A 95-year-old German woman has been charged with being an accessory to the murder of more than 10,000 people at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland during World War II.
The unidentified woman, who reportedly worked as a secretary and commandant’s aide in the camp for two years, will be tried in juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time, according to the public prosecutor’s office in the small town of Itzehoe, northwest of Hamburg.
Senior Public Prosecutor Peter Müller-Rakow said in a statement to NPR that the woman helped officials carry out “the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners” — along with Polish partisans and Russian prisoners of war.
The former secretary is reportedly also accused of complicity in attempted murder. She has been under investigation since 2016, according to media reports.
The Stutthof concentration camp, the first established by the Nazis outside of Germany, was built in 1939 along Poland’s Baltic coast east of Gdansk. More than 60,000 people are believed to have died or been killed there.
The woman told German public broadcaster NDR in 2019 that she cooperated with authorities and gave witness accounts of what she had seen, NPR reported. She also said that she wasn’t aware of mass poisonings or murders because her office window faced away from the camp.
“It’s a real milestone in judicial accountability,” Onur Özata, a lawyer representing survivors in a previous trial of a former camp secretary, told The New York Times. “The fact that a secretary in this system, a bureaucratic cog, can be brought to justice is something new.”
A juvenile court in Schleswig-Holstein now must decide whether the woman’s case should go to trial, the BBC reported.
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