91-year-old woman may face charges on Auschwitz actions
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91-year-old woman may face charges on Auschwitz actions

Former death camp worker accused of complicity in the deaths of 260,000 Jews

Rails in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, southern Poland, 2005. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
Rails in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, southern Poland, 2005. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

BERLIN, Germany — A 91-year-old woman who worked at Auschwitz has been accused of complicity in the murders of at least 260,000 Jews during World War II, the German news agency DPA said Monday.

The woman, who worked as a telegraph operator in Auschwitz, would be tried in a court for minors because she was under 21 at the time of alleged crimes, the agency said.

A court in the northern German city of Kiel is to decide whether to proceed with a trial next year, taking both the charges against her and her health into consideration, DPA said, quoting the city’s chief prosecutor, Heinz Dollel.

Dollel did not name the woman but said she belonged to an all-female unit that helped the Nazi SS in concentration camps, and that she was accused in connection with events between April to July 1944.

Those three months correspond to a time when huge numbers of Hungarian Jews were murdered in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

In July, a 94-year-old former SS officer, Oskar Groening, was sentenced to four years in jail as an accessory to murder in 300,000 cases in which Hungarian Jews were sent to the gas chambers between May and July 1944.

Convicted former SS officer Oskar Groening listens to the verdict of his trial on July 15, 2015 at court in Lueneburg, northern Germany. Oskar Groening, 94, sat impassively as judge Franz Kompisch said "the defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases" of deported Jews who were sent to the gas chambers in 1944. (AFP PHOTO/TOBIAS SCHWARZ)
Convicted former SS officer Oskar Groening listens to the verdict of his trial on July 15, 2015 at court in Lueneburg, northern Germany. Oskar Groening, 94, sat impassively as judge Franz Kompisch said “the defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases” of deported Jews who were sent to the gas chambers in 1944. (AFP PHOTO/TOBIAS SCHWARZ)

Known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, his case was expected to be one of the last Holocaust trials.

Groening served as an accountant at Auschwitz, sorting and counting the money taken from those killed or used as slave labour, and shipping it back to his Nazi superiors in Berlin.

Some 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, perished between 1940 and 1945 in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp before it was liberated by Soviet forces.

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