The German justice has issued this Tuesday a sentence of great depth in the strategy of accountability of the collaborators of the Holocaust.
A judge at the Itzehoe regional court, northwest of Hamburg, has sentenced a former secretary of a Nazi concentration camp to two years in prison on probation.
The court found 97-year-old Irmgard Furchner guilty of complicity in 10,505 murders and attempted murder in five other cases.
According to the Court, the defendant worked as a civilian employee in the commandant's office in the Nazi concentration camp of Stutthof, from June 1943 to April 1945. During those years she helped those in charge of the camp in the systematic murder of inmates.
That argument, that of condemning the work of people who held second-rank positions even though they did not directly intervene in any specific crime of Nazism, is the one that the courts have explored in recent years to try to do justice after decades without paying attention to those subalterns from the concentration camps.
Irmgard Furchner, before hearing the sentence in Itzehoe, this Tuesday.
Christian Charisius (AP)
In the Stutthof camp, located in Poland near the city of Gdansk, the SS imprisoned more than 100,000 people in deplorable conditions during World War II, many of them Jews and political prisoners.
According to historians, some 65,000 people died.
The camp was notorious for the deliberate disrepair in which the prisoners were kept.
Most died of epidemics, weakness and mistreatment.
The camp also had a gas chamber and a facility to shoot prisoners in the neck.
Furchner was between the ages of 18 and 19 at the time of the crime.
In the trial, which lasted for 40 days, the Prosecutor's Office accused the former secretary of having "aided and abetted the people in charge of the camp in the systematic murder of those imprisoned there between June 1943 and April 1945 in their work as stenographer and typist in the camp commandant's office."
The former secretary has witnessed heartbreaking accounts of her suffering from several Stutthof survivors, sitting in a wheelchair.
Shortly before the sentence was handed down, the woman extended a kind of apology: "I'm sorry for everything that happened and I'm sorry I was in Stutthof at the time," she said.
"It is all I can say".
The trial began late because the defendant fled on the scheduled day of the trial.
The Prosecutor's Office issued an arrest warrant and the old woman was located hours later on a street in Hamburg.
In 1979, the Bundestag finally abolished the statute of limitations on the crimes of murder and complicity in murder, a decision that allows suspects fit to stand trial to face trials until a very old age.
In 2011 there was a turn in German justice with the conviction of the Ukrainian John Demjanjuk, which opened the possibility of trying anyone who had helped in the Nazi extermination machine, even if they had not directly participated in the executions.
Demjanjuk, who was 91 years old, was sentenced to five years as an accessory to the death of 27,900 Jews in the Sobibor camp.
After that case there have been sentences to nonagenarians.
This could be one of the last trials of accomplices in Nazi extermination due to the advanced age of the defendants.
At the end of June 2022, the Neuruppin Regional Court sentenced a 100-year-old man, a former Sachsenhausen concentration camp guard, to five years in prison for complicity in the murder of thousands of prisoners.
According to the Central Office in Ludwigsburg (Baden-Württemberg), there are five other preliminary proceedings against alleged Nazi criminals pending in the public prosecutor's offices, one in the authorities in Erfurt, Coburg and Hamburg and two in Neuruppin.
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