Nazi Auschwitz guard Reinhold Hanning dies aged 95

Reinhold Hanning was sent to Auschwitz after being wounded in battle

Reinhold Hanning was sent to Auschwitz after being wounded in battle

Thursday, June 1, 2017

One of the last surviving Nazi war criminals has died, aged 95.

Reinhold Hanning served as a guard at Auschwitz, and bore witness to countless atrocities at the infamous death camp. He has been accused of overseeing the selection process to determine whether new arrivals were sent to the gas chambers.

After being wounded in battle, he was sent to Auschwitz and was kept there despite repeated requests to leave. 

Hanning was convicted of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder last year. During his trial, he told the court in Detmold "I'm ashamed that I knowingly let injustice happen and did nothing to oppose it.

"I deeply regret having been part of a criminal organisation that is responsible for the death of many innocent people, for the destruction of countless families, for misery, torment and suffering on the side of the victims and their relatives.

"People were shot, gassed and burned. I could see how corpses were taken back and forth or moved out.

"I could smell burning bodies; I knew corpses were being burned."

During his trial, Auschwitz survivor and co-plaintiff Leon Schwarzbaum told The Independent: "I accept his apology, but I can't forgive him."

Only a handful of Nazi criminals remain alive, and they remain the subject of international headlines and controversy. One of the most high-profile, the so-called 'Accountant of Auschwitz' Oskar Groening, was sentenced to four years in prison in 2015.