KIEL , Germany, Sept. 22 (UPI) — German prosecutors charged a 91-year-old woman with 260,000 counts of accessory to murder for her alleged World War II role at a Nazi death camp.
Prosecutors accused the unidentified woman of being a member of the SS, the armed wing of the Nazi Party, and a radio operator for several months in 1944 for the camp commandant of the Auschwitz, Poland, concentration camp. They argue she can be charged because she facilitated in the deaths of inmates at the camp. Her trial, in the city of Kiel, is likely to begin next year.
State prosecutor Heinz Dollel said she will likely be prosecuted in a juvenile court because she was a minor when she was assigned to the Auschwitz-Birkenau facility in 1944. He said he presumed she is fit to stand trial, and that the court would consider documents from Germany’s central archive of Nazi crimes in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, before deciding if a trial is required.
In July 2015, Oskar Groning, 94, a former SS bookkeeper, received a four-year prison sentence under similar circumstances, convicted as an accessory to murder. He claimed his Auschwitz assignment did not include the deaths of any inmates.
A written judgement by the court in Lunenberg, released Monday, said “all the defendant’s activity in Auschwitz was characterized by the fact that it supported multiple murders, without providing support to specific individual acts.”
The ruling departed from a decades-long practice in German courts of requiring proof that SS members committed at least one direct crime before they could be convicted.