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Hildegard Lächert

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Title: Hildegard Lächert  
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Subject: German nurses, Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp personnel, German prisoners and detainees, Therese Brandl, Hermine Braunsteiner
Collection: 1920 Births, 1995 Deaths, Auschwitz Concentration Camp Personnel, Female Guards in Nazi Concentration Camps, German Nurses, German Prisoners and Detainees, Holocaust Perpetrators, Kraków-Płaszów Concentration Camp Personnel, Majdanek Concentration Camp Personnel, Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp Personnel, Nazis, People Convicted in the Auschwitz Trial, People from Berlin, Prisoners and Detainees of Germany, Prisoners and Detainees of Poland, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp Personnel
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Hildegard Lächert

SS guard Hildegard Lächert

Hildegard Martha Lächert (20 January 1920 – 1995) was a notorious female guard, Aufseherin, at several German World War II concentration camps. She became publicly known for her service at Ravensbrück, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. After the war she spent 27 years in prison altogether for her brutal treatment of inmates during her camp service.

In October 1942, at the age of 22, Hildegard Lächert, a German nurse, was called to serve at Majdanek as an Aufseherin. In 1944, after the birth of her third child, Lächert went on to serve at Auschwitz concentration camp. The ruthless overseer fled the camp in December 1944 ahead of the advancing Red Army. There are reports that her last overseeing jobs were at Bolzano, a detention camp in northern Italy, and at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria.

In November 1947, the former SS woman appeared in a Kraków, Poland courtroom, along with 40 other SS guards in the Auschwitz Trial. Lächert sat next to three other former SS women, Alice Orlowski, Therese Brandl and Luise Danz. Because of her war crimes at Auschwitz and Płaszów, the former guard and mother of two surviving children was given a sentence of 15 years in prison. Lächert was released in 1956 from a Kraków prison. In 1975, the German government decided to try 16 former SS guards from the Majdanek concentration camp. Lächert was one of them, along with Hermine Braunsteiner and Alice Orlowski. From 26 November 1975 until 30 June 1981, the accused were tried in a Düsseldorf courtroom.

The testimonies heard concerning Lächert's sadistic behaviour were long and detailed. One former prisoner, Henryka Ostrowska, testified, "We always said blutige about the fact that she struck until blood showed," giving her the nickname "Bloody Brigitte" (Krwawa Brygida in Polish). Many other witnesses characterized her as the "worst" or "the most cruel" Aufseherin, as "Beast", and as "Fright of the Prisoners." For her part in selections to the gas chamber, releasing her dog onto inmates and her overall abuse, the court sentenced her to 12 years imprisonment.

Hildegard Lächert died in 1995 in Berlin, aged 75.

Further reading

  • G. Álvarez, Mónica. "Guardianas Nazis. El lado femenino del mal" (Spanish). Madrid: Grupo Edaf, 2012.ISBN 978-84-414-3240-6

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