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The moment Holocaust survivor comes face to face in court with Nazi death camp guard, 94, accused of helping to murder 170,000 Jews at Auschwitz

  • Reinhold Hanning, 94, is accused of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder
  • He was SS ‘sergeant’ at time when hundreds of thousands were killed there
  • Survivor Leon Schwarzbaum looks him in eye and tells him to ‘come clean’ 
  • He is among 40 survivors and relatives who will testify during the trial


A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard came face-to-face with Holocaust survivors today when he arrived at court to stand trial for helping to murder 170,000 Jews.

Reinhold Hanning is accused of serving as an SS Sergeant between 1943 and 1944, a time when hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were gassed to death at the camp.

The trial in Detmold was moved to the city’s chamber of industry and commerce because there are not enough seats for media and public in the actual courthouse.

Dressed in a tweed suit, the white-haired, bespectacled widower Hanning, who owned a dairy store after the war, kept his eyes trained on the table in front of him during the hearing, and left his lawyer to answer the judge’s questions.

He was then was confronted by Auschwitz survivor, Leon Schwarzbaum, who is the same age as him.

He looked him in the eye and said: ‘The older I get, the more I think about what happened in Auschwitz.

‘Why don’t you come clean and tell the truth for once about what you and your comrades did in Auschwitz?’

Mr Schwarzbaum, 94, is among some 40 survivors of Auschwitz and family members of those who were murdered there who will be allowed to speak of their experiences during the trial.

He also recounted the starvation and constant fear of dying that plagued prisoners after they were taken to Auschwitz.

Those who sought to escape were ripped to death by dogs and their bodies left as a warning to others, he said, adding that regular executions and the endless stream of people sent to the gas chambers sowed terror.

He said: ‘I was constantly afraid of dying from hunger



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