A 96-year-old former Nazi concentration camp secretary was allegedly informed ‘down to the last detail’ of every murder method used at the Stutthof camp, a court has heard.  

Irmgard Furchner was nicknamed the “secretary of evil” and was escorted into courtroom by guards wearing a facemask, large sunglasses and a pink beret on Tuesday.

She is being tried for complicity in the killing of more than 10,000 people at Stutthof Camp in Nazi-occupied Poland between 1943-1945, a charge she denies.

Furchner was only 18 when she began work at the camp on Baltic coast. She is the first woman to be tried in decades for crimes connected to Third Reich.

Maxi Wantzen, the prosecutor, stated that she had been privy to all the horrors at the camp because of her work for the commandment. Maxi Wantzen also said that she was informed ‘down the last detail’ about the methods used there.

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

Furchner was seen on Tuesday holding a black-and-white cane while sitting in her wheelchair, a pink scarf, and beret, and wearing a scarf, scarf, and coat. 

Irmgard Furchner, who has been dubbed the 'secretary of evil', was wheeled into the courtroom by guards with a facemask and large sunglasses covering her face on Tuesday

Irmgard Furchner, also known as the secretary of evil, was taken into court by guards in a facemask and large sunglasses covering her eyes on Tuesday.

Furchner (pictured on Tuesday) 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, a charge which she denies

Furchner (pictured on Tuesday), is being tried for complicity with the murder of over 10,000 people at Stutthof Camp in Nazi-occupied Poland between 1943-1945. She denies this charge

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 18 when she started working at the camp along the Baltic coast. She is now the first woman to face trial in decades for crimes related to the Third Reich.

“Torture shows and gas chambers, mass hangings”: These are the horrors of the Nazi camp where Jews were sent.

The Stutthof camp, established in 1939 during Germany’s invasion of Poland, was expanded in 1943 by a new camp surrounded with electrified wire fences.

The camp has gone through many iterations. It was originally used as the main collection point to collect Jews and non-Jewish Poles who had been relocated from Danzig, a city on the Baltic Sea Coast.

It was used from 1940 to be a ‘work education camp’. This was where forced laborers, mostly Polish and Soviet citizens, were sent to prison and often killed. There were also political prisoners, criminals, homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It was overflowing with thousands of Jews, both from the Baltics and Auschwitz ghettos, as well as tens of thousands from Poland, as thousands of civilians were swept up in brutal suppression of the Warsaw uprising. 

There would be as many as 100,000 people deported there. Some of them were moved from other camps that the Nazis had abandoned in the latter stages of the war.

Many prisoners died in the horrific conditions of the camp, which was under the control of the SS.

The camp is believed to have killed around 60,000 people, while another 25,000 died during evacuations in the chaotic final weeks.

The Soviet forces finally liberated the camp in May 1945. The town is now within Poland’s borders.

Janina Grabowska–Chalka, historian and long-time director at the Stutthof Museum, described daily life in the camp’s camp as harsh.

“All prisoners in the Stutthof concentration camp were required to work. The camp was run by hard work that was more than human strength. This determined the pace of life and death.

She said that Studtof belonged to camps where very difficult living conditions prevailed.

Abraham Koryski, a Holocaust survivor, gave evidence in 2019, in which he described the horrors he experienced at the Stuthoff concentration camp in World War II.

According to DW, Koryski stated that they were beaten continuously, even while working, at Hamburg District Court. 

He said that SS guards would perform sadistic ‘torture acts’, including one in which a son was forced by his father to kill him in front of other prisoners. 

Koryski said, “You didn’t understand if the officers were acting upon orders or if it was on their breaks.” 

Manfred Goldberg, a Holocaust survivor told the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge that Jewish lives did not count in 2017. We had to gather in a square. They had built a huge gallow with eight nooses that were hanging down. Then, one by one, we had to watch these innocent men hanged. 

