British SOE Agents executed at Dachau
Of the four British SOE agents allegedly executed at Dachau, Noor Inayat Khan has become the most famous. Noor has gone down in history as a great heroine because she defied her captors to the end, never cooperating with the Germans in any way.
Noor Inayat Khan was the first woman to be sent to France to work as a wireless operator, even though there were other women in the SOE who would have been better suited for this job. Her trainer thought that Noor was too emotional and when she was given a mock interrogation to see how she would hold up under an interrogation by the Gestapo, she failed miserably. Physically tiny and fearful of guns, she was also "not overly burdened with brains," according to her instructor. Moreover, her exotic beauty might draw attention to her, causing her to be more vulnerable to arrest by the Gestapo.
Noor Inayat Khan was sent to France, even before she had finished her training, on an RAF Lysander plane on the night of June 16, 1943 to become a wireless operator for the Cinema sub circuit of the Prosper line; her organizer was Emile Garry. Noor was captured around October 1, 1943 after she was allegedly betrayed by the sister of Emile Garry.
According to the book "A Life in Secrets," by Sarah Helm, Noor was denounced by Renée Garry who told the Gestapo where to find her. Renée was in love with another SOE agent named France Antelme, but when Nora arrived, Antelme gave his affection to her.
Renée Garry allegedly sold Noor to the Gestapo for money and revenge, but what was the real motive for Noor's betrayal? Did the British deliberately select their least qualified female agent to send to France because they wanted her to be caught? Was this a deliberate plan to allow the Germans to capture a British radio?
In her book "Flames in the Field," Rita Kramer wrote that Henri Déricourt, who was a double agent in the Prosper line, said that the British had deliberately sacrificed women SOE agents as part of a scheme to distract from the invasion of Sicily. These women were "decoys" who were meant to be captured after the British learned that the Germans had infiltrated the Prosper Network. The purpose was to plant disinformation about the invasion of Sicily.
Much of the information about Noor Inayat Khan comes from her personal file in the Pubic Records Office, part of which was opened to the public in 1998. The file contains the citation submitted by SOE Major Maurice Buckmaster for Noor to receive the prestigious George Medal for gallantry by a civilian.
Although Noor had joined the WAAF before becoming an SOE agent, she was officially a civilian in FANY during the time that she was working as a wireless operator in occupied France. FANY was the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, an organization of unpaid volunteer nurses and ambulance drivers, founded in 1907. All of the women SOE agents were members of FANY, which provided a cover for their participation in illegal war-time activities.
On April 5, 1949, the London Gazette published the following account of Noor's death on the occasion of her being awarded the George Cross posthumously:
Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN was the first woman operator to be infiltrated into enemy occupied France, and was landed by Lysander aircraft on 16th June, 1943. During the weeks immediately following her arrival, the Gestapo made mass arrests in the Paris Resistance groups to which she had been detailed. She refused however to abandon what had become the principal and most dangerous post in France, although given the opportunity to return to England, because she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications and she hoped also to rebuild her group. She remained at her post therefore and did the excellent work which earned her a posthumous Mention in Despatches.
The Gestapo had a full description of her, but knew only her code name "Madeleine." They deployed considerable forces in their effort to catch her and so break the last remaining link with London. After 3 months she was betrayed to the Gestapo and taken to their H.Q. in the Avenue Foch. The Gestapo had found her codes and messages and were now in a position to work back to London. They asked her to co-operate, but she refused and gave them no information of any kind. She was imprisoned in one of the cells on the 5th floor of the Gestapo H.Q. and remained there for several weeks during which time she made two unsuccessful attempts at escape. She was asked to sign a declaration that she would make no further attempts but she refused and the Chief of the Gestapo obtained permission from Berlin to send her to Germany for "safe custody". She was the first agent to be sent to Germany.
Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN was sent to Karlsruhe in November 1943, and then to Pforzheim where her cell was apart from the main prison. She was considered to be a particularly dangerous and unco-operative prisoner. The Director of the prison has also been interrogated and has confirmed that Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN, when interrogated by the Karlsruhe Gestapo, refused to give any information whatsoever, either as to her work or her colleagues
She was taken with three others to Dachau Camp on the 12th September, 1944. On arrival, she was taken to the crematorium and shot. Assistant Section Officer INAYAT-KHAN displayed the most conspicuous courage, both moral and physical over a period of more than 12 months.
