Auschwitz paramedic set to stand trial in Germany in February

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95 Year Old to Stand Trial for Thousands of Nazi Murders

BERLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A 95-year-old former paramedic at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz will go on trial in Germany next month on charges of being an accessory to the murder of at least 3,681 people, a German court announced on Monday.

Hubert Z., whose last name is being withheld because of Germany's privacy laws, was a sergeant in the Nazi SS at Auschwitz from October 1943 to January 1944. He acted as one of the death camp's paramedics from Aug. 15 to Sept. 14, 1944.

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During that month, at least 14 deportation trains arrived at the extermination camp from places as far away as Lyon, Vienna and Westerbork in the Netherlands.

Among the prisoners on the trains was the teenage diarist Anne Frank and her family. Anne and her sister were later transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The trial of the former paramedic will begin on Feb. 29 in the northeastern town of Neubrandenburg after a court in Rostock in northern Germany deemed him fit for trial in December.

Because it is uncertain to what extent he is capable of traveling and standing trial, the first session is expected to determine his state of health, the court said.

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Auschwitz paramedic set to stand trial in Germany in February
Journalists gather outside the courtroom after a verdict in the case of former SS officer Oskar Groening on July 15, 2015 at court in Lueneburg, northern Germany. Oskar Groening, 94, sat impassively as judge Franz Kompisch said 'the defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases' of deported Jews who were sent to the gas chambers in 1944. AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
LUNEBURG, GERMANY - JULY 15: Oskar Groening, 94, a former member of the Waffen-SS who worked at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, awaits the verdict in his trial on July 15, 2015 in Lueneburg, Germany. Groening was accused of complicity in the murder of 300,000 mostly Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz in 1944. He worked as an accountant for the SS at Auschwitz and has admitted moral and personal responsibility for his role there. Groening has been convicted of being an accessory to murder, and sentenced to four years in prison. (Photo by Hans-Jurgen Wege - Pool/Getty Images)
LUNEBURG, GERMANY - JULY 15: The joint plaintiff's lawyers Cornelius Nestler (L) and Thomas Walther (R) await the verdict in the trial of Oskar Groening, 94, a former member of the Waffen-SS who worked at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, on July 15, 2015 in Lueneburg, Germany. Groening was accused of complicity in the murder of 300,000 mostly Hungarian Jews at Auschwitz in 1944. He worked as an accountant for the SS at Auschwitz and has admitted moral and personal responsibility for his role there. Groening has been convicted of being an accessory to murder, and sentenced to four years in prison. (Photo by Hans-Jurgen Wege - Pool/Getty Images)
Former prisoner of Auschwitz concentration camp and plaintiff Irene Weiss arrives for the trial of a German former SS officer known as the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz' on July 1, 2015 at the courtroom at the 'Ritterakademie' venue in Lueneburg, northern Germany. German national Oskar Groening, 94, stands accused of 300,000 counts of 'accessory to murder' in the cases of deported Hungarian Jews sent to the gas chambers between May and July 1944. AFP PHOTO / RONNY HARTMANN (Photo credit should read RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former prisoner of Auschwitz concentration camp and plaintiff Hedy Bohm arrives for the trial of a German former SS officer known as the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz' on July 1, 2015 at the courtroom at the 'Ritterakademie' venue in Lueneburg, northern Germany. German national Oskar Groening, 94, stands accused of 300,000 counts of 'accessory to murder' in the cases of deported Hungarian Jews sent to the gas chambers between May and July 1944. AFP PHOTO / RONNY HARTMANN (Photo credit should read RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
The joint plaintiff's lawyers Cornelius Nestler (L) and Thomas Walther (R) react during the verdict in the case of convicted former SS officer Oskar Groening on July 15, 2015 at court in Lueneburg, northern Germany. Oskar Groening, 94, sat impassively as judge Franz Kompisch said 'the defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases' of deported Jews who were sent to the gas chambers in 1944. AFP PHOTO / POOL / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Nazi death camp officer Oskar Groening sits outside during a break of his trial on April 21, 2015 in Lueneburg, northern Germany. The 93-year-old man dubbed the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz' is being tried on 'accessory to murder' charges in 300,000 cases of deported Hungarian Jews who were sent to the gas chambers, and faces up to 15 years jail. (Photo by Ronny Hatmann via AFP/Getty Images)
