Alice Orlowski (September 30, 1903 – 1976) 1 was a German guardian of several concentration camps Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II .
Born as Alice Minna Elisabeth Elling in Berlin in 1903, she began her training as a guardian of the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in 1941. In October 1942 she was selected as one of the SS Aufseherin to be sent to the Majdanek camp near Lublin , Poland , where along with Hermine Braunsteiner , came to be considered like two of the most brutal supervisors. Both were regularly carrying women’s trucks to the gas chambers. When a child stayed down, they both threw him to the top of the adults as if it were luggage, and then they closed the gate. Orlowski often awaited the arrival of new means of transportation for women. She would then whip prey, especially through the eyes. In Majdanek , Orlowski was promoted to the rank of Kommandoführerin (supervisor) in the selection hangars.
Like SS Aufseherin , Orlowski had over a hundred women under his supervision, who ordered the stolen objects of the gassed prisoners: clocks, furs, coats, gold, jewels, money, toys, glasses, etc. When it was evacuated from the camp, the Germans sent Orlowski to the concentration camp of Kraków-Plaszow , near Kraków , in the Poland under Nazi occupation. 2 At Krakow-Plaszow, Alice was in charge of a working gang on Lager Strasse and was known for her cruelty.
At the beginning of January 1945, Orlowski was one of the women of the SS who participated in the death march of Auschwitz-Birkenau and it was during this time that her behavior, previously considered brutal and sadistic, became more human. During the march of death in mid-January 1945 from Auschwitz to Loslau, Orlowski gave comfort to the inmates, and even slept beside him on the ground outside. He also brought water to those who were thirsty. 3 It is not known why his attitude changed, but some speculate that he felt that the war was almost over and would soon be tried as a war criminal . Orlowski finally returned to Ravensbrück as guardian.
After the war ended in May 1945, Orlowski was captured by Soviet forces and extradited to Poland to be tried for war crimes. He was accused in the trial of Auschwitz in 1947 along with other guardians of the SS camp and sentenced to life imprisonment , but was released in 1957 after serving only 10 years. In 1975, West Germany followed Orlowski, and brought her to trial at the Third Majdanek Trial .
He died during the trial in 1976 at the age of 73.
- Guardians in Nazi concentration camps
- Back to top↑ Information regarding date of birth and dates of service are in the book by Daniel Patrick Brown, “THE CAMP WOMEN – The Female Auxiliaries Who Assisted the SS in Running the Nazi Concentration Camp System” p. 185.
- Back to top↑ Facts about Orlowski’s crimes are detailed by Simon Wiesenthal in Justice Not Vengeance.
- Back to top↑ The facts about his behavior in the march of death come from Malvina Graf: I survived the Kraków Ghetto and Plaszow Camp