The SS ground up the bones of the corpses and sold the meal to a fertilizer company in the vicinity. The ashes of the incinerated bodies were used in road construction, the hair of the women was spun into yarn and processed into felt, and gold tooth fillings were removed and melted, formed into bars and turned over to the Reichsbank, Germany’s central bank during the Nazi era.

The judiciary’s pursuit of those involved in the Holocaust stood in sharp contrast to the scope of the crime. According to historian Andreas Eichmüller, of the 6,500 members of the SS who served in Auschwitz and survived the war, only 29 were convicted in West Germany and reunified Germany, while about 20 were convicted in East Germany.

In February, German prosecutors conducted a wave of raids targeting former SS concentration camp guards. It was hoped the proceedings could help make up for decades of inaction. Instead, they will likely mark the latest chapter in the German judiciary’s shameful approach to the Holocaust.

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