A 96-year-old woman charged with complicity in thousands of murders at a Nazi death camp has gone on the run as her trial begins, a German court has heard.
Irmgard Furchner, who now lives in an elderly persons’ care home near Hamburg, worked as a stenographer at the Stutthof camp near Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk.
She is accused assisting with the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners, as well as Polish partisans and Soviet Russian prisoners of war.
Her file contains the cases of more than 10,000 people and was due to be heard in a juvenile court because she was 18 years old at the time.
She worked at the camp between June 1943 and April 1945.
The secretary of the commandant of Stutthof conc. camp was supposed to face charges today for assisting in the murder of 11,000 inmates. Instead she fled. Healthy enough to flee, healthy enough to go to jail!!
— Efraim Zuroff (@EZuroff) September 30, 2021
The Holocaust historian and Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said the incident demonstrated, contrary to claims she was too old to stand trial, that she was “healthy enough to flee, healthy enough to go to jail”.
Presiding judge Dominik Gross said he had issued an arrest warrant for Furchner after she failed to appear in court as expected on Thursday morning.
A spokesperson for the court said the defendant had left her home that morning and her whereabouts were unknown.
Frederike Milhoffer told Germany’s DPA agency she had taken a taxi towards a railway station in Norderstedt on the outskirts of Hamburg.
An army of journalists and observers had gathered to watch the start of the proceedings, one of a series of cases against elderly Nazi war crime suspects pursued by German prosecutors.
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