Oskar Groening, 'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,' dies at 96

25 2015 in Oswiecim shows the entrance to the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau

25 2015 in Oswiecim shows the entrance to the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau

Groening was convicted and sentenced for being an accessory to murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz during World War II.

Groening died on Friday at the age of 96, said the Spiegel Online.

German prosecutors said they were notified that a former Nazi death camp guard dubbed the "Accountant of Auschwitz" died before he could begin serving his 4-year sentence.

Oskar Groening never saw the inside of a prison cell, despite being found guilty of being complicit in the deaths of 300,000 people.

Groening's death first was reported Monday by German weekly Der Spiegel.

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At Groening's original trial in Lueneburg, Germany, Judge Franz Kompisch said Groening was part of the "machinery of death" at the Nazi camp in Auschwitz, Poland, and also stole money from victims, although no evidence was presented that tied him directly to any deaths.

Groening testified at his trial that he oversaw the collection of prisoners' belongings and ensured valuables and cash were separated to be sent to Berlin.

His trial went to the heart of the question of whether people who were minor participants in the Nazi atrocities, but did not actively participate in the killing of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, were themselves guilty. Groening himself did not kill murder any people at Auschwitz. After an appeal, his conviction was upheld in Germany's Federal Court of Justice in November 2016.

The former Nazi was convicted in 2015 for his role in the Holocaust. He was in hospital when he died and had yet to begin his sentence. Most recently, his lawyers made one final bid for clemency, a decision on which still was pending.

The trial of Hubert Zafke - then 95 and accused of being an accessory to at least 3,681 murders at the same camp - also began in 2016, but ended in September past year after he was deemed no longer fit to stand trial due to dementia, according to Reuters.

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