German Pensioner, 93, Under Investigation Over Claims of Being a Belsen SS Guard in WWII

A 93-year-old female German pensioner is under investigation over claims that she worked as a SS guard in the notorious Nazi camps Bergen-Belsen and Gross-Rosen during the Second World War. She’s also under the suspicion of being part of the forcing of the prisoners on to an evacuation march  in 1945. The said event resulted to the death of about 1,400 women.

The spokesman for the Hamburg prosecutors, Carsten Rinio, has confirmed that they have begun investigation on a German pensioner by the name of Hilda Michnia last week. This was after a private citizen files a case against her, allowable under German law.

Hans-Jürgen Brennecke, a social worker from the town of Lüneburg, was the one who filed the charges against the German pensioner which include working as a guard in the Bergen-Belsen and Gross-Rosen concentration camps as well as taking part in the forced evacuation of the latter camp in 1945 where 1,400 of the 2,000 female prisoners of the said camp were believed to have died.

According to Brennecke, she felt she felt it was her duty to bring Hilda Michnia’s deeds to light after watching the Irish documentary entitled Close to Evil September of last year. It was in this said film where she saw Tomi Reichental, a survivor from the Bergen-Belsen camp, trying to interview German pensioner Hilda Michnia. She saw how the latter admitted to taking part of the forced removal of the prisoners from the camp.

Brennecke remembered vividly how Michnia said “I was on the death march” thrice. She thought that moment that Michnia’s actions during that time needs to have consequences. She just couldn’t let that vital information she saw in the documentary pass away without doing anything.

German pensioner Hilde Michnia or Hilde Lisiewicz during the Second World War.
German pensioner Hilde Michnia or Hilde Lisiewicz during the Second World War.

So, the social worker, who also organized the first German screening of the Irish documentary just last week, realized that not one thing was done about Michnia’s part during the Second World War, she resolved to take action herself.

On the other hand, German pensioner Hilda Michnia, who went by the name Hilde Lisiewicz during WWII, was already convicted of her role as a concentration camp guard prior to this recent investigation. She was one of the 45 SS guards who were put on trial by the British occupying forces way back in 1945 and was convicted when a survivor, Dora Almaleh, testified that she did beat up two men when they stole turnips from the kitchen. She was sentenced to serving one year in prison and was released November the next year.

However, the German pensioner dismissed the 1945 proceeding as a “show trial” when she was interviewed by the German publication Die Welt. She even pointed out that she was just a kitchen worker in the camp and had not witnessed any atrocities as they occurred at a different part of the camp.

When Die Welt asked her about the current investigation German authorities are doing, she answered that she knew nothing about it and added that they wouldn’t find anything.

The German pensioner’s case is just one of the many “late justice cases” the German judiciary is doing on the SS’ surviving members. Another case, that of Oskar Gröning, 93 and the so-called accountant of Auschwitz who was charged for taking part in 300,000 murders, will begin trial April 21 of this year.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE