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Convicted Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening pleads for mercy

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Media captionOskar Groening interview from a 2005 BBC documentary

A former guard at the Auschwitz death camp has submitted a request for mercy to avoid jail in Germany.

In 2015 Oskar Groening, 96, was given a four-year prison sentence for being accessory to murder of 300,000 Jews in the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Last year, Germany's constitutional court rejected his appeal, ruling that Groening was fit to serve his sentence.

Groening - who is known as "the bookkeeper of Auschwitz" - has admitted his "moral guilt".

During his trial, he testified that he oversaw the collection of prisoners' belongings and ensured valuables and cash were separated to be sent to Berlin.

He was sentenced even though there was no evidence of his involvement in specific killings.

On Monday, a justice ministry spokesman in the northern Lower Saxony said Groening's plea had been passed on to prosecutors.

But Christian Lauenstein added: "A plea for clemency does not have a delaying effect such as on starting the prison sentence."


Who is Oskar Groening?

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Oskar Groening began work at Auschwitz at the age of 21
  • Born in 1921 in Lower Saxony, Germany
  • Joined the Hitler Youth and then the Waffen SS
  • Worked at Auschwitz from 1942, counting money confiscated from prisoners
  • Expressed regret and spoke openly of Auschwitz experiences, saying he wanted to counter Holocaust deniers

'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz'


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