Better Title "Aufseherin" (Female Guard)
The Aufseherin, the woman-guardian in the concentration camps was indisputably the typical representative of the female Nazi criminals.
When former prostitutes, tramps, dismissed maids because of stealing, women who had abandoned their own children in parks, or former cooks who were professional thieves found themselves --all of a sudden-- dressed in the perfectly ironed gray-greenish uniforms, they instantly felt the pure Arian blood Ubermensch running through their veins, just like each and every SS-men in Totenkopf -- einheiten, the SS death's head units.
Hysterical and sadistical, insolent and ruthless, the Aufseherin, the female guardians in the concentration camps humiliated, tortured and battered the female detainees. They stalked to and for, regularly lashing the top of their leather boots with the riding whip, with a hateful, cynical and disdainful look in their eyes. They sought revenge for their vile past, for their failures, for the humiliations they had endured and for all this it was the woman detainees in the camps that had to pay. With wicked eyes they looked for weakened and fearful women and rushed on them. Others, on the contrary, actuated by savage envy, chose to crush those still strong and beautiful, whom life in the camp had not managed to ruin entirely. Fact is that no matter what their reasons, no SS-man could match an Aufseherin, a woman guardian, in bloodthirsty cruelty, savageness, springing downright from Schadenfreude, the evil rejoicing in the sufferings of another human being.
The SS-man who beat a Häftling to give vent to his fury got tired after twenty or forty minutes and calmed down. The one, who hit in order to punish, got satisfied when seeing blood gushing forth. But die Aufseherin, the woman guardian when beaded a detainee out of Schadenfreude, the wicked joy taken in the other's suffering, knew no measure. She could not pass by a detainee without swearing at her or striking her, humiliating her, or causing her some sort of pain that would keep alive her Schadenfreude, the zest of her life.
Women detainees of Ravensbrück were panic-stricken when seeing die Aufseherin, guardian Dorothea Binz. She walked throughout the camp, hitting anyone she came across with the cudgel, the riding whip or belt. At every blow, her otherwise dim eyes lit up and sparkled with villainous joy. And there was another occasion when they glittered ravenously: when she hounded the wolf dogs at a woman detainee and saw them tearing her up.
A survivor, Olga Golovina, who had been interned in Ravensbrück at 21 years of age, recalled after 39 years: "I remember guardian Dorothea Binz walking through the camp. I can still see her before my eyes. A woman detainee passes by and, exhausted stumbles and falls down. With painstaking efforts she struggles to her feet and staggers along.
Such a scene was enough for Dorothea. She pushed the pedals, speeded up and knocked down the miserable detainee. Then she called the dogs and hounded them at her. The dogs were savage, ferocious, specially trained for tearing up the victim until it ceased to breathe!"
In her book called Ravensbrück, Germaine Tillon recalls Dorothea Binz during one of her usual activities, after striking the ill-famed "25", "50" or "75" cudgel blows: "The victim was lying half naked, apparently in a dead faint, full of blood from ankles till waist. Bind gazed at her and then without uttering a word trampled on her bleeding legs and started rocking herself, balancing her weight from toes to heels. Perhaps the woman was dead; anyhow she was unconscious because she did not stir a bit. After a while when Binz left, her boots were smeared with blood".
She amused herself by having the woman detainees stand at attention for hours on end, slapping them over the face. But her favorite past time was to enter riding on a bike into a group of woman internees. She burst out laughing when going over the bodies of those who had collapsed.
That devilish laughter springing from her Schadenfreude, malicious pleasure taken in somebody else's suffering was put an end to in 1947 when she was hanged.
The terror camp in Birkenau who lashed the women detainees with her riding whip, kicked them with her impeccably polished leather boots or tortured them savagely was Marie Mandel, the chief of the Aufseherinen in all concentration camps for women in Birkenau-Auschwitz.
When my mother and my brothers were selected for the gas chambers, she was standing near Mengeles. She attended all selections of deportees coming from northern Transylvania that had been occupied by the Horthysts.
She was sentenced to death in December 1947 by the Supreme People's Court in Cracow. Here are a few excerpts from her conviction: "She personally chose for medical experiments 80 woman detainees. The prisoner in the dock, alongside physicians and officers picked out the victims to be gassed during the mass extermination of Jews from Hungary... When a transport of Russian women of Vitebsk arrived, she snatched the children from their mother's arms and threw them into lorries as if they were some stones. On her own initiative the accused sent pregnant women to death in the gas chamber or through injections with phenol... In December 1942, on a biting frost, she ordered the disinfestation of detainees in the women's camp of Birkenau. The bath lasted from morning till 4,00 o'clock in the afternoon.
Holding a riding whip in her hand, the prisoner in the dock walked through the naked and famished women internees who had been compelled to stand in the bitter cold for hours on end. At least a quarter of those women, frozen and starving, were taken away by lorries. Most of them died... The accused ordered the newborns to be burnt in ovens and the suckling be taken from their "mothers and killed..."
Even the most thorough death sentence, all death sentences taken together cannot list the endless series of crimes perpetrated by the typical representatives of female Nazi criminals: die Aufseherinen, the women guardians in the concentration camps.