German prosecutors said Friday they have charged a former secretary at a Nazi concentration camp with complicity in the murders of 10,000 people, in the first such case in recent years against a woman.
The 95-year-old accused had worked at the Stutthof camp near what was Danzig, now Gdansk, in then Nazi-occupied Poland.
Prosecutors did not name the woman, but regional broadcaster NDR identified her as Irmgard F., who now lives in a elderly care home in the north of Hamburg.
The suspect “is accused of having assisted those responsible at the camp in the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners, Polish partisans and Soviet Russian prisoners of war in her function as a stenographer and secretary to the camp commander” between June 1943 and April 1945, the prosecutors said in a statement.
The woman, who was a minor at the time of the alleged crimes, is charged with “aiding and abetting murder in more than 10,000 cases” as well as complicity in attempted murder, added prosecutors from the northern city of Itzehoe.
“Given that some inmates survived their stay in the camp despite the hostile conditions, some of the acts has to be assessed judicially as attempted murder,” they added.
Investigators had carried out a “very elaborate” investigation including interviewing witnesses now living in the United States and Israel, spokesman for the prosecutors Peter Mueller-Rakow told AFP.
Historians have also been tasked with evaluating the scope of the accused’s job in the camp, as a key question in the case is the “concrete responsibility” she had in the killings, said the spokesman.
It was now up to the court to decide whether to open a case, said Mueller-Rakow, adding that in the view of the prosecutors, the accused is able to stand trial.
Due to her age at the time of the atrocities, she will face a juvenile court.
– ‘Never again’ –
Germany has been racing to bring to justice surviving Nazi staff after the 2011 conviction of former guard John Demjanjuk on the basis he served as part of the Nazi killing machine set a legal precedent.
Since then, courts have handed down several guilty verdicts on those grounds rather than for murders or atrocities directly linked to the individual accused.
Among those who were brought to late justice were Oskar Groening, an accountant at Auschwitz, and Reinhold Hanning, a former SS guard at the same camp.
Both were convicted of complicity in mass murder at the age of 94 but died before they could be imprisoned.
In the most recent verdict, a former SS guard, Bruno Dey, was found guilty at the age of 93 and was given a two-year suspended sentence.
As the court handed down Dey’s verdict last July, he apologised to Holocaust victims, saying that “something like this must never happen again”.
Dey worked in the same Stutthof camp, set up by the Nazis in 1939. They initially used it to detain Polish political prisoners.
But it ended up holding 110,000 detainees, including many Jews. Some 65,000 people perished in the camp.
Prosecutors are still examining another dozen cases against former Nazi or SS staff who worked at Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Neuengamme or Mauthausen camps, according to national broadcaster ARD.
A case was brought against another former guard at Stutthof in July over complicity in the murder of several hundred people.
In all, the Nazi regime exterminated six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of others in the Holocaust.
Barka da Sallah to Muslim faithfuls who don’t behave like terrorists — Kanu
Rights activist, Nnamdi Kanu, has congratulated Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr – one of the holiest occasions on the Islamic calendar.
Kanu, in a message Thursday, noted that his message and best wishes are directed to “Muslim faithfuls who don’t think and behave like the terrorists” who he said are presiding over the government in Nigeria.
“May the peace & blessings of your God Allah be and abide with you always,” said the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
— Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (@MaziNnamdiKanu) May 13, 2021
Rocket attacks: Nigerian govt frowns, send message to Israel
Nigeria’s federal government has expressed its displeasure with the rocket attacks between Israel and the Palestinian militant group in Gaza, Hamas.
In a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, Nigeria’s federal government called on both sides to defuse hostilities.
“The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Federal Government of Nigeria is watching with great concern the unfolding developments with Israel and the State of Palestine and urges both parties to see reason and de-escalate the hostilities,” said Nwonye.
“The Federal Government further urges the two parties to remain committed to the two-state solution and, in the meantime, guarantee the rights of all citizens to live in peace and dignity.”
Gaza rocket attacks: US, Europe suspend flights to and from Israel
International air carriers are suspending flights to and from Israel amid ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza capable of reaching the country’s center, where Ben Gurion Airport is located, near to the city of Lod.
British Airways on Thursday became the latest carrier to cancel its Tel Aviv route, saying that “the safety and security of our colleagues and customers is always our top priority, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Earlier on Thursday, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines announced that they were suspending flights from Frankfurt, Vienna and Munich on Thursday and Friday.
US-based carriers American, Delta and United on Wednesday cancelled all fights to Israel.
American cancelled its daily flight from New York; United cancelled its flights from Chicago, Newark and San Francisco; and Delta cancelled flights from New York to Tel Aviv.
Ben Gurion Airport rerouted all incoming flights to Ramon International Airport in southern Israel’s Timna Valley – approximately 20 kilometers from Eilat – on Thursday, as terrorists in the Gaza Strip continued launching rockets toward Israeli territory.
Departing flights were still taking off from Ben Gurion.
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