Scrapbookpages Blog

November 10, 2012

Why was no one ever put on trial for the torture and murder of Noor Inayat Khan?

Filed under: Dachau, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:04 am

This morning, I read the following, regarding the torture and abuse of Noor Inayat Khan, on this blog:

On September 13, 1944 Noor, and three other women agents – one of them Elaine Plewman – were taken to Dachau concentration camp. Her three fellow agents were shot immediately, Noor suffered further torture and abuse by SS guards before being shot through the head, her body was immediately burnt in the camp crematorium.

September 13, 1944?  The plaque on the wall of the Dachau crematorium, shown in the photo above, states that the four women were executed at Dachau on September 12, 1944, but September 13th is close enough.

It is strange that the exact date of the execution is unknown, but what is even more strange is that no one was ever prosecuted for the deaths of these four British SOE agents.  The women were fighting as illegal combatants during a war, so their execution was legal, but that didn’t matter.  Under the ex-post-facto laws, made up by the Allies after the war, the murder of these women was a “war crime,” so why was no one ever put on trial for this ignominious act?

The man who was responsible for shooting the four women at Dachau was Frederich Wilhelm Ruppert, who was the officer in charge of executions at Dachau.  Most accounts of the death of Noor Inayat Khan say that Wilhelm Ruppert personally shot the women in the head, but even if he did not do the actual shooting himself, he was still guilty of a “war crime” under the ex-post-facto law of “common design.”

Frederich Wilhelm Ruppert

Ruppert was put on trial, and convicted, by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, but he was not charged with a crime in the deaths of the British SOE agents at Dachau.  Why not?

Wilhelm Ruppert is identified by a witness during his trial

When Dachau was liberated by American troops on April 29, 1945, all of the camp records were still intact.  The SS men had fled the night before, but without destroying the records, or blowing up the gas chamber.

The camp had been turned over to the International Committee of Dachau, an internal prisoner organization, of which Albert Guérisse was in charge.  Guérisse was a British SOE agent himself, and you would think that he would have immediately informed the Americans of the torture and abuse of his fellow SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan.  But no!  Guérisse immediately escorted the Americans to the gas chamber and never said a word about the crime of torturing and shooting an Indian Princess who was an SOE agent.

On the day that Dachau was liberated, there were at least six male British SOE agents among the prisoners, including Johnny Hopper, Robert Sheppard, Brian Stonehouse and Albert Guérisse. After surviving Mauthausen and Natzweiler, two concentration camps that were much worse than Dachau, all of these male SOE agents had been brought to Dachau on September 6, 1944, less than a week before the women were allegedly executed.

But after all the trouble that the Nazis went to, in order to provide SOE men as witnesses to the execution of four SOE women, the male agents neglected to inform the Americans of this crime.

This quote is from another blog post which you can read here:

At Dachau, they [the SOE women] were locked up separately overnight. There is some evidence that Noor was brutally beaten–not for interrogation purposes at this point, but out of pure sadism. In the morning, they were led to the execution ground and were all shot.

The blogger doesn’t say what the evidence is that Noor was brutally beaten …. out of pure sadism.  Yet, we know that Noor was tortured and beaten all night before she was killed the next morning because this is mentioned in every news article and blog post about her.

Why was Noor singled out for torture and abuse out of pure sadism? Was it because she was an Indian Princess?

Wikipedia also says that Noor was beaten and killed at Dachau, so we know that it is true:

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 Dachau Concentration Camp. In the early hours of the morning of 13 September 1944, the four women were executed by a shot to the head. Their bodies were immediately burned in the crematorium. An anonymous Dutch prisoner emerging in 1958 contended that Inayat Khan was cruelly beaten by a high-ranking SS officer named Wilhelm Ruppert before being shot down from behind.

Why did the anonymous Dutch prisoner wait until 1958 before coming forward as a witness?  How did he know the name of the SS officer whom he observed beating poor Noor?  How did he manage to be at the bunker, where the women were imprisoned at Dachau, so that he could witness the beating and torture of Noor?

What is the evidence that Noor Inayat Khan was brought to Dachau?  There were no records of the British SOE women being brought to Dachau, nor any records of their execution found by the Americans who liberated the camp.

This blog post gives the evidence that the four SOE women were brought to Dachau:

Some time in September 1944, a teleprinter message from Berlin arrived at the local Gestap (sic) office in Pforzheim. It directed that Noor, along with three other female agents being held in the prison, be taken to a “convenient” concentration camp and executed.

I think that the blogger is mixing up Pforzheim, where Noor was a prisoner, with the Karlsruhe prison where the other three SOE women were being held.

According to Sarah Helm’s biography of Vera Atkins, entitled A Life in Secrets, Atkins went to the Karlsruhe prison on April 27, 1946 to examine the records of the SOE agents who had been imprisoned there for nine months. The records show that, on July 6, 1944, four British SOE women were taken to “einem KZ,”  a concentration camp.  The name of the camp where they were taken was not mentioned in the records.  Nor was the word “execution” mentioned.

Atkins did not find Noor’s name, nor her alias Nora Baker, in the Karlsruhe records, but when she discovered that “Sonia Olschanezky” was one of the women who had left on July 6, 1944, Atkins assumed that Noor had used a new alias, just as Madeleine Damerment had given the alias “Martine Dussautoy” at the prison. She was now positive that Noor Inayat Khan was one of the women who had left Karlsruhe on July 6th, bound for an unnamed concentration camp, which Atkins was sure was Natzweiler. At that point, Atkins had no idea that Noor Inayat Khan had been a prisoner at Pforzheim, not Karlsruhe.