Irma Ilse Ida Grese grew up in Wrechen, a small town northeast of Furstenberg, Germany, where Ravensbruck Concentration Camp was located. She was an aspiring nurse who was repeatedly turned down for a nurse apprenticeship and worked at a small dairy farm until she signed up to be a camp guard at Ravensbruck. Her father was furious at her for making this decision, one that eventually cost Grese her life. She trained at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, which also served as an instructional center for female camp guards who were sent to concentration camps across Hitler’s conquered countries. She was mentored by fellow guard Dorothea Binz, another character in Lilac Girls, who rivaled Grese in cruel treatment of prisoners.
In March 1943, Irma was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she would earn the nicknames “beautiful beastess”, “blond angel of death”, “blond angel from hell” and “hyena of Auschwitz.”
During the post war trial survivor Ilona Stein testified about Grese:
“Whilst at Birkenau I have seen Grese making selections with Dr Mengele of people to be sent to the gas chamber. On these parades Grese herself chose the people to be killed in this way. In one selection about August 1944, there were between 2,000 and 3,000 selected. At this selection Grese and Mengele were responsible for selecting those for the gas chamber. People chosen would sometimes sneak away from the line and hide themselves under their beds. Grese would go and find them, beat them until they collapsed and then drag them back into line again. I have seen everything I describe. It was general knowledge in this camp that persons selected in this way went to the gas chambers.”
There are testimonies which prove Grese was a sadist. Without any other incentive she would whip attractive women in the face to destroy their good looks. According to a survivor once Grese gouged out the eyes of one prisoner because she had talked to another through the barbed wire fence.
Irma and co-defendant Josef Kramer (above) in custody after the war. Kramer was the Commandant of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp and known as “The Beast of Belsen.”
Irma at the Bergen-Belsen trial. Her physical beauty helped her become a media sensation.
According to War Crimes Trials – Vol. II The Belsen Trial “The Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty Four Others,” Irma Grese’s sister Helene testified at the trial. When Helene was asked if she ever questioned Irma about what she was doing in the concentration camp, Helene answered:”We asked her: ‘What do the prisoners get for food, and why have they been sent to a concentration camp?’ and she answered that she was not allowed to talk to the prisoners and did not know what sort of food they got.”
Irma Grese was executed December 13, 1945. Her last word was “Schnell.”
Read the whole story here: http://www.go2war2.nl/artikel/3841/Grese-Irma.htm?