Imrgard Furchner who worked for a Nazi concentration camp commander was found guilty of murdering over 10,505 people.
Irmgard Furchner, now 97, worked as a young typist at Stutthof from 1943 until 1945.
One of the few women charged for Nazi atrocities in decades, Imrgard Furchner received a two-year suspended sentence.
The judge agreed she knew what was going on at the camp even though she was a civilian worker.
Jewish prisoners, non-Jewish Poles, and captured Soviet soldiers are believed to have died in Stutthof.
From June 1944, hundreds of captives at Stutthof near Gdansk were murdered in gas chambers.
Survivors of the camp testified at Itzenhoe in northern Germany, some of whom perished during the trial.
After the trial started in September 2021, Imrgard Furchner Furchner fled her retirement home and was found by police in Hamburg.
Stutthof commandant Paul-Werner Hoppe was sentenced for complicity to murder in 1955 and released five years later.
After the 2011 conviction of former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, a sequence of prosecutions has taken place in Germany.
That verdict also allowed civilian worker Imrgard Furchner to stand prosecution since she handled Stutthof inmate correspondence for the camp commander.
She addressed the court “I’m sorry about everything that happened” after 40 days of silence.
Since she was under 21, the trial took place in a juvenile court. “I regret being in Stutthof,” she remarked.
Since she was one of several typists at Hoppe’s office, her defense lawyers believed she should be acquitted.
However, historian Stefan Hördler accompanied two judges to the camp, which was crucial to the trial. Furchner saw some of the camp’s worst conditions from the commandant’s office.
After the Nazis expanded Stutthof and used Zyklon B gas to speed up mass slaughter, 27 means of transport carrying 48,000 victims arrived between June and October 1944, the historian testified.
Hoppe’s office, according to Mr. Hördler, served as the “nerve center” for all activity at Stutthof.
Since 2011, guilty of Nazi crimes
- John Demjanjuk – imprisoned in 2011 for five years for his role in the murder of almost 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp, but released pending an appeal and died the following year at 91.
- Oskar Gröning, the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” was convicted of aiding the death of 300,000 Jews in 2015. He died at 96 during the appeals process.
- Reinhold Hanning, former Auschwitz SS guard convicted of aiding mass murder in June 2016, died a year later at 95 with appeals pending.
- Friedrich Karl Berger, 95, former Neuengamme guard deported to Germany from the US in February 2021. He was acquitted in Germany.
- Josef S, was sentenced to five years in June 2022 for helping kill over 3,500 Sachsenhausen concentration camp detainees. He is Germany’s oldest war crimes convict at 101, although his age and poor health mean he won’t do time.
Although some Nazi-era crimes are still being investigated, Furchner’s trial may be the last in Germany.
In recent years, two further instances involving Stutthof Nazi crimes have been heard in court.
The court found a former camp guard unfit for trial last year despite a “high degree of probability” of complicity.’
Bruno Dey, another SS camp guard, received a two-year sentence for involvement in the death of more than inmates in 2020.