Story by Alan Hall in The Mirror, December 3, 2010:
They arrived in ones and twos at the nicely painted house with a well-tended lawn – ever on the look-out for any hidden observer who may have threatened their anonymity.
In most countries they would have passed for modest do-gooders anxious to conduct their benevolent work out of the public gaze.
But there is nothing humanitarian about this shadowy organisation or the kindly looking old lady at the heart of its dark web.
For the covert gathering was the quarterly meeting of Stille Hilfe – or Silent Aid – which has helped some of the Third Reich’s most evil fugitives from justice.
And one of its most revered and terrifying figures is the 81-year-old daughter of Heinrich Himmler, architect of the Holocaust. Mother-of-two Gudrun Himmler, known as the Princess of Stille Hilfe, joined other confederates of the Nazi aid group at its weekend summit in Munich.
During her childhood she worshipped her father, who organised the murder of six million Jews in the Second World War, and was worshipped in return.
As head of the Gestapo, he would have her flown to join him wherever he was on his mission to enslave the world. One of her visits was to Dachau, north of Munich, which served as the model for all of Nazi Germany’s other concentration camps.
The young Gudrun strolled around with her adoring father and his servants while yards away prisoners were beaten, starved, killed and burned in the camp crematorium.
Such experiences were to defile her innocence for ever. For in keeping the flame of her father’s memory alive, she is devoting her last years to nothing more than a support group for mass murderers.
Gudrun Himmler, or Burwitz as she now is, lives in an ordinary house in the Munich suburb of Furstenried. The phone is unlisted and the property is registered under the name of a building association.
She is seen only occasionally by neighbours as she devotes most of her life to a secret world that bars access to outsiders.
Even at 81 she is mentally and physically active – and German journalists who write about Stille Hilfe and its clandestine activities frequently remark on the extraordinary power she wields within it.
They point to a rally of neo-Nazis at which she made a rare appearance a decade ago in Ulrichsberg, northern Austria. Young hate-mongers there were awed to be among their idols – Waffen SS veterans as well as a handful of camp guards and the “desk murderers” who pushed the pens that moved the trains that fed the gas chambers.
“But everyone was terrified of Gudrun,” said Andrea Ropke, an authority on neo-Nazism who attended the rally. “All these high-ranking former officers lined up and she asked, ‘Where did you serve?’ showing off her vast knowledge of military logistics.”
Gudrun does not deny her involvement with Stille Hilfe, describing herself in a rare interview as simply one of the few members in a dying organisation. “It’s true I help where I can but I refuse to discuss my work.”
Her greatest post-war coup was organising the comfortable retirement of Anton Malloth, a sadistic guard at Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia which the Nazis passed off as a “model” camp for visiting Red Cross officials so they could perpetuate their lie that Jews were being resettled rather than exterminated.
When Malloth was sentenced to death in his absence by a Czech court, Gudrun used Stille Hilfe funds to rent a comfortable room for him in a home for the aged, which was built on land near Munich formerly owned by Adolf Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess.
For 12 years he lived at ease until Germany was persuaded to prosecute him and she visited him regularly until his death from cancer in 2002.