Earlier this month, Furchner broke her silence and delivered unexpected final remarks.
She said she was sorry for what had happened, she regretted that she had been at Stutthof at the time and that she had nothing left to say. Previously, Furchner had attended but remained silent throughout 14 months of court hearings.
Holocaust survivors and their representatives had begged Furchner to speak up during the trial, according to German media reports.
German tabloid Bild dubbed Furchner the ‘secretary of evil,’ a reference to ‘the banality of evil,’ a phrase famously introduced by Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt in 1963 when reporting on the trial against Adolf Eichmann, one of the primary organizers of the Holocaust .
Furchner had skipped the start of her trial by leaving her home in a taxi on the morning it was due to start in September 2021. She spent five days in custody but was later released from detention. The court later explained that because of the woman’s age and condition, she had not been expected to “actively evade the trial.”
More than 60,000 people died in the camp near Gdansk, in today’s Poland, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website — many by lethal injection and in the camp’s gas chamber, others from disease or starvation.
Among them were Jews, political prisoners, accused criminals, people suspected of homosexual activity, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Furchner’s trial is not the first time that people who were not directly involved in killings in concentration camps have been found guilty of aiding and abetting murder.
Oskar Gröning, who worked as an accountant in Auschwitz, and John Demjanjuk, who worked as a guard at Sobibor, were both found guilty of accessory to murder in German courts in previous years.
But the trial against Furchner could be the last of its kind, as accused Nazi war criminals get older and suffer ill health.
Andy Eckardt reported from Mainz, Germany, and Marie Brockling reported from Hong Kong.