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Herta Bothe

(1921 - )

In April 1943, the Nazis created Bergen-Belsen in Lower Saxony near the city of Celle as a transit center; Bergen-Belsen was never officially given formal concentration camp status. But the second commandant, SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Kramer, completed the transformation of Bergen-Belsen into a regular concentration camp.

The notorious Herta Bothe became a camp guard and soon acquired a reputation as a sadist who beat prisoners without mercy. She had a good time shooting at weak female prisoners carrying food containers from the kitchen to the block with her pistol. And she often beat sick girls with a wooden stick.

On April 15, 1945, the British army liberated Bergen-Belsen. However, it was unable to rescue the inmates. On that liberation day, the British found 10,000 unburied corpses and 40,000 sick and dying prisoners. Among the 40,000 living inmates, 28,000 died after the liberation. The inmates were abandoned in Bergen-Belsen by the Germans, left behind for death to come.

After the war Herta Bothe was charged with having committed war crimes. At the Bergen-Belsen Trial she received a 10 year sentence.

Sources: Hitler's Women