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Dorothea Binz

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Dorothea Binz

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16 March 1920(age 27) Försterei Dusterlake, Province of Brandenburg

2 May 1947 (aged 27) Hamelin prison

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Dorothea Binz (16 March 1920 – 2 May 1947) was a supervisor at Ravensbrück concentration camp during the Second World War.


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Born to a lower middle class German family in Försterei Dusterlake, Binz attended school until she was fifteen. She volunteered for kitchen work at Ravensbrück in August 1939, and was given a position of Aufseherin (female overseer) the following month.

Camp work

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Binz served as an Aufseherin under Oberaufseherin Emma Zimmer, Johanna Langefeld, Maria Mandel, and Anna Klein-Plaubel. Though she worked under higher ranking guards, Binz was known as "the true star of the camp," and the "chief guard was completely overshadowed by her deputy."She worked in various parts of the camp, including the kitchen and laundry. Later, she is said to have supervised the bunker where women prisoners were tortured and killed. She began as deputy director of her penal block in September 1940 and became director of the cell block in the summer of 1942.

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Binz was unofficially promoted to Stellvertretende Oberaufseherin (Deputy Chief Wardress) in July 1943; the promotion was made official in February 1944. Her abuse was later described as "unyielding". She was known to "watch for the weakest or most fearful women, whom she would then shower with lashes or blows." As a member of the command staff between 1943 and 1945, she directed training and assigned duties to over 100 female guards at one time. Binz reportedly trained some of the cruelest female guards in the system, including Ruth Closius.

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At Ravensbrück, the young Binz is said to have beaten, slapped, kicked, shot, whipped, stomped and abused women continuously. Witnesses testified that when she appeared at the Appellplatz, "silence fell." She reportedly carried a whip in hand, along with a leashed German Shepherd and at a moment's notice would kick a woman to death or select her to be killed. She reportedly had a boyfriend in the camp, an SS officer, Edmund Bräuning. The two reportedly went on romantic walks around the camp to watch women being flogged, after which they would stroll away laughing. They lived together in a house outside the camp walls until late 1944, when Bräuning was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp.

Capture and execution

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Binz fled Ravensbrück during the death march, was captured on 3 May 1945 by the British in Hamburg and incarcerated in the Recklinghausen camp (formerly a Buchenwald subcamp). She was tried with SS personnel by a British court at the Ravensbrück war crimes Trials. She was convicted of perpetrating war crimes, sentenced to death and subsequently hanged (by long-drop method) on the gallows at Hamelin prison by British executioner Albert Pierrepoint on 2 May 1947.

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