Nazi concentration camp secretary trial

OutlawGER

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She deserves to die in prison. She won’t, though.
Show her the same sympathy she showed to poor people.
If it were up to me I'd try and make the rest of this cnuts life as uncomfortable as possible.


Holy shit. So hateful.

You guys don't know the person. You don't know her involvement. You don't know what she knows or knew. You basically don't know anything and still you are judging an 18 year old girl, 80 years ago, working as a secretary like this.

Where is your deep hate coming from?
 

nickm

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Who knows? It might just have been that her old man got her job there and there were few other options or she felt pressured to take the job. Maybe she was a vengeful jew-hater who revelled in it, I've no idea.
If only there was a way to find out the truth rather than speculating. We could call this system 'the courts' maybe and put her in one to find out.
 

nimic

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What are you basing that on please?
Which part? For civilian workers, at least in the case of Germans, it would be treated as more or less any other job. You didn't get rounded up at 18 and put as a first secretary to a concentration camp commander. If she worked at a concentration camp it's because she applied to work there. If she only discovered where she was working after she got there, then she could have asked to work somewhere else. It might have negatively affected her career, but at least she wouldn't be tangentially involved in genocide, which I feel is a fair trade-off.

As for soldiers, the people in charge didn't want unwilling participants. If someone couldn't handle it, they could request a transfer. This doesn't just apply for concentration camps but war crimes in general, such that there are almost no examples of serious consequences for refusing to participate in war crimes. Most of the time there were no consequences at all.

Here's a good post on it on Reddit. AskHistorians is one of the very few subreddits where you can expect to find experts answering your questions:

 

nickm

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Holy shit. So hateful.

You guys don't know the person. You don't know her involvement. You don't know what she knows or knew. You basically don't know anything and still you are judging an 18 year old girl, 80 years ago, working as a secretary like this.

Where is your deep hate coming from?
I dunno, she was a nazi working in a death camp? Accused of literally getting paid to help organise the death of thousands.

Now if it turns out there is more to it than that, then great. That's what courts are for. But she's being charged with being an accomplice to genocide, let's not beat around the bush here.
 
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11101

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What are you basing that on please?
'Normal' German citizens were not forced to work in the camps, they did so through choice.

Especially ones that were married to SS officers.
 

calodo2003

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Holy shit. So hateful.

You guys don't know the person. You don't know her involvement. You don't know what she knows or knew. You basically don't know anything and still you are judging an 18 year old girl, 80 years ago, working as a secretary like this.

Where is your deep hate coming from?
Do you think she should stand trial?
 

Carolina Red

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Where is your deep hate coming from?
Shot in the dark here, but probably from the knowledge of what the Nazis did at the camps. Could be wrong though, who knows?
 

Superden

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its not black and white is it, these things never are no matter how much people try and see it that way. the nation was turned into a war machine, so is everyone who stayed and played a part in the war effort culpable. I just see the abuses happening around the world today and wonder why the attribution of responsibility isn't so widespread as we want it to be for the horrors of years ago.
 

oates

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its not black and white is it, these things never are no matter how much people try and see it that way. the nation was turned into a war machine, so is everyone who stayed and played a part in the war effort culpable. I just see the abuses happening around the world today and wonder why the attribution of responsibility isn't so widespread as we want it to be for the horrors of years ago.
What was new during WWII was the victimisation, murder and abuse of citizenry also including the Japanese treatment of civilians as well as prisoners of war. Being the victors, the Allies decided that the actual perpetrators should be punished, those with an active hand in the deeds, but these War Crimes were already set out by the Geneva Convention prior to the conflict beginning and in general societies haven't themselves been identified as perpetrators of such crimes. Maybe the last time we punished a whole nation had a hand in bringing about the 2nd World War.
 

Superden

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What was new during WWII was the victimisation, murder and abuse of citizenry also including the Japanese treatment of civilians as well as prisoners of war. Being the victors, the Allies decided that the actual perpetrators should be punished, those with an active hand in the deeds, but these War Crimes were already set out by the Geneva Convention prior to the conflict beginning and in general societies haven't themselves been identified as perpetrators of such crimes. Maybe the last time we punished a whole nation had a hand in bringing about the 2nd World War.
perhaps carpet bombing whole swathes of the middle east to take out 'selected' terrorists / enemy combatants / induce regime change, hasnt exactly worked out too well either. in the future as more and more errors / atrocities come to light, where will society draw the line for culpability? drone operators, mechanics, what about the pollsters and spin doctors?
 

oates

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perhaps carpet bombing whole swathes of the middle east to take out 'selected' terrorists / enemy combatants / induce regime change, hasnt exactly worked out too well either. in the future as more and more errors / atrocities come to light, where will society draw the line for culpability? drone operators, mechanics, what about the pollsters and spin doctors?
The Geneva Convention is still in effect. It was also used in the War Crimes trials and convictions of Americans for their roles played in Vietnam.

