‘It was HELL’: Holocaust survivor, 93, reveals how Nazi concentration camp prisoners fell into CANNIBALISM to stay alive


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ITZEHOE, SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN: A Holocaust survivor has claimed starving prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp ate the body parts of dead inmates to stay alive. Prisoners often slaughtered corpses for their livers, a German court has heard. The shocking claims came during the ongoing trial of Irmgard Furchner, 97, a former secretary at Stutthof concentration camp during World War II. Furchner allegedly aided in the deaths of 11,000 victims during his time at the SS-run camp.

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On August 30, Risa Silbert, a 93-year-old survivor, told the trial that starving prisoners frequently turned to cannibalism. “Stutthof was hell,” Risa told the Itzehoe District Court in the state of Schleswig-Holstein via video link from Australia. “We had cannibalism in the camp. People were hungry and they cut up the corpses and they wanted to remove the liver.” “It was every day,” added Silbert, born to a Jewish family in Klaipeda, a port city in Lithuania, in 1929.

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Silbert revealed that her father and brother were murdered by German collaborators in Kaunas in 1941. She, along with her mother and sister, were placed in a ghetto before being taken to Stutthof in August 1944. Silbert recalled how prisoners had to report at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., and how SS guards brutally whipped those who could not stand still. “None of us were called by that name. We were just called bastards,” she told the court.

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Silbert, then 15, and her older sister were hiding from SS guards under corpses. At the time, corpses were all over the camp due to a typhoid epidemic. She told the court that prisoners often disappeared from the camp and were never seen again.

Silbert’s mother died of typhus in January 1945. In mid-April of that year the prisoners were taken to Danzig and then across the Baltic Sea to Holstein in barges. This was when Germany was in retreat. On May 3, in the town of Neustadt, they were finally liberated by British soldiers. She claimed that she still had scars from being beaten mercilessly in the camp.

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Furchner is accused of aiding in the murder of over 11,000 camp prisoners. She worked there from June 1943 to April 1945. Furchner claimed that although she worked in the camp’s command block, she was unaware of the massacres. However, at trial it was revealed that her husband, who was a Nazi SS soldier during World War II, had testified in 1954 that he knew people had been gassed at the concentration camp.

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In her defense, Furchner maintained that she knew nothing of the camp’s murderous regime. She was secretary to the camp commander and reported directly to the SS. Furchner was due to appear in Itzehoe Regional Court in September 2021, but she is believed to have absconded and the trial had to be suspended.

In a letter written in the past, Furchner claimed she was unfit to stand trial. “Due to my age and physical limitations, I will not be attending court dates and will ask defense counsel to represent me. humanity.” She escaped by leaving her nursing home in Quickborn, Hamburg, taking a taxi and disappearing. However, she was arrested a few hours later.

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