Volkenrath, Elisabeth, born 05-09-1919 in Schönau an der Katzbach, was a hairdresser by trade but became a supervisor at several Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Her real name was Elisabeth Mühlau, and was of simple descent. Father Josef Mühlau was a forest worker. It is not known how many brothers and sisters she had, but she had at least five sisters. In August 1942 she met SS officer Heinz Volkenrath in Auschwitz. The two married in 1943 an as was customary at the time, Elisabeth took over the name of her husband. From now on she called herself Elisabeth Volkenrath. Shortly after the start of World War II, she was tired of cutting hair and wanted to do something completely different. She applied in a munitions factory and got the job. But soon she saw new opportunities. She decided to become a camp guard.
In October 1941, her career took a turn that led her to the history books. She went to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where only women were locked up. None other than the infamous Dorothea “Theodora” Binz trained her as a guard. Binz turned Volkenrath into a cruel and brutal overseer, completely in line with her own views and methods. Volkenrath then remained as SS-Aufseherin in Ravensbrück until 1943, after which she was transferred to Auschwitz II (Birkenau). In November 1944 she climbed further to SS-Oberaufseherin. She became responsible for all departments with female prisoners in the famous horror camp.in 1943 went to Auschwitz Birkenau as an “Aufseherin” (supervisor). In November 1944, she was promoted to “Oberaufseherin” (Senior Supervisor) and oversaw three executions by hanging. Volkenrath was at one point in command of the women’s camp at Auschwitz Birkenau, which was separated from the men’s area by the incoming railway line. In January 1945 the Soviet troops approached and the Nazis quickly evacuated the extermination camp. Volkenrath then moved to Bergen-Belsen, where she worked under Camp Commander Josef Kramer from 05-02-1945. She was only in the camp for a few days when she fell ill, which meant she could not carry out her task again until 23-03-1945. Volkenrath also had worked at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a supervising wardress
. In April 1945, she was arrested by the British Army. She always denied all involvement with the atrocities in the camps. But it soon became clear that Elisabeth Volkenrath was guilty of abuse and had an active role in the selections and transports to the gas chambers. Auschwitz II Birkenau was notorious for her daily selection (‘the Selektion’) of prisoners for the gas chambers. Day after day the same ritual followed in which guards sentenced people to death. Volkenrath regularly participated and, according to survivors, also selected prisoners themselves. She was often guilty of mistreatment of prisoners. After the war, countless victims witnessed how Volkenrath regularly gave people a beating with her rubber rubber stick. After her promotion to SS-Oberaufseherin in 1944, Volkenrath personally supervised three executions in which prisoners were hanged. The British found a real hell when Bergen-Belsen was liberated. Bodies of dead prisoners lay everywhere. The British forces obliged Volkenrath to clean up all the corpses and throw them in a mass grave together with her colleagues. She was then arrested together with all other camp guards and taken to prison in April 1945.
She stood trial with fellow guard Irma Grese and Johanna Bormann in the Belsen Trial, a British military tribunal at Lüneburg, Germany for war crimes. Elisabeth Volkenrath and Irma Grese both said at their trial that after prisoners, who were unfit to work, were selected by the SS doctors at roll call, the prisoners were sent to block 25. Was block 25 really a death block where prisoners waited to be sent to the gas chambers?
Death and burial ground of Volkenrath, Elisabeth.
She did not stay behind bars for long. The Bergen-Belsen process started on 17-09-1945. In all keys she denied knowing anything about the gassings in Auschwitz. Yes, she had attended selections, but never actively participated. According to her, the Nazi doctors chose the prisoners. She also claimed not to know what happened to the selected people or where they were going. Gas chambers? Never heard of it. When the court asked her who was responsible for the situation in Auschwitz, she blamed camp commander Rudolf Höss and SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler. She admitted reluctantly that she had sometimes sold a slap in the face to prisoners, but only to maintain order and discipline in the camp when they did not obey. But abuse? No, that was only according to Volkenrath “eine verdammte Lüge!” (A damned lie!). The survivors of the camps described her as the most hated woman in the camp. Volkenrath was convicted of numerous murders and for making selections of prisoners for the gas chamber. She, under nr 11, was sentenced to death
executed at Hamelin Prison by the English executioner, Albert Pierrepoint
, the morning of 13-12-1945, age 26, at approximately 10:05 in the morning. Volkenrath was hung after the hanging of Irma Grese. Volkenrath’s body, as well as the others who were executed that day, were buried in the prison courtyard until 1954 when they were moved to the Am Wehl Cemetery nearby in 1986 and is now a grass field, with markers.
Albert Pierremont executed at least 400 people, including William Joyce “Lord Haw-Haw”
and John Amery
. In Germany and Austria after the war, he executed some 200 people who had been convicted of war crimes. In England, Timothy Evans
was hanged by him for a crime committed by his neighbor John Christie , who was also hanged by Pierrepoint. “Reg” Christie, was an English serial kiler active during the 1940s and early 1950s. He murdered at least eight women – including his wife, Ethel – by strangling them in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London..
Timothy John Evans (20 November 1924 – 9 March 1950) was a Welsman accused of murdering his wife and infant daughter. In January 1950, Evans was tried and convicted of the murder of his daughter and was sentenced to death and hanged. During his trial, Evans accused his downstairs neighbour, John Christie, of committing the murders.
Three years after Evans’s execution, Christie was found to be a serial killer who had murdered six other women in the same house, including his own wife. Before his own execution, Christie confessed to murdering Mrs. Evans. An official inquiry concluded in 1966 that Christie had also murdered Evans’s daughter, and Evans was granted a posthumous pardon.
John Amery (14 March 1912 – 19 December 1945) was a British fascist who proposed to the Wehrmacht the formation of a British volunteer force (that subsequently became the British Free Corps) and made recruitment efforts and propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany. He was executed for treason after the war, age 33.