Germany: Former Nazi camp secretary, 97, appeals conviction

Dec 27, 2022, 12:28 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2022, 2:29 am
FILE -- Irmgard Furchner, accused of being part of the apparatus that helped the Nazis' Stutthof co...

FILE -- Irmgard Furchner, accused of being part of the apparatus that helped the Nazis' Stutthof concentration camp function, appears in court for the verdict in her trial in Itzehoe, Germay, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. The 97-year-old woman is appealing against her conviction last week by a German court of being an accessory to more than 10,000 murders in her role as a secretary to the commander of the Nazis' Stutthof concentration camp during World War II. (Christian Charisius/Pool Photo via DPA, file)

(Christian Charisius/Pool Photo via DPA, file)

A 97-year-old woman is appealing 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 World War II.

In a Dec. 20 verdict, 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 Wednesday that both the defense and a lawyer for a co-plaintiff filed appeals to the Federal Court of Justice.

It wasn’t 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 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.

Defense lawyers had sought Furchner’s acquittal, arguing that the evidence hadn’t 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t establish beyond a doubt her “maturity of mind” at the time.

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Germany: Former Nazi camp secretary, 97, appeals conviction