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Late justice – History returns: The Stutthof Trial in Itzehoe

The Death Gate of Stutthof concentration camp, 1941–1945. Image: GEDANOPEDIA, Foundation Gdansk – Picture detail by IAC Berlin

The Death Gate of Stutthof concentration camp, 1941–1945. Image: GEDANOPEDIA, Foundation Gdansk – Picture detail by IAC Berlin




An act of late justice for their murdered family members is what survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants are hoping for in the Nazi trial of Irmgard Furchner in Itzehoe.

This is why world media and survivors of the Holocaust will be closely following the Itzehoe trial of Irmgard Furchner starting on 30 September. She was the personal secretary of the Nazi concentration camp commandant Paul Werner Hoppe from 1 April 1943 until 1 April 1945 in Stutthof concentration camp. Her office was only metres away from the prisoners’ barracks. She is being charged with aiding and abetting murder in more than 11,000 cases.

The survivors are especially hoping that, during her trial, Irmgard Furchner will provide honest and comprehensive descriptions of her activities in Stutthof, her memories and her perceptions as an eye witness and participant. Her testimony could make clear, especially to young people, how people can be trained through an ideology of hatred and violence to take part, in this case for many years, in the bureaucratic implementation of anti-Semitic mass murder and racist crimes.

The International Auschwitz Committee will be following the trial together with members of the Evangelical city-centre parish in Itzehoe and Pastor Wiebke Bähnk.
On the evening prior to the start of the trial there will be an event focussing on the victims. It will take place in the St Ansgar Church, Wilhelmstr. 4 in Itzehoe. The event starts at 7 pm on Wednesday 29 September and is organized by the city-centre parish and the International Auschwitz Committee:

Christoph Heubner, author and Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, was the first volunteer from the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace in the Stutthof Memorial in the 1970s. He will be reporting from the standpoint of the victims on these late Nazi trials. He will also be presenting his literary and personal experiences at the Stutthof Memorial and talking about his encounters with survivors from the concentration camp.

The internationally renowned puppeteer Matthias Kuchta (Lille Kartofler Figurentheater), who grew up just a few kilometres away from Itzehoe and now lives in the Rhineland, will be presenting his storytelling piece "Helgas Reise nach Riga". It tells about the fate of a Jewish girl who came from Langenfeld in the Rhineland disappeared in Stutthof.