BERLIN — Prosecutors are seeking a six-year prison sentence for a former Auschwitz death camp guard being tried in Germany as an accessory to murder.
Prosecutor Andreas Brendel told the Detmold state court in closing arguments Friday that 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning was guilty of being an accessory to murder in at least 100,000 cases, news agency dpa reported. He said: “The defendant played a part in the camp’s purpose of annihilation.”
The former SS sergeant last month admitted serving as an Auschwitz guard. He said he was ashamed that although he was aware Jews were being gassed and their corpses burned, he did nothing to try to stop it.
“I have been silent all my life,” Reinhold Hanning told a court in the western town of Detmold, more than 70 years after the end of World War II.
“I want to tell you that I deeply regret having listened to a criminal organization that is responsible for the deaths of many innocent people, for the destruction of countless families, for the misery, distress and suffering on the part of victims and their relatives,” according to remarks carried by national news agency DPA.
“I am ashamed that I let this injustice happen and have done nothing to prevent it.
“I apologize formally for my behavior. I am truly sorry,” said the white-haired, bespectacled widower, who owned a dairy store after the war.
Closing arguments from lawyers for survivors who joined the trial as co-plaintiffs are expected to start next week, followed by the defense.
AFP contributed to this report.