The Itzehoe Regional Court has found 97-year-old Irmgard Furchner, secretary at the Stutthof concentration camp, guilty of aiding in murder in over 10,000 cases and sentenced her to just 2 years' probation. What is the point of this? A person who got away with contributing to the crimes of Hitler fascism all her life is sentenced now, when she already has one foot in the grave, to a sentence she does not even have to serve.

In these last decades, there have been repeated convictions of elderly people who participated in the Holocaust. Of course, these sentences come much too late and, moreover, are downright ridiculous in view of the crimes the convicts were guilty of. The taz can waffle on about the great significance of this verdict. While in this state one goes to jail for almost four years for a few broken windows, Nazi criminals who participated in the systematic killing of thousands of people get off on probation.

The fact that these people are only now being sentenced can only happen at all because in the FRG no special emphasis was ever placed on consistently prosecuting the Nazis. And clearly more important Nazi personalities have remained unpunished than a simple concentration camp secretary. Those who helped build the West German state and its secret services from the very beginning.

A prominent example is Theodor Oberländer, Obersturmführer of the SA and Gauamtsleiter of the Nazis, bearer of the golden party badge, whom the first German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, took with him into the cabinet. In general, Nazis were not persecuted, but liberated, offered amnesty and integrated into the state. Reinhard Gehlen, who during the Second World War led the department "Foreign Armies East"(2) has built up with the blessing of the USA the "Organization Gehlen", which is today the Federal Intelligence Service.

Hanns Martin Schleyer, who was liquidated by the RAF, also held a leading position in occupied Czechoslovakia before the end of the war and was responsible for "Aryanization" and the recruitment of forced laborers in the Central Industrial Association. Not only was he never convicted for these crimes, no, they even dedicated a hall to him in Stuttgart.

The sentence of Furchner today is not only completely useless and insufficient. It is nothing more than a farce in view of the long history of old Nazis who were able to make a career in Germany.  

That this circus is made in order to have achieved nothing of any significance in the end is a mockery in view of the fact that fascist currents are not simply tolerated in the FRG but are cultivated again and again in a targeted manner.  The German state is trying to cleanse its reputation, while the future executioners are being trained in the here and now by those of yesteryear. These condemnations serve at best the state to create confusion, but not the masses who want justice.