Today, a former Nazi concentration camp secretary aged 96 has been charged with the murders of more than 11,000 persons.

Irmgard Furchner (a typist, who was dubbed “secretary of evil”), testified at the Itzehoe trial, north Germany, from Holocaust survivor, Irmgard Furchner.

She was accused of having been an accomplice in the assassination of 11412 victims at Stutthof Camp, Nazi-occupied Poland, between 1943-1945. This accusation she refutes.

96-year-old defendant Irmgard Furchner, a former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp, sits in the courtroom as concentration camp survivor and witness Josef Salomonovic sits in the witness stand as her trial continues at the court room in Itzehoe, northern Germany, on December 7, 2021

Irmgard Furchner is a former secretary to the SS commander at the Stutthof concentration camps. Josef Salomonovic is a survivor of concentration camp and sits in her courtroom. The trial for Furchner continues in Itzehoe (north Germany) on December 7, 2021.

Furchner was photographed inside the courtroom in a cream puffer jacket, matching beret and large sunglasses. Her face was covered by a mask.

As concentration camp survivor and witness Josef Salomonovic spoke in the courtroom, Furchner – who had been brought in by guards in a wheelchair – was seen tightly clutching her cane while staring intensely at him through her glasses.

According to The Telegraph on Tuesday, Mr Salomonovic (83), a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Czechosloavkia gave an emotional testimony.

He said he was just six years old when his father kissed him goodbye for the last time before he was killed by a lethal injection to the heart at the Stutthof death camp.

“Maybe she struggles to sleep at night.” I know I do,’ Mr Salomonovic said when asked by a prosecutor whether he had a message for Furchner.

Furchner, who was only 18 at the time she began work at the Baltic Coast camp, is now the first woman in decades to face trial for crimes related to the Third Reich.

Irmgard Furchner (pictured in white), a typist who has been dubbed the 'secretary of evil', heard from the first Holocaust survivor (Josef Salomonovic, shown left) to testify at the trial in Itzehoe, northern Germany

Irmgard furchner, (pictured in white), is a typist and has been called the’secretary to evil’. Hear from Josef Salomonovic who was the first Holocaust survivor, in Itzehoe in northern Germany, as he testifies at the trial.

Concentration camp survivor and witness Josef Salomonovic is seen in the courtroom prior to the continuation of the trial of a 96-year-old defendant, a former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp, in Itzehoe, on December 7, 2021

Josef Salomonovic, a witness and survivor of concentration camps, is seen in court before the continuance of the trial against a 96 year-old defendant. He was a former secretary to the SS commander at the Stutthof concentration Camp in Itzehoe on December 7, 2021.

It was outside of the main Stutthof camp that the woman worked, but she claims to have no idea about the mass-murders inside.

Mr Salomonovic dismissed this as a possibility, however, telling reporters after Tuesday’s hearing that even if she was not directly responsible, she was still indirectly guilty – even if all she did was stamp his father’s death certificate.

In court, he held up a picture of his father to Furchner, saying he was testifying for his family. It’s not an easy task to go back over everything. It’s morally right. It is not enjoyable.

As a youngster, he recalled watching as Nazis took his mother’s clothes and belongings and then shaved the head. He claimed that he did not recognize his mother after the incident.

Mr Salomonovic went on to describe how he survived eight concentration camps, including Auschwitz, but said Stutthof was the worst he experienced.

I was classified as a parasite. He said that everyone who could not work was considered a parasite. “I got in the cattle wagon, and I did not know that we would be going to Auschwitz. This was also the last time I would ever see my father. He kissed me.’

Furchner  (pictured centre) was photographed in the courtroom wearing a cream-coloured puffer jacket and matching beret, large sunglasses and a face-mask concealing her face

Furchner  (pictured centre) was photographed in the courtroom wearing a cream-coloured puffer jacket and matching beret, large sunglasses and a face-mask concealing her face

His mother Dora Salomonovic, and his brother Michael were able to live together. Salomonovic said that his mother asked for her son to be transferred from the men’s camp into the women camp. They were surprised to learn that his brother was included.

The family were brought from Czechosloavkia because they were Jewish.

The court heard from the 83 year-old that he felt the most hungry and cold.

Salomonovic stated that he had thought he was going mad after starting work in the Dresden munitions plant. The SS officer reaching for his gun said: “This filth must be gone.” 

But, the witness claimed that the bombing took place in the city at that time. He said that this is why he’s still alive.

Continue to test the waters.       

