Sep 30, 2021 - World

96-year-old former Nazi secretary caught after fleeing trial

Judicial police officers standing in an empty room in Langericht Itzehoe court prior to the trial against the 96-year-old former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp
Judicial police officers wait in an empty courtroom Sept. 30 after a 96-year-old former secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp fled before her trial. Photo: Markus Schreiber/AFP via Getty Images

A 96-year-old woman who was a secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp during World War II was arrested by police after she fled before the start of her trial, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: The woman, who was a stenographer and typist in the camp commandant’s office between June 1943 and April 1945, faces 11,412 counts of accessory to murder.

  • She is one of many former staff members of Nazi concentration camps recently charged and sentenced for crimes committed during the Holocaust.

The big picture: The woman, identified by German media as Irmgard Furchner, left her home in a taxi Thursday morning for a subway station on the outskirts of Hamburg, though her destination was not known, according to AP.

  • Furchner was to be tried in juvenile court because she was under the age of 21 at the time of the alleged crimes.
  • She claimed in a recent letter to the court that she was too frail to appear in court.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the Stutthof concentration camp between 1939 and 1945 through starvation, disease and exposure, or they were shot or sent to the camp's gas chamber.

  • The camp held tens of thousands of Jews, non-Jewish Polish citizens, political prisoners, people suspected of homosexual activity and Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to AP.

Go deeper: Neo-Nazi groups thrive online through merchandise and ticket sales

Editor's note: This post has been updated to include that the defendant was caught.

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