This past Monday, formerly working as a secretary at a Nazi concentration camp, one 97-year-old woman was officially convicted in the wake of a trial that has been taking place for well over a year.
Back when the accused, Irmgard Furchner, was 18 and 19 years old, between the years 1943 and 1945, she was employed as a secretary by the Stutthof concentration camp’s commandant, Paul-Werner Hoppe. Due to her age at the time of the events, she was put on trial in a juvenile court.
Furchner was issued a suspended two-year jail sentence after being labeled as an accessory to the murders of over 10,505 prisoners and the attempted murder of five other people.
“The promotion of these acts by the accused took place through the completion of paperwork” while staying in the commander’s office, explained a statement from the court. “This activity was necessary for the organization of the camp and the execution of the cruel, systematic acts of killing.”
As of January 1942, Stutthof was a typical Nazi concentration camp. Well over 60,000 people met their demise in the camp. They were either killed via lethal injections or in mass gas chambers, while many more died from epidemics of typhus.
The trial for Furchner was carried out in northern Germany in the town of Itzehoe. As of September of last year, the proceedings were pushed back because she had run away from her nursing home. She did not make an appearance in court and was later apprehended by police officials and taken into custody and given an electronic tag.
The overall trial included the testimonies of a group of 30 survivors, along with the remaining family members of the camp prisoners of Stutthof. Historians claimed that Furchner was entirely aware that the people in the camp were being killed and tortured.
The judge for the case, in addition to court authorities, went to the area of the camp and marked where Furchner would have worked and sat while at the camp. They discovered that she would have at the time fully understood what had been taking place to the prisoners of the camp and was therefore marked as an active participant in the horrific events.
The role Furchner played “was necessary for the organization of the camp and the implementation of these cruel and systematic killing acts,” explained the court.
She stated that she was sorry for what had taken place and expressed deep regret about being employed by the Stutthuf camp in the closing remarks.
“In view of Furchner’s recent statement to the court that she ‘regretted everything,’ we were concerned that the court might accept her defense attorney’s plea for an acquittal,” stated the lead Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff, in a release. “Yet given her claim that she had no knowledge of the murders being committed in the camp, her regret was far from convincing.”