By J. Belling
Chapter four of Brown's book deals with Miss Grese's service at Auschwitz and in theory should form the core of solid evidence relating to her alleged crimes while serving at this camp. Let us proceed to examine what the author has to offer to the reader in this regard, sifting fact from fiction and specualation as we go along.
In March 1943, Miss Grese was assigned to the Birkenau women's camp at Auschwitz II, which was situated some 3 miles from the main camp. Sortly after arrival, Miss Grese, whether through ignorance or design, breached certain camp regualtions and was punished by being detailed to supervise a so-called "Strafkommando" which was charged with carrying stones from an area outside the camp back into Birkenau. As the author notes, Miss Grese testified at her trial that she had served a total of two days overseeing the work of the Strafkommando. Not surprisingly, an "eyewitness" and "survivor", one Helen Kopper, offered swore under oath that Grese was in charge of this kind of detail for 7 months. P. 41.
The author apparently accepts this testimony over Grese's for the following reason: It was given "under oath." Needless to say, people lie under oath all the time and simply accepting this witness's accusation on the basis of her testimony seems to me to be a bit naive on the part of the author. If the author had troubled himself to offer additional independent evidence to support these claims, the charges might be looked upon more seriously, but the fact remains that we only have his personal belief in the correctness of the witness's statement to refer to in this context. The author thoroughly ignores the fact that Miss Grese's testimony was also given under oath. In fact, one is tempted to remark that 7 months service in a punishment battalion would not have gone unmentioned or unnoticed in the camp, and any number of witnesses at the Belsen Trial could have clarified this matter if anyone had seen fit to inquire at the time.. Another serious omission of the author's was to fail to find the written report concerning Grese's violation, which also would have verified the nature and length of her punishment, along with her offense. Seeing that no such document was ever uncovered, the only possible way to approach this testimony is by applying common sense to ask:
Does it seem likely that the SS would have punished a newly arrived 19 year old recruit with 7 months service as a guard in a punishment battalion, over an unnamed and relatively minor offense? Since neither Kramer, who was commandant at the time, or any of Miss Grese's colleagues at the camp ever mentioned this type of service, and as it conflicts with the tenure of Grese's own stay at the camp and other duties to which she was assigned, Miss Kopper's statement given under oath appears to be less credible than ever. Taking into consideration the fact that Miss Grese was promoted rather rapidly in the ranks and that her duties and reponsibilities were expamnded over a relatively brief period of time, it appears extremely unlikely that Miss Kopper was telling the turth when she testified under oath and the best that can be said of her is that she was most likely mistaken.
In fact, even the author notes: Kopper was detested by camp prisoners and guards alike because of her proclivity to latch onto whatever cause that could give her the best opportunity for advancement and/or safety. Ar one time or another she had been "part prisoner, part Kapo and part informer." While a prisoner at Bergen belsen, Kopper worked for the Gestapo. During the trial, she occasionally seemed to be insane and "at all events, her evidence is to be considered with more than the usual reserve." P. 41.
And this begs the obvious question: WHY does the author of this book bother to use her at all?
Moving along, the author correctly notes that it was at Auschwitz and Auschwitz alone, the camp of 1,001 rumours, where Miss Grese earned her allegedly notorious reputation. This concedes the point prima facie that she had no "notoious reputation" either before or after she left Auschwitz, and prompts one to ask:
Was Auschwitz in itself and on it's own capable of effecting such lurid transformations in individuals assigned to work there? Or was Miss Grese's "notorious reputation" simply part and parcel of all other similar rumours permeating throughout the camp by gossiping inmates and communist propagandists?
Leaving this question aside, I will return to Brown's account where he next notes that Miss Grese was eventually assigned to be an overseer in Camp BII/C in Birkenau. Unfortunately, Brown fails (again) to provide an actual date which may be independently confirmed for this promotion. He simply notes that from June 1944 on, the camp was occupied primarily by Hungarian jews working in textile production at the camp.
Along with these supervising tasks and functions, Miss Grese was also
assigned to rather mundane tasks like working in the mail-room, answering
telephones, and working in the commandants gardening squad. She was assigned
to the mail room in December 1943 and the gardening squad in autumn of 1943,
consequently she could not have been commanding an outside punishment squad for
7 months as Kopper previously testified, as this duty consumed the entire day
and no additional time would have been left to attend to these other duties.
