A 97-year-old former Nazi secretary who worked in a concentration camp could be convicted of accessory to murder

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Prosecutors have requested that Irmgard Furchner be convicted and sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence

A 97-year-old former Nazi secretary who worked in a concentration camp concentration could be convicted of accessory to murder

Irmgard Furchner (Christian Charisius/Pool via REUTERS)

Prosecutors in Germany on Tuesday called for a 97-year-old woman who was the secretary to the SS commander at the Stutthof concentration camp to be declared guilty of accessory to murder and sentenced to a suspended sentence of two years in prison.

The trial of Irmgard Furchner began more than a year at the state court in Itzehoe, northern Germany.

Prosecutor Maxi Wantzensaid in closing arguments that “this trial has great historical significance,” the German news agency dpa reported.

The prosecution accused Furchner of being part of the apparatus that kept the Nazi Stutthof camp running during World War II.

She was accused of having “instigated and assisted those in charge of the camp in the systematic murder of prisoners between June 1943 and April 1945 in her role as stenographer and typist in the camp commandant's office.”

< p class="paragraph">Wantzen said Tuesday that the defendant would have been able to see large sections of the camp from her office, including the area where new prisoners were arriving. She must also have been able to see or smell the smoke from the cremated corpses in the crematorium, added the prosecutor.

Even if the defendant did not personally enter the field, “that was not necessary, in my view, to have knowledge of the mass murders,” Wantzen said.

Furchner has not responded to the accusations against him during the trial.

A 97-year-old former Nazi secretary who worked in a concentration camp could be sentenced for an accessory to murder

Irmgard Furchner (Bundesarchiv)

Tens of thousands of people were killed in Stutthof and its satellite bosses, or in so-called death marches at the end of the war.

Furchner is on trial in juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time of the crimes she is accused of. Closing arguments will continue on November 29.

she is accused of “complicity in murder in more than 10,000 cases” at the Stutthof concentration camp in present-day Poland, where she worked as a stenographer and secretary to the camp commandant between June 1943 and April 1945.

In this camp, near the city of Gdansk and where 65,000 people were killed< /b>, “Jewish detainees, Polish partisans and Soviet prisoners of war” were systematically annihilated, according to the prosecution.

According to lawyer Christoph Rückel, who has represented Shoah survivors for years, she “managed all the correspondence of the camp commandant.” In addition, “he also typed the execution and deportation orders and stamped his initials,” he told regional public broadcaster NDR.

However, according to his lawyer, Wolf Molkentin, Furchner was unaware of the exact fate of the detainees. “My client would have worked in the midst of SS experienced in violence. But should he share his level of knowledge?” he asked himself in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine.

“In my opinion this is not it must necessarily be so”, he added, insisting that the Nazi officials used to use “encoded” terms, in such a way that “a secretary could not decode them”.

(With information from AP and AFP)

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