This photograph is a bust shot of Irma Grese who was considered to be very beautiful in her time. This photo shows that she could have been pretty at one time, but suggests that she has lost some of her beauty, possibly in the process of participating in the brutal abuse and murders in Nazi death camps.
The photograph of Irma Grese with Josef Kramer, the Commandant of Bergen-Belsen, shows the two being guarded by an Allied officer after the liberation of the concentration camp. Both were tried in the first war crimes trials to take place after the war for crimes committed at Bergen Belsen and other camps during the Second World War.
This is the testimony given by Helene Grese against her sister Irma, at the first Bergen-Belsen trial.
This is the transcript of the interrogation of Irma Grese at her trial at the Bergen-Belsen Trials.
IRMA GRESE, sworn, examined by Major CRANFIELD – I was born on 7th October, 1923. In 1938 I left the elementary school and worked for six months on agricultural jobs at a farm, after which I worked in a shop in Luchen for six months. When I was 15 I went to a hospital in Hohenluchen, where I stayed for two years. I tried to become a nurse but the Labour Exchange would not allow that and sent me to work in a dairy in Fürstenberg. In July, 1942, I again tried to become a nurse, but the Labour Exchange sent me to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, although I protested against it. I stayed there until March, 1943, when I went to Birkenau Camp in Auschwitz. I remained in Auschwitz until January, 1945.
Will you tell the Court the various duties you did during the period you were at Auschwitz? – At first I did telephone duties in the Blockführer’s room. For two days I was transferred as a sort of light punishment to be in charge of the Strafkommando which carried stones from outside into the camp. During 1943 I had the Strassenbaukommando, and I also had the gardening working party for about two months in the autumn. In December, 1943, I was in the parcels office censoring mail in place of Volkenrath, and from May until December, 1944, I was in Compound “C.” I was transferred then for about two weeks to Auschwitz No. 1 to be in charge of two blocks in the men’s compound, where prisoners went to work during the day. I left Auschwitz on 18th January, 1945, for Ravensbrück, and in the following March came to Belsen.
You were in charge of the Strassenbaukommando; do you remember whether the accused Kopper was in that Kommando or not? – No, I am quite sure she was not there.
Apart from being in charge of this Kommando and the Strafkommando carrying stones, were you at any time at Auschwitz in charge of any other punishment Kommando? – No.
When you were in “C” Lager, were there any other Aufseherinnen there? – Another six or seven who were changed every week. I was the senior.
How many blocks and how many prisoners were there in “C” Lager? – Twenty-eight blocks where prisoners were accommodated, one block for food, food stores, one office, company office, two stores with underwear and clothing, two or three blocks for latrines and two wash-houses. There were approximately 30000 prisoners, all of whom were Hungarians, whilst the Blockältesten were Czechoslovaks. The prisoners came and went, the highest number being 30000 but I generally had about 20000. Although the prisoners changed in numbers, the number of Aufseherinnen remained the same. When the transports arrived the prisoners had been already selected and they were found fit for work. They went into the wash – house, washed, had their hair cut and then were distributed.
You have told us that there were 28 living huts, how many persons could they properly accommodate? – The normal accommodation would have been for 100 or a maximum of 300, but I had to take in 1000 in each block because the camp was overcrowded. In some of the blocks there were bunks large enough for five people to sleep in, but in most of the blocks there were neither beds nor bunks.
How did the prisoners behave? – In the beginning when there were smaller numbers of them and they had sufficient to eat they were quite all right. Later on when I had twenty to thirty thousand they behaved like animals, when food was a bit more scarce. Then at food distribution when people carried the food from the kitchen to the blocks, at nearly every corner there were 20 or 30 people who waited to pounce upon them and take the food away. With regard to sanitary conditions, in the beginning it was quite all right, but later on when the camp was overcrowded wherever you went it was just as if the prisoners thought that any place was good enough for a latrine, and the proper latrines were ruined by throwing all sorts of stuff into them, and then they simply ceased to function.
How old were you at this time, when you were in “C” Lager? – Twenty.
