Dachau Trials

US vs. Martin Gottfried Weiss, et al


Michael Pellis identifies Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert, Nov. 24, 1945

In the photograph above, a prosecution witness, Michael Pellis, identifies Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert in the courtroom of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. Ruppert is wearing a card with the number 2 around his neck. Ruppert had previously worked at the Majdanek camp in Poland where Martin Gottfried Weiss, who is sitting just below Ruppert, was formerly the Commandant. Sitting next to Weiss on the right, in the photo above, is his adjutant, Rudolf Heinrich Suttrop, number 24. The man wearing number 20 is Anton Endres. Number 15 is Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling.

Ruppert was accused of being the officer in charge of executing condemned prisoners at Dachau. He was the first of the 28 men convicted in the first Dachau trial to be hanged at Landsberg prison on May 28, 1946.

According to the prosecution's case, one of the main crimes committed in the Dachau camp was the execution of Soviet Prisoners of War, or specifically, the 90 Russian military officers who were executed at Dachau on Hitler's orders in September 1944. Before the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Hitler had issued an order that all captured Russian soldiers who were Communist Commissars were to be taken to the nearest concentration camp and executed. According to the prosecution, any man among the Dachau accused, who had merely witnessed this execution, was guilty of a violation of the Laws and Usages of War because he should have acted to stop these executions which were a violation of the Geneva Convention.

The defense pointed out that the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva convention of 1929 and that the Soviets were not following the Convention with regard to captured German soldiers. The prosecution responded that this didn't matter since Germany had signed the convention and thus should be held to the rules regarding all Prisoners of War.

While the Dachau trials were in progress, captured German soldiers in American POW camps in Germany, called Eisenhower's "death camps," were being denied their rights under the Geneva Convention. At the same time that German concentration camp staff members were on trial for violating the Geneva Convention with regard to Soviet POWs, the Soviet Union was violating the Geneva Convention by working German POWs to death in their gulags in Siberia. Only the Germans were held accountable for violations of the Geneva Convention during World War II.

One of the witnesses against Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert was Rudolf Wolf, a 35-year-old German engraver from Frieberg, who was a prisoner at Dachau from September 1942 until the camp was liberated on April 29, 1945. Wolf testified that he had often seen Ruppert personally beat the prisoners. Wolf said that he had seen Ruppert kick the prisoners and also beat them with a whip so hard that the men became unconscious. According to Wolf's testimony, Ruppert was a man who could beat people without changing expression; he was like a blacksmith striking cold iron.

Ruppert's sadistic nature was established by this testimony at his trial which might have prompted an anonymous former Dutch prisoner at Dachau to contact author Jean Overton Fuller after reading her biography of British SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan. This anonymous prisoner, known only by his initials A.F., claimed to have witnessed the execution of Noor Inayat Khan on September 12, 1994 at Dachau. According to his story, A.F. had seen Wilhelm Ruppert undress Noor Inayat Khan and then beat her all over her body until she was a "bloody mess" before personally shooting her in the back of the head.

Martin Gottfried Weiss

Medical Experiments

Other Defendants

Kaufering Sub-camp

Prosecution Summation

Dachau gas chamber

Opening of the Trial

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2008