Scrapbookpages Blog

March 7, 2012

Memorial to Noor Inayat Khan going up soon in London

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: — furtherglory @ 10:46 am

A memorial in honor of Noor Inayat Khan will be going up soon in The Gordon Square Garden in London.  The memorial is being installed by the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust which was founded by Noor’s biographer Shrabani Basu.  I did a google search and found a lot of information about Noor and the memorial at

This quote from the website cited above caught my attention:

On 11 September 1944 Noor Inayat Khan and three other SOE agents from Karlsruhe prison, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman and Madeleine Damerment were moved to the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp.

In the early hours of the morning of September 13, 1944 the four women were executed by shots to the head, and their bodies were immediately burned in the crematorium. Noor was cruelly beaten up by a high-ranking SS officer, Wilhelm Ruppert for many hours before being shot from behind. Her last word was “Liberté”. She was only 30 years old.

Unfortunately, no source was given for the claims in the above quote.  I would suggest that the first sentence be re-worded to this:

“Legend has it that there was an unfounded rumor, that on 11 September 1944, Noor Inayat Khan and three other SOE agents from Karlsruhe prison were moved to the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp. Noor Inayat Khan was not in the Karlsruhe prison with the other three; she had been sent on November 27, 1943 to a civilian prison at Pforzheim, 15 miles from Karlsruhe.”

The second sentence in the second paragraph should be re-worded to this:

“According to an anonymous Dutch prisoner at Dachau, who came forward 14 years later in 1958, Noor was allegedly beaten by a high-ranking SS officer, Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert, for many hours before being shot from behind.  The anonymous former prisoner, who allegedly witnessed the execution, which took place in a location outside the camp hidden from the view of the prisoners, reported that her last word was “Liberté.”

The execution site at Dachau was outside the camp and hidden from view by these trees

Executions took place against this wall, hidden from view by the trees in the previous photo of Dachau

As shown in the last part of the BBC’s Timewatch The Spy Princess World War II, which you can watch on YouTube, Noor’s nephew went to Dachau and talked with someone who works in the Dachau archive.  The unidentified man in the Dachau archive tells Noor’s nephew that the staff at Dachau “deliberately kept no records” of the SOE women being brought to Dachau for execution.  How strange!  The execution of spies was legal because the SOE was an illegal operation that was helping the illegal combatants in the French Resistance.  So why were there no records of these four women entering the Dachau camp, nor any records of their execution?

On the YouTube video, I learned that “Vera Atkins knew that four of her missing agents had been executed at Dachau.”  Yes but, WHEN did she know that four SOE agents were executed at Dachau?

Vera Atkins had been the first witness at the trial of Werner Röhde and 8 others in a British Military Court at Wuppertal, Germany, which began on May 29, 1946 and ended on June 1, 1946. The nine men were charged with the murder of four British SOE agents on July 6, 1944 at the Natzweiler concentration camp in Alsace. Werner Röhde was a medical doctor who had allegedly murdered the four SOE agents by giving them a lethal injection.

Vera Atkins testified under oath on May 29, 1944 that Andrée Borrel, Vera Leigh, Diana Rowden and Noor Inayat Khan had been murdered at Natzweiler. Before her testimony, Vera Atkins had made sure that the Court would not allow the names of the victims to be published. Atkins herself was referred to in the press as a “WAAF officer” and her name had been withheld.

In the documentary on YouTube, it is pointed out that Vera Atkins went to the Pforzheim prison where she discovered a “tiny detail” — the date that Noor Inayat Khan had been transferred out of the Pforzhein prison.  Since Vera knew that four of her missing agents had been executed at Dachau, “it seemed likely that Noor was one of them.”  It doesn’t seem likely to me.

In any case, it should be mentioned at the memorial that “it seems likely that Noor Inayat Khan was executed at Dachau, even though there is not a shred of proof.”