A Jewish survivor of the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp has testified in court against a former secretary who is on trial for complicity in over 11,000 cases of murder and attempted murder.
The Itzehoe District Court in the town of the same name in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein heard Asia Shindelman via videoconference yesterday (Tuesday, 14th December).
She was testifying against 96-year-old Irmgard F., full surname not reported due to strict local privacy laws, who was a former stenographer and typist at the Stutthof concentration camp.
The defendant, who was formally charged on 26th January this year, is on trial for complicity in 11,380 cases of murder cases of murder and seven cases of attempted murder.
Stutthof was established by Nazi Germany near the village of the same name, now called Sztutowo and located in Poland’s Pomeranian Voivodeship, on 2nd September 1939.
It soon developed into a huge complex of 40 sub-camps across several locations. Up to 110,000 people were deported there until its liberation by the Allies on 9th May 1945.
The defendant worked as a civilian employee in the camp’s headquarters from June 1943 to April 1945.
The proceedings are taking place in a youth chamber, as the defendant was aged 18 to 19 at the time.
Asia Shindelman was born in Lithuania in 1928 and was taken to a ghetto with her parents in 1941 after Nazi Germany occupied the Baltic region.
She was sent to Stutthof, where she was received by SS guards armed with whips and dogs, three years later.
Through an interpreter, she told the court that the SS guards were given free rein to do anything they pleased, including “kill us”.
She and other Jewish women were taken to a sub-camp, where they were made to dig trenches for defence purposes, a month later.
Shindelman survived the ordeal and now lives in the US state of New Jersey. She hopes her testimony will help to bring Irmgard F. to justice.