Germany charges 93-year-old as accessory to 300,000 Auschwitz murders

The gates of the Auschwitz prison camp run by the Nazis during World War II

Story highlights

  • A 93-year-old man is charged with being an accessory to at least 300,000 murders
  • Prosecutors in Germany say he removed luggage left by new arrivals at Auschwitz
  • He was tasked with counting any cash found and sending it to Nazi HQ in Berlin
  • Prosecutors says the man must have known that those arriving would be murdered

Berlin (CNN)German prosecutors have charged a 93-year-old man with being an accessory to murder in at least 300,000 cases while working for the Nazis at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The man, from the German state of Lower Saxony, is accused of having helped remove the luggage left by new arrivals to the camp at the Birkenau rail platform.
    The aim was to get rid of any clues to the mass killings going on at the camp for inmates arriving later, the state prosecutor's office in Hanover said in a statement.
      The man, who was not named in the statement, was also tasked with counting the cash found in the belongings and sending it to Nazi headquarters in Berlin, it said.
      "The accused must have known that those arriving, mostly Jews, inmates who were deemed as not being fit for labor after the selection process, would immediately be murdered in the purpose built gas chambers," the statement said.
      "With his actions, the accused helped the Nazi regime gain economic profit and supported the killing that was going on."
      The charges are limited to a period that started with an operation by the Nazis to deport mostly Jews from Hungary in 1944.
      "Between May 16 and July 11, 1944 at least 137 prison trains arrived at the camp Auschwitz Birkenau, carrying around 425,000 prisoners from Hungary. According to the charges at least 300,000 of those were killed," the statement said.
      The accused was previously charged in 1985 but that case was dropped because of a lack of evidence, it said.
      A regional court will decide whether the new charges are brought to trial, the state prosecutor's office said.
      There are already 16 applications from survivors and relatives of survivors of the Hungary operation to be secondary plaintiffs in the case, it added.