Stutthof concentration camp
Stutthof concentration camp iStock

A 96-year old former Nazi death camp worker charged with being an accomplice to thousands of murders who attempted to flee before the start of her trial appeared on Tuesday before a judge in the northern German town of Itzehoe.

Irmgard Furchner is accused of having been an accomplice as an 18-year old to the murder of 11, 412 people. Furchner worked as a stenographer at the Stutthof concentration camp located near Danzig between 1943 and 1945.

She appeared in the courtroom in a wheelchair, her face hidden beneath a white mask and a scarf that concealed her eyes, Reuters reported.

From 1939 to 1945 over 65,000 people died at the death camp, either from starvation, disease or in the gas chamber. The camp held Jews and prisoners of war.

The trial was postponed on September 30 after Furchner went on the run instead of appearing in court. She was caught after several hours.

The 96-year old is being tried in adolescent court because she was a teenager when the crimes for which she stands accused took place. The charges could not be read without her present in court.

Germany’s crackdown on Nazi war criminals began following the 2011 Munich trial of John Demjanjuk, a Nazi war criminal charged with assisting in the murder of 28,060 people at the Sobibor death camp and sentenced to five years. He died in 2012.

Last year, 93-year-old Stutthof camp guard Bruno Dey was convicted of 5,232 counts of accessory to murder in Hamburg state court, equal to the number of people believed to have been killed at Stutthof during his service there between 1944 and 1945.

Earlier this year, German prosecutors charged a 100-year-old man who allegedly served as a Nazi concentration camp guard where more than 100,000 people were killed during World War II.

Days earlier, Germany charged a former secretary from the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp with complicity in the murders of 10,000 people.

Some of those convicted of Nazi-era war crimes never served their sentences as they passed away before being jailed.

One such convict, Reinhold Hanning, was found guilty of complicity in the mass murders at Auschwitz. However, Hanning died at the age of 95 in June of 2017, before he could serve his jail term.

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