Furchner, who had fled her retirement home on September 30, was arrested and taken to a metro station. Her trial was to begin in Itzehoe. 

The pensioner managed evade police for several hour before being captured in Hamburg.

Furchner was released five day later “under the condition of precautionary steps”, according to Frederike Milhoffer, a court spokeswoman. She added that Furchner would be appearing at the next appointment.

According to media reports the accused was fitted an electronic tag to track her movements.

Last week, the court heard from SS men wearing white medical uniforms that they would pretend to be doctors and simply measure prisoners’ heights.

Instead, the prisoner’s height was used to set the parameters for a specially-engineered neck shot device.

Within two hours, approximately 30 prisoners were then shot in their necks.

In some cases, prisoners were forced to enter chambers that were filled with poisonous Cyclone B gas.

The prisoners screamed in pain, scratched at their skin until they were red, and even pulled out their own hair.

Furchner, who was born Irmgard Dricksen on May 19, 1925 worked as the secretary for Paul Werner Hoppe at the concentration camp commandant.

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

According to the prosecution, her work as a secretary contributed to the larger ‘killing apparatus’ at the concentration camp.

The prosecutor described how on July 22, 1944, SS Obersturmbahnführer Paul Maurer gave orders that a group of prisoners at Stutthof be transport to Auschwitz for extermination.

Four days later, a list was prepared at the commandant’s office in Stutthof of prisoners to be transferred.

At 6.05pm, commandant Hoppe then confirmed by radio that the transport was on its route.

Furchner must have sent this message, according to the prosecution.

Wolfgang Molkentin Furchner’s lawyer said in a statement before the court that Furchner is not ‘personally liable for a crime’. 

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

“She does not deny the horrible acts that were committed, as is once again made clear to us all by the indictment. She simply denies the charge that she was guilty of a crime, which is the central theme of her trial. 

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

Christoph Rueckel (a lawyer representing Holocaust survivors) claims that Furchner ‘handled all correspondence’ for the commander.

Rueckel said that Rueckel had typed the execution and deportation commands at his dictation and then initialized each message herself. Rueckel spoke to NDR, public broadcaster. 

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

It was home to approximately 110,000 people, including 65,000 who died during its six-year existence.

The camp was originally built to house intelligence officers and intellectuals from Poland. Later, it was expanded to accommodate significant numbers of Jews. Many of these Jews were transferred from Auschwitz or the Baltics to the camp.

Many of the camp’s inmates were executed in gas chambers. However, tens of thousands died from starvation, disease epidemics and forced ‘death marches’. Around 28,000 of those who died were Jews. 

Furchner was first question by police about her participation in the camp in February 2017. In that same month, officers also searched Furchner’s home. 

It took the case to trial for four years and eight month, which included a medical evaluation to determine if Furcher was able to stand.

In February of this year, a doctor declared that the 96-year old was healthy enough to have her hearing scheduled. 

Furchner was a teenager at the time of the alleged crimes. Furchner’s trial is currently being held in juvenile court.

In a letter, the defendant informed the court’s presiding judge that she didn’t want to appear in person at the dock.

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

Guards brought Irmgard Furchner in with a shawl and face mask, as well as large sunglasses, to protect her face.

Christoph Heubner, vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee, said that her final failure to present himself showed ‘contempt towards survivors and also the rule of laws’.

Efraim Zuroff, an American/Israeli “Nazi hunter” who played a crucial role in bringing ex-Nazi war criminals to trial, tweeted: ‘Healthy enough for flee, but healthy enough to go into jail! 

Prosecutors claim that she was part the apparatus that made the Nazi camp work more than 75 years ago.

In an interview with NDR, she stated that she had never been in the camp but had learned about it after the war.

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

Furcher stated that she was aware of executions taking place at the camp but believed they were punishments specific crimes and not genocidal mass murder. 

Hoppe, SS officer and her boss, was convicted of his role in the camp. He was sentenced by a West German court to nine years imprisonment in 1957. He died in 1974.

Furcher admitted working for Hoppe in that investigation, which was nearly 70 years ago. However, she claimed that she did not know much about the gas chambers. 

In a statement, the Itzehoe state court in northern Germany stated that the suspect allegedly aided and abetted the camp commanders in the systematic execution of prisoners there between June 1943 to April 1945. The suspect was a stenographer and typist at the camp commandant’s offices. 

Furchner’s case will be based on German legal precedent that has been established in cases over the past ten years. Anyone who helped Nazi death camps or concentration camps function can be charged as an accessory to the murders committed, even if there is no evidence of involvement in a specific crime.

Der Spiegel magazine was told by a lawyer for the defendant that the trial would focus on whether the 96 year-old knew of the atrocities committed at the camp.

“My client worked with SS men who were experienced at violence – does that mean she shares their knowledge? Wolf Molkentin stated that this is not always obvious.

Other media reports claim that the defendant was questioned during past Nazi trials. He said that Paul Werner Hoppe, former SS commander of Stutthof dictated daily letters and radio messages for her.

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

The secretary was employed by Paul Werner Hoppe, the Nazi commandant (pictured left), who was convicted in West Germany in 1957 and died in 1974. The Nazis killed approximately 65,000 people in Stutthof (pictured left) and its subcamps. They were operational from September 2,1939 to May 9, 1945.

Furchner, however, stated that she did not know of the massacres at the camp during her time there, according to the German news agency dpa. 

Today, around fifty anti Nazi demonstrators gathered in front of the court.

They were supposed counter a demonstration against a neo Nazi gathering that never showed up.

Rumours circulated on social media claiming that the neo-Nazis were coming out to show solidarity with the ‘Rebel From Itzehoe’.

MailOnline spoke with Dr. Efrain Zürichoff, chief Nazi hunter from Israel’s Simon Wiesenthal Center. Zuroff said that this trial is very important.

“The demonstration by neo Nazis in support of the ‘Rebel from Itzehoe is yet another reminder about how important these trials.

“This is despite the defendant’s advanced age and the many years since she committed her crimes.”

“The authorities must protect witnesses and attorneys who represent victims’ families, as well the spectators.

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

Mail Online reached out to them in February about Irmgard Furchner. However, spokesperson Sven Skoda wrote the following:

“The indictment against Irmgard for aiding and abiding murder is part of contemporary hypersteria. A former secretary is being charged with aiding and abetting murder. This is seventy-five years after the end World War 2. It amounts to a witch hunt that is unworthy of a constitutional government.

“In a constitutional society, criminal law cannot be misused to pursue a purely symbolic strategy. However, that is exactly what such procedures are for. We demand that the proceedings against IrmgardF be immediately ended.

Furchner’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 26.

Furchner fled her trial around the same time that a 100-year old former Nazi concentration camp guard appeared before judges at Neuruppin, northwest Berlin.

Josef Schuetz, who is accused of aiding in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at Sachsenhausen camp during 1942 and 1945, told the court that he was ‘innocent and knows nothing’ about what had happened at the camp.

Furchner and Furchner are also among the oldest defendants facing trial for their alleged roles in the Nazi system.

Seventy-six year after the end of World War II and time is running 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 investigated by the authorities.

In recent years, many cases were dropped because the accused died and/or were unable to stand trial.

Bruno Dey, a former SS guard, was found guilty and sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence. He was 93 years old at the time.

Former Nazi guards who were tried and convicted years later

Itzehoe’s planned opening came just one day before the 75th anniversary when 12 senior Nazi establishment members were sentenced to death by hanging at Nuremberg’s first trial.

It also happens a week before separate Neuruppin proceedings against a 100 year-old former camp guard.

Seventy-six year after the end of World War II and the clock is ticking, it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring those responsible for the Nazi system 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 were abandoned in recent years because the accused died or was unable to stand trial.

