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"For your crime. You will die like vermin. I will hunt you down. At the end of the earth I will find you. Your skin charred and your fats rendered. Your kind exterminated. In the end, I will feed your flesh…to the furnace!"
―Frau Engel to B.J. after being wounded by Herr Faust.[src]

Obergruppenführer Irene Engel is the secondary antagonist of Wolfenstein: The New Order, and the main antagonist of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

History[]


The New Order[]

"No one leaves my camp."
―Frau Engel to the resistance before their escape.[src]

Frau Engel is first seen on the night train to Berlin accompanied by her lover Hans "Bubi" Winkle. She and Hans enter the same compartment as the undercover Blazkowicz. She pressures B.J. into sitting with them before proceeding to "test" his Aryan purity with a series of seemingly random pictures. After a few minutes of the test Irene confesses that the whole setup was a playful joke, since she can spot an "impure" by looks alone, and that a spy would have chosen to attack her instead of playing along. Engel then allows B.J. to leave, ignorant of the situation's irony.

Frau Engel does not appear again until Blazkowicz enters Camp Belica near Zagreb in Annexed Croatia. She is seen walking on the balcony, overseeing the delivery of new prisoners. After Blazkowicz is caught trying to steal the Detronic battery, Engel is present as Blazkowicz, Set Roth, and the other prisoners are about to be executed by Herr Faust. B.J. and Roth manage to seize control of the robot and use it to attack Engel and her soldiers. Engel survives but her face is horrifically disfigured. She threatens Blazkowicz before the robot tosses her aside. Just as Blazkowicz and the prisoners try to escape, Engel reappears with two assault rifles and opens fire on the fugitives, shouting "No one leaves my camp!" in a rather slurred, guttural voice, indicating that as a result of her scars, her vocal chords were heavily compromised.

She later spearheads the assault on the Kreisau Circle's base, leading to the deaths of Klaus Kreutz and several others. She is last seen on a computer screen in Deathshead's compound as Blazkowicz is ambushed by Bubi and injected with a powerful tranquilizer. As Bubi attempts to gut Blazkowicz while Engel watches, B.J. bites Bubi in the neck and stabs him to death. Engel looks on in shock and horror via video feed and then shuffles away whimpering, never seen again afterwards. This is meant to imply that his death has pushed her past her breaking point.

The New Colossus[]

"You think you're a hero? William Joseph Blazkowicz?"
―Frau Engel to an incapacitated Blazkowicz[src]

Frau Engel returns as the main antagonist of the game. She is shown to have had her jaw completely fixed (with some scars left, a crooked left eyebrow and an inability to close the left side of her mouth) and has had her vocal chords seemingly repaired, as she is shown to be able to speak perfectly, as opposed to her slurred, guttural voice heard in The New Order.

She has been relentlessly hunting down BJ since the destruction of Deathshead's Compound. Judging by her collar insignia, she was promoted to Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant General). It is revealed that Hitler gave her the command of the Ausmerzer to hunt down the Resistance group and she is shown to be tyrannical and extremely bossy to her subordinates, demanding that everyone submit to her will while she is in charge of the flying fortress.

Having witnessed Bubi's death at the hands of B.J. Blazkowicz in the previous game, Engel spends the next five months ruthlessly hunting the Kreisau Circle, culminating in an assault on Eva's Hammer in the north Atlantic.

Once B.J. surrenders and is brought before her, Engel mocks his new crippled state, seemingly unaware of the fact that some of her troops were slaughtered prior to this, while gloating about her plans to publicly execute him. She then hands her daughter Sigrun a fire axe and browbeats her to decapitate Caroline Becker. After Sigrun refuses to do her dirty work, she mocks her daughter and proceeds to decapitate Caroline herself, just as she dismisses her as an “Untermensch”(id est: a derisive slur used by some to refer to someone considered to be an inferior). When she is about to chop off Fergus/Wyatt's head, Sigrun spontaneously realizes she can no longer tolerate her mother's evil ways and rushes at her, enraged by Caroline’s death, causing Irene to accidentally chop something off her intended target (the right arm for Fergus or a small piece of the right ear for Wyatt). Despite her so-called perfect and healthy able-body based on Nazi ideology, she is helpless against an adrenaline-induced Sigrun as her enraged daughter pins her to the ground. Irene then desperately cries out to the nearby Super Soldier to successfully help her from Sigrun's chokehold and cowardly runs away from the scene. Sigrun feebly attempts to give chase, but suffers from the toxins caused by fatigue as a result of her weight.

