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Rudolf Beckmann (20 February 1910 in Osnabrück[1][2] – 14 October 1943 in Sobibor) was a German SS-Oberscharführer in the Sobibor extermination camp. He was stabbed to death during the uprising in Sobibor by inmates. Beckmann was a member of the NSDAP (member 305,721) and the SS. Nothing is known about his early life.

SS career[edit | edit source]

Beckmann worked initially in the cremation process at the Nazi Action T4 killing centers of Grafeneck Castle and Hadamar Euthanasia Centre, where the disabled were gassed.[1] For Aktion Reinhard, he was transferred to the extermination camp Sobibor, where he was mainly in Camp II as head of the sorting commands, where the clothing was sorted, and was responsible for tending to horses.

Sorting command[edit | edit source]

After the Jews had arrived on the ramp, they were forced to strip naked and put all of their clothes and luggage to the side. Those who could not walk were taken away in carts.[3] If this was happening too slowly, their clothes were torn from their body by force. Then the order came to go into the bath house (gas chamber). Prior to that, they had to pass a counter, at which was SS Oberscharführer Alfred Ittner, who took from them all the valuables, such as gold and other jewelry. Once they were in the gas chamber, Walter Nowak and the brothers Josef Wolf and Franz Wolf, the cast-off clothes were brought to the nearby barracks for luggage and sorting. Then came the command of Rudolf Beckmann and Paul Groth; all papers, documents and objects that were not in the sorting barracks were stuffed in bags and brought to the cremation ground. Then, the ground was raked. "All this had to happen at a fast pace, so that subsequently the next group of Jews could be gassed in the same way as quickly as possible."[4]

Managing director and death[edit | edit source]

He also worked as managing director in the so-called Forest House, in which the management of the camp was located. The plans of the rebels stipulated that Beckmann and Thomas Steffl should be killed there.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Barbara Distel: Sobibor: In: Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Diestel: Der Ort des Terrors. Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager. 8. Bd. Beck. München 2008. ISBN 3-406-57237-5
  • Jules Schelvis: Vernichtungslager Sobibór. Unrast-Verlag. Hamburg/Münster 2003. ISBN 3-89771-814-6

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ernst Klee: Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5, p. 37.
  2. Schelvis: Vernichtungslager Sobibór, p. 294 (see Bibliography)
  3. Schelvis: Vernichtungslager Sobibór. p. 84
  4. Schelvis: Vernichtungslager Sobibór. p. 82

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