2World War II Timeline-September 1, Germany led by Hitler invaded Poland.-December 7, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.-December 8, U.S. declares war on Japan, entering the WWII.-June 4-7, Battle of Midway, the U.S. victory over the Japanese.-February-March Battle of Iwo Jima, U.S. victory over the Japanese-6,800 Americans died, and 22,000 Japanese died.-June 6, D-Day, Allied forces led the largest invasion in history with over 175,000 troops.-June 1944-August Battle of Normandy, Allied victory and ultimately the liberations of Paris.-December Battle of Bulge, Hitler fails last major attempt to push back the Allies.-April 30, Hitler commits suicide.-May 7, Germany surrenders ending war in Europe.-August 6, U.S. drops a bomb on Hiroshima. The second bomb was later dropped on Nagasaki on August 9.-September 2, Japan officially surrenders aboard the USS Missouri.
3At this time in my life I did not have much work experience At this time in my life I did not have much work experience. I was a middle class hair dresser that did not make a lot of money. I was very strong, stout, and healthy.On May 19, 1937, I read an article in the German newspaper. They were asking women to show their love and join the SS Gefolge. After reading this article I knew I could help out, so I decided to go through training.
4In 1938, the first female guards were trained at Lichtenburg. We attended classes that lasted from 4 weeks to half a year. They were led by head wardresses.I would consider my training as physically and emotionally demanding.
5In the spring of 1942 I was sent to Ravensbruck as a Lagerfuhrerin (camp leader). Although I held a high position, I never was able to give orders to males.I made a very good friend, Klara Kunig, while I was working at camp Ravensbruck, but in January 1945 she was dismissed from camp duty because she was too kind to the inmates.
6Dear Klara Kunig,I am very sad that you have been dismissed from the camp. It is very boring now, and I no longer have any friends to talk with. All of the men here are being rude as usual because they think they are so much better than us women. I miss all of my family back home, and I don’t like how some of the guards are treating the inmates so harshly. I have received news recently that I am going to be transferred to a different camp. They say it is the biggest German camp ever to be run. I am nervous and scared because I will no longer be with people I know. I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon. I hope everything is going well for you.Love,Helga Hegel
7Dear Mom and Dad,I have been repositioned to a different camp since the last time we have spoken. I am now at camp Auschwitz, and it is very different. I do not like how the inmates are treated. The other guards are rude and they torture the inmates horribly. I often get nightmares at nights thinking about the gas chambers and the health and condition of the inmates. I cannot wait until this war ends. I miss you both so much, and I cannot wait to return back to you. How is everything back home going?Love,Helga Hegel
8Around March of 1945 I was told I had to transfer to a different camp Around March of 1945 I was told I had to transfer to a different camp. They called the camp Auschwitz, and they said is the largest German camp to be ran. I was not excited to be transferred because I was scared to meet new people and change my ways.I arrived at camp Auschwitz and I was shocked by the things that I saw. The people were treated even worse here then they were at the last camp, and the sight of how thin they were made me sick.
9Dear Grandma,I have not heard from you for a while, and I wanted to see how you were doing. I miss you and everyone else from back home very much. I am very glad you guys are safe at home and are not having to see all of the horrific things I am going through. You do not need to worry about me grandma, you know that I am a strong girl and I can handle everything very well. I am looking forward to returning home after being a guard at camp Auschwitz. I love you very much and please tell grandpa and everyone else I say hello.Love,Helga Hegel
10The most horrific thing was knowing what was going on behind those gas chamber doors. I wanted so badly to be able to help, but deep down inside I knew that I was a guard on the opposite side and I needed to do my duty.Seeing the children and mothers being separated, hearing the screams, having people on their knees begging you to spare their life were all the things I had to deal with.
11I cannot help but think that the war would never end I cannot help but think that the war would never end. I am becoming impatient because I am sick of working under such horrible conditions.Finally the day came. On May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered ending the war in Europe. It was one of the greatest days of my life. Although it was my duty to be a guard at concentration camps, it was so hard for me to be so rude and uncaring towards the prisoners. I will never forget my days as a guard, and I will always be scarred from all the horrible things I saw.
13I declare herewith under oath that in the years 1941 to 1943, during my tenure in office as commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, 2 million Jews were put to death by gassing and a ½ million by other means.May 14, 1946,[signed] Rudolf Höss