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The ultimate chutzpah: A Nazi claiming his ‘right to life’

Oskar Groening, at the first day of his 2015 trial. (Andreas Tamme/Getty)

Oskar Groening, at the first day of his 2015 trial. (Andreas Tamme/Getty)ult

The utter chutzpah! A man who participated in the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews dares to argue that having to serve a prison sentence violates his “right to life.” When the bookkeeper of Auschwitz, Oskar Gröning, was stripping Jews of their valuables, in full knowledge that they were headed for the gas chambers, did he spare a thought for their “right to life?”

The time when Gröning was active at Auschwitz was the summer of 1944, which coincides exactly with the mass arrival and almost immediate murder of 400,000 Hungarian Jews. The ones who were spared the gas chamber were sent to labor camps, often to Dachau or Buchenwald. According to the German newspaper Die Welt, Gröning had a role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews.

At his 2015 trial Gröning asked for forgiveness, but his subsequent actions make him an even less forgivable character, if that’s even possible. Ever since being convicted, this nonagenarian has tried every legal trick in the book to evade serving his sentence, the latest being the most audacious — seeking clemency based on his “right to life.” Again, did he grant clemency to any of his myriad victims?

Certainly the man is extremely old and requires the attendant medical attention, something the German courts have assured they will make possible during his four-year sentence.

Thankfully, the German courts have seen through Gröning’s frankly cruel charade and his attempts to continuing evading the justice he already had for most of his adult life. His clemency bid was rejected, although legally he still has one avenue left — to appeal the rejection to the Ministry of Justice, which, of he is doing — no surprise there considering his past behavior. Hopefully the ministry will follow the example of the courts of the land and reject Gröning’s appeal. The amount of justice being meted it out to him is already so minimal — four years — compared to the millions of years he stole from his victims. Yet he still refuses to serve his time. It — he — is repugnant.

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