Germany Charges 91-year-old Woman Over Role at Auschwitz

Proceedings come less than a week after news of case against an Auschwitz guard, Reinhold Hanning.

German prosecutors say they've charged a 91-year-old woman with 260,000 counts of accessory to murder on allegations she was a member of the Nazi SS who served in the Auschwitz death camp complex.

Schleswig-Holstein prosecutors' spokesman Heinz Doellel said Monday the woman, whose name wasn't disclosed due to German privacy laws, is alleged to have served as a radio operator for the camp commandant from April to July 1944.

Prosecutors argue that she can be charged as an accessory because she helped the death camp function. A 94-year-old former SS sergeant at Auschwitz was convicted on the same reasoning earlier this year. Doellel says there are no indications the woman is unfit for trial, though a court likely won't decide on whether to proceed with the case until next year.

In another war crimes case over the past week, a German court is waiting for medical clearance before trying a 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard, Reinhold Hanning, on 170,000 counts of accessory to murder.

Anke Grudda, spokeswoman for the Detmold state court, said the trial cannot begin until the health assessment is completed, the Associated Press reported.

While the court disclosed only Hanning’s last initial, the U.K. Daily Mail and other media outlets have identified the defendant by his full name. Hanning is accused of serving as a guard at the notorious extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 through 1944.

He has said he was not involved in the mass murder at the camp, but prosecutors say he worked on the “ramp” where prisoners were selected to live or die, according to the Daily Mail. It is not clear whether he made life-death decisions himself or merely assisted others in the task.

In April, Oskar Groening, a 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews at the extermination camp.