Monday, September 15, 2014

Female Camp Guards


Sadistic Women


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Bergen-Belsen female SS guards Magdalene Kessel, Anneliese Kohlmann, Hildegard Kambach/Kanbach, Charlotte Pliquet, Frieda Walter, Ilse Förster and Scharführer Friedrich Hertzog bury the dead in Mass Grave 2. With them are, as yet unidentified, male SS Administration Staff. Dated: 23 April 1945. British troops with fixed bayonets supervise the horror.

There were many concentration camp guards in the Third Reich, and many of those were female. The women were every bit as brutal as male guards. Not all have been brought to justice; in fact, one (unidentified so far) has just been charged on 260,000 counts in September 2015 for work she did at Auschwitz as a radio operator for the camp commandant from April to July 1944.

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Irma Grese and Ilse Koch. Apparently this is a real photograph, even though it looks to my eyes like it is from a movie. I believe it has been "cleaned up" like some other photos of significant figures from the war.

The role of women in the Third Reich and World War II in general is greatly unexplored, but it needs to be understood. Women are half the human race, and what they are capable of is critically important to future events.

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If you believed the media and most textbooks, the only women alive during World War II were working hard in American factories or in auxiliary Allied military units. That is manifestly false; women were a major factor on both sides during the war, and not just behind the lines. Women killed people - they killed people - just as men did. Not only that, some of them savored every moment of it. If you take one thing away from this page, I hope that is it.

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Bergen-Belsen camp guard Herta Ehlert: sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Portrait taken August 1945 in Celle.

Heinrich Himmler's SS ran the camps, so most of the Germans who worked there technically were members of the SS. These guards formed the recruiting pool for the Death's Head Waffen SS Division, so many of the male guards eventually found their way to the front. The women, of course, did not fight at the Front, that was not something that the Germans were interested in. The women instead remained behind the lines doing support tasks. Some of those tasks were as guards for the duration.

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Bergen-Belsen (male) camp guard Ignatz Schlomovicz: acquitted. The men were not necessarily the worst offenders, you must drop all pre-conceptions in this area.

Prisoners were chosen to do much of the dirty work. The choice was to either work as a "kapo," a prisoner serving as a guard who worked under the supervision of the real guards, or to go to the gas chamber.

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Ilse Koch, known by her charges as “The Witch of Buchenwald,” "The Beast of Buchenwald,” and various other colorful names of a similar bent with varying levels of profanity. She wasn't even in the SS, she just did it for sport.

It obviously was an impossible choice. The kapos became notorious for their own brutality, as they were anxious to please their masters and, perhaps regarding some of them, had some issues of their own.

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Elisabeth Volkenrath, Oberaufseherin (Senior Supervisor) at Ravensbrück, Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen. She was hanged for her troubles in November 1945.

Elisabeth Volkenrath (born 5 September 1919, Schönau an der Katzbach, Silesia – died 13 December 1945, Hamelin) was German supervisor at several concentration camps during World War II. Volkenrath trained under Johanna Langefeld at Ravensbrück concentration camp during 1941, and in 1942 went to Auschwitz Birkenau as an Aufseherin. In April 1945, she was arrested by the British Army and stood trial with Irma Grese. She was executed at Hamelin Prison later that year.

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Maria Mandel after her arrest by US troops, 1945. She was a top ranking official at Aushwitz-Birkenau responsible for deaths of over 500,000 female prisoners. You never heard about her, right? That's how banal it was.

It is easy to bring preconceptions about females into your mental image of female camp guards. Don't. These ladies were as bad as the men: they were brutal, and expressed no remorse whatsoever.

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In this lineup of top Bergen Belsen guards, note how many are female.

Many went to their hangings without renouncing a thing that they had done, and only wishing that they could have continued longer.

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Female prisoners at Mauthausen, typical victims of these sadists

There could have been mitigating factors. For instance, some of the women may have been mentally infantile, or abused themselves, or simply unaware of concepts of right and wrong. Many peasant girls of the day were incredibly unsophisticated, and may not have been aware of the heinous nature of their activities.

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All of that was taken into account during their trials, sentencing and execution (if found guilty of the most heinous offenses). Some were acquitted, many were hung.

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Herta Kasparova. Herta worked as a translator for the Gestapo in Třešť, Czechoslovakia. At the end of the war, she helped the SS pick out some people to kill for "disloyalty" - people who may have made fun of her for a physical deformity that she had (she walked with a limp).

Below, a few of the female camp guards. Guards were executed for their crimes regardless of gender if so warranted by the facts.


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Hildegard Lächert

Hildegard Lächert was nicknamed "Bloody Brigitte" (Krwawa Brygida in Polish). Many witnesses characterized her as the "worst" or "the most cruel" Aufseherin, as "Beast," and as "Fright of the Prisoners." For her part in selections to the gas chamber, releasing her dog onto inmates and her overall abuse, the court sentenced her to 12 years imprisonment. Hildegard Lächert died in 1995 in Berlin, aged 75.