Oskar Groening, 93, and his lawyer Hans Holtermann are seen during the first day of his trial to face charges of being accomplice to the murder of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz concentration camp on April 21, 2015 in Lueneburg, Germany. Groening was an accountant with the Waffen SS and has been open about his role, claiming in interviews with media that he accepts his moral responsibility. Groening has also written an account of his experience, in what he claims is an effort to counter Holocaust revisionists. State prosecutors accuse Groening of accomplice in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews who arrived at Auschwitz in 1944. (Photo by Andreas Tamme - Pool/Getty Images)
Oskar Groening, 93, arrives for the first day of his trial to face charges of being accomplice to the murder of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz concentration camp on April 21, 2015 in Lueneburg, Germany. Groening was an accountant with the Waffen SS and has been open about his role, claiming in interviews with media that he accepts his moral responsibility. Groening has also written an account of his experience, in what he claims is an effort to counter Holocaust revisionists. State prosecutors accuse Groening of accomplice in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews who arrived at Auschwitz in 1944. (Photo by Andreas Tamme - Pool/Getty Images)
A picture taken on April 21, 2015 shows files ahead to a trial of former Nazi death camp officer Oskar Groening at a court in Lueneburg, northern Germany. The 93-year-old man dubbed the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz' is being tried on 'accessory to murder' charges in 300,000 cases of deported Hungarian Jews who were sent to the gas chambers, and faces up to 15 years jail. Ronny Hartmann via Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken on April 20, 2015 shows a general view of the 'Ritterakademie' venue in Lueneburg, northern Germany. The 'Ritterakademie' is the venue of the trial against former SS guard Oskar Groening, that will start on April 21, 2015. For seven decades Oskar Groening has been haunted by memories of serving in Auschwitz, while denying ultimate responsibility for the mass murder at the Nazi death camp. From April 21, 2015, the 93-year-old faces the Lueneburg court that will decide on his guilt. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann via Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
German neo-Nazi Thomas Wulff (C) is surrounded by police as he stands in front of the venue of the trial against a former Nazi death camp officer on April 21, 2015 in Lueneburg, northern Germany. 93-year-old Oskar Groening dubbed the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz' is being tried on 'accessory to murder' charges in 300,000 cases of deported Hungarian Jews who were sent to the gas chambers, and faces up to 15 years jail. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann via Pool/Getty Images)
People walk through a street of the old town of Lueneburg, northern Germany, on April 20, 2015. A trial will start in Lueneburg on April 21, 2015 against former SS guard Oskar Groening. For seven decades Oskar Groening has been haunted by memories of serving in Auschwitz, while denying ultimate responsibility for the mass murder at the Nazi death camp. From April 21, 2015, the 93-year-old faces the Lueneburg court that will decide on his guilt. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann via Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
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Two further hearings are planned for March and more will follow once it has been determined under what conditions proceedings can be held, the court added.

Although the former paramedic is not accused of having been directly involved in any killings, the prosecution's office holds that he was aware of the camp's function as a facility for mass murder. By joining its organizational structure, he consciously participated and even accelerated the deaths of thousands of people, the prosecutors say.

German court rulings have established a precedent for the conviction of Nazi concentration camp employees for being guilty of accessory to murder.

In July, 94-year-old Oskar Groening, known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz," was sentenced to four years in prison after he was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people in Auschwitz.

Two other cases involving death camp employees are pending trial in German courts. In the town of Detmold, Reinhold H. is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 170,000 people in Auschwitz and has been deemed fit for trial.

In the northern city of Kiel, a 91-year-old woman is accused of the same charges in the case of 260,000 people. In her case, the defense maintains that the accused is unfit for trial and a final court ruling on this is expected in early 2016.

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