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91-year old woman charged with complicity to murder in Auschwitz

A former SS radio operator at Auschwitz, now 91, has been charged by German authorities with being an accessory to murder on 260,000 Counts. Prosecutors say her trial in Kiel is not likely to begin until next year.

German authorities refused to reveal the name and exact location of the suspect, in accordance with German privacy rules.

The "Hamburger Abendblatt " newspaper wrote that the woman lived in Neumünster, a city of 70,000 in central Schleswig-Holstein.

The state's leading prosecutor, Heinz Döllel, on Monday said the woman was likely to be tried before a juvenile court because she had still been a minor when assigned to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death complex in April 1944.

The woman reportedly joined Hitler's ruling party, the NSDAP, in 1941 and began training as a SS radio operator in 1943.

Juvenile court

German NDR broadcasting said two sentences were possible: a maximum of ten years jail under juvenile jurisdiction or an adult penalty on conviction of at least three years.

Döllel said the juvenile court's panel would decide whether to proceed to trial by first examining documents provided by Germany's central archive for the investigation of Nazi crimes at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart.

The Abendblatt quoted Döllel as saying he assumed that the elderly woman was fit for trial.

Complicity-to-murder prosecutions were rare until 2011 when Munich's regional court imposed a five-year jail term on the

Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk

. He died in a Bavarian nursing home in 2012.

Deutschland Prozess Oskar Gröning in Lüneburg Urteil

The Gröning case now hinges on appeals

Appeals pending

In July this year, a former

SS bookkeeper at Auschwitz, Oskar Gröning

, was sentenced to four years jail by a regional court in Lüneburg in northern Germany. Gröning admitted assisting on the end rail ramp as the Nazis brought Jews from Hungary in freight wagons to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

That court said on Monday that Gröning's lawyers and

opposing complainants for victims' families

had filed appeals via Germany's federal supreme court in Karlsruhe. The written grounds for the appeals were still awaited.

More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945.

ipj/rg (dpa, AP, NDR)

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