A 96-year-old woman who once served as a secretary for the SS commander of the Stutthof concentration camp was arrested Thursday, hours after a warrant was issued when she tried to skip her trial in Germany earlier in the day where she was charged with over 11,000 counts of accessory to murder, NPR reports.
Irmgard Furchner, who previously stated “she didn’t want to come” to court, will now be taken to a doctor to determine if she is physically capable of being taken into custody until her next scheduled hearing on Oct. 19. Furchner wasn’t detained ahead of today’s trial due to insufficient grounds, and according to court spokesperson Frederike Milhoffer, her age and condition led them to believe she wouldn’t actively try to evade the trial.
Prosecutors allege Furchner “aided and abetted those in charge of the camp in the systematic killing of those imprisoned there between June 1943 and April 1945 in her function as a stenographer and typist in the camp commandant’s office.”
Her lawyer questioned whether she was aware of what was happening during her time as secretary.
Furchner was reportedly questioned in the past and stated daily letters and radio messages were dictated to her by Paul Werner Hoppe, the former SS commandant of Stutthof. However, she also claimed to be unaware that people were being killed at the camp. Furchner is expected to have her trial held in juvenile court because the crimes took place when she was under the age of 21.
Furchner is forced to stand trial because of a German legal precedent which dictates that anyone involved in Nazi camps can be prosecuted as an accessory to murder.