The Point of an Auschwitz Trial, Even Now

The winning side in World War II had its own Oskar Groenings, and they will never be convicted.

Oskar Groening, a bookkeeper and an accomplice.

Photographer: Andreas Tamme - Pool/Getty Images

The trial of Oskar Groening, a 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard, goes far beyond questions of absolution and punishment for a single German. Groening, after all, is not likely to serve out any prison term the court in Lueneburg may hand down -- or enjoy a surprise acquittal for long. The trial's aim is to send a message to future generations while not seeming like a show trial -- a difficult task for Judge Franz Kompisch, born in 1967.

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