Did you carry a stick at Auschwitz? – Yes, an ordinary walking-stick.
Did you carry a whip at Auschwitz? – Yes, made out of cellophane it in the weaving factory in the camp. It was a very light whip, but if I hit somebody with it, it would hurt. After eight days Kommandant Kramer prohibited the whips, but we nevertheless went on using them. I never carried a rubber truncheon.
Did you, at Belsen, carry any kind of weapon? – No.
Will you explain to the Court on what occasions you struck prisoners, and the reason why you did it? – In the beginning I did not use anything at all, but later on, when the crowds in Camp “C” became larger, then a great deal was stolen and prisoners did not obey my orders, even when they were quite light orders. Every day there were complaints of things stolen in the kitchen, and I put two Aufseherinnen in charge and gave them orders to keep their eyes open and whenever they found somebody on the spot who stole anything, to give them a good thrashing. In the beginning every prisoner had two blankets, but when the crowds became bigger I had to see that everybody got a blanket and therefore each prisoner only got one. We found they had cut up all those blankets and made all sorts of things out of them – shoes, jackets, etc. I gave strict orders that everything which had been made out of blankets was to be returned at once, but I got nothing at all, so then I ordered the control of all the blocks and also personal searches of the prisoners. On those occasions I used my whip. The Jewish Lagerälteste gave the signal for parades, but there were always prisoners who tried to evade them, and when I found the numbers were not right I gave orders to the Aufseherin to count again and again until those who were missing had been found, and I said the parades would go on until the number was right.
Have you ever taken an individual prisoner and beaten her until she was bleeding or fell senseless to the ground, or have you ever kicked a prisoner whom you have struck to the ground? – Never.
At Belsen, have you ever struck a prisoner at all? – Yes, but only with my hand. The condition of the prisoners was so bad that one had almost a horror of them.
You heard Volkenrath describe the occasion on which an S.S. woman called Buchhalter was punished. Were you present? – Yes. Kommandant Hoess ordered me to give her the last two of the 25 strokes with which she was punished by the order of Reichsführer Himmler. I was then 20.
When you were in “C” Lager, where did the orders come from for Appelle? – For the roll-call for counting purposes it was I who gave the orders. The signal was a blow on a special whistle given either by the Aufseherin, Lagerälteste or the Kapo.
Where did the order come from for what we call “selection parades”? – That came by telephone from a Rapportführerin or from Oberaufseherin Dreschel.
When the order came were you told what the parade was for? – No.
What were the prisoners supposed to do when the whistle went? – Fall in in fives, and it was my duty to see that they did so. Dr. Mengele then came and made the selection. As I was responsible for the camp my duties were to know how many were leaving and I had to count them, and I kept the figures in a strength book. After the selection took place they were sent into “B” Camp, and Dreschel telephoned and told me that they had gone to another camp in Germany for working purposes or for special treatment, which I thought to be the gas chamber. I then put in my strength book either so many for transfer to Germany to another camp, or so many for S.B. (Sonder Behandlung). It was well known to the whole camp that S.B. meant the gas chamber.
Were you ever told anything about the gas chamber by your senior officers? – No, the prisoners told me about it.
You have been accused of choosing prisoners on these parades and sending them to the gas chamber. Have you done that? – No; I knew that prisoners were gassed.
Did you carry a pistol at Auschwitz, in Camp “C”? – Yes. It was rather dangerous in the last months to be without a pistol because of the partisans, and I carried it only for self-protection. It was not loaded. I did not carry a pistol at Belsen and have never fired at a prisoner. I fired a sporting gun into the air on New Year’s Eve.
At Auschwitz did you ever have a dog? – No. There were trained dogs there, but I had nothing to do with them.
Did you ever order prisoners to kneel down at an Appell? – Yes, because we could not properly count; they were running to and fro.
The witness, Szafran, has accused you of beating a girl at Belsen with a riding crop about a fortnight before the British troops arrived, and also that at Auschwitz during a selection two girls jumped out of the window and you shot them while they were lying on the ground. Is that true? – I never shot at all at any prisoner.
