Nazi camp secretary, 97, set to avoid jail term as prosecutors ask for two-year suspended sentence

22 November 2022, 23:38

Irmgard Furchner was a Nazi concentration camp secretary
Irmgard Furchner was a Nazi concentration camp secretary. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

German prosecutors have called for a 97-year-old woman who was the secretary to the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp to be convicted as an accessory to murder and given a two-year suspended sentence.

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Irmgard Furchner has been on trial for more than a year at the Itzehoe state court in northern Germany.

Prosecutor Maxi Wantzen said in closing arguments that "these proceedings are of outstanding historical significance", the German news agency dpa reported.

Prosecutors accuse Furchner of being part of the apparatus that helped the Nazis' Stutthof camp function during the Second World War.

She is alleged to have "aided and abetted those in charge of the camp in the systematic killing of those imprisoned there between June 1943 and April 1945 in her function as a stenographer and typist in the camp commandant's office".

Read more: Nazi guard, 101, jailed for five years for serving in concentration camp

Entrance gate to Stutthof Concentration Camp
Entrance gate to Stutthof Concentration Camp. Picture: Alamy
Irmgard F. sits in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial day.
Irmgard F. sits in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial day. Picture: Alamy

Wantzen said on Tuesday that the defendant would have been able to see large parts of the camp from her office, including an area where new prisoners arrived.

She also must have been able to see and smell smoke from the burning of bodies at the crematorium, the prosecutor added.

Even if the defendant did not enter the fenced-in camp herself "that was not necessary from my point of view to have knowledge of the mass murders", Wantzen said.

Furchner has not responded to the charges against her during the trial. There are no formal pleas in the German judicial system.

Tens of thousands of people died at Stutthof and its satellite camps, or on so-called death marches at the end of the war.

Furchner is being tried in a juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes. Closing arguments are to continue on November 29.

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