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Mladá fronta dnes - Czech Republic | Thursday, July 16, 2015

Memories are SS guard Gröning's worst punishment

The ruling in the Auschwitz trial against former SS guard Oskar Gröning in Lüneberg, Germany, has been welcomed by survivors and their families. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has stressed that the trial was an important contribution to dealing with the past. The liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes sees Gröning's sentence to four years in prison as mild at first glance: "That's less than an hour in prison for each person who was killed. The lives of the inmates at Auschwitz didn't have much value back then, and they don't even now. On the other hand the condemned man is 94 years old. So it's no longer about punishment as such. Moreover Gröning himself did not commit murder. … To understand how people were liquidated in a factory-like process, each witness is important. Gröning spoke openly about his past. He also talked about seeing the ovens in which the dead were burned. Perhaps the memories of the fires in those ovens are his biggest punishment."

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