The witness Stein told us that at a selection in the summer of 1944 some prisoners tried to hide, but that you saw them, told somebody, and a woman was shot. It was suggested that the woman was shot by an S.S. man on guard. Had you any authority to issue orders to an S.S. guard? – No.
The same witness alleged there was an incident when a mother was talking to her daughter over the wire between two compounds, that you arrived on a bicycle and beat the mother so severely that she was lying on the ground where you kicked her? – I do not deny that I beat her, but I did not beat her until she fell to the ground, and I did not kick her either.
At Auschwitz did you wear a belt with your uniform? – No. I wore the belt and the pistol together.
Stein accused you of setting your dog on to her when you were on a Kommando with the accused Lothe at Auschwitz? – I have never been with Lothe on an outside working party, and, secondly, I never had a dog.
Neiger in her deposition alleges that Appelle were from 0300 hours to 0900 hours. At Auschwitz what was the light like at 0300 hours? – It was very dark. I never got up at 3 o’clock.
Did you ever order the prisoners in your charge to stand holding a large stone above their heads in each hand? – No. I must add that Katherine Neiger was not a single second in my camp, and has never been in my camp.
You have been accused of having shot a Hungarian Jewess outside one of the blocks during the arrival of a transport. Is that true? – I do not deny that the woman had been shot, but I do deny that she was shot by me. I do not know whether it is the same incident, but I remember in Camp “C” a woman was shot by a guard from a watch tower, but whether it is the same woman I cannot say.
Have you at Auschwitz ever been in charge of a Kommando working in a sand-pit, and have you ever sent prisoners to cross a wire in order to be shot? – Never.
Will you tell the Court what the conditions at Belsen were like when you arrived there at the beginning of March this year, and what they were between then and the arrival of the British? – Transports arrived almost daily and the camp was very much overcrowded. I was horrified because the prisoners were so dirty and so ill. I had to attend the roll call twice a week, and every time I came back from the camp I felt horrified.
One of the witnesses who came here told of you “making sport ” with a Kommando for half an hour. If that is true, can you remember why you did that? – Yes. I was in my office looking out of the window and saw a group of kitchen workers coming back who were stopped by the Aufseherin. I saw two parcels wrapped in paper thrown away and on looking at these I found that each of them consisted of at least two pounds of meat from the kitchen. I promised the Kommando that I would not report them or do any harm to them if I was told who had thrown these parcels away. They all kept silent and then I said, “Well, then, we have to make sport until the person who has thrown these parcels away tells us about it.” We did this for about half an hour, and then some of the prisoners told us who had thrown these parcels away. I did not report this incident as I thought they had been punished enough. I had no riding whip and I did not beat them. I had seen this kind of collective punishment before, but had not ordered it myself. Extra parades and extra drills are a recognised form of punishment in the German service.
At Auschwitz, did you ever consult or plan with Kramer, Klein or Hoessler as to who was to go to the gas chamber? – We never talked about these things. Kramer, Klein and Hoessler were my superior officers, and if Kramer came into the camp I had to make out my report as was my duty, and nothing else.
Have you ever planned with Kramer or any other person now in the dock to put to death in any way or to ill-treat deliberately any person at Auschwitz? – No. I am not capable of making plans and I never made a plan to kill prisoners.
Have you ever planned with them the death or deliberate ill-treatment of a prisoner at Belsen? – Never.
Cross-examined by Lieutenant JEDRZEJOWICZ – Was Dreschel the Aufseherin who was in charge of the whole women’s camp in Auschwitz, and was she a severe woman? – Yes, very severe.
Were the prisoners, Blockältesten and Lagerältesten afraid of her in the same way? – Yes.
Who was in a position to withhold food in Belsen Camp as a punishment? – The Kommandant.
Are you quite sure that the Blockaltester or the Lagerältester was not in a position, had no right, no power whatever to withhold food as a punishment for his block or Lager? – Yes.
