Auschwitz Survivor Denied Testimony in Nazi Guard's Trial

Joshua Kaufman traveled all the way from California to Germany to testify
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2016 4:04 PM CDT
Auschwitz Survivor Denied Testimony in Nazi Guard's Trial
Auschwitz survivor Joshua Kaufman sits in the courtroom during the trial against former Nazi SS guard Reinhold Hanning Friday in Germany.   (Bernd Thissen/Pool Photo via AP)

An 88-year-old Auschwitz survivor who traveled all the way from his home in Los Angeles to Germany to testify in the trial of a former Nazi SS guard will not be allowed to do so, a judge ruled Friday. "I lost my whole family, I survived five concentration camps, and I represent the dead people." Joshua Kaufman tells NBC News. Kaufman, who had to remove bodies from the gas chambers, had planned to tell the court about how victims were killed at Auschwitz. "He will be able to tell you that the bodies looked as if they were frozen and that he could see the horror of the death fight in their faces," reads a statement from Kaufman's lawyer to the court, per NBC.

But a judge ruled that German law prohibited Kaufman from testifying. According to the AP, the court stated it had already heard evidence on how the victims died. "No further evidence is needed," judge Anke Grudda said. "The court has no doubts on this aspect." Other survivors had already testified in the trial of 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning, who is accused of being an accessory to at least 170,000 murders in his role as an Auschwitz guard. Kaufman's lawyer says he's "shocked" at the judge's ruling, but Kaufman is trying to be positive. "If they don't want to hear me, I will just go home, but it is important that I came here to seek justice," Kaufman tells NBC. He says his four daughters and four grandchildren are his "revenge to the murderers." (Read more Holocaust survivor stories.)

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