Bormann, Johanna “Wiesel” or “Weasel”

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Bormann, Johanna “Wiesel”, born 10-09-1893 in Birkenfelde, East Prussia, was a prison guard at several Nazi concentration camps, and was executed as a war criminal at Hameln after a trial in 1945. At her trial, Bormann said she had joined the Auxiliary SS  in 1938 ” to earn more money”. She first served at the Lichtenburg concentration camp, in Lichtenburg, Saxony under SS Oberaufseherin Gerda “Jane” Bernigau with 49 other SS women. In February 1945 Bernigau accompanied male SS leaders from Gross Rosen to Reichenau, where she fled from during May 1945 and was never prosecuted for war crimes. After the war she lived in West Germany and according to the German historian Isabell Sprenger, Bernigau was several times interrogated by the authorities, for the last time in 1976. In 1939, Johanna Bormann was assigned to oversee a work crew at the new Ravensbrück women’s camp near Berlin.  In March 1942, Bormann was one of a handful of women selected for guard duty at Auschwitz in Poland. Short in stature, she was known for her cruelty. Victims called her “Wiesel” and “the woman with the dogs.”  In October 1942, Bormann went to Auschwitz-Birkenau as an Aufseherin. Her supervisors included  Maria Mandel.  Mandl was hanged on 24-01-1948, aged 36,  Margot Drexler, and Irma GreseJohanna was eventually moved to Budy, a nearby subcamp where she continued her abuse on the prisoners. In 1944, as German losses mounted, Bormann was transferred to the auxiliary camp at Hindenburg in Silesia. In January 1945, she returned to Ravensbrück. In March she arrived at her last post, Bergen-Belsen, near Celle, where she served under Josef Kramer , Irma Grese and Elisabeth Volkenrath   (all of whom had served with her in Birkenau.) On 15-04-1945, the British army took Bergen-Belsen, finding over 10,000 corpses and 60,000 survivors. Anne Frank, her sister Margot and their mother died in Bergen Belsen.

Death and burial ground of Bormann, Johanna “Wiesel” or “Weasel”.

The liberators forced all SS personnel to carry the dead. Bormann was later incarcerated and interrogated by the military, then prosecuted at the Belsen Trial, which lasted from 17-09-1945 to 17-11-1945. The court heard testimony relating to murders she had committed at Auschwitz and Belsen, sometimes unleashing her “big bad wolfhound” German shepherd on helpless prisoners. She was found guilty and hanged (along with Grese and Volkenrath) on December 13, 1945. Her executioner, Albert Pierrepoint

download-3  , later wrote, “She limped down the corridor looking old and haggard. She was 42 [sic] years old (actual age, 52), standing only a little over five feet. She was trembling as she was put on the scale. In German she said: ‘I have my feelings’

The British judge, Major General Horatio Pettus Mackintosh Berney-Ficklin  who feared German martyrdom, ordered that Irma and the other hanged were buried in the Hamelin prison yard.

 In 1954 Irma Grese is reburied in holy ground at Am Wehl Cemetery. The graveyard had graves with crosses but after many discussions about the Neo Nazi visits, on 05-03-1986 all 200 Iron Crosses were removed and the graveside is now a grass field. General Berney-Ficklin retired from the army on 14-01-1948, due to disability. He moved with his new wife, the daughter of a Russian General, to Cape Town, South Africa, where he died on 17-02-1961, at the age of 68

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Cemetery location of Bormann, Johanna “Wiesel” or “Weasel”.

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