A 94-year-old former Nazi SS guard was found guilty Friday of being an accessory to the murder of more than 170,000 people, a majority of them Jews. Reinhold Hanning, who served at the Auschwitz death camp, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Hanning was an SS guard during Nazi-occupied Poland between January 1943 and June 1944. During that time hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were murdered.
The trial took place in the city of Detmold in western Germany. A doctor determined that Hanning was fit to stand trial, but each session lasted only two hours. At first, Hanning refused to speak and, according to witnesses, avoided eye contact with survivors who had flown in from Canada, the United States, Hungary and Britain to give their testimony.
But at one point during the four-month trial, Hanning broke his silence. “I deeply regret having been part of a criminal organization responsible for the deaths of so many innocent people and destruction of countless families,” Hanning said to a packed courtroom.