German court convicts 97-year-old typist ex-Nazi | Court News

A German court has convicted a 97-year-old woman of complicity in the murders of more than 10,500 people while she worked as a typist at a Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

The state court in Itzehoe, northern Germany, sentenced Irmgard Furchner to two years’ probation – in line with the prosecutor’s request.

She was convicted under juvenile law, due to the fact that she was only 18 years old at the time of the crime.

Prosecutor Maxi Wantzen said the trial was of “outstanding historical importance”.

She added that it is “likely, given the passage of time, to be the last of its kind”.

systematic murder

Furchner worked at the Stutthof concentration camp from 1943 to 1945 and is accused of being part of the machinery that kept it running.

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

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 of exposure or were killed in the gas chambers.

Originally, a gathering point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles was removed from Danzig – now the Polish city of Gdansk – Stutthof from around 1940 was used as a “labor education camp”. labor” where forced laborers, mainly citizens of Poland and the Soviet Union, were subjected to forced labor. taken to execution and often died.

From mid-1944, tens of thousands of Jews from the slums of the Baltics and from the Auschwitz concentration camps poured into Stutthof, along with thousands of Polish civilians caught up in the Nazi brutal repression of the Nazis. with the uprising in Warsaw.

Others imprisoned there include political prisoners, convicted criminals, suspected homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

‘Absolute Hell’

Furchner’s defense attorneys asked her to be acquitted, arguing that the evidence did not clearly show that she knew of the systematic murders at the camp, meaning there was no evidence of intent to be responsible. criminal liability.

Al Jazeera correspondent Dominic Kane, reporting from Berlin, said Furchner was convicted on “the basis of orders she gave” to the commanding officer of the Stutthof camp.

“She told the court that she typed these orders and didn’t obey them, which is what the concentration camp guards said in court,” Kane said.

“The other interesting factor that is particularly interesting about this woman and this particular case is that she testified against the commander in a court in West Germany in the 1950s and he was sentenced to nine years. which he served his sentence and then went on to live in prison. rest of his life in freedom, despite being directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people,” he added.

“Now, justice has caught up with her, at least in the German sense.”

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

Her trial start time was delayed to September 2021 as she continued on the run for a short time. She was arrested several hours after failing to appear in court.

Furchner was inert in a wheelchair for the duration of the event. court proceedings in which some of the survivors of the Stutthof camp recounted their sufferings.

Wantzen thanked the witnesses, many of whom were also former co-plaintiffs, who said they spoke of the camp’s “absolute hell.”

“They feel it’s their duty, even though they have to summon the pain again and again to get it done,” she said.


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