Note that this version of her execution says that Noor arrived at Dachau on the 12th of September, not the 11th, and was taken immediately to the crematorium and shot, not kept in a prison cell or barrack overnight, as two Gestapo men later testified. Other versions of the story give September 11th or September 13th as the day the women were executed.
At the time that Maurice Buckmaster submitted the citation on February 24, 1944, Noor Inayat Khan had been in German hands for at least three months and the Gestapo was using her radio to communicate with the SOE in London, requesting arms and money to be dropped. In the citation, Buckmaster wrote that as a result of Noor's bravery, the Prosper Network had been reinforced and reconstructed and was now in perfect order, which was a blatant lie.
The following is a quote from the citation submitted by Buckmaster on February 24, 1944:
It is unique in the annals of the organization for a circuit to be so completely disintegrated and yet to be rebuilt because, regardless of personal danger, this young woman remained on her post, at times alone, and always under threat of arrest.
An often-repeated story is that Noor Inayat Khan was instructed by the SOE to return to England in July 1943 after the collapse of the Prosper Network. According to a book written by Sarah Helm, entitled "A Life in Secrets," there is no evidence that Noor was ever instructed to return, and if she had been so instructed, she would have been obliged to obey. Yet Buckmaster wrote in his citation for the George Medal that Noor was given the opportunity to return, but had pleaded to remain and had been allowed to do so even though she was in grave danger.
Did the leaders in the SOE deliberately select Noor Inayat Khan to send to France because they believed that she would be easily intimidated by the Gestapo? Was her betrayal a deliberate plan on the part of the SOE? Did the SOE know that she had been captured? Did they deliberately communicate with the Germans who were using her radio, in order to send disinformation about the Allied plans for the invasion of Europe?
According to Rita Kramer, the captured agents in the Prosper line, both men and women, knew that they had been betrayed by their own countrymen and they gave information to the Germans because of this. Except for Noor Inayat Khan. After the war, when the Gestapo men were interrogated, they confirmed that Noor had told them nothing.
Although Noor never revealed anything to the Gestapo, she didn't have to because she had kept a notebook with a list of all the messages that she had sent, which allowed her captors to work out all her codes and security checks. Was Noor instructed to keep this notebook, so that after her betrayal, when she was eventually captured, the Gestapo would be able to use her radio? Was she also instructed to tell the Gestapo nothing, except personal details about her family?
When SOE officer Vera Atkins eventually became suspicious that Noor might have been captured and the Germans were transmitting from her radio, she decided to test whoever was using the radio by asking personal questions about Noor's family. According to Rita Kramer's book "Flames in the Field," Noor had told the Gestapo agents that her name was Nora Baker and she had discussed her family with them. The Gestapo was able to guess the right answers and Atkins was satisfied that it was really Noor with whom they were communicating.
According to the book "A Life in Secrets," by Sarah Helm, for reasons never explained, the family of Noor Inayat Khan was never told the full facts of her death at Dachau. It was only when the family read the citation for her George Cross in 1948 that they learned the "final official version" of what had happened to their daughter.
In Noor Inayat Khan's personal file at the Public Records Office is a message sent from Berne, Switzerland by an SOE agent named Jacques Weil, a radio operator with a Jewish SOE circuit called the Juggler Network. He had escaped to Switzerland after the Prosper Network collapsed. In his message, dated October 1, 1943, Jacques said that he had news from an SOE agent named Sonia that Madeleine had been captured. The SOE office in London completely ignored this message since they didn't know who Sonia was.
The Sonia that was named in the message was Sonia Olschanezky, who had been recruited into the SOE by Weil, her fiancé. Olschanezky had remained in France and continued to send messages until she was captured in February 1944. She was one of the four SOE agents allegedly executed at Natzweiler.
In a book published in 1958, entitled "Death Be Not Proud," by Elizabeth Nichols, it was revealed that the fiancé and family of Sonia Olschanezky had never been told that she died at Natzweiler, although they made many attempts to find out what had happened to her. The problem was that, at the time of the trial of her murderer, Dr. Werner Röhde, it was not yet known that she was one of his victims. She had no death certificate because Dr. Röhde had been asked by Vera Atkins to sign a death certificate for Noor Inayat Khan instead.
