DETMOLD, Germany – A 94-year-old former Auschwitz guard is going on trial on 170,000 counts of accessory to murder in western Germany, accused of serving in the death camp at a time when hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were gassed.
Former SS Sgt. Reinhold Hanning maintains that he served in a part of the Auschwitz camp complex where no gassings were taking place. Prosecutors argue that all guards helped the camp function, and that during the so-called "Hungarian action" in 1944 almost all were called upon to help deal with the vast numbers of people arriving at the killing complex in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Leon Schwarzbaum, a 94-year-old Auschwitz survivor from Berlin, is scheduled to testify Thursday, the opening day of the trial. It is unclear whether Hanning will first make a statement.