Nazi secretary, 96, caught after skipping war crimes trial set to start yesterday

Originally published at: Nazi secretary, 96, caught after skipping war crimes trial set to start yesterday | Boing Boing


You can run, with a walker, but you can’t hide Nazi.



Here’s a weird twist… since she committed the crimes when she was 18, she’s going to be tried by a juvenile court… as a 96 year old.


Edit: I thought this would go w/out saying, but apparently some of you are reacting like this observation somehow indicates sympathy for the criminal or that she’s not being treated fairly, etc… So, to be clear, it’s horrible, she should rot in prison.


So, in other words, someone fighting against actual no-kidding fascists. An anti-fascist, if you will, or antifa for short.
Sounds good to me.


This is exactly the message that’s being sent, one that fascists past, present and future need to hear.

That’s right, because unlike Roland Freisler’s Nazi “People’s Court” the modern authorities actually care about due process and rule of law. The bigoted old bat could probably learn something from the kids in juvie.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine GIF by PeacockTV


That’s 78 years that she got to be free, her victims did not get that.


On the one hand, most 96-year-olds are not the same people they were at 18.

On the other hand this woman had nearly eight decades to show remorse and atone for her crimes but didn’t, so she can fuck off right to hell.


I’ll gladly hold the door to hell for her.


Maybe a Boy Scout will help her cross that road paved with good intentions.


I’m glad to see justice meted out here, but I like to think that she spent all of those intervening 76 years waiting for due. Probably not, but hopefully.


I like to think she was emotionally tortured by all those decades of knowing what she’d done, but the truth is humans are super good at rationalizing away feelings that would torture us. I’m sure she had a story she told herself about how she didn’t really know what was going on, or she was just following orders or whatever else.

Well, time’s up, Nazi.


100% right. Sitting at a trial would confront her with the facts she spent a lifetime making up fictions about.


Traudl Junge (aka “Hitler’s secretary”) had an interesting quote that was included in the end of Downfall about how she used her youth as an excuse to rationalize away responsibility for her actions during the war. Then one day she happened by the monument to martyred anti-Nazi student activist Sophie Scholl and realized the two had been the same age, and Junge’s relative youth was no excuse.


Do we have to knock, so you can open the door and let us in?


No replacement for good manners. Even in Hell.


I actually have conflicted feelings about this.

Obviously, fuck nazis. And anything that brings justice is welcome.

(The following was very difficult to write - I hope I’ve managed to put my point across, even as I already regret writing “fuck nazis” followed by “but […]” in the same message.)

But I can’t escape the feeling that this is missing some of the most important lessons that WW2 taught us. We should know that the evil of nazis was (is) banal, that it doesn’t take an extraordinarily cruel or violent person to commit atrocities, that in fact a large segment of the human society - even a majority - is capable of if not actual hand-on mass murder, then at least of being a quietly conformist, cog-in-the-machine accessory to mass murder. In a regular healthy society those people are jerks and bigots and assholes who nonetheless don’t cause serious trouble, but under a government that has mass murder as its policy they provide the labor for it.

With this trial, and other recent trials of similarly small cogs in the Nazi machine, the way the media attention puts the spotlight on specific individuals seems to suggest a counterproductive narrative: look, we have found these evil people, and once we have put the evil people away, clearly we will have only good people left! This, combined with the common understanding of nazis as almost impossibly, cartoonishly evil boogeymen, and their atrocities as unique, unprecedented and unrivaled (wrong on all counts), weakens our ability to see the ever present danger of banal evil.

This specific instance is particularly resonant for me because all Lithuanian high school students get to read a book of memoirs written by a prisoner of the Stuffhof concentration camp - the same one where this woman worked as a secretary. Balys Sruoga, the author, was a writer and university professor who was arrested for refusing to recruit his students into Nazi forces, and spent two years in Stutthof until its liberation. The guards whittled down the prisoner numbers by forcing them to do grueling pointless physical labor (filling in the ditches they dug last week, that sort of thing) with inadequate clothing and food rations. After witnessing his colleagues die from exhaustion and almost succumbing himself, Sruoga managed to convince one of the SS officers to take him on as a secretary, because he spoke many languages and could use a typewriter. It let him work indoors in relative safety, and he used his position to make deliberate mistakes and write fake orders to save some lives - but he couldn’t sabotage everything without being found out, so he became an accessory to the murders that happened in the camp. Where is the line separating him and the woman on trial? Is there such a line?


In order to sabotage from within, one must not be caught. It’s a horrible thing to contemplate, in itself. Around the same time, Allied leadership had to let some transport ships be sunk by Uboats in order to keep the Nazis from figuring out that they had broken Enigma.

But there is no indication the woman in the OP did anything but help camp operations. That’s a huge distance from risking one’s life or risking torture to sabotage operations at the camp.

So, yes, there’s a line; it’s massive.


I would say the line separating them is that Mr. Sruoga was

  1. Clearly anti-Nazi (thus the cause for his arrest in the first place)
  2. Was a prisoner who faced certain death if he couldn’t find a way to get the Nazis to value his survival
  3. Was nonetheless riddled with guilt for his role in helping run the camp
  4. Was publicly forthcoming about his actions during the war

It does not appear that Ms. Furchner was any of those things. Thus this trial.