A 96-year-old former Nazi concentration camp secretary due in court Thursday skipped the opening of her trial where she’s accused of aiding more than 11,000 murders — and went on the run in Germany.
Irmgard Furchner fled from her home on the outskirts of Hamburg, with the court she was supposed to appear before instead issuing an arrest warrant.
“The accused is on the run,” said Frederike Milhoffer, a spokesperson for the Itzehoe district court. “She left her home early in the morning in a taxi in the direction of a metro station.”
Furchner is accused of having contributed to the murder of 11,412 people when she was a typist at the World War Two Stutthof concentration camp between 1943 and 1945.
The court said in a statement before the trial that she “aided and abetted those in charge of the camp in the systematic killing of those imprisoned there.”
Despite her age, Furchner was due to stand trial in juvenile court because she was aged 18 or under at the time.
She had earlier pleaded with the court that she was too frail to stand trial.
Apparently, that’s not exactly the case,” Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Jerusalem, told The Associated Press.
“If she is healthy enough to flee, she is healthy enough to be incarcerated,” Zuroff insisted, saying that her going on the run now “should also affect the punishment.”
According to Der Spiegel, Furchner transcribed execution orders dictated to her by camp commandant Paul-Werner Hoppe, who was convicted of accessory to murder in 1955.
Her defense team has said the trial will center on whether Furchner’s work at the camp meant she knew of the atrocities being carried out there.
“My client worked in the midst of SS men who were experienced in violence — however, does that mean she shared their state of knowledge? That is not necessarily obvious,” one of her lawyers, Wolf Molkentin, told Der Spiegel.
With Post wires