Twenty-seventh Day – Wednesday, 17th October, 1945
IRMA GRESE, cross-examined by Colonel BACKHOUSE – You said you went to the hospital at Hohenluchen and wanted to be a nurse there. Was that run by the S.S.? – When I was there it was a sports sanatorium. Later on it became S.S.
After you left there and went to work in this dairy what were you paid? – 40 to 60 marks per month.
What did you get at Ravensbrück? – 54 marks per month.
Why did you get so much less than the others? – Because I was only 18.
Is Ehlert right when she says it was terribly severe at Ravensbrück? -Yes.
There was a lot of beating of prisoners there, was there not? – I did not see it.
An S.S. woman who did not behave badly to the prisoners was punished or moved, was she not? – I do not know.
At the end of your training at Ravensbrück when you went home and told your father what you had been doing , did you quarrel with him and did he turn you out of the house? – Yes.
At Auschwitz when you were a telephone operator did you have to take your turn in looking after the prisoners before they went out in the morning and when they came back in the evening ?-Yes.
Were you not in charge of a Strafkommando out of the camp for a great deal longer than you have told us? – No.
You know Kopper quite well. Was she not at Auschwitz whilst you were there for a long time, and with you all the time you were at Belsen? – Yes.
She would hardly mistake you for somebody else, would she? – I do not know.
Were you not in charge of a Strafkommando employed on working at a sand-pit? – I explained already that I was in charge for two days of a Strafkommando which was working in bringing in stones from outside the camp, and that was a punishment for myself.
I know what you told us, and I am suggesting you did not tell us the truth. There was a great deal of sand brought into the camp, too, for the road, was there not? – I do not know.
You were with the Kommando that was building the roads; was there not a lot of concrete used in that camp, and had not the roads got a cement surface? – I do not know.
Do you not know what the prisoners were doing when you were in charge of the Kommando? – They were putting stones into the ground, and they were hammering it in for the purpose of road-making.
Is your story that you never saw the sand-pit true? – I have never seen it.
I suggest to you that when you were at the sand-pit there was a wire round it with guards at intervals, and that you used to amuse yourself by sending women outside the wire so that they would be shot by the guard? – No.
I suggest to you that you gave evidence at an enquiry against a guard who had refused to shoot people crossing the wire on the grounds that you had sent them over deliberately? – You can think what you like, but it is a lie, and it is wrong.
Do you remember two prisoners called Camina Stasika and Karola Miket? – No.
I suggest that both these women were in the same Kommando as the accused Kopper, and that that was the Kommando working under your direction in the sand-pit? – No.
Where did the gardening Kommando that you say you were in charge of work? – In the gardens belonging to the S.S. in Auschwitz No. 1, three-quarters of an hour’s walk from Birkenau.
Did the prisoners walk? – Yes.
You had a bicycle at Birkenau, did you not ride it? – It was prohibited to use the bicycle for outside working parties.
Did you not have a dog to guard these Kommandos? – No.
They were trained to guard these Kommandos going out of the camp. Why were you not allowed one? – I did not want to have one.
Could you just please yourself what you did in this camp? – No.
Let me put it to you that in fact you had a dog with you and when you were marching the party along, the dog used to round up stragglers? – I should know better whether I had a dog or not.
Triszinska in her affidavit says that she was a member of your Kommando for about five weeks, and that often they had to march about 15 kilometres to a place where they had to pick herbs for the kitchen. Is that right? – No.
Did you have any kitchen garden or vegetable garden for the camp? – Not in the camp. There were several kitchen gardens for the S.S. which my Kommando looked after.
Did they pick any herbs at all? – No.
When you were with this Kommando did you carry a stick? – No, it was not necessary.
I suggest to you that you used your stick to good purpose? – I say I never had a stick, with the exception of Camp “C.”
Did women sometimes have to be carried back to the camp by other women? – On the contrary, the women working in my Kommando were very strong. They were Russians, and there was no need at all to carry them back into the camp.
Why? Was that sometimes necessary with other women? – I never saw it.
