After escaping from the nursing home where she lives and with her face covered, the 96-year-old German appeared accused of complicity in the crimes of Nazism

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She is the first German woman to be tried for Nazi crimes in decades. At the age of 96, he arrived at the court in Itzehoe, in northern Germany, in a wheelchair and with his face completely covered by a chinstrap and a white scarf that covered his head. Only his eyes were visible.

Irmgard Furchner is accused of complicity in crimes and assassination attempts in more than 11,000 cases in the Stutthof concentration camp, in present-day Poland, between 1943 and 1945. There, under the darkness of Nazism, she served as a secretary during the “final solution”, the plan of total annihilation of the Jewish people diagrammed by Adolf Hitler at the end of the Second World War.

Furchner’s case occupied the pages of German and world newspapers not only because of his age, but also for starring in an incredible escape from the nursing home where he resides on the first day of hearings three weeks ago.

On September 30, she was due to appear in court, but the woman left the nursing home where she resides and took a taxi to a subway station on the outskirts of the city of Hamburg. After a few hours on the run, she was detained by the police and placed in preventive detention.

How was the first hearing: silence of the accused and reading of the accusation

Furchner was silent on the first day of the trial. The nonagenarian entered the courtroom in a wheelchair, dressed in a white jacket and carrying a cane in one hand. To hide his face from the numerous photographers and videographers who gathered at the court door, his head was covered with a scarf and he wore large sunglasses.

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“He will not make any statement at this time. Nor will he answer the questions, “said his lawyer. Wolf Molkentin.

The woman only said her name and then remained silent, listening to the indictment.

What is she accused of

The Prosecutor’s Office accuses her of having “aided and incited the perfidious and cruel murder” of thousands of prisoners, between June 1943 and April 1945, in the Stutthof concentration camp, where she worked as a typist and secretary to the commander of the place. , Paul Werner Hoppe.

In this camp near the city of Gdansk (Danzig at that time) where 65,000 people died, “Jewish detainees, Polish partisans and Soviet prisoners of war” were systematically murdered, the Prosecutor’s Office stressed.

The woman “ensured the proper functioning of the camp” and “had knowledge of all the events that occurred in Stutthof,” especially the murders by shooting or in the gas chambers, according to prosecutor Maxi Wantzen.

In a recent interview, given in 2019 to the NDR newspaper, the former secretary had indicated that “I did not know anything”Of the massacres committed in that field.

A 100-year-old man is also tried for the crimes of Nazism

Seventy-six years after the end of the Second World War, German justice continues to search for the Nazi criminals still alive, although it is a justice considered too late by the victims. Germany also extended its investigations to the executors, often subordinates who received orders from the Nazi machinery.

Another defendant, Josef SchützThe 100-year-old began his appearance on October 7 in the court of Brandenburg-an-Havel, in the northeast of the country. He is the oldest man currently accused of Nazi crimes.

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The man has pleaded not guilty.

This former noncommissioned officer of the “Totenkopf” division of the SS is accused of “complicity in the murders” of 3,518 prisoners, when he was stationed in the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen between 1942 and 1945.

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