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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.

March 26, 2010

Noor Inayat Khan — if you tell a lie often enough, does it become the truth?

I was searching the blogs yesterday for anything about Dachau and came across this blog, which has an article about Noor Inayat Khan with the title “A Remarkable True Story for Women’s History Month.”  Noor Inayat Khan was a British SOE  spy who was allegedly executed at Dachau.

Whenever you see the word “allegedly” on my blog, it means that there is no proof whatsoever for whatever else is in that sentence.

Here is a quote from the “True Story” which I copied from the blog:

“In September 1944, Noor and three other female agents – Madeleine Damerment, Eliane Plewman and Yolande Beekman – were taken to the concentration camp at Dachau, just outside Munich.

“The three other agents were shot by the Germans on the day they arrived, but Noor was singled out to be beaten, tortured and possibly raped for hours before she was finally shot by an SS officer.

“As he placed the gun to her head and despite her tortured, weakened state, at least one source states that she summoned up the energy and courage to call out one final word before she died: ‘libertié‘.”

Noor Inayat Khan

After reading the information above, I did a new search on Noor Inayat Khan and found numerous blogs about her, all with essentially the same story about how Noor was beaten before she was executed at Dachau.

Here is a quote from another blog:

“It was a crisp Munich morning on September 13, 1944 when the four shackled women were led to the execution grounds. All were made to kneel. Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert, the SS trooper in charge of executions, gave the orders to shoot. By eyewitness account, one by one the troopers shot Madeleine Damerment, Eliane Plewman, and Yolande Beekman.

“Come the turn of the fourth prisoner, Wilhelm stopped the executioners. He stepped forward and hit the fourth prisoner with his gun butt. When she fell to the ground, he kicked her till she was reduced to a bloody mess. She was raised to her knees forcibly. Wilhelm then shot her in the back of her head thus bringing to an abrupt end the short life of Princess, spy, heroine, martyr Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, a great great granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, the last Muslim sovereign of South India. One died fighting British imperialism. The other died for Britain fighting Nazi imperialism. Her last word was “Liberté”. She was 30 years old.”

Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert is the man standing on the right

Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert is shown in the photo above; he is the man with a card around his neck with the number 2 on it.  The photo was taken during an American Military Tribunal proceeding at Dachau at which Ruppert was accused of participating in a “common plan” to commit war crimes by virtue of his job as the officer in charge of executions at Dachau.

Ruppert was specifically charged with supervising the execution of 90 Soviet Prisoners of War who had been condemned to death by an order from Adolf Hitler.  If he had refused to carry out an order given by Hitler, Ruppert would have been executed himself, but “superior orders” was not an acceptable defense, according to the American Military Tribunal; Ruppert was convicted and hanged.

Ruppert was not charged with beating Noor Inayat Khan and then personally shooting her. Why? Because nothing about this alleged execution was known at that time. There is no record of any British SOE women being brought to Dachau for execution nor for any other reason. There is no record of an order for the execution of any British SOE women being sent by the Berlin office of the Gestapo to Dachau.  There is no documentation or records of any kind that would prove that any British SOE women were ever executed at Dachau.

One of the witnesses against Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert at the American Military Tribunal was Rudolf Wolf, a 35-year-old German engraver from Frieberg, who was a prisoner at Dachau from September 1942 until the camp was liberated on April 29, 1945. Wolf testified that he had often seen Ruppert personally beat the prisoners. Wolf said that he had seen Ruppert kick the prisoners and also beat them with a whip so hard that the men became unconscious. According to Wolf’s testimony, Ruppert was a man who could beat people without changing expression; he was like a blacksmith striking cold iron.  Rudolf Wolf was a paid prosecution witness, whose testimony was not corroborated.

Ruppert’s sadistic nature was established by this dubious testimony at his trial which might have prompted an anonymous former Dutch prisoner at Dachau to contact author Jean Overton Fuller after reading her biography of British SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan. This anonymous prisoner, known only by his initials A.F., claimed to have witnessed the execution of Noor Inayat Khan on September 12, 1944 at Dachau. According to his story, A.F. had seen Wilhelm Ruppert undress Noor Inayat Khan and then beat her all over her body until she was a “bloody mess” before personally shooting her in the back of the head.

Execution spot where condemned prisoners were shot at Dachau

Condemned prisoners were executed with a shot in the neck at close range (Genickschuss). The execution place was located north of the crematorium; it was surrounded by thick shrubbery and trees. There was no bleacher section where the other prisoners could watch; the whole area was completely separate from the prison enclosure at Dachau.

The fact that the alleged witness said that Noor was “shot in the back of the head,” instead of being killed by a Genickschuss, shows that he knew nothing about the executions at Dachau, and had not seen anything.

Wilhelm Ruppert was an SS officer; it was not his job to personally execute prisoners at Dachau; he was the administrator in charge of the executions.  If he had personally beaten anyone, Ruppert would have received a visit from Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, the SS judge in charge of prosecuting SS men who committed crimes in the concentration camps.  For example, Amon Göth, the Commandant who allegedly shot prisoners from his balcony at the Plaszow camp in the Schindler’s List story, was arrested by Dr. Morgen and was awaiting trial when World War II ended.  He had been arrested on a charge of stealing from the camp warehouses, but not for shooting prisoners from his balcony because that never happened.

Noor Inayat Khan has been heavily promoted as a great heroine by the British in order to cover up what really happened.  Noor was chosen to be sent to France as a wireless operator because she was the least qualified woman in the SOE; the British wanted an SOE agent to be caught so that the Germans could acquire a British radio. The British wanted to  send messages that would be intercepted.  The messages would consist of incorrect information which the British wanted to give the Germans about the invasion of Sicily.

Noor was chosen for the job because she “was not overly burdened with brains,” in the words of her instructor.  Sure enough, when Noor was captured, the Germans found a notebook in which she had written down all of the codes that they would need in order to use her radio.  The Germans used Noor’s radio to send messages to the British and the British answered by sending misinformation about the invasion of Sicily.

According to Sarah Helm’s book A Life in Secrets, Hans Kieffer, the man who ordered Noor to be sent to Pforzheim prison after she made several escape attempts, said that he had no knowledge of her execution.

Sarah Helm wrote that the SOE was not above fabricating stories about Noor Inayat Khan in order to make her into more of a heroine than she actually was. In the citation for Noor to receive the George Medal, an award given to civilians for gallantry, it was noted that Noor “has also been instrumental in facilitating the escape of 30 Allied airmen shot down in France.” Such an escape never happened, according to Sarah Helm.