Binz, Dorothea “Theodora”.

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Binz, Dorothea "Theodora"

Binz, Dorothea “Theodora”, born 16-03-1920, in Dusterlake, to a lower middle class German family in Försterei Dusterlake, Binz attended school until she was fifteen. She volunteered for kitchen work at Ravensbrück in August 1939, and was given a position of Aufseherin (female overseer) the following month.

Binz served as an Aufseherin “Overseer” under Oberaufseherin

Emma Anna Maria Zimmer , Johanna Langefeld , Maria Mandel , . She worked in various parts of the camp, including the kitchen and laundry. Later, she is said to have supervised the bunker where women prisoners were tortured and killed. In August 1943, Binz was promoted to Stellvertretende Oberaufseherin (Deputy Chief Wardress). She had leadership about Irma Grese. Her abuse was later described as unyielding. As a member of the command staff between 1943 and 1945, she directed training and assigned duties to over 100 female guards at one time. Binz reportedly trained some of the cruelest female guards in the system, including  Ruth Closius Neudeck   .Ruth Closius was known as one of the most ruthless female guards. Former French prisoner Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz    commented after the war that she had seen Neudeck “cut the throat of an inmate with the sharp edge of her shovel”..

At Ravensbrück, the young Binz is said to have beaten, slapped, kicked, shot, whipped, stomped and abused women continuously. Witnesses testified that when she appeared at the Appelplatz, “silence fell.” She reportedly carried a whip in hand, along with a leashed German shepherd

  and at a moment’s notice would kick a woman to death or select her to be killed. She reportedly had a boyfriend in the camp, an married SS Obersturmführer, Edmund Bräuning . The two reportedly went on romantic walks around the camp to watch women being flogged, after which they would stroll away laughing. They lived together in a house outside the camp walls until late 1944, when Bräuning was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp..

Death and burial ground of Binz, Dorothea “Theodora”

Binz fled Ravensbrück during the death march, was captured on 3 May 1945 by the British in Hamburg and incarcerated in the Recklinghausen camp (formerly a Buchenwald subcamp). She, prisoner number 5, was tried with SS personnel by a British court at the Ravensbrück War Crimes Trials.

   She was convicted of perpetrating war crimes, sentenced to death and subsequently hanged, by long-drop method, on the gallows at Hameln   prison by British executioner Albert Pierrepoint   on 02-05-1947 at 9.01 hour. The long drop method was intended to be enough to break the person’s neck, causing immediate paralysis and immobilisation (and probable immediate unconsciousness).

Just before the hood was put over her head, the noose tightened and the trap-door beneath her sprung, Dorothea Binz, one of the most loathed and loathsome of the SS women guards at Ravensbruck concentration camp, uttered her last words.

‘I hope you won’t think that we were all evil people,’ she said as she took off her necklace and handed it to her executioner.
After twenty minutes the bodies were taken down and placed in a coffin ready for burial.

The British judge, Major General Horatio Pettus Mackintosh Berney-Ficklin who feared German martyrdom, ordered that Dorothea and the other hanged were buried in the Hamelin prison yard. 17  Berney-Ficklin died age 68 on 17-02-1961 in Cape Town. In 1954 The bodies are then reburied in holy ground at Am Wehl Cemetery. The graveyard had graves with crosses but after many discussions about the Neo Nazi visits, on 05-03-1986 all 200 Iron Crosses were removed and the graveside is now a grass field.

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