Irma Grese

Ilse Ida Irma Grese ( Wrechen , 7 of October of 1923 – Hamelin , 13 of December of 1945 ) was a supervising prisoners in the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau , Bergen-Belsen and Ravensbruck during World War II . Nicknamed “The beautiful beast” , “The cancerbera” , “Angel of Death” (moniker also coined the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele ) or “Bitch of Belsen” by the prisoners of these camps because of their sadistic behavior and perverse , it was one of the cruelest and most famous war criminals Nazis , who despite his young age was convicted and executed on the gallows by the Allies on 13 of December of 1945 .


Childhood and youth

Daughter of Alfred Grese a farmer who disagreed with the Nazi Party , and Berta, a woman who committed suicide in 1936. Irma left school at fifteen, due to little effort in studies and their fanatical interest in participating in the Bund Deutscher Mädel ( League of German Female Youth ), which her father did not approve.

In 1942 , at the age of 18, she volunteered for a training camp in Ravensbrück , which provoked her father’s fury, contrary to this work. When Irma came home in her uniform, her father threw her out of the house, so she denounced him and got him thrown in jail.

Among other activities, he worked for two years in a sanatorium of the SS and tried, unsuccessfully, graduating as a nurse .

Service with SS

In 1943 she entered the Auschwitz concentration camp as SS Oberaufseherin (female guard), and by the end of that year she was promoted to supervisor, the second highest woman in the camp, after Maria Mandel , in charge of around 30,000 inmates of origin Jew . The rise came because of his enormous Nazi fanaticism and the considerable sadism he developed.

After Auschwitz , his sadism continued in Ravensbruck and Bergen-Belsen three death camps Nazis, being detained on 15 of April of 1945 by the British in the last of them, along with other members of the SS.

War crimes

Irma Grese was one of the main war criminals at the Bergen-Belsen Trial , held between September and December 1945 . Survivors of the camps who testified accused her of murders and torture . Always wearing heavy boots, whip and pistol , among other items, Irma Grese was known for letting dogs launched on dams to devour, kill internal dead in cold blood , torture of children, sexual abuse and beatings sadistic with whips Twisted until the death of the victims. In addition, Olga Lengyel said Irma Grese maintained relations with Hauptsturmführers SS, both men and women, as Josef Mengele and Josef Kramer .

Although Irma Grese denied the murders and stated that she knew the fate of the prisoners only by themselves, she never renounced her Nazi ideology and sang hymns of the SS in the cell. Grese’s beauty had turned into a woman with features hardened by cruelty.

In the Belsen Trial was sentenced to the gallows at 22 years-younger sentenced to death by British law in the twentieth century – being executed in the prison of Hamelin ( Germany ) on 13 of December of 1945 . His last words to his executioner Albert Pierrepoint were: “Schnell!” (Quick!). Apparently after his execution, his body was mutilated and cremated so that later the ashes were thrown to a drainage river.


Irma Grese and Josef Kramer , detained by the British authorities shortly after the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp .

… By that time, the “selections” were carried out by the highest female hierarchies of the field, Hasse and Irma Grese. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the magazines lasted from dawn until the afternoon, when they had already completed their quota of victims.

When these two women appeared at the entrance to the camp, the internees, who already knew what awaited them, began to tremble.

Irma Grese was advancing toward the prisoners with her waving gait and hips moving. The eyes of forty thousand unhappy women, silent and immobile, stuck in it. She was of medium height, elegantly dressed, and her hair impeccably arranged.

The mortal terror inspired by her presence undoubtedly pleased her and delighted her. Because the twenty-year-old girl had no guts at all. With a safe hand she chose her victims, not only from among the healthy ones, but from the sick, weak and incapacitated.

Those who, despite their hunger and hardship, continued to manifest some of their former physical beauty, were the first to be selected. They were the special targets of Irma Grese’s attention.

During the “selections,” Belsen’s “blond angel,” as he was later to call the press, freely handled his whip. He would shake whippings wherever he liked, and it was up to us to do the best we could. Our contortions of pain and the blood we shed made her smile. What a flawless denture he had! His teeth looked like pearls!

One day in June 1944, 315 “selected” women were being pushed into the lavatories. Already the poor hapless ones had been kicked and whipped in the great hall. Then Irma Grese sent the SS guards to punch the door. It was that simple.

Before being sent to the gas chamber, they had to go to the doctor Fritz Klein . But he made them wait three days. During that time, the condemned women had to live cramped and thrown on the cement pavement without food, drink or toilet. They were human beings, but who cared? …


  1. Back to top↑ Fragment found in the book ‘The Horns of Hitler’, Five Chimneys, Olga Lengyel