Watch CBS News

Local Holocaust Survivors React To Conviction Of Nazi Guard

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) --  Some Holocaust survivors in South Florida are speaking out after a 94-year old former Nazi guard was found guilty Wednesday in Germany.

Oskar Groening never killed anyone but prosecutors say he helped the death camp function.The now frail man was once a Nazi soldier at the Auschwitz death camp.

Groening needed help entering and leaving court on Wednesday. He was convicted of 300 thousand counts of accessory to murder.

For many South Florida holocaust survivors like David Schaecter, news of the conviction and sentencing gave him pause.

"That's what they transported us in to the hells of Auschwitz," said Schaecter."As was gentle as he appears to be right now where was his duty to humanity, his duty to himself, to the world at large."

As the so-called bookkeeper it was Groening's job to confiscate the valuables from the victims before they were murdered in gas chambers.

To Schaecter and others, Groening was more than a bookkeeper.

"Did you ever think of the people who were going through the gas chamber? You saw their faces. I know," said Schaecter.

'Maybe he took the ring from my mother's finger when she was forced off the train and my father too,' said Holocaust survivor Leon Schwarzbaum.

Groening was sentenced to four years in prison but has the option to appeal.

"How do you equate four years with six million people," said Schaecter.

For Holocaust survivors like Paul Gast, the  message in this court action is  that the German  justice system - on this day - is not forgetting the past and unspeakable crimes.

"Four years doesn't mean anything at his age," said Gast. "How they committed crimes like this that I have witnessed, it is still beyond my comprehension. I feel he should be convicted. He should."

Depending on how long the appeal takes, it's unclear if he will actually serve any time behind bars.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.