94-year-old former Auschwitz guard jailed for five years

He had been accused of being complicit in the death of over 170,000

94-year-old former Auschwitz guard jailed for five years

Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial in Oswiecim, Poland. Image: Czarek Sokolowski / AP/Press Association Images

A former Auschwitz guard has been jailed for five years for complicity in 170,000 murders at the Nazi death camp.

Reinhold Hanning was convicted on Friday for his role in facilitating the slaughter following a trial in Germany.

The 94-year-old served at the camp in Poland during the Second World War between January 1942 and June 1944.

He oversaw the selection of prisoners for labour, and those sent to gas chambers, his four-month trial heard.

It is believed Hanning was also aware of the regular mass shootings of inmates, as well as the systematic starvation of prisoners.

He had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Sitting in a wheelchair, Hanning broke his silence last month to apologise to survivors for doing nothing to stop the killings.

He told the trial: "People were shot, gassed and burned. I could see how corpses were taken back and forth or moved out. I could smell the burning bodies; I knew corpses were being burned."

Hanning said: "I have been silent all my life. I want to tell you that I deeply regret having listened to a criminal organisation that is responsible for the deaths of many innocent people, for the destruction of countless families, for the misery, distress and suffering on the part of victims and their relatives. I am ashamed that I let this injustice happen and have done nothing to prevent it. I apologise formally for my behaviour. I am truly sorry."