Female Nazis were generally low to middle class and had no work experience. Volunteers were enlisted by ads in German newspapers which asked for women to show their love for the Reich and join the SS-Gefolge. They held positional titles similar to the male SS ranks; essentially equal. The roles were specific, as per Hitler’s orders. Other women supported their husbands who were commanders and cabinet ministers in their anti-Semitic policies. Here are the top 10 heinous female Nazis.
1. Maria Mandel:
Nick Name: The Beast
Job: She was a Nazi official who worked inside Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp and Dachau concentration camp. She was the highest ranking a woman in a camp could receive. She only answered to the commandant. Her job was to control all female prisoners and all female assistants.
Crimes: She was directly responsible for some 500,000 women dying. Many witnesses remembered her standing at the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau waiting for inmates to look at her. She single handenly picked those who looked at her for immediate extermination. For all her crimes she had committed, Mandel was caught, tried and hanged on January 24, 1946.
Mala Zimetbaum Case: When Mala Zimetbaum was caught escaping the camp grounds, Mandel read an order to burn her alive in the crematorium.
2. Herta Oberheuser:
Job: Physician at the Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Crimes: Anyone who lets children die a slow death deserves to be on top of this list. Oberheuser injected healthy children with oil and watched them die a slow and painful death. When dead she was known to remove their limbs and vital organs. 74 of her victims were Polish political prisoners and 86 were women. If that was not enough, she rubbed foreign objects on wounds. This sadistic and so called physician/assistant got a slap on the wrist for assisting in the medical experiments.
Life after World War II: Oddly enough, she tried to practice medicine after being released from prison in 1951 for good behavior. Thank goodness her license was revoked. Assistant or no assistant, her silence and privy to gruesome murders deserve to be listed on here.
3. Irma Grese:
Nickname: The Beautiful Beast OR Bitch of Belsen
Job: She was employed at Ravensbrück and Auschwitz and was a warden in the women section at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Crimes: She beat many of her victims with a whip before shooting them. Furthermore she let her unfed dogs loose on many prisoners at Bergen Belsen. According to witnesses, she was sadistic and took sexual pleasure out of killing people in cold blood. Individually one by one, she and other culpable women were hanged on December 13, 1945. She had no remorse for her crimes until her last dying breath.
Personal Recount: When asked if she carried a whip, Irma Grese answered the following:
“Yes, made out of cellophane 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 whips, but we nevertheless went on using them, I never carried a rubber truncheon.”
4. Ilse Koch:
Nick Name: Bitch of Buchenwald
Job: Married to the Commander of Buchenwald Camp, gave her class. She was sadistic and enjoyed watching others in pain.
Crimes: She ordered lampshades to be made from the skins of tattooed prisoners. She was imprisoned in 1944 and released due to lack of evidence in 1947. She was rearrested in 1949 where she was sentenced to life in prison. She committed suicide in 1967.
5. Juana Bormann:
Nick Name: Wiesel
Job: Female Attendant and prison guard at several concentration camps during World War II. Coming from a lower income family, she joined the SS to earn more money. In 1939 she oversaw the working women at Ravensbrück concentration camp. She also worked at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen and Hindenburg as a prison guard.
Crimes: She was an evil woman who enjoyed watching prisoners and helpless victims die a slow and painful death. Witnesses recount how she unleashes her German Sheppard dogs and brutally murdered innocent people, who were all Jewish. She was tried and hanged on December 13, 1945 along with her infamous female co-worker Irma Grese.
6. Ruth Closius-Neudeck:
Job: She began working as a camp guard at Ravensbrück. Her brutality and fierceness promoted her to the rank of Barrack Overseer. In 1944 she got moved to the Uckermark extermination complex in Ravensbrück, again because of her knack for brutality.
Crimes: She was the worst female Nazi to date. She participated in the selection process where she selected the weak women for gassing. Most of the women under her wing were malnourished because Closius-Neudeck mal-fed them. She also was known to slit women’s throats with the sharp end of her shovel. She was executed in 1948 for her crimes.
7. Magda Goebbels:
Job: She was the wife of Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels. She held soirees for wives of foreign heads of state and helped widows of soldiers on the front.
Crimes: Although she did not directly participate in the extermination process, she still was prominent. She egged her husband on in his anti-Semitic propaganda. Furthermore, she sat back and did nothing while her Jewish step father was dying in Buchenwald concentration camp. Passive in my book is as bad as being aggressive. She had the power to do something and she did not. In the end she helped kill all her children and her step father and committed suicide with her husband.
8. Elizabeth Marschall:
Job: She was the head nurse at Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Crimes: She oversaw the medical experimentation of many prisoners in Ravensbrück. Many of the experiments were done on newborn babies who did not survive past 4 weeks. She also played an active role in the selection process for the gas chamber. She and Dr. Gebhart picked 800 women to be transported to Auschwitz and ultimately their deaths. She was hanged on June 26, 1947 for her crimes.
9. Vera Salvequart:
Job: She was a nurse at Ravensbrück concentration camp
Crimes: She played an active role in the extermination process. She poisoned the sick to prevent them from being transported to the gas chambers. She also oversaw the gassing of 1000s of women in the concentration camp. She later would fill out the death certificates and inspect the bodies for gold. On June 26, 1947 she was hanged for her crimes.
Personal Recount: I remember that the sick had no trust in the beginning because they thought that I took part in the mass murdering. I must say that in their place, I would have had the same impression. I was locked up without interruption, couldn’t go anywhere alone, and all they knew about me was that I lived there where they murdered so many people. Additionally, the prisoners saw when I entered the washroom in the case of Schikovsky; they heard the woman scream and therefore assumed that I was part of the murder.
10. Jenny Wanda Barkmann:
Nick Name: “The Beautiful Spectre”
Job: She was a concentration camp guard during World War II.
Crimes: She brutalized prisoners. Furthermore, she directly participated in the selection process where women and children were sent to the gas chambers. Her good looks got her nowhere as she was hanged in 1946 for her crimes. She tried to use her charm and beauty to woo British prison wardens.
Personal Recount: She considered life to be pleasure and pleasure to be short, right before she died.
This is just a small list of females who were the most heinous in their acts. This does not include Eva Braun or other women who did not play a physical role in the annihilation process. Braun and many others are saved for a future article.
Smart, Victor. “Irma Grese.” Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. 2008. . 25 July, 2011. < http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/trials/grese.html>.
Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstäten, Mahn- und Gedenkstätte
Ravensbrück, File: vol. 2, area 1243. Testimony of Vera Salvequart.