By J. Bellinger
Continuing with our examination of the material presented in Daniel Patrick Brown's book, The Beautiful Beast," we read the following on page 32, where the author digresses from Irma Grese to another SS matron, Theodora Binz. He writes:
"....when Irma Grese started her training at FKL-Ravensbrueck, Theodora Binz, one of the more depraved and cruel creatures to serve in the camps, was the chief training instructor for the women as well as the chief wardress of the women's cell block building (Zellenbau). Even by SS Standards, Binz's behavior was atrocious. During Fruehappell, Binz would 'Sport mache' with those unfortunate enough to be in her presence. At the same time, Binz would instruct her trainees in the finer points of Schadenfreude. 'Thea' Binz would beat, kick, and slap, and whip the prisoners ruthlessly. She seemed to take great pride in the fact that her mere presence caused the inmates to tremble with fear. She gleefully followed the policy of 'controlled and disciplined terror' laid down by Eicke in the early days of SS-guard training. In effect, this barbarous woman could conduct her cruel beatings with a nonchalant and cavalier attitude. A case in point was an occasion when Binz came upon an Arbeitskommando (work detail) in a woods outside the camp."
And let us pause here before we examine this claim. Unfortunately this
author has not been able to locate any other references to this Matron in other
books, so we will simply have to accept what is written about her in Brown's
book at face value. Brown employs a number of buzzwords and appropriate
adjectives to focus attention on his latest offering. Binz is dehumanized by
the use of such words and phrases as, "Even by SS standards". Binz's
behavior was atrocious. This implies that she was far more harsh in her
application of SS rules and guidelines than was required, and, furthermore,
that she personally enjoyed it, as the author guides us to believe by his use
of the word "Schadenfreude" which implies an inherent sadistic streak.
His only proof for this is that this woman allegedly required inmates to
perform calisthenics at the early morning roll call.
In fact, this has nothing to do with Schadenfreude, but inmates were often required to perform such calisthenics in the morning before being dispatched to work. SS training was much more rigid in this regard, and apparently it was felt among the administration that calisthenics were beneficial to the health of all concerned. Exercise is usually undertaken to promote health and well being. We can find such programs in countless penal systems throughout the world, as well as in public schools and universities.
Thus, early morning Sport was not out of the ordinary in the camps nor should it have been anything to criticize, save when "Sport" was reserved as a mild form of punishment for petty infractions. In this sense, "Sport" is also undertaken in most boot camps through out the world as a form of discipline and punishment.
The inmates in these camps, it should be remembered, were usually not sent there for a rest cure, nor were the camps resort areas, where people could lounge about all day. Consequently discipline and order were prerequisites to running an orderly camp where everyone was expected to conform to the rules and regulations-staff and inmates alike. Malingering was not tolerated, and thus it is most likely that people deemed to be slackers were duly punished in some manner. However, it should be noted that the author provides no actual proof for his claims. The closest he comes to this attempt is when he quotes again from a "survivor." He writes:
"A case in point was an occasion when Binz came upon an Arbeitskommando (work detail) in a woods outside the camp. Binz observed a woman that the Aufseherin felt was not working hard enough (which, in camp parlance, was referred to as being "Arbeitscheu," or "work shy"). Theodora Binz walked over to the woman, knocked her to the ground, and then took a pickaxe and proceeded to chop the prisoner with it until the lifeless body was little more than a bloody lump. (!) Once this matter was finished, Binz cleaned her shiny boots with the dry portion of the corpses' skirt. She then mounted her bicycle and leisurely peddled her way back to Ravensbrueck - all as if nothing happened.
And Brown's source for this fairy tale?--- 'Lord' Russell of Liverpool! One of the most notorious German-haters of our century! And is it revealed to the reader where Russell obtained HIS information?--No.
Not only is this par for the course, but the imagery employed is one which instills in the subconscious mind of the reader all those inciteful buzz-words which we revisionists are unfortunately all too familiar with when examining the literature of the period. Thus, Binz is transformed into the wicked witch of the west, riding about on her bicycle seeking out new victims to hack to pieces with a pickaxe, as if she had no other authority to answer to save God. No incident reports. No death reports. No dates, and no names save for the alleged perpetrator, and this will not and cannot suffice for those sincerely interested in affriming that the interests of justice were served in this case, and that the civil and human rights of the accused were not violated.
Soon the author degenerates into the following proclamations, which is not to be surprised under the circumstances. He writes:
It is difficult to say how much Irma Grese would take from Binz in the way of perversity and cruelty, but both were remembered by survivors for their "special treatments." In both cases, the Aufseherinnen seemed to enjoy using sex coupled with bizarre sadistic behavior in torturing their charges. Binz, who formerly had been a maid, walked about the compound with a whip and a dog, often accompanied by her boyfriend. P. 34.
Now, if some of this is starting to sound familiar to observant readers, it is---this description could very well apply to Grese, Juana Bormann, and heaven only knows how many other accused women upon whom the ire of former inmates was focused. This process of mythologizing their experiences and projecting the images produced by their own feverish and tortured imaginations on to their former overseers is certianly not inexplicable in psychological terms, nor should it even be regarded as unique, but is certainly solid evidence attesting to their own hysteria, which Freud described in his book Dora, as a manifestation to be found among Jewish women in particular.
As the following excerpt shall prove, it is merely one short step from Brown's rather flippant disregard for investigative reporting to the following: "Binz, who formerly had been a maid, walked about the compound with a whip and a dog, ofen accompanied by her boyfriend, SS-Schutzhaftlagerfuehrer Edmund Brauening. In fact, the real attention was especially focused on the two Nazi lovers as they stood arm-in-arm enjoying the spectacle of public floggings. After the pain had been inflicted, the two would then passionately embrace."
As should be expected by now, the author provides no sources for these ridiculous accusations, which seem to have been taken directly from the pages of those sordid 60's "Men's Magazine" with the lascivious sexploitation covers. How can the dead defend themselves against such scurrilous accusations? The accused were accorded no basic rights at the time which we view as taken for granted in our society. They were railroaded by professional witnesses and people who had an axe to grind and who in many cases seem to have been suffering from hysteria. sexual frustration, and a burning desire to wreak vengeance upon their former guards. The accused were rushed through the pretenses of a "fair trial" and then executed forthwith. However, Brown's book certainly demonstrates how easy it is to succomb to the temptation to smear upon the flimsiest of pretexts.
Paradoxically, the author astounds the reader with the following observation:
"Despite the racial stereotyping and rigorously brutal SS training, all of which was designed to maximize cruelty and murder in the camps, a common belief that the camps were supervised by sadists like Binz and Grese is fallacious."
Here of course we see traces of the struggle which the author had been undergoing between his REASON and his WILL to BELIEVE, a spiritual and mental crisis which was undoubtedly provoked by years of holocaust propaganda and indoctrination, thus becoming simply another contradiction among many to be found in the pages of this book. Furthermore, if one reads the guidelines for concentration camp staff, one will immediately be struck by the actual fact that the author's contentions above are untrue, for nowhere in the guidelines can it be shown that camp personnel were encouraged to either murder or mistreat prisoners. In fact, the existing documentation proves the exact opposite-those who misused their authority as guards were severely punished by the camp authorities.
Compounding the confusion generated by the author's own "Dark Night of the Soul" on this issue, Brown writes: Sadistic excesses, defined in terms of sexual aberration and brutal beatings, were rare. Ella Lingens-Reiner, a ex-inmate of Auschwitz, believes that "no more than 5 or 10% of the Ss guards were criminals by nature." P.35.
Of course, one is prompted to ask by what basis Lingens Reiner made this observation, based upon her limited experiences at Auschwitz. However, it should be noted that Reiner rarely succombs to that hysteria referred to by Freud. It should also be noted that Reiner was a Gentile. Brown next comments:
Consequently, despite the fact that violence and cruelty were integral parts of SS training, one cannot claim that Grese's behavior resulted from Nazi indoctrination per se. In fact it is significant that she is cited in various sources as the example of the atypical female behaviour in the Third Reich. P. 35.