Altogether, there were 39 female SOE agents who were sent to France and 13 of them never returned. Of the 13 female SOE agents who never returned, there were allegedly 4 that were executed at Natzweiler, 4 at Dachau and 4 at Ravensbrück, the women's camp. The 13th was Muriel Byck, a Jewish agent, who died of meningitis on 23 May 1944, six weeks after she arrived in France.
The 12 women who were allegedly executed had first been held in the Gestapo prison on Avenue Foch in Paris. Then all except Sonia Olschanezky and Noor Inayat Khan were sent to Fresnes, another Gestapo prison. Noor was sent to Pforzheim prison on November 27, 1943 after she attempted to escape for the second time.
Eight of the women agents were gathered together at Avenue Foch and sent on May 13, 1944 to the civilian prison at Karlsruhe, including Odette Sansom who was later transferred on July 18, 1944 to Ravensbrück, where she survived. Sansom was a radio operator for the Spindle network of the British SOE; she was one of the eight SOE agents who were sent to Ravensbrück.
Sansom had been captured on April 16, 1943, along with another SOE agent named Peter Churchill; she had told the Gestapo that she was married to Churchill, whom she claimed was a relative of Winston Churchill. Perhaps this was why she was first sent to the civilian prison at Karlsruhe, instead of being sent directly to the women's concentration camp at Ravensbrück. At Ravensbrück, she was given a private cell and was put under the protection of the Commandant, Fritz Suhren. There were three SOE agents who survived Ravensbrück; the other two were Yvonne Baseden and Eileen Nearne.
Another SOE agent that was sent to Ravensbrück was Yvonne Rudellat, a Prosper line agent who parachuted into France around the same time as Andrée Borrel. Rudellat was shot twice by the Gestapo when she resisted arrest; she was taken to a hospital and after her recovery, she was sent to Ravensbrück, then transferred to Bergen-Belsen where she survived for a few days after the camp was liberated.
Four of the 8 female SOE agents, who were sent to Ravensbrück, were executed there, according to eye-witness testimony. Their names are Denise Bloch, Lilian Rolfe, Violette Szabo and Cecily Lefort.
The SS man who was the second in command at Ravensbrück, Johann Schwarzhuber, gave detailed testimony in the British Military Court at Hamburg, where 16 staff members of Ravensbrück were on trial from December 5, 1946 to February 3, 1947. Schwarzhuber testified that SOE agents Violette Szabo, Lilian Rolfe and Denise Bloch were executed by a shot in the neck shortly after Schwarzhuber was transferred to the camp on January 12, 1945.
Until Vera Atkins interrogated Schwarzhuber on March 13, 1946 and got him to confess to witnessing the murder of the SOE agents, nothing was known about the fate of these three women who had been at Ravensbrück since August 22, 1944. Schwarzhuber filled in all the details that Atkins wanted to hear, about how the women had died bravely and how the SS men had been impressed with their bearing.
Schwarzhuber, who was on trial himself, said in the deposition taken from him by Vera Atkins and repeated in the courtroom, that Commandant Fritz Suhren had been annoyed that the Gestapo had not carried out these executions themselves. Suhren was not on trial since he had escaped from custody. Schwarzhuber also testified that Suhren had ordered him to organize a mass gassing of the women prisoners at the end of February 1945 at a time when sixty to seventy prisoners were dying each day during a typhus epidemic. Cecily Lefort was one of the women who died in the gas chamber on May 1, 1945, according to the testimony of Sylvia Salvensen, a former prisoner in the camp.
Prior to being sent to Ravensbrück, Schwarzhuber had worked at Dachau, Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz II, better known as Birkenau. Schwarzhuber was convicted and executed on May 3, 1947.
Schwarzhuber was the most important witness at the Ravensbrück proceedings; he had first told his story when he gave a deposition after being interrogated by Vera Atkins. How was Vera Atkins able to get Schwarzhuber to confess to crimes for which he knew that he would surely be executed? Did she threaten to turn his family over to the Russians, a threat that was usually effective?
Denise Bloch, who was Jewish, had formerly worked as a radio operator in the same circuit as SOE agent Brian Stonehouse, who survived four concentration camps. Stonehouse was captured by the Gestapo in October 1941; he survived Neuengamme, Mauthausen and Natzweiler and was among the prisoners liberated by American troops at Dachau. In an interview with writer Rita Kramer, Stonehouse told her that he and his "friends," who were the other British SOE agents in the camps with him, were "never tortured," much less killed.
