Rudolf Beckmann

Last updated

Rudolf Beckmann
Rudolf Beckmann.jpg
Born(1911-04-27)27 April 1911
Osnabrück, German Empire
Died14 October 1943(1943-10-14) (aged 32)
Sobibor extermination camp
Paramilitary SS career
AllegianceFlag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany
Years of service1940–1943
RankStaff Sergeant ( Oberscharführer )
Unit Death's Head Units
Commands held Sobibor extermination camp

Rudolf Beckmann (20 February 1910 [1] [2] 14 October 1943) 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

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 Sobibor extermination camp, 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

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]


Beckmann was killed during the first phrase of the Sobibor revolt, in which conspirators lured SS men to secluded locations and killed them covertly. The conspirators had originally planned to kill Beckmann in a Lager II storage barracks, but on his way to the appointment, Beckmann had suddenly turned around and headed back to his office in the administration building. [5] Chaim Engel volunteered to kill Beckmann in his office, after overhearing the conspirators discussing the situation. [6] Engel went to the administration building with a kapo named Pozyczki, and Engel stabbed Beckmann while Pozyczki restrained him. When Engel stabbed Beckmann, he shouted "For my father! For my brother! For all the Jews!" Beckmann struggled as Engel stabbed him, causing Engel's knife to slip and cut his own hand. [7] Once Beckmann was dead, the two prisoners pushed his body under the desk, not having time to better hide his body. [8]

.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Extermination camp Nazi death camps established during World War II to primarily murder Jews

Nazi Germany used six extermination camps, also called death camps (Todeslager), or killing centers (Tötungszentren), in Central Europe during World War II to systematically murder over 2.7 million people—mostly Jews—in the Holocaust. The victims of death camps were primarily killed by gassing, either in permanent installations constructed for this specific purpose, or by means of gas vans. The six extermination camps were Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz and Majdanek death camps also used extreme work under starvation conditions in order to kill their prisoners.

Belzec extermination camp German extermination camp in occupied Poland during World War II

Belzec was a Nazi German extermination camp built by the SS for the purpose of implementing the secretive Operation Reinhard, the plan to eradicate Polish Jews, a key part of the "Final Solution" which entailed the murder of some 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. The camp operated from 17 March 1942 to the end of June 1943. It was situated about 500 m (1,600 ft) south of the local railroad station of Bełżec, in the new Lublin District of the General Government territory of German-occupied Poland. The burning of exhumed corpses on five open-air grids and bone crushing continued until March 1943.

Sobibor extermination camp German extermination camp located near Sobibor, Poland in World War II

Sobibor was an extermination camp built and operated by Nazi Germany as part of Operation Reinhard. It was located in the forest near the village of Sobibór in the General Government region of German-occupied Poland.

Franz Stangl Austrian-born commander in Nazi Germany and convicted war criminal

Franz Paul Stangl was an Austrian-born police officer and commandant of the Nazi extermination camps Sobibor and Treblinka. Stangl, an employee of the T-4 Euthanasia Program and an SS commander in Nazi Germany, became commandant of the camps during the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust. He worked for Volkswagen do Brasil and was arrested in Brazil in 1967, extradited to West Germany and tried for the mass murder of 1 million people. In 1970, he was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum penalty, life imprisonment. He died of heart failure six months later.

Gustav Wagner Schutzstaffel member

Gustav Franz Wagner was an Austrian member of the SS with the rank of Staff sergeant (Oberscharführer). Wagner was a deputy commander of Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland, where 200,000-250,000 Jews were gassed during Operation Reinhard. Due to his brutality, he was known as "The Beast" and "Wolf".

<i>Escape from Sobibor</i> 1987 television film directed by Jack Gold

Escape from Sobibor is a 1987 British television film which aired on ITV and CBS. It is the story of the mass escape from the German extermination camp at Sobibor, the most successful uprising by Jewish prisoners of German extermination camps. The film was directed by Jack Gold and shot in Avala, Yugoslavia. The full 176-minute version shown in the UK on 10 May 1987 was pre-empted by a 143-minute version shown in the United States on 12 April 1987.

Thomas Blatt Holocaust survivor

Thomas "Toivi" Blatt was a Holocaust survivor, writer of mémoires, and public speaker, who at the age of 16 escaped from the Sobibór extermination camp during the uprising staged by the Jewish prisoners in October 1943. The escape was attempted by about 300 inmates, many of whom were recaptured and killed by the German search squads. Following World War II Blatt lived in the Communist Poland until the Polish October. In 1957, he emigrated to Israel, and in 1958 settled in the United States.

