Germany Re-Arrests Nazi-Crimes Suspect Who Escaped From Nursing Home

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

(Worthy News) – One of the first women to be prosecuted for Nazi-era crimes in decades has been captured after trying to flee before her trial in northern , authorities confirmed late Thursday.

Irmgard Furchner, 96, was charged with complicity in some 11,000 murders at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland, but she failed to turn up.

The judge then issued a warrant for the arrest of the former camp secretary.

She left her nursing home in the town of Quickborn on Thursday morning and took a taxi to a subway station, said Frederike Milhoffer, a spokeswoman for the court. Furchner fled to Hamburg, where she was picked up on a local street.

Her brief escape interrupted a trial that was to begin at the special court in Itzehoe, an hour’s drive north of Hamburg.

The court spokeswoman said the defendant would still be brought before the court. However, the court was set up in the hall of a logistics company in Itzehoe as the town courtroom isn’t big enough to handle the interests

Before her trial, Furchner claimed her advanced age and medical complications prevented her from standing trial.

Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi hunter and director of Eastern European affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, questioned that argument in the wake of her failure to appear in court.

“If she’s healthy enough to flee, she is healthy enough to be imprisoned,” Zuroff told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The indictment against Furchner was based on testimonies from survivors of Stutthof who are now living in the and .

About 65,000 people were murdered there during World II; it was one of just a few concentration camps where the Nazis and their accomplices operated a stationary gas chamber.

Furchner has admitted to working at Stutthof but has denied having any knowledge of the murders that were carried out there. Her trial comes at a take of concerns about growing antisemitism in .

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