Nazi death camp worker, 96, ‘on the run’ after not showing up in court

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Nazi death camp worker, 96, ‘on the run’ after not showing up in court

Court officials say Irmgard Furchner is missing after she left home in a taxi. She is charged with complicity in nearly 10,000 murders

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Inside the Stutthof gas chamber
Inside the Stutthof gas chamber

A 96-year-old woman charged with complicity in thousands of murders at a Nazi death camp has gone on the run as her trial begins, a German court has heard.

Irmgard Furchner, who now lives in an elderly persons’ care home near Hamburg, worked as a stenographer at the Stutthof camp near Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk.

She is accused assisting with the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners, as well as Polish partisans and Soviet Russian prisoners of war.

Her file contains the cases of more than 10,000 people and was due to be heard in a juvenile court because she was 18 years old at the time.

She worked at the camp between June 1943 and April 1945.


The Holocaust historian and Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said the incident demonstrated, contrary to claims she was too old to stand trial, that she was “healthy enough to flee, healthy enough to go to jail”.

Presiding judge Dominik Gross said he had issued an arrest warrant for Furchner after she failed to appear in court as expected on Thursday morning.

A spokesperson for the court said the defendant had left her home that morning and her whereabouts were unknown.

Frederike Milhoffer told Germany’s DPA agency she had taken a taxi towards a railway station in Norderstedt on the outskirts of Hamburg.

An army of journalists and observers had gathered to watch the start of the proceedings, one of a series of cases against elderly Nazi war crime suspects pursued by German prosecutors.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: