You Want To Silence Us: Survivors Lawyer Slams German Court During Concentration Camp Worker Trial

The lawyer representing survivors of a concentration camp during the trial of a 96-year-old woman who worked there in her late teens has slammed the court saying “you want to silence us!”

The outburst took place during the trial of a woman named only as Irmgard F., 96, in reports due to strict local privacy laws, who was an 18-year-old and 19-year-old typist at the Stutthof concentration camp during World War II.

The trial, which is taking place in Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, got off to a rocky start when the 96-year-old defendant was arrested for going on the run and skipping court.

And now, when Onur Oezata, the lawyer for three of the concentration camp survivors tried to make an opening statement on behalf of the victims, the court reportedly opposed this, according to local media outlet Die Zeit.

The former concentration camp secretary Irmgard Furchner in the Itzehoe regional court.

This led Oezata to accuse the presiding judge Dominic Gross of trying to silence them. He reportedly said: “You want to silence us! They are downgrading us to extras!”

The lawyer was backed up by his colleague, a lawyer representing co-plaintiffs and named as Christoph Rueckel, who appealed to the court to focus on cooperation rather than confrontation, arguing that the words of the victims should not be cut short.

The judge put his decision down to scheduling difficulties but quickly backtracked, saying: “To conclude from this that these ladies and gentlemen should not be heard is simply absurd.”

Irmgard F. was 18 and 19 years old when she worked at the concentration camp from June 1943 until April 1945.

She worked as a stenographer and typist in the command office and her boss was SS officer Paul-Werner Hoppe, the commandant of the concentration camp at the time.

<<< Related Story >>>

Nazi Concentration Camp Secretary, 96, Faces Trial After Going On Run Before Last Court Date

He died at the age of 64 in 1974 after serving nine years in prison for his role in the genocide committed by the Nazis.

Irmgard Furchner, 96, is facing trial for her complicity in the murder of 11,412 people at the Stutthof concentration camp, which operated near the city of Gdansk in occupied Poland during World War II.

Furchner was expected to appear at the Itzehoe Regional Court on 30th September, but the trial was suspended after the judge was informed that the defendant had gone missing.

She had previously written a letter to the court dated 8th September telling the judge why she believed she was not fit to stand trial.

It read: “Due to my age and physical limitations, I will not attend the court dates and ask the defence attorney to represent me.

“I would like to spare myself these embarrassments and not make myself the mockery of humanity.”

Lawyer Onur Ozata, who represents three survivors of the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk.

Despite the letter, the court did not appear to believe that Furchner would make a run for it and as a result, she was allowed to come and go freely in the build-up to the 30th September trial.

According to reports, Furchner left her retirement home in the town of Quickborn in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, jumped in a taxi and failed to show up at the trial.

Thomas Walther, an assistant prosecutor in the trial, told the German news site Tagesspiegel that the court failed to take the letter seriously.

He said: “The court did not react in any way. You just waited.”

Police arrested the 96-year-old woman just hours later and held her in custody for five days. It was not revealed where she had gone.

The prosecutor is arguing that she formed a key part of the apparatus that made it possible for the camp to run and carry out mass exterminations of prisoners.

The concentration camp was in operation for over six years before it was liberated by Allied forces in May 1945.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Joseph GolderSub-EditorWilliam McGee, Agency: Newsflash

The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.


We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Signup to our Newsletter