However, it was learned years later that Odette Sansom had been tortured by Gestapo agents, who had pulled out all her toenails to try to make her talk. In 1953, a British doctor, who began treating her, noticed her lack of toenails. In an e-mail to me, Rowan MacAusland, the son of her doctor, wrote regarding her torture by the Gestapo: "My father was her doctor on her return to Britain and looked after her feet - he saw it was true."
The Ravensbrück camp was liberated by Russian troops and if any camp records were ever found, they were not released. All of the information about the women who were executed at Ravensbrück came from the testimony of Johann Schwarzhuber and from some of their fellow prisoners.
In April 1945, the Ravensbrück prisoners who were still able to walk, were marched out of the camp toward one of the sub-camps. Many of them escaped from the march; eventually the marchers reached Allied lines in early May 1945 and were liberated. Odette Sansom rode with the Ravensbrück camp Commandant Fritz Suhren in his car to the American lines where he surrendered on May 3, 1945. He was expecting Odette to put in a good word for him to save himself from being charged as a war criminal, but she refused.
After the war, there were rumors that Odette had survived Ravensbrück because she had been the mistress of Fritz Suhren, who was a handsome man. The story of her toenails being pulled out was being questioned; Odette was the only one who was tortured this way even though she had told her captors that she was married to a relative of Winston Churchill. Then it was learned that Hugo Bleicher, the Abwehr officer who arrested her in 1943, had found her in bed with Peter Churchill at a hotel in St. Jorioz when she was supposed to be out helping the French resistance. By 1959, Odette was being called a "phoney" and there was even some talk of taking back her George Cross, according to Sarah Helm's book.
Women agents were used by the British SOE because it was believed that they would be better able to elude capture since the Gestapo would not suspect a woman. They would be less conspicuous than the men who would be routinely stopped and questioned because it was not normal to see a young man who was not in uniform during the war. So it was highly unusual that fifteen of the women SOE agents, or more than a third of them, were captured. The Nazis had a very chauvinistic attitude regarding women and it is even more unusual that 12 of the women who were captured were executed.
Altogether, there were 470 agents in the French section of the British SOE, and 39 of them were women or 8% of the total. One third of the women died while in captivity or were executed. The male agents made up 92% of the total; 81 male agents, or 18% of the men, died while in prison or were executed. Twelve of the women SOE agents were executed secretly and there were no records of these executions found after the war. All of the information about their deaths comes from eye-witness testimony or from the confessions of the perpetrators.
According to Rita Kramer, the 8 women who were executed at Natzweiler and Dachau were inexperienced and some were emotionally unsuited for this type of work. They were no match for the highly experienced Gestapo agents. If they were captured, it was no great loss for the SOE.
Henri Déricourt was a former French Air Force pilot who had escaped to Great Britain after France surrendered in 1940. He joined the British SOE and parachuted into France on January 22, 1943. Déricourt was in charge of finding suitable landing places for small aircraft and arranging for someone to meet the SOE agents when they landed. Noor Inayat Khan, Diana Rowden and Cecily Lefort were the first to arrive by air and they were met by Déricourt, whose code name was Gilbert. Another SOE agent named Gilbert Norman was a wireless operator for the Prosper Network.
Déricourt arranged for the transport by plane of over 67 SOE agents including 7 of the SOE women who were allegedly executed: Noor Inayat Khan, Vera Leigh, Cecily Lefort, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman, Diana Rowden and Andrée Borrel. One of the women allegedly executed at Natzweiler was Sonia Olschanezky, who had been recruited in France and was not flown in from England.
During the interrogation of Gestapo agents after the war, it was learned that Déricourt had given information to Abwehr, the German armed forces intelligence agency, and to the Gestapo, that had led to the arrest of SOE agents including Noor Inayat Khan, Vera Leigh, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman, Diana Rowden and Jack Agazarian. Jack Agazarian was a wireless operator who was flown to France on the night of July 22, 1943; he was captured a week later and his radio fell into the hands of the Gestapo. According to the PRO files, Agazarian was executed at the Flossenbürg concentration camp on March 29, 1944 along with a long list of other men.