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Dorothea Binz was an SS supervisor at Ravensbruck concentration camp. Her dedication to her work was described by fellow guards as unyielding. Patrolling the camp with a whip in one hand and a German Shepherd at her other side, Binze made inmates fall silent upon her approach. Whipping, beating and shooting female inmates earned her the job of supervising torture bunkers and training guards. Convicted of perpetrating war crimes, she was sentenced to death and hanged on May 2, 1947. The middle picture shows what many inmates probably saw right before they died.

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February 3, 1947: After a trial lasting two months, all fifteen former members of the staff at Ravensbruck concentration camp, where 100,000 women were said to have died during WWII, were found guilty by the Hamburg war crimes court. 12 were sentenced to death. Pictured above is Carmen Mory, a “kapo” - a prisoner at the camp who was assigned by the SS to supervise forced labor. The kapos, desperate to please their evil bosses in order to avoid the gas chambers themselves, were often the most brutal of all. Carmen Mory was sentenced to death, but she committed suicide on April 9, 1947.

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Preparing Barkmann for the noose.

The Stutthof SK-III women's camp was particularly notorious for having sadistic female guards. In the Stutthof Trials (there were six, lasting until 1953), 72 SS officers and 6 female overseers were convicted. The first female to hang was Wendy Barkmann.

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The prisoners were noosed and then pushed from the ramp of the trucks Jenny Barkmann has just been hanged and struggles at the end of the rope while Ewa Paradies is being noosed by her executioner. In the background (white dress): Wanda Klaff, Already hanging (dark blouse, white skirt): Gerda Steinhoff.

Gerda Steinhoff (1922-1946) personally selected people for the gas chambers at Stutthof and other camps based upon her whims. On May 31,1946 she, along with several compatriots, was sentenced to death by hanging The sentence was carried out at Biskupia Gorka near Danzig on 4th July 1946.

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A close-up view of Gerda Steinhoff.

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Jenny Wanda Barkmann with her attorney

Jenny-Wanda Barkmann, 24, female guard at the Stutthof concentration camp, was hung by the neck until dead. She committed all sorts of atrocities during her tenure. She and several others were hanged near Danzig on 4 July 1946. Barkmann brutalized female prisoners viciously and selected women and children for the gas chamber.


Below, the accused with Polish guards at the location of the KZ Stutthof first row from left to right : Ewa Paradies, Elisabeth Becker, Wanda Klaff second row: Gerda Steinhoff, Jenny Barkmann.

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The camp guards under arrest.

Stutthof was liberated by the Russians on May 10th, 1945. Commandant Johann Pauls and staff were put on trial by the Polish Special Law Court at Danzig between April 25th and May 31st, 1946. Five women and six men, were found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death. Johann Pauls, SS-Aufseherins Jenny Wanda Barkmann, Elisabeth Becker, Wanda Klaff, Ewa Paradies, Gerda Steinhoff and five other men. They pleaded "not guilty" and the women did not seem to take the trial seriously until the end.

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Note the little kid brought to watch the show. Nice. But that was how it was in the old days, public hangings were considered entertainment.

Set up immediately upon Germany’s September 1, 1939 invasion of Poland and not liberated until after official German capitulation in 1945 - many parts of Poland were still in German hands at the surrender - Stutthoff handled over 100,000 prisoners during its long service. Most of them died.

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"Life is indeed a pleasure, and pleasures are usually short." (Jenny Wanda Barkmann).

This day’s condemned — camp commandant Johann Pauls, five male kapos, and five female guards — were the product of the first of four Stutthof trials held in 1946-1947. At a hill in Gdansk known as Biskupia Gorka (Bishop Hill), upon a specially-erected row of four T-shaped double gallows centered around a pi-shaped triple gallows, and before a crowd of thousands, the doomed eleven were noosed on the back of military trucks which then drove away to leave them strangling to death with a “short drop” hanging.

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From left to right : Jenny Barkmann, Ewa Paradies, Elisabeth Becker, Wanda Klaff, Gerda Steinhoff.

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Nicknamed the "Beautiful Beast." Irma Grese was a concentration camp guard and one of the few women to be called to account for her crimes. She was hanged in 1945 at the age of 22.

There of course were many male camp guards, that goes without saying. They got the noose, too, or sometimes worse. Yes, there are worse ways to go than a clean and straightforward hanging.

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Irma Grese pictured with Joseph Kramer, who was commandant of the Auschwitz and later Belsen concentration camps. He was hung in 1946. One can imagine that she purposefully dressed in this schoolgirl outfit as a ruse while awaiting capture.

