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Former Nazi death camp secretary who fled trial now recaptured

AFP

clock 2 min read

People in front of the so-called 'Gate of Death' as they are visiting the museum in former Nazi death camp Stutthof, in Sztutowo, Poland, July 21, 2020.
Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFPPeople in front of the so-called 'Gate of Death' as they are visiting the museum in former Nazi death camp Stutthof, in Sztutowo, Poland, July 21, 2020.

She is to be tried by a special youth court for complicity in murder in more than 10,000 cases

A former 96 year old secretary of a Nazi concentration camp, whose trial was to open Thursday morning in Germany, has been recaptured after fleeing.

Earlier, she was declared "on the run," by the president of the court.

"The accused is on the run(...) an arrest warrant has been issued," he told the Itzehoe court in northern Germany where she is to be tried for complicity in murder in more than 10,000 cases.

"She left her home (for the elderly) this morning. She took a taxi," Itzehoe court spokeswoman Frederike Milhoffer said.

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This trial, if it takes place, will be followed by that, a week later, of a centenarian, a former guard of the Nazi camp of Sachsenhausen, near Berlin. 

Never before has Germany, which has long shown little eagerness to find its war criminals, tried such elderly former Nazis.

The case is also being examined on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the death sentences by hanging by the Nuremberg Tribunal of 12 of the main leaders of the Third Reich.

Aged at the material time of 18 to 19 years, the nonagenarian Irmgard Furchner must be tried by a special court for young people, according to the prosecution.

The prosecution accuses her of having participated in the murder of detainees in the Stutthof concentration camp in present-day Poland, where she worked as a typist and secretary to the camp commander, Paul Werner Hoppe, between June 1943 and April 1945.

In the camp near the city of Gdansk where 65,000 people perished, "Jewish detainees, Polish partisans and Soviet prisoners of war" were systematically murdered, according to the prosecution.