Holocaust and Art

These drawings are from Ravensbrück, Fallersleben and Salzwedel concentration camps. The artists are unknown, but I don’t think that actually matters. The subtleties of the pictures say so much. The text on the above picture from Ravensbrück, says, “Herr Kommando Führer, I am report for the morning roll call.”

Drawings from Fallersleben concentration camp.

In August 1944, a women’s satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp was established in Fallersleben for armaments production at the Volkswagen plant. The female Jewish prisoners, most of whom were from Hungary, arrived at the camp on three transports. 500 Jewish women were taken from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Fallersleben probably in August 1944. Additional women were brought to Fallersleben on two transports in November 1944 and January 1945 from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

With the caption “Opa” as in Grandfather however, I think they mean dirty old man in this context, because the old guard is watching women while they are showering.

Drawings from Salzwedel concentration camp.

In late July or early August 1944, a women’s satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp was established in Salzwedel. The Polte factory in Magdeburg had a branch in Salzwedel, which had operated under the title “Draht- und Metallfabrik Salzwedel” before World War II. When the war started, the factory began producing infantry and flak ammunition. The Polte factory requested 5,600 prisoners to use as forced labourers. Most of the 1,520 Jewish women in the Salzwedel satellite camp came from Hungary, while the rest came from Poland and Greece. The women arrived at Salzwedel on three transports from Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen in late July/early August, in October and again in December 1944. They were forced to work in two 12-hour shifts and were housed in a camp of huts in the grounds of a fertiliser plant on Gardelegener Straße.

In April, women from the evacuated Porta Westfalica-Hausberge and Fallersleben satellite camps arrived at Salzwedel, bringing the number of prisoners to approximately 3,000. Salzwedel was the only satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp not to be evacuated. The prisoners, were liberated by the Ninth U.S. Army on April 14, 1945.

The caption says “‘Lice hunt Fransche Stube Salzwedel”

The caption says “April 14 Liberation! Salzwedel”

I think that the drawings are very powerful. They are subtle in a way and yet one can detect a darkness in them.




Nurses who killed.

SS officers and German nurses gather during the dedication ceremony of the new SS hospital in Auschwitz.
Among those pictured are Karl Hoecker, Josef Kramer and SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Heinrich Schwarz. Among the nurses probably are Martha Mzyk and Lotte Nitschke.

Anyone who ever had to go through a medical procedure will know how important the job of a nurse is. When you arrive at the medical facility it is usually a Nurse who sees you first, A nurse will care for you set you mind at ease, often they get to do the mots horrible tasks after or during a surgery. I remember well how some nurses went beyond their duty when I was in hospital.

It is therefore so surprising that so many nurses in the third reich, were willing participants in the mass murder of the disables and also others.

Christian nurses’ associations dominated German nursing when the Nazis rose to power in 1933. At the time, nursing was widely considered to be more of a spiritual calling or a public service than a professional career. The Nazi regime reorganized Germany’s professional nursing associations. It barred Jewish nurses and restricted membership to politically reliable “Aryans.” Nazi propaganda promoted the idea that nursing was a patriotic service to the state. Nazi nurses’ associations encouraged values of militaristic duty and obedience. Nursing schools began indoctrinating students with Nazi ideology through classes on race and eugenics.

Many nurses who did not necessarily support the Nazi regime still implemented its discriminatory and murderous policies through the course of their regular, daily work. Engaging with patients more frequently and directly than doctors, nurses were often the ones who actually applied the regime’s medical policies. Nurses played a central role in the regime’s so-called “euthanasia” program. Under the program, roughly 250,000 children and adults with mental and physical disabilities were murdered. They were killed by starvation, lethal injection, or gassing.

Although some of these nurses reported that they struggled with a guilty conscience, others did not see anything wrong with their actions, and they believed that they were releasing these patients from their suffering.

Staff at the T4 “killing centres”, where the euthanasia programme was carried out, swore an oath of silence and nurses accompanied patients on special buses with windows blacked out to the gas chambers. at one such “killing centre” at Hadamar near Frankfurt in Germany in 1941, nurses and staff drank beer to celebrate the killing of their 10,000th patient in a special ceremony right outside the door of the gas chamber.

