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German court rules 95 year-old Auschwitz paramedic fit to stand trial

    A German court has ruled that a 95 year-old man accused of being accessory to the murder of at least 3,681 people at Auschwitz-Birkenau is fit to stand trial.

    The man, who was an SS sergeant at the camp between 1943 and 1944 and later served there as a paramedic, is known as Hubert Z. He had previously been deemed too fragile for trial but the higher court of Rostock in northern Germany has this week reversed that decision.

    Although Mr Z is not accused of being directly involved with any killings at the camp, the prosecution says he was aware of the camp’s activities and by participating, accelerated the deaths of thousands of Jews.

    “Given his awareness, the accused lent support to the organisation of the camp and was thereby both involved in and promoted the extermination,” the prosecutors said in a statement.

    Earlier this year, the so-called ‘Book keeper of Auschwitz’, Oskar Groening , was sentenced to four years in prison, after he was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people in Auschwitz. This prosecution set a precedent for the conviction of Nazi concentration camp employees for the crime of being an accessory to murder.

    In September, lawyers for another former SS sergeant, 93 year-old man known as Reinhold H, argued that he was unfit for trial after being charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder at Auschwitz. This was overturned earlier this month.

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