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 Elisabeth Volkenrath

Elisabeth Volkenrath

Birth
Poland
Death 13 Dec 1945 (aged 26)
Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Burial Hameln, Landkreis Hameln-Pyrmont, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Plot Cemetery is in the town of Hameln 30 miles from Hanover
Memorial ID 67286709 · View Source
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Murderess/SS Concentration Camp guard - Born in Poland in Silesia, Elisabeth Volkenrath was a hairdresser by trade but became a supervisor at several Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Volkenrath trained at Ravensbrück concentration camp, and 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. Volkenrath also had worked at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a supervising wardress. In April 1945, she was arrested by the British Army, and stood trial with fellow guard Irma Grese in the Belsen Trial, a British military tribunal at Lüneburg, Germany for war crimes. During pretrial interviews and subsequent testimony, she admitted to her supervisory positions in the camps but denied selecting prisoners for the gas chambers or beating women prisoners. She did admit to slapping the faces of women regularly to maintain discipline. 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 was sentenced to death, and executed at Hamelin Jail by the English executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, the morning of December 13, 1945, at approximately 10:05 in the morning. Volkenrath was hung after the hanging of Irma Grese (see note). Volkenrath's body, as well as the others who were executed that day, were buried in the jails courtyard until 1954 when they were moved to the Am Wehl Cemetery nearby.

**Note - Richard Clark, author of the extensive work, "Capital Punishment U.K.", believes that Albert Pierrepoint was mistaken in his memoirs and that Irma Grese was the first person hanged, possibly due to her age, and that Volkenrath was hung second.


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  • Created by: Rick Lawrence
  • Added: 22 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 67286709
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elisabeth Volkenrath (5 Sep 1919–13 Dec 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 67286709, citing Am Wehl, Hameln, Landkreis Hameln-Pyrmont, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany ; Maintained by Rick Lawrence (contributor 47207615) .