Nazi “Secretary of Evil” Irmgard Furchner sentenced by German court

A former Nazi concentration camp typist known as the “Secretary of Evil” was convicted by a German court for her role in more than 10,000 murders during the Holocaust.

Irmgard Furchner, 97, was found Tuesday guilty of complicity in the deaths of 10,505 people at Stutthof, the internment camp near Gdansk, Poland, where she served as a typist and stenographer from 1943 to 1945, the BBC reported.

Furchner, who was tried as a juvenile for being under 21 while working at the camp, was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Although Furchner’s lawyers have repeatedly denied her knowledge of the Nazi regime’s atrocities, Judge Dominik Groß of the Itzehoe District Court in northern Germany ruled that she had known of the camp’s murderous intentions.

After several months of court proceedings, initially delayed by her escape attempt in September 2021, Furchner broke her silence about her time in Stutthof earlier this month.

Furchner was a teenager when she worked as a secretary in Stutthof.
Furchner was a teenager when she worked as a secretary in Stutthof.
via REUTERS

“I’m sorry for everything that happened,” she told the court, her face mostly covered by a mask and sunglasses. “I regret that I was in Stutthof at the time.”

Stutthof, the first Nazi camp established outside of Germany, opened in 1939. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, most of the inmates were non-Jewish Poles, although there were also several thousand Jewish prisoners from Warsaw and Bialystok.

More than 60,000 people died in the camp before it was liberated by the Allies on May 9, 1945.

From 1939 to 1945 more than 60,000 people died in Sutthof.
From 1939 to 1945 more than 60,000 people died in Sutthof.
AFP via Getty Images

During her time as secretary, Furchner worked closely with Stutthof’s commander, Paul-Werner Hoppe, who was in prison in the late 1950s as an accessory to murder. Historian Stefan Hördler previously testified that Hoppe’s office was the “nerve center” for the camp’s ills.

Hördler and two judges visited Stutthof twice during the proceedings, and it became clear that Furchner would have seen the miserable conditions from the headquarters.

The official findings were supported by testimonies from Stutthof survivors, who are also now in their 80s and 90s.

Furchner around 1944 when she was working at Sutthoff.
Furchner around 1944 when she was working at Sutthoff.
Newsflash

“If she worked as the commandant’s secretary, then she knew exactly what happened,” Risa Silbert, 93, told the court in August.

Josef Salmonovic, 84, whose father was killed in Stutthof, also traveled from Vienna to testify. Last December, he told reporters that Furchner was “indirectly guilty.”

“[She is guilty] even if she was just sitting in the office putting her stamp on my father’s death certificate,” he said.

Everyone stands up in the Itzehoe courtroom as the verdict is read on Tuesday.
Everyone stands up in the Itzehoe courtroom as the verdict is read on Tuesday.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

After Tuesday’s verdict, survivor Manfred Goldberg complained that the two-year suspended sentence was a weak sentence.

“No one in their right mind would send a 97-year-old to prison, but the verdict should reflect the seriousness of the crimes,” he told the BBC.

“If a shoplifter is sentenced to two years, how is it that someone convicted of aiding and abetting 10,000 murders gets the same sentence?”

Several camp survivors testified against Furchner for several months.
Several camp survivors testified against Furchner for several months.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Furchner was tried as a juvenile and received a two-year suspended sentence.
Furchner was tried as a juvenile and received a two-year suspended sentence.
via REUTERS

In his address to the court, the judge said the trial against Furchner would be “one of the last criminal trials in the world relating to crimes of the Nazi era”.

Furchner’s conviction is the latest in a series of similar cases that have scoured the German courts in recent years, and comes at a particularly tense time as the US experiences a rising tide of anti-Semitic violence and contempt.

Last week, the entrance of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md., was vandalized with the inscription “Jews Not Wanted.” A Jewish man was also pushed by an unknown assailant in Central Park and called anti-Semitic slurs, saying “Kanye [West] 2024.” The rapper famously made headlines this fall for a series of anti-Jewish diatribes.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/20/nazi-secretary-of-evil-97-convicted-by-german-court/ Nazi “Secretary of Evil” Irmgard Furchner sentenced by German court

JACLYN DIAZ

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