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Irma Grese. Defendant number 9, Irma Grese, dubbed the Beast of Belsen was convicted for crimes against humanity at the Belsen Trial and sentenced to death. She had been employed at various concentration camps including Auschwitz and Belsen. At her trial survivors provided detailed testimony of murders, tortures, and other brutal behaviour towards prisoners, especially women. She was 22 years old when she was executed.


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Johanner Altvater

Johanner Altvater (above) and Lisolotte Meirer (below) killed Jews for sport during the Third Reich.

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Lisolotte Meirer

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Female camp guards
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This is the reverse view of the picture at the top of this page, showing the enormous pit into which the dead bodies were being placed by the female guards at Bergen-Belsen. German SS women remove bodies of their victims from trucks in the concentration camp at Belsen, Germany, on April 28, 1945. Starvation and disease killed hundreds of the many thousands imprisoned at the camp. British soldiers holding rifles in the background stand on the dirt which will fill the communal grave. There appears to be a silent crowd in the distance, watching.

Below is a biography of Ilse Koch, a terrible woman who worked at Buchenwald.




2014

19 comments:

  1. Why were some hung and others let off since it was all hearsay evidence anyway.

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  2. I don't think it was necessarily hearsay evidence. There were many, many accounts from the surviving prisoners that detailed the atrocities of each individual German guard or active participant. These accounts were used to justify the differing gravity of sentencing.

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    1. It was first-hand testimony for the most part. At least, that is my understanding. Now, due to my personal background I believe there is a lot more to adjudication than that, but eyewitness/victim testimony is a very high level of proof. Due process is only really appreciated when it is absent, but it's unlikely anything would override it in this case imho..

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  3. POOR GUYS. WE ARE ALL LUCKY NOT TO HAVE BEEN BORN IN THOSE DREADFUL YEARS

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    1. let us pray this level of hate can rise again, i am so worried especially now, i fear trump is the next hitler

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  4. Jenny was a Asiatic looking German girl (probably because of the Magyar invasions back in the 9th century) Jenny was also ruthless killer.Now Jenny was a good looking girl I have pictures of her.Jenny was a model before she became a guard which I just found out recently!Also it is worth noting how dumb Wanda klaff was at her trial her final comments were "I am very intelligent and take my work seriously in the camp's I try to beat at Least two prisoners each day"! What an idiot! You say to a bunch of Russian and polish guys who are trying you in their land under their regulations in a country which you devasted!And you say that!!What a wanker!!!I'll admit the only one I feel sympathy for is Jenny the rest of those girls Wanda,Elisabeth,Gerda and paradies are in my opinion straight cowards not real thugs they started crying and sobbing after the verdict was read.The only one who didn't act like a coward was Jenny.She was a thug to the end Jenny never compromised her principles I can respect that.Unlike most including Hitler and Himmler Jenny did not go out like a coward she accepted her punishment without crying or sobbing or commting sucide like Hitler or Carmen mory

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    1. even if they tried to escape or avoid, can they.

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  5. Out of all of them Carmen mory "black angel"was the most dangerous one in terms of skill she spoke 7 different languages and was trained in the techniques of a spy.Carmen was a block elder or a " blockova" at Ravensbrook she was put in charge of the "lunatic block" where women prisoners who were mentally ill,sick,disabled,those women had tuberculosis and we're unable to care for themselves were housed there.Carmen's behaviour towards these prisoners will go down in the annals of history,books and movies have been written about Carmen.Carmen's level of inhumanity toward others was spoken about at her trial.

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    1. anything more to go on than 'Carmen' Emil?

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    2. a person who is willing to kill ppl but fear being hanged in public and cut her wrists to lose blood to death is stupid.

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  6. pantaloni@charter.netApril 20, 2016 at 5:13 AM

    I personally believe in reincarnation. Why does someone get to be beautiful, rich, smart and adored while someone else is born on the streets of Bombay, homeless, sick, starving and deformed? Perhaps these women wound up in the latter circumstances. There is justice.

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  7. Females are capable of the actions of males if given the chance. When did you last hear of a female conscripted to War because of her gender? Males are conditioned to be "The Weapon",the scapegoat; while Females are exempt due to their inability to count the names listed on their local War Memorial by gender. Gender War! Point too it on a map sister.

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    1. geez, i dont unnerstan, is this an anti female bent, or?? splain it lucy

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  8. Irma Grese was always such a nice girl. I can't imagine what went wrong.... Mother.

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    1. She was a snappy dresser that one!! sad :(

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  9. They did not killed or order to kill anyon, but served as eemployes.
    I think their fateful work was to obey their employee.
    Idon, t concider it as a crime.
    They would not to be hanged.
    Hang decision was itself a crime too.

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    1. except for the fact that they were witnessed to relishing their role, influence and power, those who were scared and complied , well those folks were in a bad place at a bad time

      im sure if there is a devine power they were forgiven, otherwise, it was quick

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  10. The crimes were so horrible it is hard for people to believe that they happened.
    Why would anyone look up to them?

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  11. Hang should even be abandoned

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