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Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


Stutthof Trial: Accessory to murder of more than 11,000 people

The Death Gate in Stutthof concentration camp, 1941–1945. Image: GEDANOPEDIA, foundation Gdańsk – image excerpt IAC Berlin

The Death Gate in Stutthof concentration camp, 1941–1945. Image: GEDANOPEDIA, foundation Gdańsk – image excerpt IAC Berlin




In Itzehoe, Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, commented as follows on the upcoming verdict in the Stutthof Trial against Irmgard F., the former secretary to the camp commandant, who is facing the charge of being an accessory to the murder of more than 11,000 people:

"Survivors of the German concentration and extermination camps are filled with great expectation as they await today’s verdict in the Itzehoe Stutthof Trial against the former secretary to the camp commandant, Irmgard F. The fact that, after countless years of looking away and multiple failings on the part of the German judicial system, another participant in the murderous system of the SS should be brought before a German court, has moved survivors. And they have been equally moved by the testimonies of the witnesses who have lent their voices to all the victims of murder in the camps as well as to all of the survivors. The survivors are very grateful to the commitment of the court which has showed that it is highly aware that judicial history is being written in Itzehoe, particularly in view of the current and future crimes against humanity: Justice has no expiry date, and it has a very long memory, so long as there are people who feel dedicated to this cause. This is now sending out a very clear signal, particularly in these days.

During this trial, the defendant has refused to face up to history and the explanation of her own life, just as she attempted to flee at the start of this trial. Her belated and meagre words of apology do not blind us to these facts. She has joined the huge line in a prolonged and horrific tradition of maintaining silence. It is the tradition of SS perpetrators, and their many helpers, who were all necessary and willing to be part of the machinery of murder and brutality in the concentration camps and were essential in upholding that system. Should the court agree with the prosecution’s demand and pass a suspended sentence, then the conditions of probation should require Frau F. to act as follows. She should speak to school classes in the remaining years of her life. She should tell classes and groups of young people about her life and explain how she, as a young person, became caught up in this vicious circle of power and human annihilation, and how the National Socialist ideology of anti-Semitic hatred and violence made her into what she became.

On this day my thoughts go to the young 9-year-old German-Jewish girl, Helga Meyer from Langenfeld in the Rhineland, all traces of whom vanish in the winter of 1944/45 in Stutthof. And my thoughts also go out to the Polish Stutthof survivor Leon Lendzion from Gdańsk, who witnessed the murder of his father in Stutthof, and after his many years imprisoned as a Polish patriot in Stutthof and other German concentration camps, became a pioneer of Polish-German reconciliation and understanding. Leon Lendzion did what Irmgard F. refused to give to the world. He spoke to young people telling them about his memories and experiences, and encouraging them to take an active part in democracy and their future."


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81