BERLIN — On the opening day of his trial on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, the man known as the "accountant of Auschwitz" told of the moment he lost his "euphoria for Adolf Hitler."
He was standing on a train platform after Hungarian Jews had been unloaded at the Nazi death camp. The unwitting condemned already had been sent to the gas chambers. The newly arrived slave laborers had been sent in a different direction.
Left behind on the platform was a crying infant. As the child cried, one of the now 93-year-old Oskar Groening's fellow SS officers approached it, grabbed it by the leg, dashed its head against a nearby truck, then tossed the lifeless body into the truck.
As horrific as that story is, what might have been more shocking was Groening's next observation.
"I don't know what else I could have expected the guard to do with the baby," he mused. "I suppose he could have shot it, though."