Speaking in October, prosecutor Maxi Wantzen told the court in the northern town of Itzehoe that Furchner had knowledge of all of the horrific events at the camp due to her work for the commandment of the camp and was informed ‘down to the last detail’ about the murder methods practised there.

He added that through her work as the camp secretary, she ensured ‘the smooth functioning of the camp’, the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported.  

She was just 18 when she started work at Stutthof camp on the Baltic coast in Nazi-occupied Poland, and is the first woman to stand trial in decades over crimes connected to the Third Reich

Irmgard Furchner is standing trial for complicity in the murder of more than 10,000 people at Stutthof camp in Nazi-occupied Poland between 1943 and 1945.

Irmgard Furchner, left and right in 1944, was only 18 years old when she began work at the camp along the Baltic coast. She is now the first woman in many decades to be tried for crimes related to the Third Reich.

Holocaust camp: Jews sent to the death camps with horrors like torture, gas chambers, mass hangings

The Stutthof Camp was founded in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. It was expanded in 1943 by a new camp surrounded with electrified wire fences.

There were many iterations of the camp. It began as a main point for Jews or non-Jewish Poles evicted from Danzig near the Baltic Sea coast.

The camp was operated as a “work education center” where workers were often sent to prison and many died. Other inmates were criminals, political prisoners and homosexuals.

The ghetto was overflowing with thousands of Jews as it was cleared in 1944 by Nazis in Auschwitz and the Baltics. 

There would be as many 100,000 deportees, with some moving from camps that were abandoned by Nazis during the latter stages of World War II.

Many prisoners were also subject to lethal injections and gas chambers.

The camp is thought to have killed around 60,000. Another 25,000. died while evacuated in the final days of the Third Reich.

After being liberated in May 1945 by Soviet forces, the camp was once again located within Poland’s borders. The town is known as Sztutowo.

Janina GrabowskaChalka (Historian), was the long-serving director of the Stutthof Museum. She described the daily routine in the camp as harsh.

“All prisoners in the Stutthof concentration camps were required to work. The camp’s rhythm was determined by hard work, which exceeded the human power.

“Stutthof belonged in the camps that had very harsh living conditions,” she stated.

Abraham Koryski, a Holocaust survivor, gave evidence to the court in 2019. He described the horrific experiences he had at the Stuthoff concentration camp during World War II.

According to DW, Koryski stated that they were beaten continuously, all the time while we worked, at Hamburg District Court. 

He said that SS guards put on sadistic torture shows’, including one where a son was made to kill his father in front of other prisoners. 

Koryski stated that he didn’t know whether the officers had been acting in accordance with orders or were doing it for their own reasons. 

Manfred Goldberg, a Holocaust survivor, told the Duke and Duchess to Cambridge that Jewish lives did not matter in 2017. The group had to gather in one square. An enormous gallow was built with eight ropes that were hanging from it. Then, one by one, we watched these innocent people being hanged. 

Furchner, who had fled her home in retirement on September 30, was arrested and taken to the metro to get to Itzehoe where her trial was to start. 

The elderly man managed to get around police for several hours, before being captured by Hamburg authorities and taken into temporary custody.

Furchner was released by the court five days later “under the condition that precautionary measures” according to Frederike Millhoffer earlier in this year. She also stated that Furchner will be appearing at the next appointment.

According to media reports the suspect has an electronic tag that allows her to be tracked wherever she is.

On October 10, the court heard that SS soldiers dressed in medical white uniforms were pretending to measure heights for prisoners.

Instead, the prisoner was used to set the scene for an engineered “neck shot” device.

In less than two hours, approximately 30 prisoners were gunned in the neck.

Another case saw prisoner being forced into rooms containing poisonous Zyklon B gases.

The prisoners were in pain and screamed, scratching at their skin till it became red and pulling their hair out.

Furchner was born Irmgard Dirksen May 19, 1925 and worked as a secretary for Paul Werner Hoppe, the commandant of concentration camps.

She was just 18 years old at the time and is currently being tried in juvenile court.

According to the prosecution, her role as secretary helped the wider “killing apparatus” of the concentration camp.

The prosecutor described in the trial earlier this year how on July 22, 1944, SS Obersturmbahnführer Paul Maurer gave orders that a group of prisoners at Stutthof be transported to Auschwitz for extermination.

The commandant at Stutthof created a list with the names of those prisoners who were due to be released four days later.

The commandant Hoppe then confirmed by radio, at 6.05pm that the transport was in route.

Furchner had to have sent this message, the prosecution claimed.

Wolfgang Molkentin Furchner’s lawyer has stated to the court that Furchner is not ‘personally guilty’ of any crime. 