I believe it's been used to try former Yugoslavian 'War Criminals'. Maybe the 'Middle East' will bring their charges to the Hague but holding a whole peoples responsible through the layers you suggest might be problematic if they don't satisfy the criteria in the Convention.
 

Superden

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The Geneva Convention is still in effect. It was also used in the War Crimes trials and convictions of Americans for their roles played in Vietnam.

I believe it's been used to try former Yugoslavian 'War Criminals'. Maybe the 'Middle East' will bring their charges to the Hague but holding a whole peoples responsible through the layers you suggest might be problematic if they don't satisfy the criteria in the Convention.
We have the ICC, but ironically enough Israel is not a member and has rejected any investigations into its conduct, and it certainly has a different view on Geneva Conventions when it comes to occupation / settlements than the majority of the rest of the world. Its not about criterion at all is it, its whether you have the economic / military standing and/or alliances to disregard conventions and laws. it was ever thus.
 

Denis79

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Ex-Nazi concentration camp secretary, 96, caught after fleeing before trial


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...i-concentration-camp-secretary-96-faces-trial

Looking beyond the Guardian's guff about her 'being on the run' and 'fleeing', despite being 96 year old, the case is interesting.

She was an 18 year typist, hardly someone making orders, so seems vindictive to pursue her. I can understand some will have zero sympathy, but her being 'complicit in the murder of thousands' seems a stretch.

Would the Caf put her on trial?
I have no sympathy for Nazi scum. She knew very well what was going on. Think most people fail to understand that the majority of the young population growing up in Nazi Germany believed firmly and blindly in it's ideologies.
 

oates

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We have the ICC, but ironically enough Israel is not a member and has rejected any investigations into its conduct, and it certainly has a different view on Geneva Conventions when it comes to occupation / settlements than the majority of the rest of the world. Its not about criterion at all is it, its whether you have the economic / military standing and/or alliances to disregard conventions and laws. it was ever thus.
I suppose you are right, you have to be the 'victors' such as the Allies following WWII to have the power, all sorts of support taken away and it's been noted many times on CE that the USA will never vote as Security Council Members against Israel.
 

Denis79

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Holy shit. So hateful.

You guys don't know the person. You don't know her involvement. You don't know what she knows or knew. You basically don't know anything and still you are judging an 18 year old girl, 80 years ago, working as a secretary like this.

Where is your deep hate coming from?
You're seriously asking that about a Nazi?
 

nickm

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its not black and white is it, these things never are no matter how much people try and see it that way. the nation was turned into a war machine, so is everyone who stayed and played a part in the war effort culpable.
I dunno, I guess lines can be drawn anywhere, I just choose to draw them at being a literal nazi working in a literal death camp.
 

Kentonio

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Which part? For civilian workers, at least in the case of Germans, it would be treated as more or less any other job. You didn't get rounded up at 18 and put as a first secretary to a concentration camp commander. If she worked at a concentration camp it's because she applied to work there. If she only discovered where she was working after she got there, then she could have asked to work somewhere else. It might have negatively affected her career, but at least she wouldn't be tangentially involved in genocide, which I feel is a fair trade-off.

As for soldiers, the people in charge didn't want unwilling participants. If someone couldn't handle it, they could request a transfer. This doesn't just apply for concentration camps but war crimes in general, such that there are almost no examples of serious consequences for refusing to participate in war crimes. Most of the time there were no consequences at all.

Here's a good post on it on Reddit. AskHistorians is one of the very few subreddits where you can expect to find experts answering your questions:

I'm focused more on the soldiers, and its relevant because we're not talking specifically about those that took part in the killing. There is at least one documented case of a transfer simply being refused. I think generally it's just a really tough thing to be too black or white on, when it comes to assuming people had free choice. Even with the civilians did they know what those camps actually were when they applied? Very unlikely given the deliberate net of secrecy they operated under.
 

oates

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I'm focused more on the soldiers, and its relevant because we're not talking specifically about those that took part in the killing. There is at least one documented case of a transfer simply being refused. I think generally it's just a really tough thing to be too black or white on, when it comes to assuming people had free choice. Even with the civilians did they know what those camps actually were when they applied? Very unlikely given the deliberate net of secrecy they operated under.
I don't want to start an argument with you but most Germans thought the camps were initially for education purposes but as time went on became more and more aware of the real purpose.
 