As a result of satisfactory performance in these tasks and assignments, Miss Grese was promoted. Note that she was NOT promoted for mistreating or otherwise bullying inmates. In fact, a simple examination of her SS file would reveal everything there is to know concerning her service, as well as her infractions, but, naturally, this document is nowhere to be found today, or has not been offered by the author, even if available, for rather obvious reasons.
Upon promotion, Miss Grese was informed that she would now be in charge of some 30,000 women in Bairkenau's C Lager, and, according to Brown, now "had the power to exterminate literally thousands of human beings on a whim." Curiously, the author has absolutely NO independent evidence to offer in support of this rather horrifying claim save an appeal to another "survivor" and "eyewitness." The author refers in apparent desperation to the testimony of a Jew named Abraham Glinowieski, who testified that he witnessed Grese send "thousands and thousands of people, ill and in quite good health, to the gas chambers."
The author of this essay has written prior articles on this same witness, who was proven to be lying through his teeth, and even now it can be pointed out with surety that no Aufseherin was ever authorized in the entire history of the camp to supervise so-called selections, which was the exclusive domain of the camp physicians.
On page 40, the author contradicts himself once again by finally admitting that SS Aufseherinen were NOT members of the SS, but merely "helpers," which proves that these women had no authority whatsoever to either issue orders within the camp to the SS, nor could they ever have been authroized to use force upon inmates, much less shoot them out of hand or hack them to pieces with pick-axes,, which the author previously alleged. Here is what he writes on page 43:
Since Grese had become somewhat of a VIP in her own domain of Birkenau, it was inevitable that she would have a few "run-ins" of her own with other SS officials (it should also be remembered that the women were employees, not members, of the SS). Untersturmfuehrer Maximillian Grabner, the chief of the political division at Auschwitz, was one of the men who would give Grese trouble. Grabner, a man so corrupt that he would eventually be relieved of his duties and sentenced to 12 years imprisionment by an SS court, monitored the activities of Grese through a "Bibelforsherin." [A female adherent of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect]
...Another example of departmental antagonism occurred when Grese crossed the path of SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Eduard Wirths when she indiscriminately whipped a Polish inmate named Teddy Pietrrzykowski.....this particular prisoner was an orderly in good standing with Wirths, (and) Grese had whipped the wrong inmate. Wirths was just passing by when he witnessed the last of the thrashing. Wirths ran in between Grese and the prisoner and shouted at Grese...."Schlagen Sie nicht meine Leute." [Don't hit my people.]
As a source for this alleged incident, Brown refers to Robert Lifton's book, "The Nazi Doctors." However, there are problems with this alleged incident. For instance, what was Miss Grese doing around male inmates when she was in charge of the female compound? Second, this incident was never verified by Wirths, so it must be confined to the mythological waste-basket along with so many other unconfirmed reports.
On this same page, Brown irresponsibly repeats his slander that Miss Grese used selections to MURDER people-- a task which she was never authorized to undertake, and neither the author of Beautiful Beast nor the entire prosecution team at the Belsen Trial, nor any researcher since, has ever presented convincing evidence in support of this perverse allegation.
However, the author persists in his folly by writing: "Despite claiming that she never did any of the actual "selecting," Grese would admit in the second of her three pre-trial statements that she knew about the gas chambers at Auschwitz and that she did not protest the gassing of prisoners there." P. 46
Though these are finely considered words and reflections of the author's
thinking processes, there is little of evidentiary value to be gathered from
his comments. In the first place, even if there were gassings and she knew of
them, would a protest by a 19 year old girl, a simple SS Aufseherin, have
halted selections or gassings or had any effect upon the daily administration
and routine within the camp? The entire suggestion is utterly preposterous.
