96-Year-Old Former Nazi Death Camp Secretary Goes on Trial Over Murders of 11,000 People

A 96-year-old former Nazi concentration camp secretary went on trial in northern Germany on Oct. 19 for murders of over 11,000 people, weeks after she attempted to flee the court.

The woman, named by German media as Irmgard Furchner, is charged with complicity in the killings of those imprisoned at the Stutthof camp in Nazi-occupied Poland where she worked as the secretary of commandant Paul Werner Hoppe, according to a court indictment.

The trial is being held at a juvenile court because Furchner was 18 when she started working at the camp.

The court heard that Furchner’s administrative role “was contributory to the entire killing operation” at the camp, British newspaper The Guardian reported.

As Hoppe’s secretary, Furchner took dictation of the commandant’s orders and handled transport lists of detainees to be sent to Auschwitz to be murdered.

Furchner’s lawyer Wolf Molkentin said in a written statement that Furchner “does not deny the crimes” of the Holocaust, but “simply rejects the charge around which this trial ultimately revolves, that she was personally guilty of a crime.”

Furchner went on the run in late September when she was due in court, but authorities arrested her several hours later. Police took her in custody for five days and fitted her with an electronic tag to monitor her whereabouts.

Furchner is one of the first women to go on trial for the alleged crimes during the Nazi era.

Judge Dominik Groß called the trial, which is being filmed for historical purposes, “one of the worldwide last criminal trials related to crimes of the Nazi era.”

The trial is scheduled to continue over the next few months with sessions limited to about two hours a day, based on medical advice.


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