Former Nazi ‘Secretary of Evil’ speaks out for the first time at age 97
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A 97-year-old Nazi has spoken out for the first time as she stands trial for aiding and abetting the murder of over 11,000 people.
Known as the 'Secretary of Evil', Irmgard Furchner, now 97, apologised this week for her actions at Sutthof concentration camp between 1943 and 1945.
She is currently standing trial for her role in the deaths of over 11,412 people and the attempted murder of 18 more during the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland.
"I'm sorry for everything that happened," Furchner told the Itzehoe Regional Court on Tuesday (6 December).
She is currently standing trial as part of a policy under German law to prosecute everyone involved in the atrocities - regardless of their age.
"I regret that I was at Stutthof at that time," she added.
The 97-year-old is the first person to be tried in years for her actions during World War Two.
However, as she was under 21 at the time, she is being tried as a juvenile for the work she did between June 1943 and April 1945.
Furchner had previously protested her innocence when reprimanded for her actions, claiming that she had no knowledge of the mass slaughter taking place at the camp.
This claim came despite her being in daily communication with its commander, Paul Werner Hoppe, for whom she worked as secretary.
Further doubt was shed on it by her husband's 1954 testimony which proved that he knew people were being gassed at the camp.
But despite this, the 97-year-old's lawyers are arguing that the 'Secretary of Evil' should be acquitted for her actions more than half a century ago as it cannot be proved that she knew 'beyond the shadow of a doubt' about the slaughter.
Those prosecuting, however, believe that she should be handed a two-year suspended sentence for her role in the deaths of over 11,000 people.
The verdict in Furchner's trial will be announced on 10 December.
One of the camp's survivors, Risa Silbert, 93, testified in August of this year to its brutality - revealing that its inmates became so desperate that they resorted to cannibalism.
"Stutthof was hell," she said.
"We had cannibalism … people were hungry and they cut up the corpses and they wanted to take out the liver."
Silbert said that it would have been impossible for Furchner not to know about the slaughter that took place at the camp.
"If she worked as the commander's secretary, then she knew exactly what happened," she added.
Topics: News, Germany, World War 2