Secondly, the author's attempt to show a contradiction between Miss Grese's initial statement and later "admissions" flagrantly ignores the fact that practically ALL of the accused denied any knowledge of any homicidal gas chambers in their initial statements, and that the 2nd and later versions were obtained as a result of strong arm methods, beatings, threats, and other unorthodox methods of persuasion, including the indiscriminate use of the rubber truncheon, a specialty of Allied interrogators. A further complication arising from this interpretation of Miss Grese's alleged participation in homicidal gassings is best addressed by asking:
To whom should Miss Grese or anyone else have protested at the time? To Hoess? To her enemy, Grabner? To Kramer-her superior? Or to the person who punished her for a minor infraction soon after her arrival at the camp? To whom should this 19 year old have directed her protest? That question shall go unanswered, as the entire scenario which prompted the question is absurd, and rests upon an unproven accusation that homicidal gassings were occurring at the camp and that Grese could have had any effect upon the policy by her "protest." What good could have come out of a suicidal protest by a 19 year old girl, still wet under the ears? It is so easy for people to talk and offer foolish suggestions after the war is long since over, but which hardly deals with the grim realities which would have confronted Miss Grese and others at the time in circumstances far different from those in which we live today. Miss Grese has been unjustly described by detractors as a coward, but who among these critics would have displayed the courage they advise to a 19 year old girl? I will leave that for the reader to reflect upon.
On page 47, the author, in an apparent attempt to fill up space and add
further slanders to his treatise, conjurs up images of a sordid affair between
Miss Grese and Josef Mengele, one of the Chief Physicians at Auschwitz. As is
customary and completely predictable by now, he offers no convincing evidence
for these charges. What he does is simply to pander once again to the purient
interests of the masses. Mengele is referred to as the "Angel of Death.,"
and so on. It has always struck me how effective these buzz-words are, and I
have even discovered a crude form of imagery which I refer to as the 'terrible
B's" complex, where Germans accused of heinous crimes are dehumanized by
writers in an attempt to poison the minds of the public. For instance we have
1. Ilse Koch-The Bitch of Buchenwald
2. Karl Hermann Frank-The "Butcher" of Prague.
3. Irma Grese-the Beautiful "Beast."
4. Klau Barbie, the "Butcher" of Lyon, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.
5. Josef Kramer, the "Beast" of Belsen
In effect, this type oif insidious methodology completely dehumanizes the 'enemy" and stifles any pangs of conscience which normal people might feel for them under different circumstances. Thus, human beings are reduced to "Butchers, Beasts, and Bitches."
The author appeals to survivors for confirmation of his claims. Most notably he quotes Kitty Hart, who claimed without proof that Grese was Mengele's mistress. Brown also appeals to another survivor named Edith Trieger to support his slander, equally without effect.
In an almost comical vein, the author provides what he believes is justification for a "match made in hell"---he writes:
Although the two had obvious educational differences, both Mengele and Grese shared common interests. Both were loyal to the Nazi cause and clearly both kept their uniforms smartly tailored and boots highly shined. (!) Perhaps emulating the exalted SS doctor, Irma Grese deleved into all sorts of sadistic and sexually perverted activities."
Brown's source for this defamation? Two of the most notorious liars among many in the genre: The infamous duo of Gisella Perl and Olga Lengyel, whom this authored has debunked with complete finality in an essay entitled "The Mystery of the Jewish Trinity".
Here is what Brown writes on the subject:
"Survivors" Isabella Leitner and Olga Lengyel have documented Grese's bisexual escapades, the latter noting that "Grese" often had homosexual affairs with prisoners - which was a major violation of the race and Resettlement Act (A matter of Rassenschande) - and then had the potential incriminating participants killed. P. 48.
And the author;'s proof for thiese contentions? None, save for an appeal to unsubstantiated "survivor" testimony.
He continues, warming up to his subject: Dr. Gisella Perl observed that "Greze" relished whipping well-developed young women on the breasts, which eventually became infected. Once this occurred, Perl, the inmate doctor, would be ordered to operate and Grese would become sexually aroused just watching the woman's suffering. No anesthetic was used and the victim would scream in aginy throughout the procedure. p. 46.
Without replying to these absurd claims in detail, this author will simply note that this testimony has been thoroughly refuted, and that Perl is one of the most notorious fabricatiors and liars to ever have soiled the pages of a book with trash. In fact, Perl was to appear at the Auschwitz Frankfurt trial with an imposter swearing under oath that she was Perl's daughter who had likewise been deported to Auschwitz. Needless to say, there is no evidence to support these claims, and Perl herself lived in high style while at the camp, devoting her energies to performing abortions on women who became pregnant after sordid trysts in the latrine, a service for which the abortioness was paid rather handsomely in food and goods.
