The barbarity committed by the Schutzstaffel (also known as SS guards) in the concentration camps are fairly documented. Men such as Josef Vogel, Gottfried Weise and Herman Wagner, ex house painters and workers before joining the Nazi party, unleashed all their deprivation and sadism behind that uniform as a SS guard. We usually identify those devils as male torturers without taking into account the fact that not only men were employed there as such. Irma Grese is probably one of the best examples that shows how a woman could sometimes overcome her male counterparts in terms of brutality.

Blonde Irma with her icy eyes would represent the ideal Aryan race supported by Adolf Hitler. According to Gisella Perl, Romanian gynaecologist of Jewish origin, Miss Grese was one of the most beautiful women she had ever seen. Her body was perfect, her face bright and angelic, with her innocent limpid blue eyes. Yet Irma Grese was one of the most perverse cruel beings she had ever encountered.

From fields to camps

Miss Grese was born in 1923 in the region of Mecklemburg, North of Germany from Alfred and Bertha Winter-Grese, farmers with 5 children. Her mother committed suicide in 1936 by drinking hydrochloric acid so their sons were brought up only by their father, faithful Christian who educaded his children with physical violence when necessary. Irma and other German children got exposed to the Nazism since a very early stage: due to the Act of the 23rd March 1933, schools were forced to educate children with the Nazi doctrine since Primary school.

Below: Picture of Miss Grese at the Berger Belsen camp

Irma took part at the Nazi party joining the “Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) and carried out jobs as a farmer and saleswoman in a shop. Still an adolescent, in 1938, she started working in the hospital of Hohenlichen, where she remained for 2 years but they kept her from becoming a nurse. After this, in the 1942 she was sent to the femminime concentration camp of Ravensbrück, where she remained for about a year, first moved to Auschwitz then to Berger Belsen.

Ravensbrück – 1943

After having passed a rigorous medical exam, Irma was moved to Ravensbrück for her training where she learnt how to abuse the prisoners and gained some popularity for her promiscuous relationships with the officers at the camp.

Auschwitz-Birkenau – 1944

In 1943 she was ordered to go to Auschwitz Birkenau, where she got the habit of  wearing heavy boots, a gun and an intertwined whip made out of rope and cellophane. In a very short time she got promoted as a responsible in the Rapportführerin camp (Report Overseer camp).

Miss Grese became famous not only for her sadistic penchant but also for her two big watchdogs, that she would always keep hungry and that would throw upon defenceless prisoners. She was used to flogging the women that were more shapely than her and then she would carry them to the doctors that would operate them, rigorously without any anaesthesia.

When a female prisoner was nor screaming enough of pain, Miss Grese would kick her badly

During the marching from the depots to the working camps, Irma Grese was well known for giving the prisoners who were left behind to her dogs

Below: Irma Grese and Josef Kramer after being caught by the Brits

The Mengele’s lover

Josef Mengele, renowned Nazi doctor author of some of the creepiest experiments ever happened on humans was in turn lover of Miss Grese. However Irma, aside from her male frequentations, she used to rape female prisoners with objects of all kinds and her tendency to lesbianism showed up in several occasions through her many stable relationships with the inmates.

Below: the Angel od Death Josef Mengele:

But when a woman as well as imprisoned man would tire the advances of Miss Grese, they were immediately tortured then destined to the gas chambers. When Mengele found out about Miss Grese lesbian tendencies though, he interrupted the relationship.

Bergen-Belsen – 1945

When the Russians surrounded Auschwitz in 1945, Miss Grese was transferred to Ravensbrück then to Bergen Belsen, the camp where Anne Frank and her sister were kept as prisoners and died.

The transfer served as a way to increase the girl’s brutality, that here would force women to stay outside under the rain for 6 hours each time: if the women were found crouching, she would beat them severely.

Below: Josef Kramer and Irma Grese during the detention

A In Belsen she earned her nickname that made her popular:

The Beautiful Beast of Belsen

The arrest and death sentence

The British troops came along at the camp of Berger Belsen in April 1945, trying to arrest, amongst many, Irma Grese. She pulled out the revolver which tried to use against the soldier Bob Daniel who was turned away. Before the woman was able to pull the trigger, Daniel turned around and Irma ran away.

The gateway lasted very little time and Irma Grese eventually got captured

After his arrest, she was asked why she had participated to such atrocity and Miss Grese replied: “It was our duty to exterminate the antisocial elements in order to restore and create a better future”. The Brits took this affirmation as a confession and Irma was condemned to death for her crimes. During her trial she remained loyal to her Nazi faith and on the 13th December 1945 she became the youngest Nazi criminal of all time. The night before her execution Miss Grese sang all night long Nazi songs in company of her colleague Johanna Bormann.

Below: the 1st anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp of Bergen Belsen. Two former prisoners cry over a mass grave

When they pulled the white hood over her head and the noose was tightened, the last word that Miss Irma Grese pronounced was just one:


Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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