Germany: Court convicts 97-year-old former party secretary in a fascist camp


A German court on Tuesday convicted a 97-year-old woman as an accomplice in more than 10,000 murders for her role as secretary to the SS commander of the Nazi concentration camp Stutthof during World War II.

Irmgard Furchner was accused of being part of the machinery that kept the camp running. The German news agency dpa reported that a court in the northern German state of Itzehoe had sentenced her to two years of probation.

She is alleged to have “assisted and abetted the camp administrators in the systematic killing of those detained there from June 1943 to April 1945 as a stenographer and typist.” machine in the camp commander’s office.”

The verdict and verdict were in line with the prosecutor’s request. Defense attorneys asked their client to be acquitted, arguing that the evidence did not clearly show that Furchner knew about the systematic killings at the camp, meaning there was no evidence of intent to follow. claim criminal liability.

In her closing statement, Furchner said she regretted what had happened and regretted that she was in Stutthof at the time.

Furchner was tried in juvenile court because she was not yet 21 years old at the time of the alleged crime.

The defendant tried to skip the September 2021 trial start date but was later arrested by the police and detained for several days.

Prosecutors in Itzehoe said during the proceedings that Furchner’s trial could be the last of its kind. However, a special federal prosecutor’s office in Ludwigsburg tasked with investigating Nazi-era war crimes said five other cases are currently pending with prosecutors in various other regions. Germany, where charges of murder and complicity in murder have no statute of limitations. .

Originally a gathering point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles displaced from Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk, Stutthof from around 1940 was used as a so-called “education camp” labor” where forced laborers, mainly Polish and Soviet citizens, were sent to serve sentences and often die.

Since mid-1944, tens of thousands of Jews from the ghettos of the Baltics and from Auschwitz flooded the camp along with thousands of Polish civilians caught up in the Nazis’ brutal repression of the uprising. in Warsaw.

Others detained there include political prisoners, accused criminals, persons suspected of homosexual activity, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

More than 60,000 people died there from lethal injection of gasoline or phenol directly to the heart, being shot or starved. Others were forced out in the winter without clothes until they died from exposure, or died in the gas chambers.

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