She later manages to capture B.J. with help from his treacherous father, though the latter is killed during this endeavor. Weeks later, Engel decapitates him on international television, but B.J. is revived thanks to the efforts of Set Roth in a head transplant operation.

Irene later appears in Los Angeles as a guest on The Jimmy Carver Show, alongside the English band Die Käfer (The Beatles). After BJ and the Resistance take control of the Ausmerzer, BJ and the rest of his team (minus Sigrun due to her pacifist nature, although she gives them permission to kill her mother) infiltrate the talk show studio to finish her. At first, she gloats about B.J.'s execution to Carver and "bemoans" her daughter's defection. At the end of the interview, she warns Jimmy Carter to conduct his next interview in German, with the implication that there would be severe consequences, should he not do so. However, B.J. reveals himself before any repercussions could take place. Engel is visibly horrified. She shoots at B.J. with her outdated Luger pistol (the player can take five shots before dying if they stand idle) but he manages to chop her right hand off. She tries to use her remaining hand to draw a knife and stab BJ, but he splits her face open with his hatchet, ending her cruel life and avenging Caroline and Super Spesh, along with his original body.

In order to make sure her legacy dies completely, Grace Walker asks B.J. to assassinate all Übercommanders who were under Engel to tie up loose ends; so no one can be her successor to continue her work in the occupied USA.

The Freedom Chronicles[]

Engel does not directly appear as a character in Curtis Everton's graphic novels. in The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe Volumes 1 and 2, she is seen on propaganda posters around the streets of Springfield, Illinois, in the Secret Police Headquarters in the town, and in Roderick Metze's hideout at the Topeka Space Center. A novel titled "Irene Engel: Victory" bears her name and face on its cover in The Diaries of Agent Silent Death Volume 1; it is unknown if this book exists in the Wolfenstein universe, or only within the in-universe fiction that comprises the Freedom Chronicles.

Military Ranks[]

  • Group Leader of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (1936 - 1939)
  • Reich Leader of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (1939 - 1948)
  • Commandant of Belica Labor Camp (before 1960 - 1960)
  • Obersturmbannführer (before 1960 - 1960)
  • Chef der Polizei (1961)
  • Commander of the Ausmerzer (1961)
  • Obergruppenführer (1961)

Appearance[]

In The New Order, Irene is a middle-aged woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, fitting the Nazis' ideal “Aryan” description. She is always dressed in a black SS field uniform, with the swastika armband worn proudly around her left arm, signifying her status as a high-ranking Party member. After the events at Camp Belica, most of her face was able to be reconstructed, with the exception of large, visible scars around her mouth. In The New Colossus, the only notable difference in her appearance is her face, with her scars still visible, but nearly healed, and her face being somewhat younger-looking, and unable to fully close her mouth, leaving a permanent grimace. In spite of that, her appearance is not idealised in Nazi propaganda - her disfigurement is presented unvarnished in various posters and images, so she likely views her injuries as symbols of pride.

Personality[]

A truly evil woman, Irene Engel is the darkest ideal in a world ruled by the Third Reich; a sadistic, fanatical and ruthless military officer, and like so many of her fellow Nazis, ran high on her own ego and power. She wholeheartedly follows the Party line of maintaining racial and physical purity and considers other races and non-Catholic religions as unworthy of life. Her behaviour around B.J. (before she even knows his identity) and her conduct at Camp Belica shows she delights in holding the power of life and death over people no matter who they are - the 'racial purity' test she performs on B.J. she happily admits is a farce, and both Bubi and her bodyguard Bernhardt disclose she plays sadistic games with strangers as a hobby. She promises salvation and reintegration to society for the inmates at her camp, presenting herself as a figure of reverence and worship - but in reality, like in all such camps created by the Nazis, they are simply there to work until they perish, unworthy to be a part of the New Order.

