death camp | 

Nazi camp secretary (97) found guilty of role in over 10,500 murders appeals conviction

On December 20 the Itzehoe state court gave Irmgard Furchner a two-year suspended sentence

Irmgard Furchner© AP/PA Images

Irmgard Furchner© AP

AP

A 97-year-old woman is appealing against her conviction in Germany of being an accessory to more than 10,000 murders when she was a secretary to the commander of the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp during the Second World War.

On December 20 the Itzehoe state court gave Irmgard Furchner a two-year suspended sentence for being an accessory to murder in 10,505 cases and an accessory to attempted murder in five cases.

The court said on Wednesday that both the defence and a lawyer for a co-plaintiff filed appeals to the Federal Court of Justice.

It was not immediately clear when the federal court will consider the case.

Furchner was accused of being part of the apparatus that helped the camp near Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk, function between June 1943 and April 1945.

Irmgard Furchner© AP

The case relied on a German legal precedent established over the last decade that allows anyone who helped Nazi death camps and concentration camps function to be prosecuted as an accessory to the murders committed there, even without evidence of participation in a specific killing.

Defence lawyers had sought Furchner’s acquittal, arguing that the evidence had not shown beyond doubt that she knew about the systematic killings at the Stutthof camp, meaning there was no proof of intent as required for criminal liability.

But presiding judge Dominik Gross said as he announced the verdict that it was “simply beyond all imagination” that Furchner did not notice the killings at Stutthof.

Furchner was tried in juvenile court because she was 18 and 19 when the alleged crimes were committed and the court could not establish beyond a doubt her “maturity of mind” at the time.


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