Hertha Bothe

Herta Bothe ( Teterow , Mecklenburg , 18 of January of 1921 – 16 of March of 2000 ) was a guard of the SS in concentration camps Nazis , tried for war crimes but released later.

In his youth

In 1938, at the age of 17, Bothe helped his father in his small carpentry in his home village in Teterow, working temporarily in a factory and as a nurse in an industrial hospital. In 1939, Bothe was member of Liga of German Girls or BDM by its acronym in German, outstanding in sports. This organization grouped the teenagers around the Nazi ideology of the State.

In Ravensbrück and Stutthof

In September 1942 Bothe was recruited as a concentration camp guard and received training in the field of Ravensbrück . The former nurse took a four-week training course and was sent as Aufseherin to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig (now Gdansk ). There it was known as the “Stutthof Sadhof”. 1 In July 1944 he was sent as Oberaufseherin the subfield Bromberg-Ost. 2

On January 21, 1945, Bothe of 24 years accompanied a so- called Death Marches of women prisoners from central Poland to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen , near Celle . En route to Bergen-Belsen, remained a short time in the concentration camp Auschwitz , Belsen reaching between 20 and 26 February 1945. 2

In Bergen-Belsen

Once in the field, Bothe supervised the Women’s Brigade for Wood Search, which was composed of 60 prisoners. 2 The camp was liberated by the British on 15 April as as 1945 .

She was said to be the tallest woman the Allies had arrested. Bothe also stood out from the other Aufseherinnen prisoners because the other SS women wore tall black leather boots while she wore civilian shoes. Allied soldiers forced her to place the corpses of prisoners Jews in mass graves next to the main field. Later, in an interview about 60 years later, he recalled that while loading the bodies were not allowed to wear gloves and was very afraid of contracting typhus . She said that the bodies were so broken that the arms and legs were separated from the body when they grabbed them. She also recalled that the bodies were very thin but still had weight to cause a backache. Bothe was arrested and taken to prison in Celle . 2

At the Bergen-Belsen Trial , she was characterized as an “extremely cruel foreman” and was sentenced to ten years in prison for using her pistol against the prisoners. Herta Bothe admitted hitting the prisoners with her hands for field violations like robberies but said she never hit anyone “with a stick or a bar” and had never “killed anyone”. 3 Her claim of innocence is certainly questionable while a survivor from Bergen-Belsen claimed to have witnessed Herta beat to death a Jewish Hungarian woman named Eve with a block of wood while another teenager claimed to have seen her shoot at Two prisoners for reasons he could not understand. 4 Anyway, she was released early from prison on 22 of December of 1951 as an act of leniency by the British Government. 2 After the war he married and changed his name to Herta Lange .

Hildegard Kanbach , Magdalene Kessel , Irene Haschke , Herta Ehlert (with partially hidden face) and Hertha Bothe shortly after his arrest

After the war

Durante una rara entrevista en agosto de 2004,5 Lange se puso a la defensiva cuando se le preguntó sobre su decisión de convertirse en una guardiana en los campos de concentración, replicando:

What do you mean, what made a mistake, no … I’m not sure what I should answer, did I make a mistake? do not. The mistake was the concentration camp, but I had to do it, otherwise I would have been put there. That was my mistake. 6


Hertha died in Germany on March 16, 2000, at 4:02 am at 79 years of age, from cardiac arrest.

See also

  • Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
  • Bergen-Belsen Trial


  1. Back to top↑ “Nazi women exposed every bit as bad as Hitler’s deranged male followers” , The Daily Mail , 11 February 2009.
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e «HERTA BOTHE, her life as a Nazi” SS “concentration camp guard.” . Journals.aol.com . Accessed on July 31, 2014 .
  3. Back to top↑ Konnilyn G. Feig, Hitler’s Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1981), p. 189.
  4. Back to top↑ Wendy Adele-Marie Sarti, Women and Nazis: Perpetrators of Genocide and Other Crimes During Hitler’s Regime, 1933-1945 (Palo Alto, CA: Academica Press, 2011), pp. 87-89.
  5. Back to top↑ Dreykluft, Friederike (2004). Holokaust (TV mini-series). Germany: MPR Film und Fernsehproduktion.
  6. Volver arriba↑ Raymond, Clare (21 de noviembre de 2005). «NAZI SHE-DEVILS». mirror.co.uk. Consultado el 25 de junio de 2011.