Mistress of Life and Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz- Birkenau

Mistress of Life and Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz- Birkenau

by Susan J. Eischeid
Mistress of Life and Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz- Birkenau

Mistress of Life and Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz- Birkenau

by Susan J. Eischeid

Hardcover

$28.00 
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Overview

The first-ever biography of SS Overseer Maria Mandl, the highest-ranked woman in the Nazi killing machine and one of the few female perpetrators of the Holocaust.

With new details and previously unpublished photographs, this gripping, unflinching examination charts her transformation from engaging country girl to “The Beast” of Auschwitz.


By the time of her execution at thirty-six, Maria Mandl had achieved the highest rank possible for a woman in the Third Reich. As Head Overseer of the women’s camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, she was personally responsible for the murders of thousands, and for the torture and suffering of countless more.

In this riveting biography, Susan J. Eischeid explores how Maria Mandl, regarded locally as “a nice girl from a good family,” came to embody the very worst of humanity. Born in 1912 in the scenic Austrian village of Münzkirchen, Maria enjoyed a happy childhood with loving parents—who later watched in anguish as their grown daughter rose through the Nazi system.

Mandl’s life mirrors the period in which she lived: turbulent, violent, and suffused with paradoxes. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, she founded the notable women’s orchestra and “adopted” several children from the transports—only to lead them to the gas chambers when her interest waned. After the war, Maria was arrested for crimes against humanity. Following a public trial attended by the international press, she was hanged in 1948.

For two decades, Eischeid has excavated the details of Mandl’s life story, drawing on archival testimonies, speaking to dozens of witnesses, and spending time with Mandl’s community of friends and neighbors who shared their memories as well as those handed down in their families. The result is a chilling and complex exploration of how easily an ordinary citizen chose the path of evil in a climate of hate and fear.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806542850
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 12/26/2023
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 100,657
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Susan J. Eischeid is a performer and teacher specializing in the music of the Holocaust. Professor of Oboe at Valdosta State University, she was drawn to the Maria Mandl story through her involvement with members of the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In the course of twenty years devoted to her subject, she has been privileged to interview many survivors of the Holocaust, as well as dozens of persons with ties to Mandl including family members and perpetrators. Eischeid has also presented multiple recitals and lectures about music and musicians of the Holocaust period across the United States and in Europe. She can be reached at SusanEischeid.com.
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