• Mié. Feb 8th, 2023

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97-year-old former Nazi death camp secretary appeals conviction

A 97-year-old woman is appealing her conviction in Germany for being an accessory to more than 10,000 murders when she was secretary to the commandant of the Nazi concentration camp Stutthof during World War II.

In a December 20 verdict, Itzehoe State Court gave Irmgard Furchner a two-year suspended sentence for accessory to murder in 10,505 cases and accessory to attempted murder in five cases.

The court said Wednesday that both the defense and a lawyer for a co-plaintiff filed appeals with 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.

The case built on German legal precedent established over the past decade that allows anyone who helped run Nazi death camps and concentration camps to be prosecuted as an accessory to murders committed there, even without evidence of involvement in a specific murder.

Defense lawyers had sought Furchner’s acquittal, arguing that the evidence had not proven 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 in announcing the verdict that it was «simply beyond 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 was unable to establish beyond doubt her «mental maturity» at the time.