Thankfully, the author concludes this segment in his book with the following: Equally sickening testimony was also presented at the Luneburg Trial. In laying out its case, the prosecution gave the court eye-witness testimony that this "100 pound German girl invented new methods of torture. One of them: she waited until a pregnant woman was ready to give birth, then tied her legs together and watched the agony." (!)
The source for this absurd claim? Newsweek and Time magazine, 1945, October Issues. Now, if anyone seriously believes the above, I suggest that they go for psychiatric counseling immediately. In fact, these sci-fi Tales from the Crypt are quite representative of the tripe which was bandied about during the immediate post-war years. Mengele was accused of sewing two hunchback twins together at the hump, and two others at the wrist! He was also accused of taping a pregnant woman's breasts together so she could not give suck to her infant so that Mengele, by ALL non-biased accounts a respectable and qualified physician, could see how long it took the infant to die of starvation! And so on and so forth, ad absurdam and ad infinitum.
On page 49, the author depicts Miss Grese as carrying a silver plated pistol about with her, and accuses her of using it "frequently." His source?
Olga Lengyel, another notorious liar and fabricator. In point of fact, women SS Aufseherinnen were not authorized to carry pistols, and in any event, SS officials were equipped with automatics and not pistols. Miss Grese admitted to carrying a gun around with her for a short period, but the firearm was never described as anything even remotely resembling an exotic silver plated pistol, which would not have gone unnoticed or unmentioned in either official reports nor among her comrades at the camp. This "silver-plated" pistol is as bogus as her "jewel-studded" whip, which was testified to by other survivors like Gisella Perl.
In reality, the truth was far more prosaic. Grese's "whip" turned out to be made of cellophane, which even Brown notes later on in the same paragraph we have been examining here. One thing he studiously avoids mentioning, and with apparent good reason, is Perl's description of the whip as jewel encrusted. For those interested, Grese did admit to owning and applying this whip when inmates had stolen from or otherwise preyed upon other inmates or were generally refractory--and who can blame her? Miss Grese only weighed 100 pounds and was expected to exercise control over 30,000 inmates-many among them with surly temperaments and far more powerful than she physically. It should be noted that female guards in prisons all over the world are much better equipped to enforce order and defend themselves from possible attacks than Miss Grese was in 1943-1944.
Brown, thinking he is scoring a major point, writes: While Grese at her trial that the whip was not used to hurt anyone, she admitted that its light weight was useful for her line of work. Grese also denied ever carrying a rubber truncheon in the camps..."
And rightfully so, I might add, as I have already pointed out that rubber truncheons were not issued to German personnel in either the camps or the police, but was a British instrument of coercion, as another German accused, Juana Borman, wryly noted at her show trial. Miss Bormann, who was not only much older than Miss Grese but also considerably more petite, commented that she had occasion to feel the force of these truncheons on numerous occasions.
As the author frantically attempts to call upon greater and more "damning" evidence of Miss Grese's alleged misdeeds, he paints himself into a corner from which there is no way out. He repeats the disproven falsehood by yet another surivior that Miss Grese was accompanied by a huge dog which she set upon prisoners. Needless to say, there is not one iota of evidence to show that Miss Grese ever had a dog at Auschwitz or any other camp. This allegation was either the result of outright fabrication or confusion, as it was Juana Boirmann who was accompanied by a rather toothless old german Shepherd whenever she walked about the prisoner compounds. Bear in mind that Miss Bormann was in her fifties and was not quite five feet tall, nor did she weigh much more than 88 pounds!
Unwittingly, the author provides a reason for many of these hateful and fabricated allegations. Most likely the author was completely unaware of this fact while composing the material. He writes in effect that Miss Grese took great pride in her appearance and reeked of perfumes and so on. It is only understandable that the poor wretches who were confined to the camp should loathe her for her ill concealed meticulous appearance. With her coiffured hair, perfumes, a sparkling wardrobe and attractive, feminine appearance, Miss Grese reminded the unfortunate women that they, too, once looked like this, and this had to have been the cause of undeniable hostility, frustration, and envy. As the adage goes: There is no hell like a woman scorned--and unadorned-I might add.
