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German prosecutors call for ex-Nazi camp secretary to be convicted as an accessory to murder

German prosecutors called Tuesday 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.

Irmgard Furchner has been on trial for over 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 World War II.

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.”

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Wantzen said Tuesday 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.

German prosecutors are seeking to convict Irmgard Furchner, left, a former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp, as an accessory to murder.

German prosecutors are seeking to convict Irmgard Furchner, left, a former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp, as an accessory to murder.
(MARCUS BRANDT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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

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Furchner hasn’t 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.

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

 

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