Holocaust Survivor Testifies Against Former Typist at Concentration Camp Who Signed His Father’s Death Certificate
An 83-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor testified in court on Tuesday against a German woman who was a stenographer at a Nazi concentration camp and stamped his father’s death certificate.
Josef Salomonovic was the first Holocaust survivor to testify at the trial of Irmgard Furchner, 96, who is accused of being an accessory to the murder of 11,412 people at the Stutthof concentration camp in northern Poland between 1943 and 1945, a charge she denies. Furchner, who has been called the “secretary of evil,” was 18 when she started working as a typist for the camp’s commandant.
“It is not easy to go over all this again. It’s a moral duty. It’s not pleasant,” Salomonovic, whose family was from Czechoslovakia, told the court as he held up a photograph of his father, as reported by the Independent.
Salomonovic was six years old when his father was killed with a lethal injection to the heart in Stutthof, he told the court. He recalled the pain of losing his father at such a young age and, when asked by a prosecutor if he wanted to tell Furchner anything, he said, “Maybe she has trouble sleeping at night. I know I do.”
He also spoke about his mother being stripped of her clothes and possessions by the Nazis and how they shaved her head. Salomonovic told the court he survived eight concentration camps, including Auschwitz, but judged Stutthof to be the worst.
“I was classified as a parasite,” he said. “Everyone who couldn’t work was a parasite. I got into the cattle wagon and of course I didn’t know we were going to Auschwitz or that this was the last time I would see my father. He kissed me.”
Salomonovic said his mother requested that he be brought from the men’s camp to the women’s camp so they would be reunited, and they were surprised when his brother was also brought. The three of them managed to survive together.
A total of 65,000 people were murdered in the Stutthof camp, according to Yad Vashem.
Furchner has claimed she knew nothing about the mass murders taking place inside the Nazi concentration camp, but Salomonovic argued to reporters on Tuesday that she is indirectly guilty — even if all she did was to stamp his father’s death certificate.
The first woman in decades to be tried for crimes committed by the Nazis, the former typist went on the run ahead of her court hearing in September and was declared a fugitive before she was arrested.