The sadistic SS-Oberaufseherin Maria Mandel was born
at Munzkirchen in Austria in January 1912 and joined the SS in 1938. From October 1938 to May 1939 she was Aufseherin at KZ Lichtenburg
and then from May 1939 to October 1942 she was Aufseherin in KZ Ravensbrück.
She was then transferred as an Oberaufseherin to KZ Auschwitz where she worked until November 30, 1944. She was moved on to KZ Mühldorf
where she continued until May 1945.
Her arrest came on August 10, 1945. She was reported
to be highly intelligent and dedicated to her work. The prisoners however,
referred to her as the beast as she was noted for her brutality and
enjoyment in selecting women and children for the gas chambers. Soon
she had become the feared chief-guard of Birkenau women's camp.
She also had a passion for classical music and encouraged the women's
orchestra in Auschwitz. The women of the orchestra were kept busy playing
at roll-calls, and they had to play when new arrivals were sent directly
to the gas chambers. They also had to play during the selections when
the less healthy and sick were separated from the healthier ones who
were still capable to work yet another day.
An Auschwitz prisoner, Lucia Adelsberger, later described
it in her book Auschwitz: Ein Tatsachenbericht:
"The women who came back from work exhausted had to march in time
to the music. Music war ordered for all occasions, for the addresses
of the Camp Commanders, for the transports and whenever anybody was
The trial of the staff who had been captured took place
at Crakow in Poland in the Autumn
of 1947 and concluded on December 22 of that year. For her share in
the selections for the gas
chambers and medical experiments and for her torture of countless prisoners, Maria Mandel was condemned
to death as a war criminal by the Supreme People's Court in Crakow and executed.