She is intensely cruel, reveling in the bloody killing and suffering she inflicts on others, as shown with her camp inmates, Caroline, Super Spesh, and B.J. Engel rarely, if ever, demonstrates compassion or consideration for others, even her own daughter, whom she treats with utter contempt due to her good nature and obesity. The only person Irene seems to have real care and respect for is Bubi; his death apparently moving Engel to spend months hunting for B.J.. However, whether or not Engel truly cared for Bubi is questionable; despite her aghast reaction to his death, she never mentions him again, even to B.J. Similarly, her presumed ex-husband with which she had her six children is never mentioned either, and it is unknown if he is even still alive. The deaths of her allies and soldiers are personal affronts, not likely because she truely cares for them, but because they are extensions of her power and self. Engel almost appears intoxicated whenever she has B.J. or other Resistance characters under her thumb - she is on a perpetual power trip, and is never more at home than when tormenting those she is given license to torment, often with an emphasis on cruel spectacle than any pragmatism. In a way, she embodies the most disturbing aspect of the Nazis real-world legacy - that the ideology she claims to follow is merely an excuse, and she would hurt, control and destroy anybody she could, simply because her professed beliefs justify the impulse, similar to how Deathshead experiments on people he dismisses as subhuman.

In an interview with Jimmy Carver in Hollywood, she admits she considered euthanizing Sigrun simply because of her weight - it's implied that this largely motivated by her own image as a general rather than any real concern for her daughter's quality of life, and possibly because Sigrun is her only daughter within the patriarchal Reich. When being interviewed, she puts on the facade of a caring mother who loved her daughter and was devastated by her defection. Despite being domineering towards Sigrun, Irene shows real fear and panic when Sigrun actually stands up to her; she pins her down with a fire axe and Engel is forced to scream for help from a Supersoldier, revealing the cowardly nature of a bully who flees when they can no longer control their prey.

Irene is otherwise sneering and condescending towards all those who aren't the men under her command. If B.J. listens during her interview with the unctuous Jimmy Carver, Engel can be heard berating him for his poor German ("Fauler Amerikaner...") warning him to either do his next interview completely in German, or face the consequences - though in fairness, virtually all German characters throughout the series, Nazi or otherwise, are shown speaking near perfect English. Her reputation by the middle of The New Colossus is that of a superstar within the German military - guardian angel of the American Territories, hunter of terrorists, and executor of Terror-Billy. An officer on Venus even has a shrine dedicated to her in his quarters, including some apparently candid photographs of her smoking.

An interesting, if disturbing aspect of Engel is her relationship with B.J. Despite her initial hate for him due to her disfigurement and the deaths of Bubi and Deathshead, she appears to develop some twisted physical attraction towards B.J., mockingly simulating kisses with Caroline's bloody and decapitated head (which she does to Sigrun as well) and holding her smoking gun in his mouth a la the 'human ashtray' sex act, singing a popular love song. While it may simply be a form of psychological torture, the ease with which she does this implies that, for all her posturing, she might be sexually depraved - her guards can be seen exchanging looks while she flirtatiously torments B.J. with the smoke of "the bullet that killed your friend.". The depth of her psychopathy is alluded to with the hint that if, hypothetically, Adolf Hitler died, she would neither mourn him nor have any hesitation in attempting to take his place.

Finally, her fatal flaw is revealed in the end: ego. After "executing" Blazkowicz publicly, she believed that nothing could stop her from reigning over America. Upon hearing that Hitler planned to make a film of B.J's execution (and taking all the credit), she decides to promote her own image by setting up an interview on international television. She completely blocked all the communications from her subordinates and attended the Jimmy Carver show to flaunt her accomplishment and fluff her rising-star status. As she was unable to be informed that the Ausmerzer had been taken over and that Blazkowicz returned from the dead, she was unguarded. Consequently, during the middle of the live television show, she was publicly and brutally killed by Blazkowicz.