Bruno Dey, a former SS guard, was found guilty and sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence. He was 93 years old at the time.

Because it was difficult to prove that they were directly involved, it was historically difficult to persecute Nazi ex-combatants for murders at concentration camp camps.

John Demjanjuk was convicted in 2011. This set a precedent for legal liability for guards and personnel who were responsible for deaths at camps they served, even if it can’t be proven that they killed anyone.

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 have been brought to justice 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 in Munich, 2009 during his trial for the murder of 27,900 Jews in a Nazi death camp. This was after 30 years of trying to prosecute him.

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.

He married a West German girl he met at a displaced persons camp after the war and emigrated from Germany 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, it was sufficient to cast doubt on the case. Demjanjuk was freed.

He was deported to the USA in 2002. In 2009, Germany expelled him to face trial for being an accessory to the murder of approximately 30,000 Sobibor inmates who died while he had been there.

Demjanjuk was used as a test-case. It was previously difficult to convict former Nazis guards for murder at death camps. It was necessary to prove their direct involvement in the killings.

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 convicted and sentenced in May 2011 to five years imprisonment, but was released with an appeal. He died in the following year.

However, the case set a precedent and opened the door to litigation against camp guards as well as administrative staff for their role in Nazi’s genocidal killing machine. 

Oskar Groening – ‘The Bookkeeper of 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 as he listens in to the verdict of his trial in Lueneburg (northern Germany) in 2017.

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

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

Groening was born in 1921 in Lower Saxony. He was the son of a housekeeper mother and a textile worker father.

Groening’s grandfather, who was an elite regiment of troops of the Duchy of Brunswick, had served in Groening family’s military history.

Groening was raised in conservative homes and became interested in radical politics at an early age when his father joined the far right group Stahlhelm, which means Steel Helmet, after Germany’s defeat in World War I.

Groening joined Stahlhelm’s youth wing just a few years later in the early 1930s. After that, he switched to the Hitler Youth.

Groening, who graduated high school with top marks at the age of 17, began work as a bank clerk just a few months before the outbreak. 

Groening was determined to join an elite unit within the new German military. He settled on the Waffen SS.

Groening was accepted into unit and served a year before being assigned to Berlin for a special assignment – running the Auschwitz death camps.

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.

He never objected to the murder of Jews at the camp – only how it was done. Once his transfer request was refused, he settled in to a comfortable life, enjoying extra rations provided by guards and getting drunk with his officers.

Groening worked at the camp between 1942 and 1944. He got his wish and was sent out to fight the Allies during the Battle of the Bulge.

Captured by the British, he was sent to the UK as a farm labourer. He later returned to Germany as a manager of a glass plant.

Groening was reluctant to talk about his Auschwitz experiences, until the mid-2000s when he made a confession in an attempt to counter Holocaust deniers.

He gave several interviews, during which he spoke candidly on gas chambers, ovens, burial pits, aswell as how to take jewellery from the dead.

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

Groening appealed against Groening’s sentence. In 2018, Groening died in hospital just before he began his sentence.   

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

Last year, Bruno Dey (pictured at 93) was convicted for his role in the Holocaust. Dey served as a SS Guard at Stutthof. 

Bruno Dey, a former SS guard, was found guilty and sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence. He was 93 years old at the time. 

He was accused in the murders of 5,230 people, when he worked at Stutthof Camp near Danzig, now Gdansk (Poland).

Dey admitted last year that he was aware of the camp’s gas chambers. He also admitted seeing ’emaciated people, people who had suffered’. But he insisted that he wasn’t guilty.


In a separate case, a 100 year-old man will be tried next week in Brandenburg. He is accused of being a Nazi SS Guard at a concentration Camp just outside Berlin during World War II.

The man, whose name was not released to comply with German privacy laws is facing 3 518 counts of accessory for murder. 

The suspect is said to have been an enlisted member, paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, at the Sachsenhausen camp from 1942 to 1945