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Former Auschwitz guard accused of lack of remorse in trial's closing arguments

The prosecution has charged 94-year-old Reinhold Hanning with not accepting responsibility for his actions. The former Auschwitz guard is being tried on 100,000 counts of accessory to murder.

In closing statements in his trial on Friday, former SS member and Auschwitz guard Reinhold Hanning was accused of insecurity and a lack of remorse. Thomas Walther, a lawyer for victims from around the world, told the court that the explanation offered by the 94-year-old Hanning was insubstantial.

"From the perspective of the plaintiffs, his statement is an inadequate attempt to make excuses in order to not take any responsibility," said Walther, who represents 40 of the 57 plaintiffs in the case. Walther further accused Hanning of acting as if he was "an uninvolved bystander."

Hanning has been charged with 100,000 counts of complicity to murder. At the beginning of his trial in the western German city of Detmold in February, he avoided eye contact with the Auschwitz survivors in attendance and professed remorse for his actions. He admitted to being aware of the mass murders being carried out at the camp and apologized to the victims.

He angered the plaintiffs, however, by saying he had been pressured by others to join the Nazi SS and was only assigned to duty in Auschwitz because of a battle injury.

Some 1 million people, most of them Jewish, perished at the Auschwitz concentration camp erected by the Nazis in German-occupied Poland.

Hanning's trial is likely to be one of the last to hold the perpetrators of the Holocaust accountable for their actions. A sentence was expected to be handed down on June 9, with prosecutors calling for a six-year prison term.

es/sms (dpa, EPD)

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