Saturday, October 23, 2021

Nazi camp secretary drops German trial, seeks warrant

BERLIN (WNN) – A former secretary of the Stutthof concentration camp’s SS commander is being sought on Thursday on an arrest warrant, after abandoning the planned start of his trial in Germany on more than 11,000 counts of aides to murder. It was, the officials said.

German news agency DPA quoted a spokesman for the Itzeho State Court as saying that the 96-year-old woman left the house where she lives on Thursday morning, on her way to a metro station on the outskirts of Hamburg. His destination was not known.

Presiding Judge Dominic Gross said the court had issued an arrest warrant, and it remains to be seen whether he will be caught.

Prosecutors argue that the woman was part of the mechanism that helped keep the Nazi camp functioning 75 years earlier during World War II.

The court, in a statement before the trial, said that the defendant allegedly “as a stenographer and typist in the camp commandant’s office assisted the people in charge of the camp in the systematic killing of those imprisoned there between June 1943 and April 1945, and provoked them.”

Despite her age, the German woman was to be tried in juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes. German media identified him as Irmgaard Fürchner.

The case against Furchner relies on German legal precedent established in cases over the past decade that anyone who helped facilitate the functioning of Nazi death camps and concentration camps should be prosecuted as an accomplice to the murders committed there. can be committed, even without evidence of involvement in a specific crime.

A defense lawyer told Der Spiegel magazine that the trial would focus on whether the 96-year-old was aware of the atrocities at the camp.

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“My client worked among SS men who were experienced in violence – however, does this mean that they shared their position of knowledge? It is not necessarily clear,” said lawyer Wolf Molkentin.

According to other media reports, Furchner was interrogated as a witness during previous Nazi trials and said at the time that Stautthof’s former SS commandant Paul Werner Höppe had directed him daily letters and radio messages.

The DPA reported that Furchner testified that she was not aware of the murders at the camp while she was working there.

Initially a collection point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles removed from Danzig – now the Polish city of Gdansk – Stuthof was used from about 1940 as a so-called “work education camp”, where forced labourers, the main Usually Polish and Soviet citizens were sent. To serve punishment and often die.

Since mid-1944, tens of thousands of Jews from ghettos in the Baltics and Auschwitz filled the camp, with tens of thousands of Polish citizens swept away in the brutal Nazi suppression of the Warsaw Uprising.

Others in prison included political prisoners, accused criminals, people suspected of homosexual activity, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There more than 60,000 people were killed by being given lethal injections of gasoline or phenol directly into their hearts, or by being shot or starving. Others were forced to go outside in winter without clothing until they died of exposure, or were put to death in gas chambers.


Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.


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