Auschwitz Guard 'Couldn't Imagine' Jews Leaving Alive

93-year-old Oskar Groening's trial continues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2015 7:07 AM CDT
Former SS guard Oskar Groening sits in ths sun during the noon break of the trial against him in Lueneburg, northern Germany, Tuesday, April 21, 2015.   (Markus Schreiber)
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(Newser) – A former Auschwitz guard being tried on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder has testified that it was clear to him Jews were not expected to leave the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland alive. "I couldn't imagine that" happening, former SS Sgt. Oskar Groening told the Lueneburg state court today during the third day of his trial, the dpa news agency reported. Groening earlier described a veritable traffic jam of trains arriving at the Nazi death camp, reports the BBC. "For the sake of order we waited until train one was entirely processed and finished," Groening testified; that processing involved marching most passengers directly into the gas chambers. The charges against him span from a May-to-July period of 1944 in which some 425,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Most were immediately killed.

"Someone said that 5,000 people were processed in 24 hours but I didn't verify this," he said. "I didn't know." The 93-year-old's testimony came in response to questions from attorneys representing Auschwitz survivors who have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law. Yesterday saw testimony from Eva Kor, now 81, who arrived at Auschwitz as a 10-year-old. As a twin, she was experimented on by Dr. Josef Mengele, reports NBC News. "On alternate days—Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays—[she and sister Miriam] were brought to a lab. ... They took blood from my left arm and gave me at least five injections into my right arm. Those were the deadly ones." NBC reports Groening was expressionless throughout her testimony. He faces three to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

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