nimic

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I'm focused more on the soldiers, and its relevant because we're not talking specifically about those that took part in the killing. There is at least one documented case of a transfer simply being refused. I think generally it's just a really tough thing to be too black or white on, when it comes to assuming people had free choice. Even with the civilians did they know what those camps actually were when they applied? Very unlikely given the deliberate net of secrecy they operated under.
Maybe? But in this case it always comes back to the fact that she was married to an SS officer and became the first secretary of the camp commander. None of that suggests she didn't know or at the very least shouldn't have known.
 

OutlawGER

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You're seriously asking that about a Nazi?
Yes, i wonder why someone, probably born in the 80s, 90s or even 00s, would hate someone that deeply (to be able to write and feel something as hateful as the comments i have quoted above), for something a person at the age of 18 may or may not have known (there is no prove yet in this specific case, isn't it?) almost a century ago.


I hope this sentence is written understandable. :lol:
 

Denis79

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Yes, i wonder why someone, probably born in the 80s, 90s or even 00s, would hate someone that deeply (to be able to write and feel something as hateful as the comments i have quoted above), for something a person at the age of 18 may or may not have known (there is no prove yet in this specific case, isn't it?) almost a century ago.


I hope this sentence is written understandable. :lol:
I grew up with stories from my great grandfather about what the Nazis did when they occupied my country and in my adult life I have seen and read enough to absolutely despise everything the Nazis stood for.

Most of the young people back in Nazi Germany grew up with the Hitler Jugend and truly believed in it's sick ideologies. She was most likely proud to serve her country and her Fuhrer. If she's innocent, that's what the courts are for but if she did aid in the genocide of millions and in my opinion should burn in hell for it.
 
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Rado_N

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Yes, i wonder why someone, probably born in the 80s, 90s or even 00s, would hate someone that deeply (to be able to write and feel something as hateful as the comments i have quoted above), for something a person at the age of 18 may or may not have known (there is no prove yet in this specific case, isn't it?) almost a century ago.


I hope this sentence is written understandable. :lol:
Are you seriously suggesting that a person would need to have lived through the era of Nazi Germany in order to hate Nazis?
 

oneniltothearsenal

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While we stand by and watch Guantanamo rumble on and countless state-sponsored persecutions and massacres around the globe.
I am of the opinion that this woman absolutely needs to be charged and go on trial, for the precedent and for the historic record.

But you do raise an important question. I really loved the movie The Card Counter because it highlights this very issue regarding Abu Ghraib. Only the lowest privates went on trial meanwhile the officers, trainers, higher-ups who designed and ordered the torture and interrogation methods, none of them were ever held accountable.

The reason why is partially because there simply isn't a systemic way to hold those accountable; there is no means to actually prosecute those higher-ups if the higher-ups are the only real ones who decide who goes to military trial. There needs to be some pretty major changes for this and its hard to see how that could happen, certainly in the current climate in America. Maybe with the EU it's possible (although probably not in the UK anymore either).
 

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Imagine the job application form for a Camp. How does one list their qualities to work amongst all that?
 

oates

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Imagine the job application form for a Camp. How does one list their qualities to work amongst all that?
You'd have to tick the box stating that you were a party member at least.
 

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Are you seriously suggesting that a person would need to have lived through the era of Nazi Germany in order to hate Nazis?
Maybe it's just me, but i can't hate a person enough to wish her to burn or die whatsoever. For me to hate a person that much, it must be someone i have personally seen killing or raping children for example by myself (and even then i prefer the law to take the person to justice). But certainly it is not a 18 year old secretary woman. No matter if nazi or not.

Hating nazis in general or wishing a woman for beeing a secretary to die is something different for me. And then i wonder, how someone can really feel that much hate in his heart today.
 

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Maybe? But in this case it always comes back to the fact that she was married to an SS officer and became the first secretary of the camp commander. None of that suggests she didn't know or at the very least shouldn't have known.
Yeah I'm not standing up for her case in particular, I'm just a bit uncomfortable with the more recent cases going after the very peripheral figures who didn't directly act and who werent given a lot of choice in actually being there.
 

Peter van der Gea

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I don't know why some people have used the "she was only a typist" excuse, typists have to read what they are typing, so unless they had her typing out the phone book, she knew what was happening there.
 

antohan

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She is going to trial, the court will determine her culpability.

