Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), on Friday welcomed the Detmold court’s verdict in the trial of former Auschwitz camp guard Reinhold Hanning.
Hanning was sentenced to five years in prison for complicity in the murder of at least 170,000 people at the German death camp during World War II. Lauder said Hanning was part of a “merciless killing machine,” adding: “He got the sentence he deserved.”
Pronouncing the verdict, Judge Anke Grudda told Hanning: "You were at Auschwitz for nearly two and a half years, and you thus abetted mass murder.
Ronald S. Lauder said on the verdict: "This trial came decades late, but we welcome the fact that it took place, and we are glad that the court allowed for many Auschwitz survivors to be heard. Mr. Hanning got a fair trial, and today’s verdict is very clear: He was complicit in mass murder. He was part of a merciless killing machine. Without the active participation of people like him, Auschwitz would not have been possible.
"Yet for seven decades, he and many of his SS comrades were allowed to lead peaceful lives. Most never had to answer for their crimes.
"It is important that people who took part in genocide and crimes against humanity are being tried in a court of law, irrespective of their age. The Jewish people expect that no stone is left unturned when it comes to dealing properly with the crimes committed during the Holocaust.
"There can be no impunity for genocide, mass murder or crimes against humanity, and old age is not a mitigating factor.
"Germany should continue to address the darkest chapter of its history, and Germans should be vigilant vis-à-vis all expressions of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia," said the WJC president.