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German court sentences former Nazi camp secretary - DW - 12/20/2022

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A court in northern Germany on Tuesday sentenced Irmgard F., a former secretary of the Nazi concentration camp in Stutthof, of complicity in the murder of more than 10,000 people. She received a two-year suspended prison sentence, as requested by prosecutors.

From June 1943 to April 1945, she worked as a stenographer and typist Stutthof death camp, near what was then Nazi-occupied Danzig and is now Gdansk.

An estimated 65,000 people died at Stutthof, including Jewish prisoners, Polish partisans and Soviet Russian POWs.

Irmgard F. was “aware” of the atrocities in Stutthof

The prosecution had said that the accused’s office work “ensure the smooth running of the camp” and gave him “knowledge of all happenings and goings-on at Stutthof”.

Defense lawyers had asked for their client to be found not guilty, arguing that she was unaware of the scale of the murder and the crimes committed in the camp.

The judges in charge of the case had visited the former Stutthof camp to clarify the areas she could see from her office at the time. They concluded that it was “simply beyond imagination” that she had not noticed the killings.

“During her stay at the Stutthof, the accused did not ignore what was going on there,” said Dominik Groß, the president of the court.

Irmgard F. remained silent for much of the trial, but said towards the end: “I’m sorry for everything that happened. I regret that I was in Stutthof at the time. I can’t help say something else.”

Last year, she was arrested after apparently trying to evade trial By fleeing the retirement home where she lived.

Holocaust survivor: “The biggest fish have been released”

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children’s court

The 97 year old man was tried in juvenile court in Itzehoe, a small town north of Hamburg, because she was only 18 or 19 at the time of the crime.

Prosecutors had requested a minor suspended sentence of two years, the longest possible without a prison sentence.

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel which has helped bring many Nazi war criminals to justice, told DW that while the verdict was legally the strongest judgment possible, it was still another way.” absurd”.

“It’s the best sentence we could have gotten because it’s being tried in juvenile court. That’s part of the problem here,” he said.

“In a way, the reprieve is absolutely absurd because the reprieve means that the sentence will only be carried out if the person repeats the crime. Obviously, he is not about to repeat the crime.”

“Anyone involved in these crimes should pay for them”

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Trial of “historical significance”

“This trial is of exceptional historical significance,” prosecutor Maxi Wantzen said at a recent hearing, adding that it was “potentially, due to the passage of time, the last of its kind.”

But Zuroff, who is commonly referred to as the “Nazi hunter”, at variance.

More than 40 years ago, a book was already written on […] the first one [Holocaust-related] trial in unified Germany. And the title was “The Last Nazi”. I can tell you that over 100 Nazi war criminals have been convicted in the meantime,” he said.

“So I wouldn’t run or rush to call this the final trial. I know for a fact that we at the Wiesenthal Center are busy trying to find survivors from the Ravensbrück camps in northern Germany who can testify against a person who served as a guard,” he added.

German courts have issued verdicts in several Holocaust-related cases since the 2011 conviction of a former Nazi guard.

However, several other cases were dropped due to the death of the defendants or their physical inability to stand trial.

fb/sms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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