Nazi war criminals: Justice done?

Published 8:35 AM ET, Thu July 16, 2015
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Former Nazi officer Oskar Groening, known as "the bookkeeper of Auschwitz," was sentenced this week to four years in prison. Groening, who's in his 90s, was found guilty by a court in Lueneburg, Germany, of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. His was the latest in a long string of prosecutions for crimes committed under Adolf Hitler's regime during World War II. Hans-Jurgen Wege/Getty Images
Onetime Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk spent decades in and out of courts fighting to prove he was not a guard known to inmates at the Sobibor death camp as "Ivan the Terrible." An Israeli court sentenced him to death in 1988, but that conviction was later overturned. In the end, a German court found him guilty of assisting in mass murder as a guard at the Nazi-run Sobibor death camp in German-occupied Poland. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and died in 2012 in a home for the elderly where he was living pending appeal. CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Perhaps the most famous Nazi war crimes trial was that of Adolf Eichmann, who was hiding in Argentina when he was seized by Israeli agents. He was brought to Jerusalem and tried in a protective glass booth flanked by Israeli police. Responsible for helping to organize the deportation of about 1.5 million Jews to concentration camps, Eichmann was found guilty of crimes against the Jewish people. He was hanged in 1962. GPO/Getty Images
Trials of major war criminals, including the upper echelon of surviving Nazi officials, took place in Nuremberg, Germany, on the heels of World War II. The Nuremberg Trials resulted in 12 death sentences, three life imprisonments, four shorter prison terms and three acquittals. Among those sentenced to death at Nuremberg was Hans Frank, former governor general of occupied Poland. Frank was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was executed by hanging in 1946. Imagno/Getty Images
Hermann Goering was the highest-ranking Nazi tried at Nuremberg. He issued the order for Hitler's security police to carry out a "Final Solution" to the "Jewish question" -- resulting in the Holocaust. He was sentenced to death but committed suicide before he could be executed. Keystone/Getty Images
Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher was a key voice of anti-Semitism in pre-war Germany as the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer newspaper. He was tried at Nuremberg, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed in 1946. Imagno/Getty Images
Rudolf Hess (center) was a longtime personal aide to Adolf Hitler. At the Nuremberg trials, he was sentenced to life in prison and ultimately committed suicide behind bars in 1987, at age 93. With him were Goering (left), Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Wilhelm Keitel. All but Hess were sentenced to death. Central Press/Getty Images
A key early supporter of Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg went on to become the minister responsible for eastern territories occupied by the Nazis -- where most of the death camps were located. Tried at Nuremberg, he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggressive warfare, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity in 1946. He was sentenced to death and hanged. Imagno/Getty Images
Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, was minister of armaments under the Nazi regime. He used forced labor to keep the German economy going during the war, and was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Speer was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was released in 1966. He went on to write two autobiographical books, "Inside the Third Reich" and "Spandau: The Secret Diaries." Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ilse Koch was the wife of Buchenwald camp commander Karl Koch. Known as "The Witch of Buchenwald" by the inmates because of her cruelty and lasciviousness toward prisoners, she was sentenced in 1951 to life in prison. STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
One of the Nazi regime's top military doctors was Karl Genzken, a leading defendant at the second round of Nuremberg Trials, which took place from 1946 to 1949 and resulted in scores of convictions of bureaucrats, soldiers, physicians, judges and industrialists for crimes committed under the Third Reich. Genzken was found guilty of experimenting on people using poisons and incendiary bombs and was sentenced to life in prison. Other doctors, such as the notorious Josef Mengele, committed inhumane medical experiments on Auschwitz prisoners. Mengele was never caught or tried. Chronos Dokumentarfilm GmbHullstein bild/Getty Images