If Engel has a single redeeming quality, it would be that she is shown to be a charismatic military leader, setting herself apart from other Nazi villains by her competency. She builds up a rapport with her men, who clearly admire her and generally indulge in her depraved behaviour - she, in turn, treats them like comrades, praising them and thanking them as equals as she encourages them to partake in her cruelty, reminiscent of the way a school bully might feign magnanimity with their gang while confronting a helpless victim. However, she is also something of a martinet - she makes it clear she is appalled at the sloppiness of the crew of the Ausmerzer, and sends numerous missives to her forces to take the threat of the American Resistance and B.J. seriously. She is cunning enough to use the hateful Rip Blazkowicz as a diversion for his son, and to anticipate that Super Spesh would attempt a reckless rescue by posing as his lawyer. Ultimately, her love of power and attention, arrogance and failure of imagination eclipsed her abilities - her very public and well earned death demonstrates to the world that the Nazis are not invincible, and ignites an American and later global uprising with catastrophic consequences for the Third Reich,

Quotes[]

Main article: Irene Engel/Quotes

Gallery[]

Main article: Irene Engel/Gallery

Trivia[]

  • Frau Irene Engel carries a gold Handgun 1946 that can be collected as a treasure during the chapter 8 Camp Belica level.
  • Her first name, Irene, is the Greek word for "peace", and her surname translates to "Angel". which is ironic, given her position as commander of a concentration camp, along with her violent tendencies. Another irony is that her surname also translates to "barrier", "obstacle" or "difficulty" in Turkish.
  • Because she is not physically present during the final assault on Deathshead's compound, Frau Engel is the only surviving antagonist of The New Order.
  • According to the prisoners at Camp Belica, she is known there as the "Angel of Death", both referencing her surname and merciless attitude. This nickname is also shared by the infamous Nazi scientist, Josef Mengele. This connection is strengthened by the fact that Mengele's wife was also named Irene.
  • Frau Irene Engel's cruel and inhumane treatment of her camp's prisoners might have been based on Nazi Commandant Ilse Koch, the notorious warden of Buchenwald.
  • Engel is likely Catholic, since prisoners at Camp Belica warn that she does not tolerate the practice of any other belief system in her camp. This suggests she may be from the southern parts of Germany, since the northern regions ouf the country would have been predominantly Protestant at the time.
  • After extensive surgery, a team of medical experts, led by Deathshead himself, managed to recreate most of Frau Engel's face. However, severe scars still remain.
  • She is the mother of Sigrun Engel. Her abusive treatment of her daughter backfires, since Sigrun reveals every military secret of the Nazis to B.J. and the Resistance. Her demise is similar to Rip Blazkowicz; they both mistreated their own children and are similarly murdered with a hatchet.
  • Frau Engel has 6 children, including Adalwardus and Sigrun.
  • Frau Engel has served in the Nazi Party for 29 years.
  • Her rank on the killing board is General, despite her different collar insignia.
  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, during B.J.'s execution, Frau Engel says to B.J. "We would have been... so good together. Darling... you're breaking my heart." This may imply that Frau Engel may be envious of B.J.'s aptitude and affinity for violence. Frau Engel also refers to B.J. as "Darling" in earlier scenes, and even puts her gold Handgun 1946 in his mouth with obvious BDSM inferences. It can be roughly implied, with this kind of behavior, that Frau Engel has a hidden sexual attraction to Blazkowicz. It may also simply be her insanity seeping through, however.
  • Engel’s attraction towards B.J. is further implied in an image released by Bethesda, which depicts her licking the left side of B.J.’s face while he remains incapacitated.
  • Engel's blood type is O- , according to the killing board.
  • If the player attempts to draw a firearm in the rafters of the Jimmy Carver Show set, B.J will flippantly remark that Engel's death, from his perspective, absolutely must be up close and personal, whilst firmly gripping his hatchet, on account of being enraged at Caroline's death.
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