As a teenager, the woman was a secretary in the Stutthof camp near Gdansk. There are tens of thousands of people died in the gas chamber or from starvation and disease. Forchner is accused of complicity in the murders of more than 11,000 inmates.
The elderly woman was taken to court in a wheelchair in the town of Etzhoe (Schleswig-Holstein) on Tuesday. Despite her advanced age, she has to appear before a juvenile judge. It depends on the age at which the crimes would have been committed.
The case received significant international attention due to Forchner’s escape attempt. He took a taxi on September 30 before the trial began and disappeared. The authorities issued an arrest warrant and were able to arrest her on the same day. She was imprisoned for five days and then released on parole.
The trial of suspects, such as Forchner, who did not have a prominent place within the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, gained momentum after 2011. John Demjanjuk was then convicted of complicity in the murder of tens of thousands of Jews in a concentration camp.
Prosecutors did not prove that Demjanjuk personally committed atrocities, but the court said it was not necessary. The judges found that it was established that Demjanjuk was one of the camp guards in Sobibor and that was sufficient to convict.
Suspect Irmgard Forchner in 1944.
After this ruling, prosecutors saw more opportunities to bring other former employees of the Nazi regime to court. This has led in recent years to the prosecution of several elderly suspects.
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