Elisabeth Becker a Stutthof concentration camp guard.

08-09-2017


Elisabeth Becker was born 20 July 1923 in Neuteich, Danzig to a German family.  In 1936, aged 13, she joined the Leaque of German Girls . In 1938 she became a cook in Danzig. In 1939 the Germans arrived in the city, and Becker reportedly adapted successfully. In 1940 she began working for the firm Dokendorf in Neuteich, where she was employed until 1941, when she became an agriculture assistant in Danzig. In 1944, the SS needed more guards at the nearby concentration camp at Stutthof, under commander Max Pauly.  and Becker was called up for service.

,  She arrived at Stutthof on September 5, 1944 to begin training as an SS Aufseherin, female guard. She later worked in the Stutthof women’s camp at SK-III. There, she personally selected women and children for the gas chamber. 

Becker fled the camp on 15 January 1945, age 21 and went back home to Neuteich. On 13 April, Polish police arrested her and placed her in prison to await trial. The Stutthof Trial began in Danzig on 31 May 1946 with five former SS women and several kapos as defendants. Becker, along with the other ten defendants, was sentenced to death.  She sent several letters to Polish president Boleslaw Bierut  requesting a pardon, claiming her actions had not been as severe as Gerda Steinhoff‘s or Jenny Wanda Barkmann‘s  No pardon was issued, and she was publicly hanged (by the short drop method) on 4 July 1946 at Biskupia Gorka along with the ten other SS supervisors and kapos. From the pictures of her hanging, it appears her neck broke and she would have been rendered unconscious quickly, unlike some of the other condemned guards.

President Bierut died under mysterious circumstances in Moscow on 12 March 1956 during a visit to the Soviet Union, shortly after attending the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during which Nikita Khrushchev delivered his “Secret Speech”, denouncing Stalin‘s cult of personality. His death gave rise to speculation about poisoning or suicide.

Commander Pauly was tried by the British for war crimes with thirteen others in the Curio Haus in Hamburg which was located in the British occupied sector of Germany. The trial lasted from 18 March to 13 May 1946. He was found guilty and sentenced to death with 11 other defendants on 08 October 1946, age 39 in Hameln.  Executed by hanging by Albert Pierrepoint  . He was never tried for the crimes committed at Stutthof. Albert and his wife Annie Pierrepoint retired to the seaside town of Southport, where he died on 10 July 1992, age 87,  in a nursing home where he had lived for the last four years of his life.

  

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