Factors influencing the nurses’ willingness to kill are described and include the socialization of the German people toward euthanasia as well as ideological commitment, economic factors, and putative duress.

Although the Nazis actually carried out the mass murder of the disabled, There were sentiments globally towards euthanasia, for example: A 1937 Gallup poll showed that 45% of the American population was in favor of euthanasia for “defective” infants.

Nurses in Nazi Germany were under the illusion that they were remaining true to their professional ethics, unaffected by the social change around them. Nurses weren’t only working in the T4 centres but also in the concentration camps like Auschwitz and Ravensbrück.

During the Ravensbrück Trials several nurses were sentenced to death.

The first Ravensbrück trial was held from December 5, 1946 until February 3, 1947, against sixteen Ravensbrück concentration camp staff and officials. All of them were found guilty. Twelve were sentenced to death. One died during trial and two committed suicide. The death sentences ,except for one, were carried out on May 2—3, 1947, in Hamelin prison.

Elisabeth Marschall was the Head Nurse at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Her duties included selecting prisoners for execution, overseeing medical experiments, and selecting which prisoners would be shipped to Auschwitz. At the Hamburg Ravensbrück Trials, she was found guilty and sentenced to death. On 3 May 1947 she was hanged by British executioner Albert Pierrepoint on the gallows in Hameln prison. Aged 60, she was the oldest female Nazi to be executed.









Margareta Maria Gallinat—Just One of the Evil Ones

I am not going to say too much about Margareta Maria Gallinat. Suffice it to say she sought employment abroad to terrorize innocent citizens.

She was born in Ragnitz on 16 October 1894 in Rotsche Bach, Hamar.

In April 1940, Gallinat read a newspaper ad for Aufseherin and decided to apply. Two months later, she started in Ravensbrück and worked there until the summer of 1943, eventually becoming deputy Oberaufseherin.

From September 1943 to 1 July 1944, she was appointed SS-Oberaufseherin in the Vught transit camp and served as head of the Female Prisoners’ Division.

There are no records of the crimes she committed, but at least 749 men, women and children died in Vught, also known as Herzogenbusch, due to hunger, sickness and abuse. Of those, 329 were murdered at the execution site just outside the camp.

Margarete was complicit in these crimes. She applied for the position, initially in Ravensbrück and later in Vught.


Herta Bothe—The Sadist of Stutthof and the Lenient Sentence

Herta Bothe was a German concentration camp guard during World War II. She was imprisoned for war crimes after the defeat of Nazi Germany and was subsequently released from prison early on 22 December 1951 as an act of leniency by the British government. She was 6ft 3in, which must have been quite intimidating for the prisoners.

In September 1942, Bothe became the SS-Aufseherin camp guard at the Nazi German Ravensbrück concentration camp for women. The former nurse took a four-week training course and was sent as an overseer to the Stutthof camp near Danzig (now Gdańsk). There she became known as the “Sadist of Stutthof” due to her merciless beatings of female prisoners. On other accounts he was also known as the “Sadist of Bergen-Belsen.”

At the age of 24, she accompanied a death march of women from central Poland to Bergen-Belsen. At the Belsen trial, she claimed that she had stuck prisoners with her hand as a means of discipline but never used an instrument to do so, nor did she claim to have killed anyone. She was sentenced to ten years in prison and is still alive today. In a rare interview she said:

“Did I make a mistake? No. The mistake was that it was a concentration camp, but I had to go to it, otherwise, I would have been put into it myself. That was my mistake.”

That was an excuse former guards often gave. But it was not true. Records show that some new recruits did leave Ravensbrück as soon as they realised what the job involved. They were allowed to go and did not suffer negative consequences.

The Allied soldiers forced her to place the corpses of dead prisoners into mass graves adjacent to the main camp. She recalled in an interview some sixty years later that, while carrying the corpses, they were not allowed to wear gloves, and she was terrified of contracting typhus. She said the dead bodies were so rotten that the arms and legs tore away when they were moved. She also recalled the emaciated bodies were still heavy enough to cause her considerable back pain. Bothe was arrested and taken to a prison at Celle.

