She was the secretary of evil, the typist for the commandant of the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp near Danzig. A machine of death! But Irmgard Furchner claims not to have known anything about the murders. She’ll have to stand trial next month.
At the age of 18, Irmgard Furchner began working as a typist in the Nazi death camp. She had previously worked as a typist at Dresdner Bank in Marienburg (now Malbork). In the Stutthof concentration camp, the secretary earned well, while prisoners starved to death, died of exhaustion and abuse, were gassed or shot.
“I was the typist for Commandant Hoppe and the respective adjutant, but I wrote more for Hoppe,” said the now 96-year-old in a testimony in 1954 including the exploitation of slave workers in the concentration camps). Hoppe dictated executions and deportations.
But Furchner is clueless. From the headquarters she could even see the prisoners’ barracks, the gas chamber and the crematorium. Nevertheless: She does not want to have heard of the murders.
On September 30th, the terrible Ms. Furchner had to answer before the regional court in Itzehoe (Schleswig-Holstein). In front of the youth chamber because she was only 18 years old at the time of the alleged acts. The indictment is accessory to murder in 11,387 cases and accessory to attempted murder in seven cases.
When the police and the public prosecutor entered the 15 square meter single room of the former concentration camp secretary in a senior citizens’ home in Schleswig-Holstein at 10:10 a.m. during the investigation in November 2016, Irmgard Furchner was watching television. The investigators perceived her to be mentally active, concentrated and sometimes unwilling to talk to her. She told the officers several times that she thought the procedure was ridiculous.
She couldn’t remember any executions. Probably because Hoppe would have dictated orders for gardening supplies to her.
On May 29, 1925, Furchner was born Irmgard Dirksen in Kalthof near Danzig, attended elementary school from 1931 to 1939 and then did a country year, a National Socialist educational measure, then did a commercial apprenticeship.
In the Stutthof concentration camp she got to know SS-Oberscharführer Heinz Furchtsam. Because his name did not suit a concentration camp henchman at all, he had himself renamed Furchner and married Irmgard in 1954, 19 years his junior.
The former concentration camp secretary quickly found new work after the war – of all things as a judicial clerk.
From 1960, Irmgard Furchner lived with her husband, who died in 1972, in an unadorned apartment building on Birkenweg in Schleswig – a cooperative apartment for civil servants. In 2014 she moved to a retirement home.
Irmgard Furchner has no good memories of former neighbors. Klaus-Rüdiger G. (62) lived under her for years.
“She wasn’t a kind person. She had a gruff manner, a cold and angry look. “His partner Karen recalls:” She was bossy. When we moved into Birkenweg, we had drilled a hole in the wall at 6 p.m. on Saturday. She rang the doorbell and immediately screamed. There was no sensible talking, just shouting. “
Judit Sperling is among the joint plaintiffs in the trial against Irmgard Furchner. She now lives in Israel and was deported to Stutthof with her mother on July 19, 1944. She survived the concentration camp horror, her husband and cousin (then 13) were murdered by the Nazis.
Her lawyer Onur Özata, who also represents another Stutthof survivor: “These proceedings are of particular importance to my clients. It’s not about revenge for them. Rather, they want the criminal responsibility of the many helpers and accomplices in the Shoah (Holocaust) to be established. “
The last Nazi trials are pending
More than 76 years after the end of the war, the trial of Irmgard Furchner is one of the last Nazi trials. But it won’t be the very last.
In October, the trial of a 100-year-old ex-security guard of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for aiding and abetting murder in 3518 cases begins before the Neuruppin district court.
The central office for the investigation of Nazi crimes in Ludwigsburg is currently investigating five guards from prisoner-of-war camps and two concentration camp guards.
A case is pending at the Erfurt public prosecutor’s office against a security guard from Buchenwald, in Weiden against a guard from the Flossenbürg concentration camp, in Neuruppin against two guards from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and against a guard and a female guard from the Ravensbrück concentration camp.