I suggest that Ilse Lothe was the Kapo working under you? – Never.
And that when she complained about the witness Rozenwayg you set your dog on Rozenwayg? – As I had no dog I could not set it upon Rozenwayg.
You remember her giving evidence in the court and you remember Watinik saying in her affidavit that she saw you set your dog on Rozenwayg, who got bitten in the shoulder? – She might have seen that happen, a dog bite her shoulder, but I never had a dog and I never set a dog upon anybody.
I suggest this to you: that when you went out with these working parties you made a habit of beating women and of kicking them, and you enjoyed it? – And I say that you are badly informed about me, and that it is a big lie.
Your sister said that when you were a little girl you were frightened to stand up for yourself, and you ran away to avoid a fight. I now suggest to you that you found it great fun to hit somebody who could not hit back? – No.
Gertrud Diament in her deposition said that your favourite habit was to beat women until they fell to the ground and then kick them as hard as you could with your heavy boots? – That is a lie. Perhaps it is her habit to lie.
You affected heavy top-boots and you liked to walk round with a revolver strapped on your waist and a whip in your hand, did you not? – I did not like it.
You thought it was very clever to have a whip made in the factory and even when the Kommandant told you to stop using it you went on, did you not ? – Yes.
What was this whip really made of? – Cellophane paper plaited like a pigtail. It was translucent like white glass.
The type of whip you would use for a horse? – Yes.
Then most of these prisoners who said they saw you carrying a riding whip were not far wrong, were they? – No, they were not wrong.
Did the other Aufseherinnen have these whips made too? – No.
It was just your bright idea? – Yes.
In Lager “C ” you used to carry a walking-stick, too, and sometimes you beat people with the whip and sometimes with the stick? – Yes.
Were you allowed to beat people? – No.
So it was not a question of having orders from your superiors to do it. You did this against orders, did you? – Yes.
Were you the only person who beat prisoners against regulations? – I do not know.
Did you ever see anyone else beat prisoners? – Yes.
Did you sometimes get orders to do so? – No
Did you give orders to other Aufseherinnen working under you to beat prisoners? – Yes.
Had you the right to give such authorization? – No.
You went to Lager “C” in May, 1944; is that the time the gassings of the Hungarians began, when the transports were coming in day and night? – Yes.
The Kapos were Czechoslovaks, were they not? – Yes.
That was the practice at Auschwitz, was it not, to have the Aeltesten as far as possible of some other country? – No, it was nothing to do with that. Those Blockältesten I had in my camp knew their jobs from previous times. The Hungarians arrived 1000 per block and they would not have known how to organize the whole block.
Nobody could organize a block which was meant to hold at the most 200 if you put 1000 into it without beds, could they? – This overcrowding was only for one or two weeks.
Why? – Were they killed off pretty quickly? – Those people who came to me in Camp “C” were all strong people, fit for work and they went out on working parties.
Was it not quite simple to know whether or not the selection was for the gas chamber, because only Jews had to attend such selections? – I myself had only Jews in Camp “C.”
Then they would all have to attend the selection for the gas chamber, would they not? – Yes.
As you were told to wait for the doctors you would know perfectly well what it was for? – No.
When these people were parading they were very often paraded naked and inspected like cattle to see whether they were fit to work or fit to die, were they not? – Not like cattle.
You were there keeping order, were you not, and if one ran away you brought her back and gave her a beating? – Yes.
Lebowitz in her affidavit says she often saw you with Dr. Mengele selecting people for the gas chamber and for forced work in Germany, and that if you saw relations trying to get together in selections for forced work you beat them until they were unconscious and left them lying on the ground. Is that true? – It is true that when they ran away I brought them back and I might have beaten them, but it is imagination to say I have beaten them till they lay on the ground or until they were bleeding or perhaps until they were dead.
The witness Ilona Stein said that prisoners that tried to escape were shot if they got far, or were brought back and were terribly beaten till they bled all over the place, and were put back in their lines again. Is that true? – Why should one shoot people inside the camp? There is barbed wire around the camp so they cannot escape.