He said: ‘Irmgard Furchner does not deny the crimes of the Shoah [Holocaust].  

“She does not deny that terrible acts took place, as is once more made plain to us in the indictment. The charge that this trial revolves around, she being personally guilty of a crime, is rejected by her. 

Prosecutors say that throughout her time at the camp, Furchner took dictation of Hoppe’s orders and handled his correspondence. 

Christoph Rueckel, an attorney representing Holocaust survivors, claims Furchner “handled all correspondence” for the commander.

Rueckel stated to NDR that Rueckel typed the execution and deportation commands at his dictated instructions and then initialized each message. 

Stutthof was built in 1939 near Gdansk, Poland, and it was the first death camp outside of Germany.

It operated for six years, until being liberated by the Allies on May 1945. There were approximately 111,000 people sent there during that time. Of these, 65,000 perished.

The camp was originally built for Polish intelligence officers, intellectuals and other personnel. Later it became a significant number of Jews. Many of these were later transferred from Auschwitz and camps in the Baltics to the camp.

Many of the camp’s inmates died at gas chambers. However, tens of thousands more were also killed by starvation and disease epidemics. Two-thirds of the victims were Jews. 

Furchner was first interrogated by police in February 2017 about her involvement with the camp. Officers then searched Furchner’s home. 

The case was brought to trial after four years of delay and eight months. This included a medical evaluation to determine if Furchner was able to stand.

The 96-year old was declared fit by a doctor in February and she was allowed to hear. 

Furchner was a teenager when the crimes were committed. Furchner is currently being tried in juvenile court.

A letter was sent by the defendant to the court before her scheduled first hearing. She stated that she didn’t want to be present in person.

Irmgard Furchner was wheeled in by guards with a shawl, face mask and large sunglasses covering her face on October 19

On October 19, Irmgard Furchner, a guard brought her in wearing a face mask, shawl and large sunglasses.

Christoph Heubner, vice president of International Auschwitz Committee at the time, stated that her failure to appear showed ‘contempt towards survivors and the rule of law.

Efraim Zuroff (an American-Israeli “Nazi hunter”) tweeted that he was able to say, “Healthy enough for fleeing, but healthy enough to be in jail!” He played an important role in the trial of Nazi war criminals. 

Prosecutors say she was part and parcel of the apparatus which helped the Nazi camp operate more than 75-years ago.

NDR interviewed her previously to claim that she hadn’t been in the camp herself and claimed she learned of the horrors only after the war.

Lawyers claim she was shielded from the true purpose of the camp by her superiors. Prosecutors, however, say this is impossible due to her position as commander’s secretary.

Furchner claimed that although she was aware of executions taking place at camp, she believed these were punishments for specific offenses and not mass-murder. 

Hoppe, SS Officer Hoppe, was convicted and sentenced by a West German Court to nine year imprisonment for his part in the Camp. In 1974, he died.

Furchner, who was almost 70 years old, admitted to working for Hoppe, but claimed she didn’t know anything about the gas chambers. 

According to the Itzehoe State Court in Northern Germany, the suspect was accused of assisting and aiding those responsible for the execution of camp prisoners between June 1943 and April 1945. She performed the function of a stenographer/typist at the Camp Commandant’s Office. 

Furchner’s legal case will be guided by German precedent. It has been proven in German cases that anyone who contributed to Nazi death camps and concentration camp operations can be tried as an accessory in the prosecution of those responsible for their crimes.

Der Spiegel magazine was told by a lawyer representing the defendant that the case would focus on the possibility that the 96 year-old knew about the horrors that occurred at the camp.

“My client was in the midst SS men experienced in violence – does this mean that she shares their knowledge?” Wolf Molkentin explained that it is not always easy to see.

Other media reports claim that the defendant was questioned during Nazi trials. He testified at the time, and was asked to give evidence, about Paul Werner Hoppe’s former SS commander of Stutthof.

Irmgard Furchner, the 'Secretary of Evil',  faces charges of assisting in the murder of 11,000 prisoners at Stutthof concentration camp (pictured), 33 miles east of Danzig in Poland

Irmgard Furchner, the ‘Secretary of Evil’,  faces charges of assisting in the murder of 11,000 prisoners at Stutthof concentration camp (pictured), 33 miles east of Danzig in Poland

The secretary worked for Nazi commandant Paul Werner Hoppe (pictured), who was convicted by a West German court in 1957 and died in 1974

The Nazis murdered around 65,000 people in Stutthof (pictured in 1946) and its subcamps, which were operational from September 2, 1939 until May, 9, 1945

Paul Werner Hoppe was the Nazi commander. The secretary, who died in 1974 after being convicted in West Germany by a court in 1957, worked as his secretary. The Nazis killed approximately 65,000 people at Stutthof and its subcamps (pictured right), which was in operation from September 2, 1939 to May 9, 1945.

