Former Nazi death camp secretary, 97, convicted of complicity in 10,500 murders

Irmgard Furchner, 97, worked at the Stutthof concentration camp during the Second World War

Irmgard Furchner was given a two-year suspended sentence for her role as secretary to an SS commander. AP
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An elderly woman has been convicted of being an accessory to murder for her role as a secretary to the SS commander of the Nazis' Stutthof concentration camp during the Second World War.

Irmgard Furchner, 97, was part of the apparatus that helped the camp function and was convicted of aiding and abetting the murders of 10,500 people.

The Itzehoe state court, in Germany, gave her a two-year suspended sentence.

She “aided and abetted those in charge of the camp in the systematic killing of those imprisoned there between June 1943 and April 1945 in her function as a stenographer and typist in the camp commandant’s office”, the charge said.

Furchner told the court she was sorry for what had happened and regretted that she had been at Stutthof at the time.

She was tried in a juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time.

Initially a collection point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles removed from Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk, Stutthof was used as a so-called “work education camp” where forced labourers, primarily Polish and Soviet citizens, were sent to serve sentences and often died.

From mid-1944, tens of thousands of Jews from ghettos in the Baltics and from Auschwitz filled the camp along with thousands of Polish civilians swept up in the brutal Nazi suppression of the Warsaw uprising.

Others incarcerated included political prisoners, accused criminals and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

More than 60,000 people were killed there by being given lethal injections of petrol or phenol directly to their hearts, shot or starved.

Others were forced outside in winter without clothing until they died of exposure, or were put to death in a gas chamber.

Updated: December 20, 2022, 1:01 PM