.

Given the age of the accused, trials are delayed due to lengthy procedures to determine whether they are fit to be in court.

Hearings are also restricted to two hours per day.

But Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, responsible for war crime investigations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said age should not be viewed as an obstacle to prosecution.

"When you think of these cases, don't think of frail, old, sick men and women, but of young people who devoted their energies to a system that implemented the (Nazis' so-called) Final Solution and aimed to obliterate the Jewish people," Zuroff said.

 

Publié dans Articles de Presse

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