'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz' loses final appeal
Oskar Gröning, dubbed the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz', has lost his final appeal against being sent to jail.
The 96-year-old former SS guard had been sentenced to four years imprisonment for being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people at the concentration camp.
Gröning's legal team argued that sending him to jail at the age of 96 would violate his right to life.
However, Germany's Constitutional Court ruled against Gröning, who had been allowed to live at home pending his appeal.
"The high age of the applicant is in itself not sufficient to refrain from enforcing the criminal penalty," the court ruled, adding that appropriate health care was available in prison.
Before joining the SS, Gröning trained as a bank teller.
He worked at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp from September 1942 to October 1944, confiscating valuables and money from prisoners as they arrived.
He was charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews during only a few weeks as they arrived at the camp in the summer of 1944.
He was just 21 when he arrived at the camp.
An enthusiastic Nazi, Gröning's duties included inspecting luggage and sending money and valuables to the SS offices in Berlin, where the proceeds were used to finance the war effort.
Although he was not accused of murdering prisoners himself, the court held that he had seen enough of the violence to know that mass murder was taking place.
During the trial Gröning acknowledged his "moral guilt", but it was left to the court to decide his legal culpability.
He was one of 6,500 SS personnel working at the camp, of whom only 50 were ever convicted.