Hermine Brausteiner was an female SS-guard at German extermination camp Majdanek and Ravensbrück.
During her service at Majdanek, her abuse took many forms. She involved herself in the “selections” of women and children, and whipped several women to death. In other cases as she worked alongside other SS guards, she stomped some victims to death, earning her the name The Stomping Mare. For her work, she was awarded the War Merit Cross, 2nd Class in 1943.
As Majdanek was being evacuated, she was ordered to Ravensbrück in Jan 1944 where she was promoted to supervising wardress. Witnesses say that she abused many of the prisoners with a specially designed whip she carried.
During her trial in West Germany (her second trial; her first was held Austria in 1947 where she was sentenced to 3 for crimes against humanity. After an early release she was given amnesty against any more charges) one of the witnesses testified that Brausteiner “seized children by their hair and threw them on trucks heading to the gas chambers.” Others spoke of vicious beatings while another told of Hermine and the steel-studded jackboots with which she dealt blows to inmates.
The third Majdanek trial held in Düsseldorf on November 1975 lasted 474 sessions — taking the title of Germany’s longest and most expensive trial — and found her guilty on only three charges: the murder of 80 people; abetting the murder of 102 children; and collaborating in the murder of 1000.
She was sentenced to life in prison, where she died in 1999.
Correction: She was sentenced to life, but it was commuted when her health began to fail.
/ January 27, 2011 / 35