The former secretary in the Stutthof concentration camp, Irmgard F., is guilty of being an accessory to murder in over 10,000 cases. The district court in Itzehoe sentenced the 97-year-old to a two-year suspended sentence on Tuesday. According to the findings of the criminal court, the accused worked from June 1943 to April 1945 as a civilian employee in the headquarters of Stutthof near Danzig. In doing so, she helped those in charge of the concentration camp in the systematic killing of inmates. Because she was only 18 to 19 years old at the time of the crime, the trial took place in front of a youth chamber.

With the judgment, the court complied with the demand of the public prosecutor. The defense had pleaded for acquittal. The 15 representatives of the joint prosecutor had largely joined the public prosecutor’s demand for punishment.

“The defendant, who is 98 years old, has received her court verdict of guilt for being an accessory to several thousand murders. State criminal law cannot do more in terms of content,” explained lawyer Hans-Jürgen Förster, who represented four Stutthof survivors as joint plaintiffs.

The process began on September 30, 2021. During the 40 days of the hearing, the court heard eight of the 31 joint plaintiffs as witnesses. The survivors of the camp reported on the suffering and mass deaths in Stutthof. The most important witness, however, was the historical expert Stefan Hördler, who presented his report in 14 sessions. The defense had filed a motion for bias against him, which the court rejected.

The defendant breaks her silence shortly before the end

The defendant initially did not want to face the proceedings. On the first day of the trial, she disappeared early in the morning from her retirement home in Quickborn (Pinneberg district). Hours later, the police picked her up on a street in Hamburg. The court issued an arrest warrant. The then 96-year-old spent five days in custody.

Only at the very end of the process did she break her silence. “I’m sorry about everything that happened,” she said in her last word. The 97-year-old added: “I regret that I was in Stutthof at the time. That’s all I can say.”