96-year-old German Nazi war crimes suspect flees before trial

The defendant, whom Reuters named Irmgard Furchner, is “on the run and left her Quickborn residence this morning by taxi in the direction of Ochsenhofer Nordenstadt,” Frederike Milhoffer, a court spokesman in Itzehoe, near Hamburg, told CNN. by phone.

The court issued an arrest warrant and the police are searching for the woman.

The former secretary’s trial in the Stutthof concentration camp, near what is now the Polish city of Gdansk, was scheduled to start on Thursday, the indictment read. The woman is “suspected of having aided and instigated 11,387 murder cases.”

The defendant was a stenographer and typist in the camp commander’s office. He is alleged to have assisted camp managers in the systematic killing of prisoners between June 1943 and April 1945, the indictment reads.

Furchner faces trial before a Juvenile Court Chamber because she was a teenager at the time of the alleged crimes. She is one of the first women to go to trial in decades for alleged crimes during the Nazi era.

According to the Headquarters in Ludwigsburg, which is charged with investigating Nazi crimes, around 65,000 people died in the Stutthof concentration camp and its sub-camps, as well as in the so-called death marches at the end of the war.

In July 2020, the Hamburg Regional Court sentenced Bruno D., a 93-year-old former Stutthof guard, to two years’ probation.

The former guard supervised prisoners at Stutthof from August 1944 to April 1945 and was charged with 5,230 counts of accessory to murder during his time as an SS guard at the camp. He faced juvenile court because he was 17 at the time he served there.

A trial will also begin next Thursday against a 100-year-old SS guard in the former Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen.

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