At the Belsen Trial, she was characterized as a “ruthless overseer” and sentenced to ten years in prison for using a pistol on prisoners. Bothe admitted to striking inmates with her hands for camp violations like stealing but maintained that she never beat anyone “with a stick or a rod” and added that she never “killed anyone.” Her contention of innocence was deemed questionable as one Bergen-Belsen survivor claimed to have witnessed Bothe beat a Hungarian Jew named Éva to death with a wooden block while another teenager stated that he saw her shoot two prisoners for reasons he could not understand. Nevertheless, she was released early from prison on 22 December 1951 as an act of leniency by the British government.

Bothe died on March 16,2000 at the age of 79.







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Odette Hallowes—Tortured and Starved in Ravensbrück—and Survived

This is one of those amazing stories of resilience and perseverance.

Odette Sansom, aka Odette Churchill and Odette Hallowes, code name Lise, was an agent for the United Kingdom’s clandestine Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France during World War II.

She was born on 28 April 1912 in Amiens, France.

She met an Englishman, Roy Patrick Sansom, in Boulogne and married him in Boulogne-sur-Mer on 27 October 1931, moving with him to Britain. The couple had three daughters, Françoise Edith, born in 1932 in Boulogne; Lili M, born in 1934 in Fulham; and Marianne O, born in 1936 in Fulham. Mr Sansom joined the army at the beginning of the second world war, and Odette Sansom and the children moved to Somerset for their safety.

In the spring of 1942, the Admiralty appealed for postcards or family photographs taken on the French coastline for possible war use. Hearing the broadcast, Odette wrote that she had photographs taken around Boulogne, but she mistakenly sent her letter to the War Office instead of the Admiralty. That brought her to the attention of Colonel Maurice Buckmaster’s Special Operations Executive.

Odette was recruited as a courier for the SPINDLE circuit of Special Operations Executive. She was a wife and mother of three who didn’t drink, smoke or swear, and to the casual observer, she was quite ordinary, perhaps even boring. Yet, she was a trained killer. She feared neither danger nor dagger—interrogation nor torture. She didn’t think twice about confronting German generals or commandants and often placed principle before prudence. Like her colleagues in the SOE, she signed up for the war knowing that arrest (and execution) was a very real possibility—a fate that awaited almost one in two for F Section (France) couriers.

She was betrayed by a double agent, Colonel Henri, in April 1943. Colonel Henri was a German officer who claimed he wished to work for the allies. Despite, Odette’s suspicions, his involvement led to her arrest.

Arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo, she was sent with fellow SOE agent Peter Churchill (no relation to the Prime Minister) to Fresnes Prison in Paris. At Fresnes, she was interrogated and tortured 14 times by the Gestapo, including having her toenails torn out, her back scorched by a red hot poker, and locked in a dark basement for 3 days at a time. During the interrogation she lied to the Gestapo agents saying Peter Churchill was her husband and the nephew of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to make the Germans believe she was a relative of Winston Churchill then she’d be kept alive as a bargaining tool.

In 1943, she was sentenced to death twice, to which she responded, “Then you will have to make up your mind on what count I am to be executed because I can only die once.” Infuriated, the Gestapo agent sent her to Ravensbruck Camp. At Ravensbruck, she was kept on a starvation diet in a cell where other prisoners could be heard being beaten. After D-Day, all food was removed for a week, all light was blocked from her cell, and the heat was turned up. She was expected to die after a few weeks but instead only fell unconscious and was relocated to solitary confinement. As a child she’d been blind and bedridden from serious illnesses for three-and-a-half years, so the darkness didn’t bother her, and as she was considered a difficult child (likely due to her illnesses) during her convent education, she was used to starvation punishments. As the Allies approached Ravensbruck, the commandant drove her to a nearby American base to surrender, hoping to use Odette as a bargaining tool to escape execution.

