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A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard is ‘sorry’ for killing 170,000


The entrance to Auschwitz. (Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, you read that right. A German court has sentenced the 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning, a former SS guard at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, to five years in jail for helping kill 170,000 people. And guess what? He's "sorry."

A photo of Hanning in his SS regalia:

Auschwitz is the most notorious Nazi concentration camp of World War II. Nazis at Auschwitz used gas, human-sized ovens, and other despicable means to assist in the murder over 1 million people (most of them Jewish) during the Holocaust.

How did they prove his guilt?

Prosecutors matched Hanning's travel logs to show he helped kill at least 170,000.

One Auschwitz survivor, Leon Schwarzbaum, testified and described Hanning's heinous acts:

"It was just like Dante's Inferno ... The older I get, the more time I have to think about what happened. I am nearly 95 years old and still I often have nightmares about this."

Schwarzbaum faced Hanning head on in court:

"Mr. Hanning, we are virtually the same age and soon we will face our final judge. I would like to ask you to tell the historical truth here, just as I am. Tell the truth about what you and your colleagues did."

Hanning didn't want to speak at first. But later, he told a German broadcaster he was "sorry" about what he did:

"I am ashamed that I witnessed injustice and allowed it to continue without taking any actions against it. I am sincerely sorry."

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A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard is ‘sorry’ for killing 170,000

Dieter Holger

Dieter is an associate editor at Kicker who loves discussing dolphins and politics. On top of Kicker, he's a HuffPost campus editor. He has a bachelor's of philosophy from UC Santa Cruz and is studying for a masters of computational journalism at Cardiff University. Follow him on Twitter @dieterholger.

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