A 95-year-old woman has been charged as an accessory to the murder of 10,000 people because she worked as a secretary at a Nazi concentration camp.
The woman has not been named under German privacy laws but has been partially identified by local media as Irmgard F, a German pensioner living in a retirement home in Pinneberg, north of Hamburg.
From June 1943 and April 1945 she worked as a secretary and typist for the commandant of Stutthof concentration camp, in present day Poland.
She is charged with “assisting those responsible for the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners, Polish partisans and Soviet prisoners of war at the camp”.
Irmgard F told German radio in 2019 that she only learned of the murders at the camp after the end of the war. She claimed she never entered the camp itself and that her office window faced away from the complex.
She testified in German hearings against more senior figures at the camp in the years following the war that she was unaware gas chambers were operating at the camp.
She said she knew that some “executions” took place, but claimed that at the time she believed the victims had committed some crime.
It is not the first time a woman has been charged over the Holocaust, but the decision to bring charges against a former secretary is the latest in a series of recent attempts to widen prosecutions beyond those directly involved in sending prisoners to their deaths.
Around 65,000 people are believed to have been systematically murdered at Stutthof, around 28,000 of them Jewish.