You remember an S.S. woman called Dreschel. As Rapportführerin did she attend selections with Dr. Mengele and sometimes the Kommandant? – Yes.
Stein said that on a particular occasion when Kramer, Dr. Mengele, Dreschel and yourself were present at a selection, some prisoners tried to hide and that you pointed them out to a guard, with the result that one was killed and one was badly wounded? – I do not know. I have not seen it.
Do you remember being on a selection in Camp “A”? – Never.
There were selections in Camp “A,” were there not ? – Yes.
Some Aufseherinnen must have been present, must they not? – I do not know.
It would be very unusual to have a selection without an Aufseherin, would it not ? – No, on the contrary.
Who would do all these duties on the selections if there were no Aufseherinnen present? – As I was not interested in it I do not know.
Then why do you say it would be unusual for an Aufseherin to be present if you were not interested? – Because all the Aufseherinnen had their jobs with outside Kommandos or in the administration office.
Is that not just why you had to be brought in on occasions? – No.
You would be the handiest person, of course, when you were in the Blockführerin’s room? – I had my duties; I was not allowed to leave the telephone.
I suggest to you that on selection in Block 9, Camp “A,” two girls jumped out of the window and that you went up to them and shot them whilst they lay on the ground? – No.
When people were sent to the gas chamber, you entered that up in your books as “special treatment” on instructions given by Dreschel. Were you forbidden to speak outside the camp about such things? – I do not know whether it was allowed, but I know it was not prohibited. It was already kept secret through the fact that you were never allowed to
leave the camp because it was closed on account of typhus.
Did you often keep prisoners as long as three and four hours on Appelle? – Not so long-an hour, or perhaps it might have been two hours. When I said before, three or four hours, that was an exception.
And you made people stand still then, did you not? – Of course.
If they moved they were beaten, were they not? – That is nonsense. I do not say that they were not allowed to move.
If people did not behave as you wanted them to on Appelle, did you sometimes make them kneel? – Yes.
On other occasions did you not make some people hold stones above their heads? – No, that is imagination. I have seen other people doing it.
Who made them do that? – I do not know. I have never seen it in “C” Lager.
I suggest that if any of these internees did not stand still on the Appell you either made them kneel or hold stones above their heads for a long time, and if they faltered you beat them? – No.
In her affidavit, Dunklemann said you had your hair up at the back? – I did not wear my hair in that way at all. I had a sort of drum of pigtails, and that was quite low on the neck.
This new hair style with the curls hanging down is something new since you left Belsen, is it not? – Yes, that originated in the prison in Celle.
Ehlert used to wear her hair down at the back and she has put it up since she came here. Of course it is not as easy to recognise people when you come and look at them in the dock if they have changed their hair style completely, is it? – The face is always the same.
Do you think that Ehlert looks now as she looked at Belsen? – Slightly different.
Several witnesses in their depositions say that you were the worst S.S. woman in the camp? – Yes, they say so. They are all lying. These people exaggerated and made an elephant out of a small fly.
You did get rather rapid promotion for a young girl, did you not? – No.
From a girl in the dairy to being in charge of 30000 women in a matter of two years is pretty rapid promotion, is it not? – That has nothing to do with the dairy.
Were you not specially chosen for “C” Lager when they began to gas the Hungarians? – No. There were very few Aufseherinnen, and as the Post Office Censor Department was closed I had no particular duty.
Was it on the strength of that appointment that you thought it would be a bright idea to carry a whip round with you? – When I carried a whip I was not promoted at all. I was promoted on 1st January, 1945, after having left Birkenau.
Were you promoted as a reward for your services in liquidating Camp “C”? – Camp “C” was not liquidated, it was transferred into Camp “A.”
Do you or do you not remember the incident when a mother was trying to talk to her daughter across the wire and you beat her till she fell to the ground? – No.
Have you beaten so many women that you cannot remember whether it happened or not? – I do not remember this incident, and I did not beat so many women that I would not be able to remember.
