World War II Diaries by Helga Hegel

World War II Timeline
-September 1, 1939- Germany led by Hitler invaded Poland.
-December 7, 1941- Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
-December 8, 1941- U.S. declares war on Japan, entering the WWII.
-June 4-7, 1942- Battle of Midway, the U.S. victory over the Japanese.
-February-March 1945- Battle of Iwo Jima, U.S. victory over the
Japanese-6,800 Americans died, and 22,000 Japanese died.
-June 6, 1944- D-Day, Allied forces led the largest invasion in history
with over 175,000 troops.
-June 1944-August 1944- Battle of Normandy, Allied victory and
ultimately the liberations of Paris.
-December 1944- Battle of Bulge, Hitler fails last major attempt to
push back the Allies.
-April 30, 1945- Hitler commits suicide.
-May 7, 1945- Germany surrenders ending war in Europe.
-August 6, 1945- U.S. drops a bomb on Hiroshima. The second
bomb was later dropped on Nagasaki on August 9.
-September 2, 1945- Japan officially surrenders aboard the USS
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
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.
In 1938, the first
female guards were
trained at
We attended
classes that lasted
from 4 weeks to
half a year. They
were led by head
I would consider my training as
physically and emotionally
In 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.
Dear 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.
Helga Hegel
Dear 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?
Helga Hegel
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.
Dear 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.
Helga Hegel
The 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.
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.
I 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
amps[email protected]/463469947/

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