Dorothea Binz

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Dorothea Binz, at the 1st Ravensbrück Trial 1947: The Sentencing. Binz (wearing a number 5 placard) is flanked by female guards from the Royal Military Police

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


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.[1]

Camp work[edit]

Binz served as an Aufseherin under Oberaufseherin Emma Zimmer, Johanna Langefeld, Maria Mandel, and Anna Klein-Plaubel. 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. In August 1943, Binz was promoted to Stellvertretende Oberaufseherin (Deputy Chief Wardress). Her abuse was later described as unyielding. 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Capture and execution[edit]

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 other 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.


Most of the information in this article comes from the following sources:

  • The Camp Women: The Female Auxiliaries Who Assisted the SS in Running the Nazi Concentration Camp System, p. 42


  1. ^ Women and Nazis: Perpetrators of Genocide and Other Crimes During Hitler's Regime, 1933-1945, Wendy Adele-Marie Sarti, Academia Press, Palo Alto Ca, 2011. ISBN 978-1-936320-11-0