She testified against the prison guards charged with war crimes at the 1946 Hamburg Ravensbrück Trials, which resulted in Suhren’s execution in 1950. Roy and Odette’s marriage was dissolved in 1946 and she married Peter Churchill in 1947.

Despite her appalling treatment, she was not over-consumed with bitterness. Instead, after the war, she worked for various charities seeking to lessen the war pain for others. For her service, she was awarded the George Cross. Her humility meant she was not keen on accepting the award, but she did accept it on behalf of all agents who suffered during the war. She briefly married, Peter Churchill, before marrying her third husband, Geoffrey Hallowes. She died in 1995 aged 83.






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Elfriede Huth—Ignorant and Evil

If you look for the name Elfried Huth, you probably won’t find anything. Her story is both amazing and appalling. It is also the most bizarre and disturbing love story you will ever read.

Elfriede was born on 14 July 1922, in Leipzig. 22 years later, being still quite young, she joined the ranks of the SS. Until the end of the war, Elfriede served in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp.

From June 1944–April 1945, she was handling an SS-trained guard dog. She claimed that she did not use her dog as a weapon against prisoners and that she did not join the Nazi party. However, other information contradicts this. One prisoner reported that the women were even worse than men in commanding their dogs to brutally attack the inmates.”

Elfriede somehow managed to avoid the Nuremberg trials. She left Germany for the United States and was admitted as an immigrant on or around 21 September 1959 in San Francisco, California. At a German-American club in San Francisco, she met Fred William Rinkel, a German Jew whose family had been murdered in the Holocaust, and they married about 1962. He died in 2004. Elfriede stated she never told her husband about her past.

Fred (aka Fritz) Rinkel grew up in Berlin and, before the Nazis came to power, had wanted to be an opera singer. Sometime during the war, he escaped to Shanghai. In 1947, after learning that his parents had been killed in concentration camps, Fritz, then 32, sailed to San Francisco.

One of Fred’s cousins said “My family assumed that Fritz was a confirmed bachelor, but in 1962, at age 47, he brought over his fiancée for an introduction. He had met Elfriede Huth at a dance at the German-American club in San Francisco. Elfriede was not Jewish. That Fritz would marry a German non-Jew seemed odd to my parents, but this was America and the couple were in love. Even at the age of 14, I could see that Fritz was besotted with Elfriede, calling her “Mein Liebling,” my darling, throughout the evening and gazing at her with puppy eyes.”

Together, they mixed easily in Jewish circles, attended synagogues and donated to Jewish charities.

When Fred Rinkel died in 2004, his widow buried him in a Jewish cemetery, under a gravestone adorned with the Star of David—with space for her when she died.

Eventually, the Office of Special Investigations uncovered her whereabouts and approached her on 4 October 2004. Rinkel confessed to having worked in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, as a voluntary dog handler: this activity was better paid than the ordinary work of supervisors.

She claimed that she did not use her dog as a weapon against prisoners and that she did not join the Nazi party. However, other information contradicts this, “One prisoner reported that women were even worse than men in commanding their dogs to brutally attack inmates.”

Elfriede claimed to have always behaved correctly. Insa Eschebach, a historian and the director of the Museum of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, deemed this a protective claim.

Dogs could be used recklessly. Some guards let the animals go on prisoners, on whom they, with a sometimes fatal consequence, inflicted severe bite wounds.

Since other crimes were barred, the Central Office of the State Justice Administration for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg examined only whether it is possible to prove whether Huth murdered any inmates. If that could be proved, it risked a life sentence. Also, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem insisted on a trial.

On 1 September 2006 Elfriede was deported to Germany under a settlement agreement signed in June 2006 after being charged by a federal law requiring the removal of aliens who took part in acts of Nazi-sponsored persecution filed by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The German authorities were informed by the American authorities after her departure. Kurt Schrimm from the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes stated that her files were given to the prosecutor in Cologne. All criminal proceedings were eventually closed due to missing initial suspicion.

Elfriede Huth said, “I never talked about this with my husband. There was nothing to talk about. You don’t talk about things like that, never. That is the past. I am not a Nazi. My relatives are not Nazis. I did nothing wrong,”

This was the level of her ignorance that she could not see anything wrong with that.

