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Maria Mandel

(1912 - 1947)

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 hanged .."

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 Kraków and executed.

Sources: Hitler's Women