Maria Mandl

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Photo of Maria Mandl after her arrest by US troops (August 1945)
As a defendant in the Auschwitz trial (1947)

Maria Mandl , often mistakenly written Maria Mandel (born January 10, 1912 in Münzkirchen , Austria-Hungary , †  January 24, 1948 in Krakow ), was an Austrian supervisor in the women's camp of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp and the Ravensbrück concentration camp . She is believed to be responsible for killing thousands of female concentration camp inmates. Mandl was hanged as a war criminal in Krakow on January 24, 1948 .


Maria Mandl, daughter of a master shoemaker, attended elementary school and then worked as a private employee. This was followed by a short stay abroad in Switzerland and from 1937 she was employed by the Austrian Post . In September 1938 Mandl moved to Munich.

Mandl joined the Lichtenburg concentration camp in the province of Saxony on October 15, 1938 , one of the first concentration camps in Germany. She worked there with about fifty other women who, like her, belonged to the SS entourage . On May 15, 1939, she and the other guards were sent to the newly opened Ravensbrück concentration camp near Fürstenberg , where she initially worked as a command leader. At the beginning of 1940 she became a prison guard in the cell building. In April 1942 she was promoted to superintendent. In the concentration camp, she monitored the daily routine and the work of the guards who reported to her. Below her, inmates were subjected to cruel abuse, such as beatings and flogging. She also selected women for human experimentation.

At the beginning of October 1942, Mandl, who had joined the NSDAP on April 1, 1941 , was transferred to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp as Johanna Langefeld's successor . From August 1943 to January 1944, she was in charge of the women's camp together with the protective custody camp leader Franz Hößler . There she became popularly known as "the beast". She selected prisoners to be killed in the gas chambers and was involved in ill-treatment.

Mandl created the famous Auschwitz girls' orchestra , which had to accompany appeals , executions and transports of inmates with its music . Mandl received the War Merit Cross 2nd Class. In November 1944 she was transferred to the Mühldorf external command , a satellite camp of the Dachau concentration camp . Her successor as supervisor in Auschwitz was Elisabeth Volkenrath .

In May 1945, Mandl fled Mühldorf to the Alps. Soon afterwards she appeared in her birthplace Münzkirchen. However, her father refused to allow her to stay in her parents' house, so she sought refuge with her sister in nearby Luck (municipality of Schardenberg ). On August 10, 1945, she was arrested and interrogated by US Army soldiers . She was described as intelligent and cruel at the same time. After her extradition to Poland in September 1946, Mandl was sentenced to death by hanging by the Supreme People's Tribunal in the Kraków Auschwitz trial on December 22, 1947 . Her cruelty was emphasized once again in the grounds for the verdict: "The defendant even mistreated the prisoner women who had already been singled out by her on the selection path to death".

Stanisława Rachwałowa , a Polish woman who was abused as a concentration camp prisoner by Maria Mandl in Auschwitz, was a political prisoner of the communist regime installed by Soviet Russia in a cell next to that of Maria Mandl and Therese Brandl . She spoke enough German to be able to interpret for the guards. In her memoirs, she describes the last meeting with the two German mass murderers sentenced to death. At this, they both asked for forgiveness a few days before the execution.

On January 24, 1948, Mandl was executed in Kraków's Montelupich prison . “Long live Poland” is said to have been her last words before she was hanged . Her body was given to medical students.

False declaration of death by the Ried District Court in 1975

At the instigation of her home community Münzkirchen, the former district court of Ried im Innkreis issued a death declaration for Mandl in November 1975, according to which she had been sent to a concentration camp in 1939 and "allegedly" died there. Mandl would have been a Nazi victim. Even then, something else emerged from the nude, which had been completely preserved; it remains unclear whether the judge declared the death sloppily or acted for other reasons. The Rieder Justice became aware of the case through media reports and was supported in research by the Mauthausen Committee . The falsification of history was cleared up and a correcting ruling by the regional court in Ried was made in April 2017.


In 2014, on the occasion of Maria Mandl's 100th birthday, the documentary film Pechmarie. The life of Maria Mandl published. Constanze Passin played the role of Maria Mandl, while Peter Arp was the narrator of the story . As a team, Christian Strasser and David Neumayr received appreciative attention at several international festivals, such as the Gold Award 2015 at the International Film Festival in Jakarta or the Award of Merit in Chicago.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Monika Müller: Die Oberaufseherin Maria Mandl , in: Simone Erpel (ed.): In the wake of the SS: Overseers of the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. Accompanying volume for the exhibition. Berlin 2007, p. 49f
  2. a b Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945 . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 , p. 389.
  3. Wolfram Lavern: Concentration camp guards-partisans of the NSDAP? , in: Simone Erpel (ed.): In the wake of the SS: Overseers of the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. Accompanying volume for the exhibition. Berlin 2007, p. 39.
  4. Przegląd Lekarski 1990/47 No. 1
  5. II Wojna Światowa on (Polish)
  6. How the Nazi perpetrator became a "victim" ,, April 24, 2017, accessed April 24, 2017.