Furchner, however, stated that she did not know of the massacres at Camp Graz while working there. The German news agency dpa said so. 

Today, around 50 anti-Nazi demonstrators met outside the court.

The counter-demonstration was supposed to be mounted against a neo Nazi gathering, but it never happened.

On social media, rumours circulated that the neo-Nazis wanted to stand with the ‘Rebel of Itzehoe.

MailOnline spoke with Dr. Efrain Zürichoff, the Israeli Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, about this trial.

“The demonstration of neo Nazis supporting the ‘Rebel from Itzehoe is another reminder how crucial these trials are.

“This is despite the fact that the defendant has been a long time since her crime.

“The authorities must take precautions to ensure the safety of witnesses, attorneys representing the family members of victims and the observers.

The far-right nationalist party, Die Rechte, were unavailable for comment.

Mail Online reached out to them about Irmgard Furchner in February of this year. However, Sven Skoda, spokesperson, wrote:

“The current hysteria includes the indictment of Irmgard F. on charges of aiding and abiding murder. The indictment against Irmgard F., a former secretary, who has been living her last days at a nursing home for seventy-five year after the war ended, amounts to a witch hunt that is completely unworthy of constitutional government.

“In a constitution, criminal law cannot be used to carry out a symbolic or purely symbolic policy. This is precisely the purpose of these procedures. We call for an immediate halt to the proceedings against Irmgard. 

Furchner was able to flee her trial as an ex-guard from Nazi concentration camps appeared in court at Neuruppin just north of Berlin.

Josef Schuetz is accused of helping in the assassination of 358 prisoners held at Sachsenhausen between 1942-1945. He told the court that he’s innocent and knows nothing about the events at Sachsenhausen.

Furchner and Furchner are the other oldest accused to face trial over their involvement in the Nazi system.

Seventy-six year after World War II ended, the time has run out for people to be brought to justice. 

The Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes reports that eight additional cases have been investigated by the police.

Recently, many cases were dropped because of the death or incapacity to defend themselves.

Bruno Dey was convicted of the last time. He was a former SS Guard and was sentenced to a suspended two year sentence.

Ex-Nazi guards that faced justice many years later for their crimes

Itzehoe was scheduled to open just one day before the 75th Anniversary of the sentence of twelve senior Nazi members to death via hanging at Nuremberg’s first trial.

The hearing comes one week before Neuruppin’s separate proceedings against the 100-year old former camp guard.

Seventy-six year after World War II ended, the time has run out for people to be brought to justice.

According to the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, eight more cases are being handled by the prosecution.

Many cases in the past decade have been dropped because of death or physical incapacitation.

Bruno Dey was 93 years old when the last guilty verdict was given. He was sentenced to a suspended two-year term.

Because it is difficult to prove their involvement in the murders, it has been historically hard for former Nazis to be persecuted.

John Demjanjuk was convicted in 2011. This set the legal precedent for guards or staff to be held accountable for death at camp camps.

The ruling set off a wave of new litigation and broadened the scope of targets to include camp administrators such as Furchner – who is the only woman to stand trial over Nazi-era atrocities in recent years.  

MailOnline presents a list of other people who faced justice many years after they were convicted.

John Demjanjuk

John Demjanjuk during his trial in Munich in 2009 over the murder of 27,900 Jews at a Nazi death camp following 30 years to try prosecute him after he moved to Ohio

John Demjanjuk, who was being tried in Munich for murdering 27,900 Jews in Nazi death camps in 2009. This trial took place in 2009 after John Demjanjuk moved from Ohio.

Ukrainian-American Demjanjuk was a Nazi guard who served at the Sobibor, Majdanek, and Flossenbürg death camps between 1942 and 1945.

Originally conscripted into the Soviet Red Army, Demjanjuk was captured by the Nazis in 1942 and became a ‘Trawniki man’ – a name for eastern European Nazi collaborators recruited from prisoner-of-war camps.

Following the war, he got married to a West German lady he had met at a camp for displaced people and immigrated to Ohio.

In 1977, Israeli investigators identified Demjanjuk as ‘Ivan the Terrible’ – a guard at the Treblinka death camp notorious for his cruelty, and had him extradited in 1986 to face trial.

He was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to death, but his conviction was quashed in 1993 when Israel’s Supreme Court heard evidence that ‘Ivan’s’ true identity was another Soviet man named Ivan Marchenko.

