Oskar Groening trial: Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor criticised by co-accusers for saying ex-SS officer should not face trial

Oskar Groening is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 prisoners at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 28 April 2015 12:12 BST
Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor during a conciliatory handshake with former SS member Oskar Groening
Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor during a conciliatory handshake with former SS member Oskar Groening

A Holocaust survivor, who last week forgave a former SS officer currently on trial, has been criticised for saying that Oskar Groening should not be prosecuted.

Dubbed the “bookkeeper of death”, 93-year-old Groening is being tried in Germany on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder for sorting and storing the money of prisoners at the Auschwitz death camp.

Instead, Mrs Kor urged remaining Nazis to counter neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers in Germany – some of whom gathered outside the courthouse at the start of the officer’s trial last week - by speaking publicly about their inhumane actions.

But Kor’s 49 fellow accusers have hit back at her arguments, and questioned why she decided to become a plaintiff in the case at all.

Eva Mozes Kor, who survived being held at the Auschwitz death camp

The group said in a statement released by their lawyer and seen by the Guardian: “Our clients would not comment here – who better than a survivor of Auschwitz knows that everyone needs to find their own way to overcome their suffering – if Mrs Kor did not repeatedly stage her ‘forgiveness’ publicly.

“We cannot forgive Mr Groening his participation in the murder of our relatives and another 299,000 people – especially since he feels free from any legal guilt. We want justice and we welcome the resolution that this trial brings."

It added that while it was up to Mrs Kor to decide whether to “forgive Mr Groening’s participation in the murder of her relatives is up to everyone to decide for themselves. But Mrs. Kor says, ‘These prosecutions must stop’. Then she should not have become a co-plaintiff.”

Mrs Kor, who was subjected to medical experiments by the notorious Nazi Joseph Mengele, explained that she forgave and shook hands with Groening because she is "interested in what will happen when someone from the victim's side meets with someone from the perpetrator’s side. You can’t predict it."

She added: "I know many people will criticise me for this photo, but so be it. It was two human beings seventy years after it happened."

Additional reporting by AP

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