She insisted she had no problem with Jews. She worked “outside, not inside” the Ravensbruck camp, she said, after leaving a job in a factory near her birthplace in Leipzig.

She spent some time on a farm in the Rhineland with relatives, then she moved into a nursing home in Willich, Northrhine-Westfalia, where she died in July 2018.

I deliberately used her maiden name rather than her married name.


Elfriede Huth: the only accomplice of the Nazis, which was deported from the United States




Women Victims of the Holocaust

Female prisoners of Ravensbruck dig under a guard’s watchful eye

I don’t know why I decided to do a blog specifically about the women victims of the Holocaust, but I just felt compelled to do one. I am married to a beautiful wife, and we have a beautiful daughter. I have two older sisters, and of course, like everyone else I also have a mother, who sadly passed away in 1996. All of these women have played an important part in my life, if not the most important part in my life. It is because of them I am the man I am today.

I could not imagine living without them. During the Holocaust, the treatment of women was harsh, more so than men. At least some men, if they were young enough and reasonably healthy, would have a slightly better chance of surviving.

It was normalized for women to sent to the gas chambers immediately after selection on arrival at the death camps, especially when they had young children. The women not selected for immediate death, were subjected to experiments, forced sterilizations, rape, and punishments.

Following are just a few of the women victims of the Holocaust.

Only known as Gerda D

On July 14, 1933, the Nazi dictatorship enacted the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases. Individuals who were subject to the law were those men and women who “suffered” from any of nine conditions listed in the law: hereditary feeblemindedness, schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, hereditary epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea (a rare and fatal degenerative disease), hereditary blindness, hereditary deafness, severe physical deformity, and chronic alcoholism.

Gerda D., a shop worker, was one of an estimated 400,000 Germans the forcibly sterilized. After a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia, they sterilized her. Later, Nazi authorities forbade Gerda to marry because of the sterilization.

Women laborers forced to dig trenches in Ravensbruck for no other apparent reason than to dig trenches for the sake of it.

only known as Emmi G

Emmi G., a 16-year-old housemaid, was diagnosed as schizophrenic. She was sterilized and sent to the Meseritz-Obrawalde Euthanasia Center. There she was murdered with an overdose of tranquilizers on December 7, 1942. Place and date uncertain.

13-year-old Vera Berger caught typhus and tuberculosis in Bergen-Belsen and suffered starvation, but the young Czechoslovakian survived the liberation. Ravensbruck Camp Hospital, 1945.




May 29,1940- The ban on Bible study.

The Jehovah Witnesses are often forgotten as Holocaust victims.

An estimated 1,000 German Jehovah’s Witnesses died or were murdered in concentration camps and prisons during the Nazi era, as did 400 Witnesses from other countries, including about 90 Austrians and 130 Dutch Jehovah Witnesses.

On May 29, 1940, the Vereeniging of Bible researchers(The name used by the Jehovah Witnesses) was banned by the German occupier in the Netherlands. The office in Heemstede, the Bethel House, was closed on July 6, as well as the printing works in Haarlem and the printing presses confiscated. Services were also no longer allowed to be invested. However, the Jehovah’s continued to preach and evangelize leading to arrests. Until the end of April 1941, the Sicherheitsplizei (Sipo) together with Dutch agents arrested 113 people.

The Netherlands had only 500 Jehovah’s Witnesses in May 1940. Nevertheless, the occupying forces banned the organization, which was then still called the Vereeniging van Boekenvorschers, on May 29 and had the headquarters in Heemstede closed. Printing presses were confiscated and the Bible researchers were no longer allowed to engage in services. However, the Witnesses did not mind and continued to preach and evangelize. They put up placards saying, “Persecuting God’s witnesses is a crime” and “Jehovah will punish the persecutors with eternal destruction.”