As Brown digs himself a hole from which he ultimately will find it difficult
to extricate himself, he appeals to yet more survivors and their bogus
testimonies to bolster a sagging case where no other evidence is nor ever was
One particularly lame attempt was his interview with survivor Klara Lebowitz, who testified that:
She observed Dr. Mengele and Overseer Grese making selections together for slave labor shipments to the West and when Grese saw a mother and daughter, or a sister with another sister, attempting to stay together for such transports, she would "beat them until they were unconscious and leave them lying on the ground." Note once again the absence of any independent reports to verify these alleged incidents. Reports which were REQUIRED by the SS administration itself. No names, other than those of the alleged perpetraters. In fact, this is simply one group of people accusing another group and never required to provide evidence of their claims. In a regular court of law, such cases would be unceremoniously tossed out of the window, and the "witnesses" along with them. But we are not dealing with "normal" cases here; we are dealing with accused Germans in the hate infested atmosphere which was endemic after the end of the second world war.
Brown next quotes from an incident where Grese was ordered by Commandant Hoess to inflict two lashes on a refractory SS matron on the bare buttocks, in view of the entire staff. The Aufseherin had been charged with being too lenient with the inmates. Now, where are those apostles of righteousness who advised us that Grese should have "protested" alleged gassings of inmates? The offense of this accused Aufseherin was was quite innocuous in itself, and she received 25 lashes for her succor of camp inmates. Now, imagine the consequences to Miss Grese if she ever tried to protest camp policies to her superiors! Curiously, the author also accuses Miss Grese of obtaining an abortion from Gisella Perl, an accusation which he culled from Perl's own book. Needless to say, this was a crime which would have been punishable by death in the camp. Nor does the author ever explain why Grese allowed the doctor to live after participating in a crime which would have resulted in the death sentence for Miss Grese had it become known to the camp authorities.
If Miss Grese was given a carte blanche to "exterminate" millions, or even shoot people down without cause or having to submit incident reports of deaths by shooting, why did she allow this inciriminating witness to continue living? Simply another unexplainable paradox which contradicts and suspends all human understanding. Unsurprisingly, the author does not recall his previous suggestion when he reports this incident but merely notes that Grese was later commended for her "splendid work" in "exterminating" people. Of course the author can produce no actual document where this expression of reward for allegedly exterminating people was actually used. In fact, there is no such document to be found anywhere on this earth.
For Brown, Grese's "guilt" is beyond question, as he digs deeper and deeper into the sordid and distorted world of Holocaustmania for ever more revolting stories to rehash and appeal to the lurid sensations of the jaded reader. He resorts to worthless second hand "testimony": to claim that Grese, like the black widow, despatched her numerous "lovers" to the "gas chambers" after her physical lusts had been satiated. Curiously, she never thought of dispatching Perl to the "gas chambers" as well. Needless to say, Grese had absolutely no authority to order the execution of any inmate kept under detention in Auschwitz. This is simply another lie in a list of long and progressively more offensive lies which the author liberally sprinkles onto the pages of his book like mouse droppings in a clean cupboard. He even repeats yet another mythological tale which he had previously relegated to Theodora Binz, who, it may be remembered was accused of hacking a woman to death with a pick-axe, ala, some twisted Joan Crawford B movie. His source is the already discredited Edith Teiger, who repeats substantially the identical story with a few innovations upon the theme. In this case, Teiger randomly chooses the date August 1944. She claims Grese shot an inmate in cold blood because she refused to return to her barracks when ordered to. We have already examined this bogus account and need not rehash the incident yet again.
The point to be made is that these fabrications followed a definite pattern, and that they are all one and the same process of mythologizing one's alleged experiences in the camps. While accusations abound, proof is never to be found. A fine example of the ultimate issue wrought from this obscene spawn of convoluted testimony may be seen in a book published by Yad Vashem, which bears the title "The Mentality of Murderous SS Robots."
Again, fine fair for sci-fi and the horror-fiction genre, but hardly the evidence required to justify the imposition of multiple death sentences upon accused individuals.
And thus we reach the end of the chapter where one might have entertained vague hopes that the most powerful evidence available in regard to Miss Grese's "guilt" would have been offered by the author, who instead of living up to his obligations as an unbiased researcher, apparently saw no other option available to him other than dipping his pen into the seamy holocaust cauldron of lies, defamation, and slander.
Continue with Irma Grese - Part V
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