German prosecutors on Tuesday asked that a 97-year-old woman who was the secretary to the SS commandant of the Stutthof concentration camp be convicted of accessory to murder and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Irmgard Furchner has been on trial for more than a year at the Itzehoe state court in northern Germany. Prosecutor Maxi Wantzen said in closing arguments that “this process has outstanding historical importance,” the German news agency dpa reported.
Prosecutors accuse Furchner of being part of the apparatus that helped the Nazis run the Stutthof camp during World War II.
She is alleged to have “aided and abetted the camp managers in the systematic murder of those incarcerated there between June 1943 and April 1945 in her role as a stenographer and typist in the camp commandant’s office.”
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Wantzen said Tuesday that the defendant would have been able to see much of the camp from her office, including an area where new prisoners were arriving. She must also have been able to see and smell the smoke from the burning of bodies in the crematorium, the prosecutor added.
Even if the defendant did not enter the fenced-in camp herself, “that was not necessary from my point of view to have knowledge of the mass murders,” Wantzen said.
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Furchner has not responded to the charges against him during the trial. There are no formal grounds in the German judicial system.
Tens of thousands of people died in Stutthof and its satellite camps, or in so-called death marches at the end of the war.
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Furchner is being tried in juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes. Closing arguments will continue on November 29.