As in Germany, this unaccommodating attitude led to arrests. Until the end of April 1941, the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo), together with Dutch agents, arrested 113 people. Also W.H. Kuik, an itinerant preacher, helped. He was arrested and released after signing the abjuration statement. Kuik used the slogan: ‘I will comb all of Rotterdam and Schiedam, so that there are no more Jehovah’s Witnesses left’. The ex-Jehovah also assisted in the capture of Jews and illegal workers. After the war, he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

By the end of 1941, 241 Jehovah’s Witnesses had already been arrested. They ended up in camp Amersfoort or in Vught. In Vught they secretly held Bible readings and worship services. From these camps they were transported to German camps. There they were often the target of teasing and abuse because they persisted in their faith. One of the victims was Betje Honders (picture above)from Utrecht. She , attended a baptismal service on September 6, 1941, which was betrayed to the SD. The SD arrested 29 Witnesses, including 31-year-old Betje.

She was imprisoned in the Oranjehotel in Scheveningen and deported to Ravensbrück in October. There, too, Betje remained true to her faith and refused to carry out certain activities, such as sewing clothes for German soldiers. Probably for this reason she was transferred to Auschwitz in the autumn of 1942, where she died in March 1943.

During the war, about 500 Jehovah’s Witnesses were arrested in the Netherlands. More than 300 of them ended up in a concentration camp and 130 of them died from illness, deprivation or the bullet.




Paying the ultimate price for helping others.

Maastricht is one of my favourite cities. I grew up only about 10 miles away from it and would have visited it numerous times. It is, the most south eastern city in the Netherlands and is well known for its close proximity to Belgium and Germany. It is also the the home of violin virtuoso Andre Rieu and his Strauss Orchestra.

In Europe it is known for the treaty which was signed there on February 7,1992. It shaped the future of the EU.

But I am not going to talk about any of that. I want to add a name to the Maastricht narrative and would love it if in years to come people would say “Maastricht, oh yes that is the place where Derk van Assen and his wife Berendje are from”

Derk and Berendje van Assen were heroes in every sense of the word. They paid the ultimate price for helping their neighbours.

Derk was active in the underground resistance from the beginning of
the war, in May 1940. Initially without being part of an organised group, but later he joined the Versleyen group, a group of tax officials
within the L.O (National Organisation for help to those in hiding); he
was also a member of the Trouw group, the national Christian
resistance group.

In Derk’s Christian believes and humanist principles, all people were equal and he was prepared to risk everything to save the lives of Jews and others. Using his many talents Derk contributed during the war to illegal newspapers, organized national information networks and offered professional document forgers a place to work in his home. Derk and Berendje were friendly with Isidore and Frederika Schaap, who had come to Maastricht in 1939, together with their daughter Hetty. Isidore headed a branch of a Ladies fashion firm that was based in Rotterdam and Berendje was one of his customers.

The Shaap family had totally integrated; in the ways of the more the more Burgundian lifestyle of the southern Netherlands and sometimes they even went with Derk and Berendje to the Reformed Church on Sunday mornings.

In the summer of 1942, the Schaaps received orders to report for deportation ,Derk helped them find a place to hide. They spent their first couple of nights hiding with a family who owned an optician’s shop in Maastricht. During this time their identity cards were altered and the “J” removed, which gave them the freedom to travel with less risk. The next following day, the Schaap family took a train to Utrecht, to the home of one of Derk’s cousins. They soon moved to a family in Hillegom, South Holland, also relations of the van Assens. The Schaap family then had to split up Isidore and Frederika moved to Amsterdam, where they were later arrested.

The Police Commissioner of Maastricht had requested that Isidore Schaap and Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling, both residents of Maastricht, be located, detained and brought to trial. They were suspected of having changed their place of residence without the required authorization. This description referred to Jews who had gone into hiding.

On 26 July 1943 Derk was arrested in Maastricht after having been
under surveillance shadowed for some time by the SD (Sicherheitsdienst). The SD had recruited “Blonde Mien”, a resistance activist. Mien was tasked to gather information about Derk’s contacts, but before she could do so Derk was apprehended and incarcerated in the local prison. In this prison, Oberscharfuehrer Richard Nitsch interrogated Derk for seven weeks, during which time Derk’s colleagues were planning his escape. However, the authorities discovered the plot and to abort it Nitsch and two other SD men executed Derk in Horst, Limburg, on September 14, 1943.