Karl Frenzel

Karl August Wilhelm Frenzel was an SS noncommissioned officer in Sobibor extermination camp.

Alexander Pechersky Organizer of mass escapes of Jews from Nazi Extermination camps

Alexander 'Sasha' Pechersky was one of the organizers, and the leader, of the most successful uprising and mass-escape of Jews from a Nazi extermination camp during World War II, which occurred at the Sobibor extermination camp on 14 October 1943.

Leon Felhendler

Leon Felhendler was a Polish resistance fighter known for his role in organizing the 1943 prisoner uprising at Sobibor extermination camp together with Alexander Pechersky.

Hermann Michel

Hermann Michel , sometimes referred to as "Preacher", was a Nazi and SS-Oberscharführer. During World War II, he participated in the extermination of Jews at the Sobibór extermination camp during the Nazi operation known as Aktion Reinhard. According to the Majdanek Museum, a different person named Hermann Michel, born 23.04.1912 in Passau, served at Buchenwald, Majdanek and Sachsenhausen. This person was killed in 1944.

Kurt Bolender

Heinz Kurt Bolender was an SS sergeant during the Nazi era. In 1942, he operated the gas chambers at Sobibór extermination camp, perpetrating acts of genocide against Jews and Romani people during Operation Reinhard. After the war, Bolender was recognized in 1961 while working under a false identity as a doorman at a nightclub in Germany, and subsequently accused in 1965 of personally murdering at least 360 Jewish inmates and assisting in the murder of 86,000 more at Sobibór. He committed suicide in prison two months prior to the end of the trial.

Erich Bauer Holocaust perpetrator (1900–1980)

Erich Bauer, sometimes referred to as "Gasmeister", was a low-level commander in the SS of Nazi Germany and a Holocaust perpetrator. He participated in Action T4 program and later in Operation Reinhard, when he was a gas chamber operator at Sobibór extermination camp.

Selma Engel-Wijnberg

Selma Engel-Wijnberg was one of only two Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivors of the Sobibor extermination camp. She escaped during the 1943 uprising, hid in Poland, and survived the war. Engel-Wijnberg immigrated to the United States from Israel with her family in 1957, settling in Branford, Connecticut. She returned to Europe again only to testify against the war criminals of Sobibor. In 2010 she was in the Netherlands to receive the governmental honor of Knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.

Ernst Stengelin was a German SS-Unterscharführer (Corporal) who served at Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps and was killed in the Sobibor uprising. Nothing is known about his personal life.

Gustav Münzberger

SS-UnterscharführerGustav Münzberger, born in Weißkirchlitz (Sudetenland), was a carpenter and factory worker before his involvement in the Holocaust. Following the Nazi German invasion of Poland at the onset of World War II he was posted as a serviceman in August 1940 at the Sonnenstein Euthanasia Centre at Schloss Sonnenstein in Pirna. He arrived at the Treblinka extermination camp in late September 1942 and became assistant to deputy commandant SS-Oberscharführer Heinrich Matthes, in charge of leading Jews into the gas chambers and gassing them.

Franz Wolf (SS officer)

SS-OberscharführerFranz Wolf was a German Nazi senior squad leader serving with the Action T4 forced euthanasia program, and later, at the Sobibór extermination camp in occupied Poland during the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, codenamed Operation Reinhard. Leading a normal life in West Germany for the next twenty years, along with thousands of war criminals protected by Konrad Adenauer, Wolf was arrested in 1964, and indicted during the Sobibór trial with participating in the murder of 115,000 Jews. On 20 December 1966, the court in Hagen sentenced him to eight years in prison for taking part in the mass murder of "at least 39,000 Jews".

Alfred Ittner

Alfred Ittner was an SS functionary of Nazi Germany who served at the Sobibór extermination camp.

<i>Sobibor</i> (film) 2018 Russian film

Sobibor is a 2018 Russian war drama film co-written, directed by and starring Konstantin Khabensky. The picture also stars Christopher Lambert and was released on 3 May 2018 in Russia. It was selected as the Russian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It received generally positive reviews from critics.

Stanisław Szmajzner

Stanisław "Szlomo" Szmajzner was one of 58 known survivors of the Sobibór extermination camp in German-occupied Poland and participated in the 1943 camp-wide revolt and escape from Sobibór.


  1. 1 2 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
  5. Rashke 1982, pp. 295–296.
  6. Rashke 1982, p. 298.
  7. Schelvis 2007, p. 163.
  8. Rashke 1982, p. 307.