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Nazi trials in Germany continue after the end of World War II 76 years ago

A 95-year-old man was repatriated to Germany by the United States and used to be a guard of Nazi concentration camps.

95-year-old woman accused of being an accomplice to the 10,000-person massacre in Nazi concentration camps. / Screenshot of the New York Times report

Nearly 76 years after the end of World War II, Germany, the defeated country, was still trying Nazis.

February 5th, local time, German prosecutors announced that they would prosecute a 95-year-old female secretary of the Nazi concentration camp, accusing the other party of colluded and assisting in killing more than 10,000 people.

According to Deutsche Welle, the prosecution in Itzehoe, Germany, said in a statement that the woman was the secretary and stenographer of the commander of the Stutthof concentration camp from June 1943 to April 1945, and she was accused of “assistance in the head of the concentration camp against Jewish prisoners, Polish guerrillas”. and the former Soviet Union prisoners of war committed massacres.

German prosecutors did not publish the name of the woman, but the local media NDR called the woman Irmgard F, who currently lives in a nursing home in the north of Hamburg.

At the time of the crime, the woman was under 21 years old, so her case will be brought to the juvenile court, which will decide whether to file a case.

The whole process is expected to last for months to several years.

The woman was charged with “assisting in abetting more than 10,000 cases” and was also accused of conspiracy to murder attempt, according to a statement by German prosecutors, because some concentration camp prisoners finally survived.

According to AFP, Peter Mueller-Rakow, spokesman for the prosecution of Itsejo, said that the prosecution has been conducting a very detailed investigation into the case since 2016, including hearing witnesses currently residing in the United States, Israel and other countries.

Some historians are also carefully weighing the woman’s work in the concentration camp to determine her “exact responsibility” in the massacre in the concentration camp.

The prosecution believes that as the secretary of Paul Werner Hoppe, the commander of the Stuthof concentration camp, her role in the whole operation of the camp is very critical. 

According to CNN, the Stuthof concentration camp was established in 1939 and held 115,000 people, more than half of whom died there, and about 22,000 people were transferred to other Nazi concentration camps.

In 1954, the woman testified in court.

At that time, she said that the commander would dictate the contents of the letter to her every day, and that all the information about the agencies that managed the concentration camps would be handled by her.

But she told NDR reporters that she did not know about the massacre in the concentration camp until the end of World War II, because her desk window did not face the concentration camp directly.

Deutsche Welle pointed out that this case is very rare.

Although in recent years, the German prosecutor has filed lawsuits against many former camp guards, accountants and other staff, there has been no lawsuit against female employees such as secretaries for many years.

In fact, although decades after the end of World War II, Germany has been suing Nazi-related workers in recent years, especially most of them very old.

In 2011, the Munich District Court of Germany launched a trial against 90-year-old Ukrainian John Demjanjuk.

Demyanruk was accused of killing 27,900 Jews while serving as a guard in the German-occupied Nazi concentration camp in Sobipur, Poland, from March to September 1943.

He was sentenced to five years in prison.

John Demiyanruk. /Information map

This trial provides a legal precedent for the German prosecution to launch similar proceedings in the future.

Since then, Germany has found that many Nazi-related staff members have been convicted, rather than those who were usually only concerned with the Holocaust.

In 2015, Oskar Groening, a bookkeeper at Auschwitz concentration camp, was sentenced to four years in prison. In 2016, Reinhold Hanning, the guard of Auschwitz concentration camp, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Both were 94 years old at the time of their sentences, but both died before they were imprisoned.

In July 2020, Bruno Dey, 93, a Nazi guard, was sentenced to two years on probation.

At the age of 17, he served as the guard of the Stuthof concentration camp, killing 5,230 people as an accessory.

After the verdict came out, he apologized to the victims of the massacre, saying that “things like this must never happen again”.

In addition to these completed cases, German prosecutors are investigating 13 other cases related to Nazi concentration camps.

According to The New York Times, Onur Ozata, a lawyer representing survivors in the case of female secretaries in Stuthof concentration camps, said that “this [initiating lawsuits against camp secretaries] is a real milestone in judicial accountability”, “let the secretary of the whole system, the pinion in an institution” Taking responsibility is a new direction.

Rachel Century, a British historian who published the book Female Administrators in the Third Reich, believes that there is reason to believe that most women working in concentration camps know about the massacre of Jews.

“Some secretarial roles may have more access to information than others.”

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