Concentration camp workers are being tried for murder. At age 96, she tried to escape

A district court in Germany issued an arrest warrant for a 96-year-old woman on Thursday, who was due to stand trial on Thursday. She is accused of collaborating in thousands of murders in the Stutthof concentration camp, where she worked during World War II.

Irmgard Furchner was arrested on Thursday after being arrested in the German city of Itzehoe, where she was to stand trial. The trial was adjourned until October 19. The charges cannot be brought in her absence. Holocaust survivors, some from this camp, were also to testify in court.

The woman was to work in a Nazi concentration camp from 1943 to 1945. She left a retirement home on Thursday morning and took a taxi to a subway station, a court spokeswoman in Itzehoe said. She was missing for several hours. The German media reported on the event on Thursday morning.

The International Auschwitz Commission, set up by Auschwitz concentration camp survivors, said she was outraged by the woman’s behavior.

“This means incredible contempt for the courts and the survivors,” said Christoph Heubner, president of the commission, according to Deutsche Welle (DW). He also criticized the possibility that the woman had even had the opportunity to escape. According to him, the authorities should have counted on the escape and should have brought the woman to court. He added that this situation is not worthy of Germany.

The lawyer representing the plaintiff also told DW that he found evasion outrageous. “It is clear that it aims to ridicule our legal system and does not feel bound by law in Germany,” said Onur Ozata.

She was involved in the murder of more than 11,000 people

Furchner has been accused of complicity in the murders of more than 11,000 people. She will also be tried for the attempted murder of many others. In decades, German courts will try a woman who was to commit war crimes.

Furchner’s prosecution began as a result of a trial of John Demjanjuk, a former bachelor from the Sobibor concentration camp. In 2011, he was convicted of complicity in the murders of 28,000 people. This set a new legal precedent – since then, no matter how big a role a person has played in the machinery. It is enough that it is “just a cogwheel” and can be held responsible, writes The Guardian server.

This led to the conviction of several living people who worked in concentration camps. In 2016, 94-year-old Oskar Gröning, who worked as an accountant in Auschwitz, was sentenced to four years in prison. In the same year, Reinhold Hanning, an equally old bachelor from Auschwitz, was sentenced to serve a five-year sentence. However, all three died before serving their sentences.

In 2020, Bruno Dey, a bachelor from Stutthof, was also sentenced to two years in prison unconditionally. He did not appeal, admitting his guilt and regret. He’s still alive.

This trial (if it takes place) may be one of the last trials to deal with the Nazi war crimes of World War II. The woman will stand in juvenile court – she was eighteen and nineteen at the time. In the concentration camp, she was to work as a secretary and stenographer for the camp leader. Her defense will try to prove that someone “from the table” did not physically harm anyone.

In the Stutthof concentration camp, 65,000 people were murdered, many of them Jews. Many of them died of malnutrition and disease. The camp also included a gas chamber and a number of other murderous tools. Located 37 kilometers from Gdańsk, the Nazis founded in 1939.

Furchner has already testified in court three times during the proceedings between 1954 and 1982 in connection with the Stutthof camp. One of them concerned her former superior, camp leader Paul Werner Hoppe. She always claimed that she knew nothing about the murder.

In 1954, she married Heinz Furchtsam, a former SS official with whom she met at the camp. After the war, he changed his name from Furchtsam to Furchner. She worked all her life in administration, he died in 1972.

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