Questions about woman guards in camps? Can anyone help?

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by freefall, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. freefall

    freefall Junior Member

    Hi all, I know I’m new to this forum, one of the reason I joined, was I’m working on a project based on the lives of the woman who worked in concentration camps.
    At the time courtesy of the Nazi regime women were encouraged to stay at home and have good Aryan babies, yet some worked in camps, some were essential in camps, and for the first time in their lives had power, even though no matter what their status was, they were still subservient to the male guards.
    For accuracy, I have some question, a lot of the site I’ve seen and books I’ve read and there are not that are affordable or available in the UK…or on kindle. Which is why I joined this place, and as I’ve read, a lot of you are total experts in this

    These are the questions I have, and if you can help my now or direct me to the books that can answer

    Ok here we go

    Did the female guards have their own homes, within the camps, or did they live in barracks?

    I know a lot of the prisoners, worked as servants in the guard’s homes, did they return to the camps later, or did any stay in the homes too?

    When Hitler died in his bunker, the red Army approached and, the war was over. What was the reaction of the guards in the camps, did they escape? Did they try to “finish the job”; so many people are vague in what happened next? This is the big question I need answering? And how did they find out it was over, from the radio, or communications from nearer places?

    Thanks in advance for those who answer
  2. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Welcome to the Forum.

    This is not my area of expertise, but here are a few comments, pending input from someone with more knowledge.

    Perhaps the best known woman guard was Ilse Koch, wife of the commandant at one of the camps - I cannot offhand recall which. She and her husband would have had a house adjacent to the camp. They were both convicted of war crimes and hanged.

    Prisoners doing domestic work for prison staff would have lived in ordinary camp accommodation, not in their employers' homes.

    There was no set pattern as to how prisoners learned about the end of the war, either locally or overall. In some case the commandant formally announced the news, before the staff departed, especially if Soviet troops were in the vicinity. Sometimes the staff disappeared without any explanation. Sometimes Allied troops arrived and announced they were taking over. Whichever way it was, there was always the problem of ensuring food and medical supplies for the inmates (often already severely disrupted by the exigencies of the war) until longer-term arrangements evolved.
  3. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    They were both convicted of war crimes and hanged.

    Hi Drayton,

    Karl-Otto Koch was shot by German firing squad for embezzling on 5 April, 1945

    Ilse Koch committed suicide, albeit by hanging, in Aichach prison, near Dachau, on 1 September 1967.


  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Make contact with Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and I am sure that you will receive a reply to your questions.

    Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen

  5. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    hi freefall,yesterday, guards in consantration camps.say that to google.i think you will find all you are looking for on the subject.including the worst of the bunch.stay well.bernard85
  6. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    Karl-Otto Koch was shot by German firing squad for embezzling on 5 April, 1945

    Ilse Koch committed suicide, albeit by hanging, in Aichach prison, near Dachau, on 1 September 1967.

    Thanks for the corrections. I did say that it was not my area of expertise, and I was relying on memory of Ilse Koch's trial for war crimes c 1945-46 and mention of her husband's status. She was certainly the most notorious woman guard, but must have received a lengthy prison sentence rather than the death penalty.
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Nazi ideology on the subject of girls and women was Kinder,Kirche,Kuche in order that they should provide the bedrock for the promotion and well being of National Socialism.Their role in giving birth was to ensure that the Third Reich population thrived and supplied adequate recruits for the party machine and its armed forces in the task of creating and expanding the Greater German Reich.

    So most German married women of the Nazi era were restricted to a ranking much lower in the hierarchy,reflecting Hitler's philosophy of "the woman's place is in the home"

    But in preparing German youth for the future of N.S,the Hitler Youth was set up and membership became mandatory from December 1936.For young girls, the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Girls) was founded and along with the Hitler Youth became the basis for state control of German youth.While the Hitler Youth were looked on as the neo Junkers and were prepared for high service in the various SS organisations through the Junkerschules, such as Bad Tolz,the Bund Deutscher Madel membership at the best,were destined to be auxiliaries in the Nazi structure and would be found discharging secondary duties which would include their presence at various concentration camps,especially womans camps such as Ravensbruck. There would be other woman who were found employed as guards at concentration and forced labour camps for female labour.Their recruitment source would likely to be from the various womans associations,superintended by the Frauenschaften (NS Woman's Auxiliaries Organisation).All would be immersed in Nazi ideology and from this point,there was also some foreign woman who were attracted to this secondary role.

    As regards the background to these auxiliaries,this may be ascertained by researching the war crimes reports where individuals were brought to book.

    Concentration camp female prisoners working in the homes of high ranking SS officials normally lived on the premises and were privy to the life style of their captors and witnesses to the behaviour of these officials to their "servants" additional source for the case against these war criminals.

    When Hitler's end came in the bunker there were members of his inner circle who could not accept what was happening..all were seduced by the thought that a miracle was about to happen and cause the destruction of the Allied armies,East and West.But all had their Plan B to escape from the Chancellery and to the West. Geobbels had firmly implanted into the minds of the inner circle that life would not be worth living after the fall of NS.Many outside the inner circle but occupying high ranking roles in the Nazi Party Gau structure,chose to commit suicide.

    Coming to some in the SS and it organisations.Tainted with involvement in the SS terror machine either on the battlefield or in high ranking roles such as the SD,concentration camp administration and the like,these people, so proud of their role and their ideology decided to save their own skin.Taking up false identities after ridding themselves of their beloved garb,they disappeared into the "fog and night".Many were apprehended later but for too many, they were able to escape justice...some were found out later in an era where the severity of justice was favourable to them and not their victims.

    For the ordinary German civilian,the implosion of the Third Reich came as the German forces were continiously repelled on the Eastern Front.Chaos prevailed .. additionally,the flow of refugees attempting to flee the Red Army further drew panic from German western Gau's civilian population leading to a trail of refugees into Denmark.

    Incidentally Ilse Koch was not a concentration camp guard... she was a civilian being the wife of Karl Koch,whose role has been defined....her behaviour led to the deaths of hundreds of concentration camp prisoners through beatings and ill treatment...she enjoyed the power of determining life and death.At her trial in 1948,it was established that "this bestial woman's guilt in specific murders is irrefutably established".Interestingly,psychiatrists at her trial reported her "as perverted,nymphomanical,hysterical, a power mad demon.

    While in initial captivity she gave birth to a son in 1947,fathered,it is reported, by a US Army guard.She must have had a tortured mind for in the end for she wrote a last note to her son."I cannot do otherwise.Death is the only deliverance"

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