I don't like this 'We were only obeying orders business'. Never have. Carpenters, secretaries, soldiers, whoever aided the murder of 6 million jews they should be tried. I'm sure you wouldn't want to tell me that you had some small hand in the efficient parcelling off of a race to the next life but were only obeying orders, not enjoying it, not the first each time to volunteer?
I'd say the trial is worth having solely for that reason, to confront her with what she was part of and to deliberately not take things lightly due to passage of time/obeying orders excuse.

That said, she wasn't "just an 18yo typist". She was EIGHT when Hitler got to power. She grew up in the midst of all that insanity. Doesn't make anything right, but there must be hundreds of thousands of nazis who absolutely 100% should have known better than her.
 

oates

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I'd say the trial is worth having solely for that reason, to confront her with what she was part of and to deliberately not take things lightly due to passage of time/obeying orders excuse.

That said, she wasn't "just an 18yo typist". She was EIGHT when Hitler got to power. She grew up in the midst of all that insanity. Doesn't make anything right, but there must be hundreds of thousands of nazis who absolutely 100% should have known better than her.
Yes, I agree with that. Her parents may have been party members, men particularly needed to carry the card to get a decent job, a few of the luxuries of life like eating and a roof over their heads. Of course there were many who weren't Nazis but to have her job she had to be one in name at least.

This woman didn't just type every communication, she also initialed them on behalf of her boss, she knew what the papers contained and their effect.

She would be too old to effectively punish her but she deserves a trial, this will never be over for some groups of people no matter what some people wish would rather be the case, they deserve the trial too.
 

Peter van der Gea

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I'd say the trial is worth having solely for that reason, to confront her with what she was part of and to deliberately not take things lightly due to passage of time/obeying orders excuse.

That said, she wasn't "just an 18yo typist". She was EIGHT when Hitler got to power. She grew up in the midst of all that insanity. Doesn't make anything right, but there must be hundreds of thousands of nazis who absolutely 100% should have known better than her.
I didn't realise how young she was when Hitler came to power, but, at the same time, she would have been reading the words in front of her and known what they meant.

I guess you could call it grooming, but then I'd imagine a fair number of people who don't want her prosecuted, also don't want to allow Shamima Begum back into the UK.
 

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Maybe it's just me, but i can't hate a person enough to wish her to burn or die whatsoever. For me to hate a person that much, it must be someone i have personally seen killing or raping children for example by myself (and even then i prefer the law to take the person to justice). But certainly it is not a 18 year old secretary woman. No matter if nazi or not.

Hating nazis in general or wishing a woman for beeing a secretary to die is something different for me. And then i wonder, how someone can really feel that much hate in his heart today.
Considering Sophie Scholl was about the same age and was beheaded after a public show trial for speaking out against the Nazi regime the same year this woman decided to work at a concentration camp in Occupied Poland, I don’t feel one damn bit of sympathy for her. She can fecking rot.
 

George Owen

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Considering Sophie Scholl was about the same age and was beheaded after a public show trial for speaking out against the Nazi regime the same year this woman decided to work at a concentration camp in Occupied Poland*, I don’t feel one damn bit of sympathy for her. She can fecking rot.
*This article was amended on 30 September 2021. An earlier version said that Stutthof camp was “in Nazi-occupied Poland”. In fact it was in the Nazi-occupied area of the Free City of Danzig.
 

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Surprised this is up for debate.

She was a part of the Nazi regime, she married an SS officer, no matter how little or large, she's complicit.
Anyone who commits a crime, even if wearing a uniform or following orders, should never be allowed to escape being tried for the crime. Victims deserve justice no matter what. Am I right?
 

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Holy shit. So hateful.

You guys don't know the person. You don't know her involvement. You don't know what she knows or knew. You basically don't know anything and still you are judging an 18 year old girl, 80 years ago, working as a secretary like this.

Where is your deep hate coming from?
Is that a serious question or are you that ignorant?
 

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Considering Sophie Scholl was about the same age and was beheaded after a public show trial for speaking out against the Nazi regime the same year this woman decided to work at a concentration camp in Occupied Poland, I don’t feel one damn bit of sympathy for her. She can fecking rot.
Not sure you can fairly damn someone for not having the stones to speak out and get beheaded, seems a bit harsh. Given the whole economy was pretty much geared for war, most jobs could be seen as facilitating the Nazis in some capacity- the camps obviously being a particularly grim example. The country was also coming out of depression for the early to mid-30s, so not clear how much you could pick and choose on jobs, particularly outside of large urban areas.