In a book entitled "A Life in Secrets," written by Sarah Helm, it is stated that Vera Atkins learned during an interview with Hans Kieffer, the head of counter intelligence for the Gestapo in Paris, that Déricourt was a double agent who was working for the Germans.
From the PRO files, I learned that Francis Suttill was suspected of cooperating with the Germans. Suttill, the leader of the Prosper line, was arrested on June 23, 1943, the same day that Gilbert Norman was captured. Suttill is alleged to have made a pact with the Germans in which he agreed to give them information about ammunition dumps in return for their promise to spare the lives of those guarding the dumps. A short time later, he was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Jean Overton Fuller wrote several books about the British SOE, including one entitled "Double Agent." In her book, she wrote that Henri Déricourt told her in an interview that the leaders of the SOE knew that the Prosper Network had been infiltrated by the Gestapo. Déricourt claimed that both men and women agents were deliberately sacrificed by the British in order to give misinformation to the Nazis about the future invasions of Sicily and Normandy.
In Sarah Helm's book "A Life in Secrets," it was mentioned that an F section wireless operator named Marcel Rousset had been captured by the Gestapo on September 7, 1943. Rousset was taken to Avenue Foch where he was told by Déricourt that the Gestapo knew all about the SOE and that he and Francis Suttill had decided to admit everything in order to save lives.
The first trace of Noor Inayat Khan came from a report by Rousset, who had returned to England after the war. He had learned after he was captured by the Gestapo that Noor, code name Madeleine, was believed by the other captured agents to be at Avenue Foch and that the Germans were using her wireless set.
At the end of his report, Rousset mentioned that he was taken by bus to Germany on April 18, 1944 along with several other agents including Prosper wireless operator Gilbert Norman, whose code name was Archambaud. The German records show that Rousset, Gilbert Norman and the others were taken to an unknown destination. On the way, the bus stopped and picked up a group of women from the Gestapo prison at Fresnes.
Rousset and the others, including Gilbert Norman who had arrived in France on the same plane as Noor Inayat Khan, were taken to Silesia where they were held in a prison at Ravitsch, near Breslau in what is now Poland, although, at that time, Silesia had been incorporated into the Greater German Reich. When Ravitsch was liberated by the Russians, the prisoners were released and they headed east. This is why the search for the 8 women who were allegedly executed at Dachau and Natzweiler first began in the east, in what is now Poland.
Rousset's story is contradicted by the PRO files which say that Gilbert Norman was executed at Mauthausen on September 6, 1944. Curiously, this is the same day that 6 SOE men were transferred from Natzweiler to Dachau, where they survived.
In November 1946, Déricourt was arrested by the French authorities, based on information obtained from the Gestapo files after the war; he was finally put on trial in June 1948. British SOE agent Nicholas Bodington testified at the trial that he had been Déricourt's supervisor in the field. Bodington admitted that he knew that Déricourt was in contact with the Gestapo, but that nothing of any importance had been revealed to the Germans.
There were rumors that Henri Déricourt had been a spy planted by MI6, the British special intelligence service, to work on Cockade, the Allied plan to fool the Germans about the location and date of D-Day, the invasion of Europe. His job was to make sure that phony messages from London were received by the radios of the captured agents. The Germans were not aware that the SOE knew that the wireless operators had been captured and that their radios were being used by the Gestapo.
Déricourt was acquitted mainly due to the testimony of Nicholas Bodington. On November 20, 1962, Déricourt was allegedly killed in an airplane crash, although his body was never found. Claims have been made that he faked his death and then began a new life under another name.
So what really happened to the 8 women SOE agents who were allegedly executed at Dachau and Natzweiler? Where were 7 of them really taken when they left Karlsruhe on July 6, 1944 and September 11, 1944, destinations unknown? Could they have been taken to Ravitsch, the same prison where many of the male agents were taken? Were they released from Ravitsch by the Russians and left to fend for themselves in the middle of a war zone?
Their most likely destination was Ravensbrück, the concentration camp for women; in the last 6 months of the war, there was a typhus epidemic in Germany which spread to all the camps, including Ravensbrück. There are no records in existence for the Ravensbrück camp, since they were either destroyed by the Nazis or confiscated by the Soviet Union and never released.
