A 96-year-old woman is on trial in Germany where she is accused of 11,000 counts of aiding and abetting murder in a Nazi concentration camp. The trial, which began last week, could be the last of its kind.
It took over 75 years to bring Irmgard Furchner from the Nazi death camp to the courtroom. She was only 18 when she worked as secretary to the commander of the Stutthof concentration camp, where more than 60,000 people were killed.
Her lawyers said she rejected being personally guilty of any crime and had been anything but cooperative, saying she would decline to comment. Last month, the 96-year-old woman in a wheelchair tried to escape when she jumped in a cab on the morning of her trial and failed to appear in court. She was arrested by the cops a few hours later.
The case reflects a race against time in the hunt for Nazi suspects as those responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust succumb to old age. But Germany has been accused of “bad faith” for failing to act sooner. Of the 110 suspects identified for Nazi crimes in the United States since 1973, only five have subsequently been prosecuted in Germany.
The deportation of 95-year-old Friedrich Karl Berger from Tennessee earlier this year may be the last. Berger was removed from the United States on the basis of his participation in Nazi-sponsored persecution while serving as an armed guard of concentration camp prisoners in the Neuengamme concentration camp system in 1945, the Ministry of Justice.
Federal prosecutors have said they are no longer actively looking for suspects for Nazi crimes.
“We haven’t heard from the perpetrators for so many years, so I think it’s important that we hear from them,” said Ben Cohen, whose murdered great-grandmother was murdered. at Stutthof. Her grandmother survived, but died last year.
“We say never again,” Cohen said. “How do we prevent these things from happening again if we don’t understand how they happened in the first place?” “
For Holocaust survivors and their families, the search for closure continues until the last person is brought to justice.