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96-year-old former Nazi secretary captured in Germany after fleeing trial

96-year-old former Nazi secretary captured in Germany after fleeing trial
The Stutthof Museum is seen in Sztutowo in northern Poland. Irmgard Furchner was a young secretary there during World War II and faces thousands of counts of being an accessory to murders that were committed there. File Photo by Piotr Wittman/EPA

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A 96-year-old German woman who was a secretary at one of the Nazi camps in Poland during World War II, and faces thousands of criminal counts related to deaths there, was captured Thursday after police say she tried to flee on the day of her trial.

Authorities said Irmgard Furchner left her home near Hamburg and did not show up at the start of her trial, leading police to issue an arrest warrant. She was later captured.

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Furchner was a secretarial assistant at the Stutthof concentration camp between 1943 and 1945 and prosecutors say she was an accessory to the 11,000 deaths of Jewish and Polish prisoners during her time there.

The woman, however, faces juvenile charges since she was younger than 21 at the time of her purported crimes. At the camp, she was a typist and office aide to the Nazi SS commandant in charge.

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Furchner's trial did not begin as scheduled on Thursday due to her absence. Her next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 19. Some Holocaust survivors are scheduled to give testimony at trial.

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Officials said she will be evaluated medically to determine whether she's fit to be incarcerated.

Furchner is the first woman to stand trial in over three decades for crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the war. Prosecutors say her signature is on paper reports for deportation orders transferring prisoners from the Auschwitz concentration camp to Stutthof.

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She has previously been called as a witness and testified during trials against other Nazi leaders.

Defense attorneys have argued that Furchner never knew about the killings that occurred at Stutthof while she was there.

Nazi Germany killed more than 6 million Jewish people and other prisoners during the Holocaust.

RELATED Trial starts for man, 94, accused of being Nazi camp guard

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