When 16 staff members of the Ravensbrück camp were put on trial in a British Military Court in Hamburg in December 1946, the chief prosecutor said in his opening statement that 120,000 women had passed through the prison between 1939 and May 1945 and 92,000 of them had died. If these figures are correct, then the death rate for the women was more than three times that of the men. Compare this with the men's camp at Dachau where 31,995 prisoners died out of a prison population of 206,206 between 1933 and April 1945 and half of those died during the time of the typhus epidemic.
If the 7 women who left Karlsruhe were sent to Ravensbrück, they might have been transferred to Bergen-Belsen, as was Yvonne Rudellat, a courier in the Prosper Network. According to Rita Kramer's book "Flames in the Field," Rudellat was shot in the head at the time that she was captured. She was taken to a hospital and after she recovered, she was sent to Ravensbrück, than transferred later to Belsen where she died after the camp was liberated.
Noor Inayat Khan most likely died at Pforzheim prison. She was classified as a Nacht und Nebel prisoner which means that her family would not have been notified in the event of her death.
In January 1947, nine months after the file on Noor had been closed, Vera Atkins was given a letter written by Yolande Lagrave, a former French political prisoner at Pforzheim. Lagrave had been sent to Pforzheim prison in early 1944, two months after Noor had arrived; she claimed that she was the only woman prisoner to survive Pforzheim. According to Lagrave's story, all the other women were taken out, raped and then shot; their bodies were buried on the prison grounds in a mass grave. For some unknown reason, Lagrave was kept alive and she was released when the Allies liberated the prison on May 1, 1945.
Lagrave began writing letters to Noor's brother and others, in which she revealed that Noor Inayat Khan had left Pforzheim some time in September 1944, although the exact date was unknown. When Atkins saw the letter, she realized that Noor could not have been murdered at Natzweiler, as she had testified at the trial of the Natzweiler staff. The transcript of the trial was changed to reflect that the fourth woman was "unidentified." It was not publicly known that the transcript had been altered until 1976, according to Sarah Helm's book "A Life in Secrets."
Noor was kept in solitary confinement at Pforzheim, far apart from the other prisoners, but they managed to communicate with her by scratching messages on the bottom of their mess tins with knitting needles, according to Yolande Lagrave's story. Each day, the women would look on the bottom of their mess tin at meal time to see if Noor had scratched a message when she had previously used the same mess tin.
In September 1944, Noor had scratched a message, with no date, which said that she was leaving. With this new information provided by Yolande Lagrave, it was then assumed by Vera Atkins that Noor had been taken from Pforzheim to Karlsruhe on September 11, where she joined three other women who were released on that date and sent to an unnamed concentration camp.
On May 19, 2006 a documentary entitled "The Princess Spy" was shown on the BBC2 Timewatch program. In this documentary, about the life of Noor Inayat Khan, alias Nora Baker, records in the Pforzheim archives were shown with the name Nora Baker, her address in London, her birthplace in London, and the date of her transfer - September 11, 1944. Noor was actually born in Moscow, of an Indian father and an American mother.
The BBC2 documentary contradicts the statement of Marcel Schubert, a prisoner at Pforzheim who worked as an interpreter. Schubert claimed that "the British woman's name was never written in the prison register." Noor had revealed her name, and also two of her addresses, only to the other women prisoners by scratching this information on the bottom of a mess tin, according to Yolande Lagrave, who said that she had written down the addresses and sewn the paper inside the hem of her skirt. After the war, Yolande had attempted to contact Noor, but her letters were returned.
According to Sarah Helm's book, the SOE was not above fabricating stories about Noor Inayat Khan in order to make her into more of a heroine that 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.
According to Sarah Helm's book "A Life in Secrets," Hans Kieffer, the man who had ordered Noor to be sent to Pforzheim prison, told Vera Atkins that he had no knowledge of her execution.
There is no documentation whatsoever that supports the story that 12 women SOE agents were executed at Dachau, Natzweiler and Ravensbrück. The story of the executions of these 12 female SOE agents is based on hearsay testimony, or the biased testimony of male SOE agents who wanted these women to go down in history as heroines, and/or the confessions of SS men whose depositions, taken by Vera Atkins, were repeated in the courtroom. As a Jewish refugee from Romania who had escaped Nazi persecution, Vera Atkins was strongly motivated to make sure that justice was done and that her agents were not relegated to the "missing and presumed dead" file.
This page was last updated on August 26, 2007