Former Woman Who Worked at Auschwitz Accused of Prisoner Crueltly

A woman now known as Gisela S. was a prison guard at the notorious internment camp in Auschwitz where she was responsible for the mistreatment of many prisoners there.  Now set for trial, she previously worked under her maiden name of Gisela Demming.  Charged with abetting mass murder, Gisela was just one of many who was in charge of the female prisoners at Auschwitz, the Mail Online reports.

Roughly 3700 women have faced the same charges as Gisela for their actions in Poland during the Nazi occupation.  Another former prison guard, Oskar Groening, who collected valuables from the prisoners, was deemed fit to stand trial within just a week of Gisela.

Gisela joined the S.S. in 1940, but prior to then she had already shown infatuation with the Nazi regime and had joined the League of German Maidens.  Her identification card for the S.S. was recently shown to investigation teams specializing in war crimes by the Federal Archive in Berlin, giving them a look at the cold woman who showed brutality at the Auschwitz camp that claimed the lives of over one million people.

She was often in charge of the so-called “standing cells,” in which over two dozen prisoners would be trapped together with no room if they broke even the most minor rules of the camp.  Outside of the cells, prisoners of Auschwitz still had to deal with her inclination toward violent punishments.

For a brief period, Gisela fell in love with another member of the S.S., Doctor Franz Bernhard Lucas; however, when Lucas protested Dr. Josef “Angel of Death” Mengele’s experiments on prisoners, Gisela ended the relationship.  She was not interested in a man who could not fully abide by Nazi principles.

Prior to now, there was another trial in the 1960s to allow for the men and women who acted as Auschwitz prison guards to face justice.  Yet Gisela was not sentenced at that time.  A guard at Sobibor was tried and convicted in 2011 for collaborating in over 28,000 murders, and his conviction set a precedent that witness testimonies are no longer requisite to sentencing.  A spokeswoman from the prosecuting office in Hamburg has spoken to the effect that numerous charges are anticipated within the year.

Out of thirty surviving Germans once employed by Auschwitz, six of them are women.  Irma Ida Grese was even more notorious, a warden to the female prisoners.  Grese had been sentenced to death.  At 90 years of age, having been 20 when she committed her crimes, there is no telling as of yet what will happen to the woman formerly known as Gisela Demming.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE