Irmgard Kroymann (1921-2005) was renowned as a heroine who was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Lower Silesia. Following the Second World War, she became a trade union leader known as a vigorous defender of women’s rights and a fighter against antisemitism.
For her bravery, Germany decorated Kroymann with its highest honors including the Grand Cross of Merit, the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
But according to historian Anne Prior, Kroymann’s account of her life during the war was a pack of lies. Prior revealed her findings last month in her essay published in German journalist and Holocaust historian Götz Aly’s “Our National Socialism” anthology.
“Unlike West Germany, documents in East Germany were archived meticulously and when the regime collapsed in 1989 an entire wealth of information was suddenly made available,” Prior told the Jewish Chronicle.
The archive included Kroymann’s work files and her job application to work at the Nazi camp. At the same time, Kroymann revealed to journalists in West Germany that she had applied for financial compensation while claiming she was a victim of the Third Reich.
“Kroymann lied to herself and the public about her true role during the Nazi years,” said Christoph Heubner of the International Auschwitz Committee, who shared Prior’s shock upon learning of the findings.