Statement to the Press from Counselors of Auschwitz-Survivors – February 10th, 2016

Legal Counsels Representing Co-Plaintiffs:

Attorney at Law Thomas Walther

Professor Cornelius Nestler

Attorney at Law Manuel Mayer


You will find a more detailed declaration in German on the website:



Trial against Reinhold Hanning before the Detmold District Court

We are the legal counsels of more than 25 Jewish co-plaintiffs. Their next of kin were murdered in Auschwitz between January 1943 and June 1944. Almost all of our clients were selected for labor on the ramp and survived Auschwitz, death marches and other camps of the SS.

It is the hope for justice that brings the co-plaintiffs to these proceedings.

The accused Hanning will be tried for his participation in the murder of our clients’ parents and siblings as well as the extermination of their families. Seventy years have passed since then. Pain and loss, decades of despairing nightmares surrounding the hell of Auschwitz will be heard before the Lüneburg District Court in the voices of those of our clients who will give testimony in the trial.

The co-plaintiffs wish to bear witness, and thereby also make evident to the broader public, what the “Holocaust” has brought upon them individually as well as their families. The co-plaintiffs place great emphasis on having the opportunity to describe to the court the consequences that any participation in these murderous deeds produced for their own individual lives. Justice will be granted to the co-plaintiffs only if the trial does not stop at presenting numbers of murdered victims but also grants a voice to parents and siblings, bringing an image of these persons to life. In the courtroom, robbed human dignity can be restituted by way of respect for the co-plaintiffs.

The co-plaintiffs have decided to participate in these proceedings fully aware of the great strain this will put on them individually. They have taken this burden upon themselves, even in old age, because they believe they owe it to their murdered families to be recognized in a German court case.

After the trial against Oskar Groening, these proceedings against Hanning are one further step to bring an end to a failure of justice that has lasted for almost 50 years. Also in these proceedings, the standards for culpable behavior are applied that were and are valid in any “normal” criminal proceeding 50 years ago as well as now.

And finally, the prosecution in the criminal proceedings against Hanning is taking the right path. The indictment against Hanning does not only include the murder of those victims who where taken to the gas chambers right after their arrival on the ramp, but the indictment also includes the systematic annihilation of those, who were selected for slave labour, due to the living conditions and particular the cruel death from starvation.

The trial promises justice, albeit far too late.


                                                                                                      Detmold, 10 February 2016