The witness Ilona Stein speaks of an incident when you kicked her too. I suggest to you that you regularly kicked people and it was all part and parcel of this business of swaggering around in top-boots? – I would like to know who has seen me swaggering in the camp. I have never kicked anyone with my foot.
When you arrived at Belsen with a transport, did you ask Kramer if you could stay and then he applied for you and you stayed? – Yes.
Were you Arbeitsführerin, and was it part of your duty to stand at the gate when the working parties were going out and coming in? – Yes.
Did you not regularly beat people at that gate? – I would like to ask you to leave out this word “regularly.” I have never beaten prisoners at the gate.
Did you regularly carry your whip at Belsen? – No.
What did you do during the day after the working parties had gone out and before they came back in the evening? – I went with my working party into the wood to look for material for preparing wreaths for the S.S. people who were dying in great numbers from typhus. I also saw to it that the camp should be neat and tidy.
You used to go round inspecting the camp, did you not? – No.
Then how did you see whether it was neat and tidy ? – I was mostly concerned with the gardens and ornaments in front of the kitchen, and told the prisoners what to do. I did not bother about the cleanliness or tidiness of the camp because there were others responsible for those things.
I suggest to you that you carried on at Belsen just as you had done at Auschwitz, beating, kicking and making people kneel and making people hold stones over their heads? – No. Only once I gave orders to a kitchen working party to do some sport, but, of course, without holding stones in their hands.
Did you not make one Kommando do sport for half an hour because one of the girls dropped a piece of rag as they were marching in from work? – No. It was because somebody threw two parcels away, each containing 3 lb. of meat.
Did you realize that people were dying all around you at Belsen? – Of course I realized it.
Did you realize the amount of food that these prisoners were getting, and did you think that that was a proper way to treat them? – No.
Your sister told us at the beginning that you were a little coward when you were a little girl. Is it not true that your tried to curry favour with the prisoners when you knew that the British were coming? – No, never.
You had always treated them very severely, had you not? – Yes.
But the last few days was quite a different story, and you tried to mix with the prisoners? – Why should I ?
Do you remember saying to the witness Lasker, “It will soon be the end, and we will be liberated”? – I have never spoken to Anita Lasker at all.
Let me just put this finally to you, that you went into the Concentration Camp Service as a frightened young girl, according to your sister a cowardly little girl, and found yourself for the first time in a position to strike people when they could not strike you back? – Yes, it might have been that I was frightened as a child, but I grew up in the meantime.
I suggest to you that you gloried in your jackboots and your pistol and your whip ? – Gloried? I could not say so.
And that you beat and ill-treated prisoners to such an extent that even you were told to stop carrying a whip, and that you continued to do it? – I have beaten prisoners, but I have not ill-treated them, and it was not prohibited for me personally to carry a whip. it was a general order emanating from the Kommandant that whips would not be carried any more.
And I suggest to you that when you got to Belsen you asked to be allowed to stay there and continue your conduct right up to the time that you knew the British were coming into the camp? – If I had wanted to continue this behaviour I would not have needed to ask permission to stay in Belsen. I could have continued to do so in the other camps. It was for quite a different reason.
Re-examined by Major CRANFIELD – Were your jackboots issued to you with your uniform, and did all the Aufseherinnen at Auschwitz wear them? – Yes.
Was your revolver at Auschwitz an issue, and were you ordered to wear it? – Yes, we were told it was for self-protection.
Were you told against whom it was to protect you? – Yes, against the Partisans.
Will you tell the Court why you asked Kramer to let you stay at Belsen? – It is a private affair. I got to know an S.S. man in Auschwitz who was transferred to Belsen, and that is the reason why I wanted to stay.
By the JUDGE ADVOCATE – In Belsen did you ever take part in what you called “making sport”? – I myself made sport with the prisoners.
It was rather strenuous for the prisoners, was it not? – Yes.
Were there people in Belsen in March and April who were fit to do that strenuous kind of exercise? – Yes.
Were you the youngest of the Aufseherinnen or not? – I was the youngest in Auschwitz.