A 97-year-old former secretary at a Nazi concentration camp has filed an appeal against the guilty verdict she was given for her role in the deaths that took place at her place of work during World War II.
The appeal means that Germany's highest criminal court, the Federal Court of Justice, has to examine whether a procedural error was made.
"The verdict is thus not legally binding," the lower court in Itzehoe in northern Germany said on Wednesday.
Identified only as Irmgard F under German privacy laws, she was found guilty on December 20 of complicity in more than 10,500 cases of murder and given a two-year suspended sentence by a court in northern Germany.
Seventy-seven years after the end of World War II, Irmgard F's case is sure to be one of the last trials held in Germany dealing with the crimes of the Holocaust.
Imgard F had worked as a civilian employee in the commandant's office of Stutthof near what was then the Free City of Danzig, now Gdańsk in northern Poland, from June 1943 to April 1945, and therefore was found culpable for having assisted those in charge of the concentration camp in the systematic killing of inmates.
Because she was only 18 to 19 years old at the time of the crimes, the trial was held before a juvenile court in the small town of Itzehoe.
The Wiesenthal Centre, which has become known for its search for Nazi criminals in hiding, criticized the appeal as an "insult to the memory of those who died in Stutthof."
The appeal is "totally unwarranted and unjust," the head of the Wiesenthal Centre in Israel, Efraim Zuroff, said.
"This female criminal was lucky to be spared any incarceration, in view of her role in the deaths of over 10,000 innocent victims," he said. An acquittal would be akin to "erasing the memory of the crimes she helped commit and the memory of those who perished."
The court's suspended sentence was in line with what the prosecution had requested. The defence had demanded acquittal.
During the Holocaust, the German Nazi regime systematically murdered about 6 million Jews in Europe between 1941 and 1945, a genocide that amounted to about two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population.