A 97-year-old woman has been convicted and sentenced for her role in the Nazi regime.
NBC News said Furchner helped the camp operate when she was a teen working for the SS commander.
Because of her age at the time of the crimes, the elderly woman was put on trial in juvenile court.
Furchner was given a two-year suspended sentence.
The judge said that despite Furchner being a civilian while working at the concentration camp, she knew what was happening there, BBC News reported.
It is believed that 65,000 people — Jews, non-Jewish Poles, people suspected of being homosexual, Jehovah’s Witnesses and captured Soviet soldiers — died at the camp. Various methods were used to kill prisoners including gas chambers, starvation and disease, BBC News and NBC News reported.
During the trial, people who had survived their detention at Stutthof testified. Some of the survivors died during the trial, which began in September 2021 but had been delayed when Furchner went on the run from her retirement home. Police eventually found her on the street in Hamburg.
Josef Salomonovic, a survivor of Stutthof, testified in court. He was 6 years old when his father was killed, shot at the camp in September 1944.
“She’s indirectly guilty,” Salomonovic told reporters at the court last December, BBC News reported, “even if she just sat in the office and put her stamp on my father’s death certificate.”
The concentration camp commandant Paul-Werner Hoppe was jailed in 1955 for being an accessory to murder. He served five years before his release, BBC News reported.
There have been several court cases held since 2011 when Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was tried and convicted for his role in the regime, setting the precedent that working for the Nazis in the camps is enough to show they were complicit.
Months after Furchner’s trial started, during which time she had sat silent, she finally spoke, telling the court, “I’m sorry about everything that happened,” and “I regret that I was in Stutthof at the time — that’s all I can say,” BBC News reported.
In addition to being an accessory to 10,505 counts of murder, Furchner also faced five counts of attempted murder, NBC News reported.
Her exact charges, according to a court press release, were “aiding those in a position of responsibility at the former Stutthof concentration camp with the systematic killing of those imprisoned there, due to her work as a shorthand typist/secretary in the Camp Commandant’s Office between June 1943 and April 1945.”
Survivors and relatives of victims who were the plaintiffs in the case against Furchner agreed with the suspended sentence, saying it was not in their interest for a 97-year-old woman to serve prison time.
But not all agree with the two-year suspended sentence.
Manfred Goldberg, another survivor of Stutthoff, said the sentence “appears to be a mistake.”
“No one in their right mind would send a 97-year-old to prison, but the sentence should reflect the severity of the crimes,” Goldberg said, according to BBC News. “If a shoplifter is sentenced to two years, how can it be that someone convicted for complicity in 10,000 murders is given the same sentence?”
It is expected that Furchner’s trial may be one of the last trials of its kind, as Nazi war criminals age and are in bad health, NBC News reported.