Former Nazi secretary appeals conviction of accessory to murder of 10,500 prisoners at age of 97
A 97-year-old woman convicted this month as an accessory in the murder of more than 10,500 people at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp during World War II appealed her case Wednesday.
Irmgard Furchner served as a secretary to the SS commander of the concentration camp, and on Dec. 20, was found to have knowingly participated in the system that led to the death of 10,505 people in the camp near Danzig, now known as the Polish city of Gdańsk.
She was also found to have been an accessory in attempted murder in five cases.
GERMAN COURT CONVICTS 97-YEAR-OLD WOMAN OF WORKING AS SECRETARY TO NAZI SS AT CONCENTRATION CAMP
The German court argued that Furchner, who started her role at the age of 18, “knew and, through her work as a stenographer in the commandant’s office of the Stutthof concentration camp from June 1, 1943, to April 1, 1945, deliberately supported the fact that 10,505 prisoners were cruelly killed by gassings, by hostile conditions in the camp.”
She was also found to have knowledge of prisoner transport to the Auschwitz death camp and forced participation in death marches at the end of the war.
“The promotion of these acts by the accused took place through the completion of paperwork” a court statement said. “This activity was necessary for the organization of the camp and the execution of the cruel, systematic acts of killing.”
GERMAN PROSECUTORS CALL FOR EX-NAZI CAMP SECRETARY TO BE CONVICTED AS AN ACCESSORY TO MURDER
Furchner was granted a two-year suspended sentence.
A lawyer for a co-plaintiff and her defense lawyers appealed the verdict Wednesday.
The defense has argued there was no evidence to support beyond doubt that Furchner was aware of the systematic killings at the Stutthof concentration camp.
Presiding Judge Dominik Gross shot down the defense’s attempts to have the former secretary for a SS commander acquitted and said it was “simply beyond all imagination” that Furchner was unaware of the killings at the camp – noting she would have been able to see from the office the crematorium.
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Some 65,000 Jews, Poles and political prisoners were killed in the camp that stood from 1939 until it was liberated in 1945.
Furchner was tried in a juvenile court even though she 18 and 19 when the alleged crimes occurred as the court could not establish beyond a doubt her “maturity of mind” at the time.
The 97-year-old reportedly apologized in her closing statement and said she regretted working at Stutthof.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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