Puzzling though this apparant volte face appears on the surface, the author leaves the reader hanging in the lurch trying to sort out the numerous contradictions and claims presented in this book. However, this simple and unabashed claim of the author's bings him to his real subject of interest: the actual charges proffered against Ms Grese. He writes:
Although Grese participated in inmate beatings as well as other atrocities during her SS apprenticeship at Ravensbrueck (after all, maltreatment of prisoners mostly comprised the so-called "training"), little remains in the way of direct evidence during the initial period. P 35.
So finally we have a direct admission in the midst of yet another contradictory statement which acknowledges that there is little in the way of direct evidence to support the charges the author just made above. So why does the author repeat the claims? We will leave that answer for the reader to sort out, but my only comment to this is: Why does he repeat the unproven charges to begin with? If the author was sincerely interested in getting to the truth, he would at least have made the attempt to introduce written documentation in support of the claims he irresponsibly reiterates over and over again in his book. For instance, does the author ever supply a written order authroizing guards to use indiscriminate force against the inmates? Does he offer any proof that camp overseers, not even in the SS proper, were authorized to use lethal force against malingering inmates?
Let us see what the author DOES offer. Beginning on page 35, the author refers to a letter he received from Director E. Litschke, 31 August 1987. He writes:
Although the letter informed me that the SS administration at Ravensbruecke had succeeded in removing and destroying all the camp documents, when I went to Ravensbrueck in July 1995, I was told that this simply was not the case.
Director Litschke's letter did correctly document the testimony of one
former inmate who stated that Grese had severely beaten her when she had been
imprisoned at the camp.
Aside from the author's claim that the story of the survivor was "documented," he produces no actual documentation! He does not cite the letter directly, nor does he even indicate what form this alleged documentation assumed..
My own interpetation is that the director, who had already disseminated untrue information as to the records of the camp, simply informed the author that the alleged survivor and witness had authored a complaint against Grese after the war, most likely during her trial. On the other hand, if what she says is true and she WAS beaten, we are certainly not provided with any particulars as to why the beating allegedly occurred and under what circumstances. It need not be emphasised how little probative value should be attached to such unconfirmed accusations. In effect, neither the author of the book nor the director of Ravensbrueck gives us any reason to believe the accusations presented by this witness.
In fact, on page 36, the author concedes the following point:
"According to her own testimony, Grese received 54 Reichsmarks a month while at Ravensbrueck, which was less than the wages that SS-matrons of age received. In effect, she was penalized financially for being so young, and, as a result, no one could ever charge that she received DIRECT monetary incentive to mistreat inmates."
While this is true in a limited sense, it should be noted that the Matrons simply received more money due to their times of service rather than their age. Clearly they had senority over the 19 year old Ms Grese, and the author is apparently undistrubed by yet another contradiction in his thesis; namely, that guards received no monetary incentive to mistreat inmates--yet, this same author misrepresented the guidelines issued to the SS stationed at camps, implying that the training was geared to incouraging mistreatment and individual acts of violence and murder. Perhaps desperate over the fact that the author was unable to find convincing factual documentation for his claims, the author descends to the level of the typical "eyewitness" on page 36, where he writes:
Although Irma Grese was one of the youngest SS-women, she quickly demonstarted that she was more than eager to become a mass murderess for the cause. And the proof of this is? Unfortunately, the author provides none. Obviously, this is a most serious charge, and one should expect to be feted with an abudance of convincing documentation in support of the grave accusations, but none is forthcoming save more of the usual and predictable "eyewitness" testimony.
However, this glaring absence of evidence does not prevent the author from concluding the chapter by charging the following:
Irma Grese's primary assignments at Ravensbrueck had been to oversee Arbeitskommandos (work details). Now, in March, 1943, Grese headed east provided with orders to report to KL Auschwitz.
Grese would continue to carry out her "mission"--to oppress and murder unerwuenschte Gruppen for the Reich. Embarrassingly, Brown fails to provide documentation for this alleged "mission" to exterminate.
Continue with Irma Grese - Part IV
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