Maria Mandel (SS-Oberaufseherin) was born in Upper Austria in 1912. Since 1942, she was "SchutzhaftlagerfŸhrerin" in Auschwitz II. As a "Lover of music" she encouraged the women's orchestra in Birkenau. The musicians were treated "better" than other inmates - such as those in the political section or kitchen. Their barracks were tidy, they got enough and better food than the "normal" prisoners.

The musicians had much to do. They played at the roll-call, and the women, who exhaustedly went back from work, had to march to the beat of the music. Music was ordered for all official events, to accopmany speeches of the "LagerfŸhrer", to transports or to the hanging of a prisoner.

"LagerfŸhrerin" Mandel, who was supposed to be very intelligent and convinced of her work, was feared by the inmates for her brutality and her eagerness when selecting people. Because of these "merits" she had become the chief-guard of Birkenau women's camp.

In December 1947, she was sentenced to death by the Supreme People's Court in Cracow and executed.