Local Holocaust Survivors React to “Auschwitz Accountant” Trial

Oskar Groening is on trial at age 93 for the extermination of the Jews and so many others in the Holocaust. Survivors living in New England say their loved ones were not spared, so he should not be, either.

"We were slaves, condemned to death," said Izzy Arbeiter. "These weren't slaves who had to serve a year, five years, 20 years. We were condemned to death. Period."

Seventy years have passed as we sit freely and speak openly about the confines of life in Auschwitz.

Izzy and Anna Arbeiter, of Newton, survived the Holocaust, but so many of their family members did not.

Izzy's parents and youngest of five brothers are among those who perished.

Anna lost everyone.

"They put us on a train," she said. "We went to Auschwitz. Here is my number. They called us by numbers."

Izzy's is a 90-year encyclopedic memory that has not faded with time.

"He was also a thief," he said.

He remembers seeing the man known as the Accountant of Auschwitz, Oskar Groening, who tallied up stolen money and jewelry at the concentration camp, and who is standing trial for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder in Germany.

"So why did they wait until 2015, when he is 93 years old?" asked Izzy. "What are they going to do to him? Nothing. Nothing."

Izzy testified at the war crime trials of 4 Nazis in the 1970s.

This trial could set a new precedent that a death camp guard can be charged, even without evidence of involvement in a specific death.

And while Groening admitted on the stand that he is morally guilty, he said it is up to the court to decide his fate.

"But there's also such a thing as conscience. Do you have to? No," Izzy Arbeiter added.

A postscript about the Arbeiters.

Amazingly, they met in Poland, before the war, and after he was liberated, Izzy went back and found Anna at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

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