Prosecutors in Germany have indicted a 95-year-old woman for her role in supporting the Nazi murder mechanism as a concentration camp secretary, charging her with 10,000 counts of involvement in murder and complicity in murder attempts.
Prosecutors said Friday that the indictment against the woman, identified only as Irmgard F. Under German privacy laws, came after a five-year investigation. They said she was under 21 at the time of the crimes attributed to her, and that she will be tried in a juvenile court, where she will likely get a lighter sentence.
Between June 1943 and April 1945, the woman worked as a secretary to the camp commander at Stutthof, 20 miles from the Polish city of Gdansk, which was known as Danzig under German rule at the time.
“It’s about the concrete responsibility that you take on in the day-to-day operation of the camp,” said Peter Mueller Raku of the prosecutor’s offices in Itzehoe north of Hamburg.
A regional court will decide whether to follow the indictment and begin the trial, a process that could take from a few months to years.
Last year a 93-year-old man Sentenced In a juvenile court in Hamburg for being an accomplice to the 5,230 murders when he was 17 in Stutthof.
More than 60,000 people are believed to have been killed or killed in Stutthof, which was the first concentration camp established by the Nazi regime outside the borders of Germany.
With the last people implicated in the Nazi regime’s atrocities close to death, German authorities are pressing hard to bring as many of them as possible to justice.
John Demjanjuk, who had worked for years as a car worker in the United States, was convicted in a Munich court in 2011 on charges of killing 28,000 Jews while he was a guard at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland in 1943.
After this case, other local prosecutors began investigating the responsibility of other concentration camp guards who survived, accusing them of having participated in several of the murders as opposed to the documented single murder.
In 2018, another former guard from Stutthof was brought to trial, but this process was eventually put on hold because the accused, who died in 2019, was often too ill to attend.
“It is a true milestone in judicial accountability,” said Onur Ozata, the attorney representing survivors at the trial of the former camp secretary. “The fact that a secretary in this system, a bureaucratic gear, can be brought to justice is something new.”
The case will hinge on whether the former secretary played a role in the atrocities committed by the guards inside the camp.
Prosecutors said she admitted that much of the camp-related correspondence and numerous files crossed her office, and that she was aware of some of the inmate killings. But she maintains that she was not aware that large numbers of camp inmates were gassed while she was working there. She also said that her office window was pointed away from the camp, so that you cannot see what is going on, according to media reports.
“It is fair to say that the majority of these women were aware of the persecution of Jews and that some of them knew of their murder,” said Rachel Century, a British historian who wrote a book. Managers in the Third Reich. “But some trustees have had roles that gave them greater access to information than others.”
Itzehoe’s attorney general’s office has been investigating the case for five years, interviewing survivors in both the United States and Israel, as well as a former camp secretary. They also hired an independent historian to conduct an evaluation.
“It’s a very complex issue,” said Mr. Mueller Raku.
According to public radio that He gave an interview to her Last year, Mrs. F. In court as a witness in 1957, when the camp commander, Paul Werner Hoppe, was tried. Mr. Hobby was found guilty of his crimes, but was released in the 1960s and died in 1974. Prosecutors have not provided details of the life of the former camp secretary after serving in Stutthof.
Said Jens Christian Wagner, Director of the Buchenwald Center and Mittelbau Dora camping.