Former Auschwitz guard on trial for murdering 170,000 Jews finally breaks his silence to say he is ‘ashamed’ he worked at the Nazi death camp
- Reinhold Hanning, 94, told for the first time about his role at Auschwitz
- Former SS guard said was ‘truly sorry’ and ‘ashamed’ of his past
- ‘I am ashamed that I saw injustice and never did anything about it and I apologize for my actions. I am very, very sorry,’ he said
A 94-year-old former SS guard on trial for complicity in 170,000 murders at Auschwitz broke his silence today for the first time since the war, telling victims he is ‘truly sorry’.
‘I have been silent all my life,’ Reinhold Hanning told the Detmold state court that he had never told anyone about his wartime service in Auschwitz from January 1942 to June 1944.
‘I want to say that it disturbs me deeply that I was part of such a criminal organization,’ he said as he sat in a wheelchair, talking with a weak voice into a microphone.
‘I am ashamed that I saw injustice and never did anything about it and I apologize for my actions. I am very, very sorry,’ he said.
As he spoke, Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum watched from about 5 meters (yards) away with a steely face, afterward saying he was happy Hanning apologized but that it wasn’t enough.
‘I lost 35 family members, how can you apologize for that?’ the 95-year-old said. ‘I am not angry, I don’t want him to go to prison but he should say more for the sake of the young generation today because the historical truth is important.’
Hanning, 94, is charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder on allegations that as a guard he helped the death camp function, so can legally be found guilty of accessory to murder.
Mr Schwarzbaum is one of some 40 Holocaust survivors who has joined the trial as co-plaintiff as allowed under German law, though
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