BERLIN – The ex-secretary of the Nazi Stutthof concentration camp fled on Thursday to avoid prosecution for crimes against humanity for aiding the murder of some 11,000 people. Irmgard Forchner, 96, was to be tried in a court in the northern German city of Itzehoe. According to a spokesperson for local justice, Frederick Mehver, she was found hours later.
– The defendant was found (…). The doctor will determine whether she can be detained and the court will later decide whether or not an arrest warrant will be issued.”
The escape was found because Furchner was not in the nursing home where she lives in the town of Quickborn when the police came to pick her up for the hearing. There was no information about her whereabouts at a later time.
According to information from AFP, a court spokesperson said she escaped by taxi. The court issued a search and arrest warrant against the woman, who had previously informed the judges of her unwillingness to appear before the court for trial. The prosecutor considers her an accomplice in the deaths because all the documents issued in the concentration camp went through her.
“It’s a display of an astonishing disrespect for the rule of law and survivors,” said Christoph Hubner, deputy chair of the International Auschwitz Committee, which represents Nazi concentration camp survivors and their families.
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Irmgard worked as a shorthand (a professional who transcribes certificates in real time) and as a secretary at Sothof between June 1943 and April 1945, when it was closed down by the Red Army.
Today the place where the camp was located is located within the territory of Poland, but at the time of the Second World War it belonged to the German region of Pomerania. The German Center for the Clarification of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg estimates that about 65,000 people died in this concentration camp.
Forchner will be prosecuted under the Juvenile Criminal Code because, according to the prosecution, the crimes were committed when she was 18 years old. It is the first trial of women associated with Nazism in decades.
The former secretary had appeared in court in 1954 and 1962, acknowledging that documents signed by Paul Werner Hope, the camp commander, were dictated by her, but said she was unaware of the deaths.
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