Early Release for Nazi Camp Guard
Menu JTA Search

Early Release for Nazi Camp Guard

Download PDF for this date

Jewish groups reacted sharply to the release from prison this week of a former Nazi concentration camp guard because she is ill.

We are expressing “revulsion and outrage at this development,” said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.

In 1981, a German court in Dusseldorf found Hermine Ryan, a guard at the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, guilty of murder and sentenced her to life in prison.

Some 200,000 people, including about 70,000 Jews, died at Majdanek.

Ryan, whose maiden name was Braunsteiner, had fled to the United States after the war and married an American. In 1975, she was extradited to Germany.

Ryan, now 76, was released Sunday from the prison hospital, where she had been since 1990.

According to German law, after a prisoner has served 15 years, the court must examine whether there are any grounds for parole.

The release of former Nazis on grounds of illness is “all too common an occurrence,” said Steinberg, who added, “As brutal as she was, she should receive medical attention.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund