Ehrich Elsa

Publié le par Roger Cousin

Else Lieschen Frida Ehrich (March 8, 1914 – October 26, 1948) was an SS guard at the Nazi concentration camps, including at Kraków-Płaszów and the Majdanek concentration camp during World War II

She was tried in Lublin, Poland at the Majdanek Trials and sentenced to death for war crimes. Ehrich was hanged on October 26, 1948. She was an Oberaufseherin at Majdanek, and took active part in all the major selections to the gas chambers and executions. She also maltreated the prisoners, not sparing even the children. Her faithful helper was Hermine Braunsteiner.

Else (Elsa) Ehrich was born in Bredereiche (currently in the district Oberhavel), as one of the eight daughters of Albert Schwieger, (Germans living outside of Germany, or Volksdeutschen), and Friedy née Evangelika. She worked in a slaughterhouse. On 15 August 1940 she volunteered for service in the concentration camp Ravensbrück as an SS guard. From 1941 on, Ehrich worked as a SS-Rapportführerin (Rapport Leader). In October 1942 she was transferred to Majdanek near Lublin, where after some time she was promoted to SS-Oberaufseherin. She was under the SS command in the camp. Ehrich is blamed for the death of thousands of prisoners (including in gas chambers), from the women's section of the camp with children.

During the 34 months of camp operation, more than 79,000 prisoners were murdered at the main camp alone (59,000 of them Polish Jews) and between 95,000 and 130,000 people in the entire Majdanek system of subcamps. On November 3, 1943 some 18,000 Jews were killed at Majdanek during the largest single-day, single-camp massacre of the Holocaust, named Harvest Festival (totalling 43,000 with 2 subcamps). In February 1943, Elsa Ehrich became ill due to typhoid. On 5 April 1944, she was the Oberaufseherin in the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, and from June 1944 to April 1945 she was assigned to Neuengamme.

After the war, in May 1945 she was arrested by the allies in Hamburg and stayed in the camp for war criminals PWE29 in Dachau, where she shared the cell with Maria Mandel. She was transferred to the Polish authorities. In 1948 she stood before the District Court of Lublin at the second Majdanek Trials, accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Elsa Ehrich was found guilty of the allegations and on June 10, 1948, she was condemned to death by hanging. After the announcement of the judgment, she asked the Polish President for clemency, on the grounds that she had a small son and wanted to atone for her guilt. President Bierut rejected the request, and Elsa Ehrich was executed on 26 October 1948 in Lublin prison.

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