In the meantime, Berendje was also arrested and imprisoned, first in
Maastricht, then in Haaren and finally in Vught. From there she was
deported to Camp Ravensbruck in Germany where she died on 2
February 1945.

Two heroes who gave their lives for others. After the war Derk and Berendje were decorated by the Air Chief
Marshall and Vice Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces for
“assistance to officers of the marine, land and air forces to escape
from imprisonment, or to avoid being taken prisoner by the enemy”.
On 6 September 1989 Derk van Assen and Berendina van Assen –
Grolleman were awarded the honorary title of Righteous among the
Nations by Yad Vashem.

Frederika Roza Schaap-Kamerling born Wildervank, 28 February 1894 – Murdered in Auschwitz, 28 January 1944.Reached the age of 49 years.

Isidore Schaap ,born Rotterdam, 24 April 1894 – murdered in Auschwitz, 8 April 1944. Reached the age of 49 years.

I could not find out what happened to their daughter Hetty.





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Maria Mandl-Pure evil


Maria Mandl was one of the many Austrians who were delighted when Hitler annexed his native Austria into Germany. She saw opportunities and she took them.

Born in Münzkirchen, Upper Austria on January 10,1912 to a shoemaker and his wife.

On 15 October 1938 , shortly after the annexation she got her first job under the Nazi regime as Aufseherin(supervisor) at the Lichtenburg concentration camp. The camp closed in May 1939. Mandl then moved to Ravensbrück concentration camp, which was purposely built exclusively for women.


Here Mandl, impressed her superiors and was soon promoted to to the rank of a SS-Oberaufseherin. Her brutality set her apart from other female workers. In her new roll she oversaw the roll calls and the punishments for the inmates. Punishment like beatings and floggings by whip.

Survivor Maria Bielicka recalled that one day ,Mandl kicked a fellow inmate to death for doing “something wrong.”

What is probably the most disturbing aspect about her is that unlike other female guards,  she was highly intelligent and cultured. She enjoyed literature and had a taste for fine cuisine. She was also an avid listener of classical music.

Maria Bielicka said about this.Shortly after Bielicka had watched her brutally kill a prisoner during roll call, one of her friends reported hearing “the most beautiful music” while cleaning the guards’ quarters. A senior guard at Ravensbrück had a piano, and Bielicka’s friend found Mandl playing it, “lost in a world of her own – in ecstasy.”

On 7 October 1942 Mandl was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, here she was involved in the selections, The lists that she signed condemned an estimated half a million  women and children to their deaths in the gas chambers at Auschwitz I and II. She took great pleasure in the selections.

One survivor recalled how Mandl had once selected a child whom she dressed up “in fine clothing, parading it around like a puppet.” The child was constantly by her side, holding her hand until she grew tired of the child and threw her in the gas cnamber.

Her passion for music she used to setting  the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, which was made up of prisoner, to accompany roll calls, executions, selections and transports. The orchestra would perform for in all weather conditions and often for hours.

Heinrich Himmler was a great admirer of the orchestra and it is said that Joseph Mengele was often brought to tears by some of their music.

Lucia Adelsberger,another survivor, wrote in her book “Auschwitz: Ein Tatsachenbericht”(Auschwitz, a report of the facts)

“The women who came back from work exhausted had to march in time to the music. Music was ordered for all occasions, for the addresses of the Camp Commanders, for the transports and whenever anybody was hanged.”

In November 1944, Mandl was assigned to the Mühldorf subcamp of Dachau concentration camp, she fled from there just before the camp was liberated.

But she was caught a few months later ,the United States Army arrested Mandl on 10 August 1945. In November 1947 she was tried in a Kraków during the Auschwitz Trial and sentenced to death by hanging. She was hanged on 24 January 1948, 2 weeks after her 36th birthday.



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Nazi Camp Guard Maria Mandl Sent 500,000 Women To Their Deaths – And Loved Every Minute Of It