Although the identity of Demjanjuk has not been proven conclusively, the evidence was sufficient to raise reasonable doubts and Demjanjuk was freed.

After he returned to the US in 2002, he lost his US citizenship and was expelled in 2009. In Germany in 2009, a trial was initiated against him for being an accomplice to the death of around 30,000 Sobibor prisoners who had died during his stay.

Demjanjuk was used as a test case. It had previously been hard to convict Nazis who were guards at death camps of the murders because they needed to be proven to have been involved.

But lawyers persuaded a judge that it was reasonable to convict Demjanjuk of being an accessory to murder simply by working at the camp, whether or not he was directly involved in the killing.

He was sentenced to five-years in prison and convicted of the crime. However, he was freed pending an appeal. The following year, he died.

The case established a legal precedent that led to a flood of lawsuits against camp guards, administrative staff and others for their participation in Nazi’s genocidal machine. 

Oskar Groening, ‘The Bookkeeper at Auschwitz’ 

Oskar Groening, a 94-year-old former SS sergeant looking up as he listens to the verdict of his trial at a court in Lueneburg, northern Germany in 2017

Oskar Groening is a former SS sergeant aged 94 who looks up to listen to the verdict in his trial. The court was held in Lueneburg in northern Germany, 2017.

The former Auschwitz-Birkenau guard Oskar Groening as a young man in an SS uniform

Oskar Groening, a former Auschwitz–Birkenau guard dressed as a young man wearing an SS uniform.

Groening, a son of a housekeeper mother and a father who was s t e fabric worker in Lower Saxony in 1921 was born. He was only four years old when his parents died.

Groening had military family history. Groenings grandfather was an elite regiment of troops of the Duchy of Brunswick.

Groening was raised in a conservative family and radical politics became a part of his life as a child. His father, Stahlhelm (meaning Steel Helmet) joined the far-right group Stahlhelm in response to Germany’s loss in World War I.

Groening joined Stahlhelm’s youth wing just a few short years later, during the early 1930s. He then switched to the Hitler Youth when the Nazis came to power.

Groening graduated high school with excellent marks at age 17 and started working in a bank as a clerk just a few months after the war broke out. 

Groening decided to be an elite member of the new German army and chose the Waffen SS.

Groening was admitted to the unit. Groening spent over a year in the unit before being assigned to Berlin as a special duty to manage the Auschwitz death camp.

Upon arrival, Groening was assigned to the administrative branch – a position that would earn him his nickname as the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz. 

It was some time before he learned the camp’s true purpose and, once he found out, Groening did complain and request a transfer to a combat role.

But he did not object at all to the murder of Jews or other camp residents. He also didn’t object to any methods used. Once his transfer request was refused, he settled down into an easy life enjoying the extra guards-provided rations and drinking with his colleagues.

Groening worked at the camp in 1942 to 1944. In 1944, he was granted his wish and was sent by the Allies to the Battle of the Bulge.

After being captured by the British, in 1945, he was sent to the UK to work as an agricultural labourer. He later returned to Germany to manage a glass factory.

Groening did not speak much about his Auschwitz experiences until mid 2000s when he opened up to Holocaust deniers and revealed that he was playing a part in the escape.

He was a frequent interviewee, speaking candidly about ovens, burial pits, gas chambers and taking jewelry from the deceased.

He was accused by German prosecutors of being an accomplice to the death of 300,000.

Groening opposed the sentence and died at the hospital in 2018.   

Bruno Dey 

Last year 93-year-old Bruno Dey, pictured, was convicted for his part in the Holocaust after serving as an SS guard at Stutthof

Pictured: Bruno Dey (93 years old), was convicted last year for his role in the Holocaust. He served as a SS guard at Stutthof. 

Bruno Dey was convicted of the last time. He was a former SS Guard and was sentenced to a suspended two year sentence. 

He was charged with complicity in the assassination of 5230 victims while he was working at the Stutthof Camp near Danzig in Poland, which is now Gdansk.

Dey said last year that the gas chambers were present at camp and that he recognized seeing “emaciated people, who had suffered” but insisted that he was innocent.


Brandenburg will be bringing a different case to trial. The man, aged 100 years old, is accused of serving as a Nazi-SS guard at the concentration camp near Berlin in World War II.

According to German privacy laws the man’s name was not released. He is facing 3,518 charges of accessory murder. 

As an enlisted member, the Nazi Party’s paramilitary arm, the suspect is said to have been at Sachsenhausen between 1942-1945.