Berlin authorities reported the arrest of a 96-year-old woman, who was known to be a former secretary in a concentration camp during the Nazi era, was scheduled to appear in court for charges of being an accessory in the deaths of more than 11,000 people.
However, officials said that instead of going straight to court for her appearance, the suspect traveled to a nearby subway station. The woman was identified as Irmgard Furchner, who was 18 years old when she worked at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland in 1943.
Nazi Concentration Camp Worker
Authorities did not immediately reveal the destination of Furchner when she evaded her court appearance. Previously, the suspect told reporters that she did not want to be part of the trial and was later apprehended by police after she was reported missing by the court. The Itzehoe court also said that Furchner was undergoing a medical investigation.
In February, Furchner was indicted after a five-year investigation that looked into her involvement with Stutthof camp where she worked as a secretary to the commander. The camp was located near Gdansk, which was then called Danzig, and the suspect worked there from June 1943 to April 1945. The indictment was part of an effort by German prosecutors in holding lower-ranking people of the Nazi regime accountable for their actions, the New York Times reported.
The court also issued the warrant and delayed the reading of the indictment until Oct. 19, which is the next scheduled hearing. Officials said that the reason for the delay was that it could not be done due to Furchner's absence. Authorities said that they did not expect the suspect to evade the trial due to her age and condition.
After Furchner's arrest, a doctor was instructed to examine her health and condition to determine whether or not she was fit to be placed in prison prior to the court's decision of whether or not to put her in custody, Yahoo News reported.
History of Nazi Crimes
The Central Office in Ludwigsburg, which is responsible for investigating Nazi crimes, said that roughly 65,000 people lost their lives at the Stutthof concentration camp and its subcamps. The list of victims also included those who were on the so-called death marches at the end of the war.
The Hamburg Regional Court in July 2020 sentenced Bruno D., a then-93-year-old former guard at Stutthof to two years in prison for his involvement in the crimes. The suspect was believed to have managed prisoners at the camp from August 1944 to April 1945. Authorities charged the defendant with 5,230 counts of accessory to murder over his less than a year of working as an SS guard.
Authorities placed Bruno D. in front of a juvenile court because he was only 17 years old when he worked as a guard for Stutthof camp in the early 1940s. Officials scheduled next Thursday to be the date of a trial against a 100-year-old SS guard at the former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen, which would be the suspect's first hearing, CNN reported.