Oskar Groening, 94, sat impassively as judge Franz Kompisch said "The defendant is found guilty of accessory to murder in 300,000 legally connected cases" of deported Jews who were sent to the gas chambers in 1944.

Groening served as a bookkeeper at the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, sorting and counting the money taken from those killed or used as slave labour, collecting cash in different European currencies, and shipping it back to his Nazi bosses in Berlin.

The sentence was longer than the three and a half years prosecutors had demanded in the court in the northern city of Lueneburg, which has been hearing the case since April.

Groening had yesterday seized a last opportunity to address the judges and said he was 'very sorry' for his time stationed at the concentration camp, telling them that 'no one should have taken part in Auschwitz'.

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