A 94-year-old former Nazi officer, Reinhold Hanning, went on trial in a German court on Thursday for being an accessory to the murder of at least 1,70,000 people at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland, reported The New York Times. Hanning, is alleged to have joined Adolf Hitler's Schutzstaffel paramilitary organisation and took part in battles in eastern Europe, before becoming a guard at the camp in 1942. A key part in the case against Hanning is that he was at the concentration camp between May and July 1944, when over 4,30,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to it and over 3,00,000 were exterminated in gas chambers on arrival.

Hanning's attorney said that his client acknowledged serving at the Auschwitz camp, but denied having any knowledge of the gas chamber in the complex. Justin Sonder, a German who survived the Auschwitz camp in his youth, said the trial should have taken place "40, 50 years ago". The trial comes just months after another Auschwitz guard, Oskar Gröning, was found guilty for complicity in 3,00,000 counts of murder. The 94-year-old, who collected luggage and valuables from Hungarian Jews, was sentenced to four years in prison.