(LibertySociety.com) – In 1933, the Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler, came to power in Germany. The Fuhrer perpetuated the idea that Germans were the superior race and Jewish people and other populations were inferior and expendable. The Nazis set up concentration camps at different locations in Europe to round up Jews, disabled people, Poles, Russians, and others — men, women, and children. In all, more than six million people were murdered by the regime. Today, the event is referred to as the Holocaust. Although many perpetrators have since died, were captured, or have disappeared into obscurity, some Nazis and those who worked for them are still alive and being brought to justice. The latest guilty party is a 97-year-old from Germany.
In September 2021, consequences came knocking on Irmgard Furchner’s door over 75 years after she worked for a Nazi commandant at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland. Authorities in Germany accused the woman of 11,000 counts of accessory to murder and put her on trial, but the morning she was due in court, she fled her retirement home in a wheelchair. Police captured her just a short time later and forced her to face justice.
On December 20, the court found Furchner guilty of aiding and abetting over 10,500 murders at the Stutthof camp. She worked there under Commander Paul-Werner Hoppe, who only served a short time for his crimes from the early summer of 1943 to the spring of 1945. The woman was 18 years old when she started as the leader’s civilian secretary and helped officials kill thousands of people that came through the camp. The court gave her a two-year suspended sentence, meaning she won’t see the inside of a jail cell. In court, Furchner spoke out, saying she was “sorry” and she regrets ever being at the camp.
Manfred Goldberg, a Stutthoff survivor, was displeased with the length of the sentence, saying it should fit the crime, according to BBC News.
Originally, the Nazis set up the Stutthof camp in the town now known as Sztutowo in Poland in 1939 to house civilian war prisoners. By 1942, the regime converted the facility into a concentration camp where they forced those trapped there to work under horrendous conditions. They didn’t take care of the inhabitants, letting them die from disease and malnutrition. In 1944, anyone who miraculously survived was transferred to Auschwitz. Any new arrivals were divided into two groups: those immediately put to death in the gas chamber and able-bodied individuals forced to work.
Throughout the years of its operation, about 65,000 innocent people were killed in Stutthof — about half of the population who passed through. More than 22,000 others were moved to other similar camps, so their fates are unknown.
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