Nazi concentration camp secretary appeals conviction
A 97-year-old German woman who worked as a secretary at a Nazi concentration camp has appealed her recent conviction. Irmgard Furchner, who was a teenager when she worked at the Stutthof camp, was given a two-year suspended sentence for aiding in the deaths of thousands of prisoners.
The appeal to Germany’s Federal Court of Justice was filed by Furchner’s lawyer and backed by another attorney, according to a statement by the Itzehoe state court on Wednesday.
Furchner was found guilty last week of being an accessory to the killing of 10,505 people and the attempted murder of five others during her time working as a civilian typist at the Stutthof concentration camp from 1943 to 1945, while she was 18-19 years old.
She was tried before a juvenile court due to her age at the time of the crimes, and was given a two-year suspended sentence.
Furchner’s lawyers argued that her knowledge of the killings that took place at Stutthof – which was located on occupied Polish territory near the city of Gdansk – could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, presiding Judge Dominik Gross declared that it was “simply beyond all imagination” that Furchner could have been unaware of what was happening in the camp.
Although Furchner did not directly participate in any of the murders, a German legal precedent allows anyone who worked at a Nazi concentration camp to be prosecuted as an accessory to the murders committed there.
The Stutthof camp operated from September 1939 to May 1945, with an estimated 65,000 inmates dying from malnutrition, untreated diseases, unbearable working conditions, abuse, and executions during that time.
Although nearly a century old, Furcher is not the oldest person to be convicted for participation in the Holocaust. A 101-year-old former SS guard reportedly became the oldest Nazi criminal ever to be found guilty when he was sentenced to five years in prison in June for aiding more than 3,500 murders at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.