Guy Walters: Historian tracks down evil Erna the Nazi killer - a 'harmless' granny in Vienna

Historians in the News

She seems harmless enough now, the elderly figure in a dressing gown peering round the door to her flat.

Erna Wallisch, an 85-year-old grandmother, rarely ventures out, spending her days drinking coffee and being cared for by her family.
But the image she presents belies a dark past which has put her seventh on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals still at large.

As a young woman during the Second World War, Mrs Wallisch inspired terror in those she helped to guard in Nazi concentration camps.

Some former prisoners say she beat inmates to death.

One, who told how she attacked a young boy when she was pregnant, said: "The sweating, breathless face of that monster is something I will never forget."

Mrs Wallisch, who was born in eastern Germany, lives in a small apartment on the banks of the Danube in Vienna where she was tracked down by the British historian and author Guy Walters. Despite her 'most-wanted' status, her name is printed on the bell-push.

When found by Mr Walters, Mrs Wallisch refused to comment on his investigation into her past as a brutal concentration camp guard.

Neighbours said they knew nothing about her history. Most told Mr Walters she should be left alone, rather than brought to justice. "It's all in the past and should be forgotten," said one. "People should learn to forgive."

The Austrian government is refusing to prosecute Mrs Wallisch, saying it is too late.

"I do not find this attitude surprising," said Mr Walters, who is writing a book called Hunting Evil about the escape and pursuit of Nazi war criminals....

Read entire article at Daily Mail

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