Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Recent Indictments in Germany of Concentration Camp Operatives in Stutthof and Sachsenhausen
February 9, 2021
Jerusalem –The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed the two recent indictments filed in Germany over the past week against individuals (one male, one female) who served in German concentration camps during World War II. Both were charged with "accessory to murder," according to the change in German prosecution policy in the wake of the conviction in 2011 on that charge of armed SS Sobibor death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk.
The first indictment was against Irmgard F., who served as the secretary of Peter Hoppe, the commandant of the Stutthof concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, who was convicted in 1957 for his role in the camp. The second was a male who served as a guard in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin.
Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center's chief Nazi-hunter, who assisted the prosecution in the Stutthof case by finding 21 survivors of the camp, noted the importance of such trials. "These proceedings continue to serve as stark and vital reminders of the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia, in a world in which extremist ideas continue to exert influence and encourage violence against innocent victims. The advanced age of the defendants is no excuse to ignore them and allow them to live in the peace and tranquility they denied their victims. These are the last people on earth who deserve any sympathy, since they had none for those tortured and murdered, some of whom were even older than they are today."
Stutthof concentration camp, near Gdansk, Poland, was the first Nazi concentration camp established outside Nazi Germany on September 2, 1939, and was the last to be liberated by the Allies (the Soviet Army) on May 9, 1945. Approximately 110,000 men and women were sent to the camp, which was originally designated for Polish religious and political leaders and intelligentsia. The first large number of Jewish inmates arrived in Stutthof in July 1944, about a year after the Nazis built a gas chamber and crematorium in the camp, and it was then that the camp began to play an important role in the implementation of the Final Solution. Those deported were 25,053 Jews (among them 16,123 women) from the Baltics, mostly the remnants of Lithuanian ghettos, and 23,566 (of whom 21,817 were women) who had previously been deported from Hungary to Auschwitz. The estimated number of victims in Stutthof is 63,000-65,000, among them 28,000 Jews.
Sachsenhausen was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. It mainly held political prisoners throughout World War II. Sachsenhausen was a labor camp outfitted with several subcamps, a gas chamber, and a medical experimentation area. Prisoners were treated harshly, fed sparingly, and killed openly. At least 30,000 inmates died in Sachsenhausen from causes such as exhaustion, disease, malnutrition and pneumonia, as a result of the poor living conditions. Many were executed or died as the result of brutal medical experimentation.
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).