A Nazi war criminal: a request for help

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by davidbfpo, Jul 1, 2021.

  1. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Professor Tim Wilson, a historian at St Andrews University posted on Twitter just a plea for help:
    There is nothing on this website about Becker, nor any obvious thread that could help. Any pointers would help.

    Incidentally I did find this sub-Wiki entry: Herbert Becker (General) - zxc.wiki No reference to Nigeria; he lived post-war near Munich and he died locally (Not in South Africa, my mistake). Looking around briefly no mention of Becker being a war criminal; a surprise given the death of one in three Poles in occupied Poland in WW2.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
  2. P-Squared

    P-Squared Member

    Were the Order Police not declared a criminal organisation? Given their ‘activities’, I’d be surprised, although the Secret Field Police (Geheimfeldpolizei - GFP) got away with it and that was some nifty footwork!
     
  3. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello David, please feel free to pass on all or as little you think pertinent (if you wish) to Professor Wilson. I don't do the twitter/facebook thing so a direct response is not an option for me, apologies in advance for putting the reply monkey on your back.

    Initially there are two ways for Professor Wilson to go with this (I think) and unfortunately neither are likely to bring rapid responses, one of which will likely be "we cannot/will not release any information from his file" (I'll get back to this a little further down this post)

    Here's Professor Wilson's man;

    BECKER, Herbert Paul, d.o.b 13/03/87, wanted for murder, Poland. CR File No.76 (the "CR" being Central Registry, as in the "CR" of CROWCASS)

    First line of inquiry, United Nations Archives. Becker's file will be held in the United Nations Archive under a Strictly Confidential security level (see link below).

    Professor Wilson can ask (if you don't ask you don't get) but I think he will be met with the response from this source as in bold italics above.

    Second line of inquiry, via a UK (initially) based Polish Society, as they will have contacts in Poland (my Polish language skills are zero) who may be able to source anything held in Polish archives (slim, but I think worth a punt).

    Images below, full page 20 from March 1947 consolidated wanted lists, "The Central Registry Of War Criminals And Security Suspects, Part 1, Germans Only (A - L)", plus a closer view of the entry (hope they are readable).

    Below that a link to the United Nations Archives (please note this is just an example of the stuff they hold).

    I hope that someone somewhere will have the information Professor Wilson seeks, I'm sure he realises that anything disclosed will not make for pleasant reading.

    Anything more I can dig out from this end I'll post here too.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Becker Herbert 1.jpg

    Becker Herbert 2.jpg

    UNWCC - Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects (CROWCASS), Allied Control Authority CROWCASS detention cases, identification and clarification of action re detainees (mixed correspondence) / (Restricted) - UNARMS
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
  4. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything


    Hello David, have done some more digging in the last hour.

    This lady, Alina Skibinska, would be the person for Professor Wilson to contact I think, as I don't doubt that if she does not have information/detail on Becker immediately to hand she will know where to find it.

    Please, if you see fit, pass on to Professor Wilson (or encourage him to sign up to WW2 Talk and read the thread, which would remove the "please pass it on" monkey from your back!)

    N.b. Link to Alina Skibinska after the images (Professor Wilson will be able to find the whole pdf from the info within the extract images I've posted up. Only one reference to Becker within same, but I don't doubt Alina Skibinska will be able to provide more).

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Alina Skibinska 1.jpg

    Alina Skibinska 2.jpg

    Alina Skibinska 3.jpg

    Alina Skibinska 4.jpg

    Alina Skibinska 5.jpg

    Polish Center for Holocaust Research - Alina Skibinska
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
  5. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

  6. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Superb find John! Thanks so much for this, a track I failed to find in the wee small hours yesterday (today?)

    David, please find below, as discovered by John "papiermache", please make sure he gets full credit for this.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Becker Herbert 3.jpg

    Becker Herbert 4.jpg
     
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  7. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    And David, John's find hints at a darker and bigger picture (maybe) here.

    Given the undoubted capture and interrogation of Herbert Becker (as per the document above, and its date), and the fact that Becker was still shown as wanted on the March 1947 CROWCASS list, was he released after interrogation? Did he "escape"?

    Please advise Professor Wilson that its not beyond the realms of possibility that Becker became, or was "recruited", as one of Reinhard Gehlen's postwar men, and all the murky waters that that involved.

    More digging to be done here.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Thank you team. Just emailed Professor Wilson to check in here.

    I am curious that Becker was arrested by the US Army on 24th May 1945 and a report passed up the line on 1st July 1945. Then on the Marburg University list he does not appear on the Polish war crimes trial list. By March 1947 he is on a UN Wanted List for murder in Poland (by which time the 'Cold War' had begun).
     
  9. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything


    Thanks for doing the necessary davidbfpo, very much appreciated.

    And, as per post #7 above (and the document that John "papiermache" discovered n.b. re-posted below) Major Paul Kubala's involvement runs throughout the Reinhard Gehlen interrogation reports.

    Given his role in MI this may just be co-incidence in relation to Becker but sometimes putting two and two together does indeed make four (and would then possibly account for Becker's seeming none prosecution). Released/"escaped" into the infancy of the postwar Gehlen network? That route allowed so many to evade justice.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Becker Herbert Major Paul Kubala.jpg
     
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  10. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    A brigadier general Herbert Fritz Alfred Becker (1907-1995) was actually involved in building up the Nigerian Air Force in the 1960s - but apart from his name, he has nothing to do with the man you are looking for.

    About the SS-Becker, interestingly, there is practically nothing to find after 1945....would not surprise me if he received a good pension

    Here might be something more detailed to find:
    Die zwei Befehlshaber der Ordnungs-Polizei im General-Gouvernement Polen
     
  11. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Thanks ltdan. Great to see that the Nigerian Airforce Becker (Fritz) is a different chap from the Becker (Herbert) we've been concentrating on. I'm sure Professor Wilson will be very pleased with that information.

    I'm more and more inclined to think that the lack of information after 1945 about Herbert Becker means just one thing; involvement in the Gehlen network.

    It would be interesting to see (find!) if he shows up in the Fort Hunt (1142) side of things, or if his interrogation was carried out entirely in Europe.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
  12. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    An interim reply from Professor Wilson - he was looking, presumably in puzzlement - at the apparent Nigerian Air Force connection. Which has been dismissed now.

    The book(let) id'd by Itdan is by an Israeli war crimes centre, which appears to have ended and the book is not found via Worldcat.
     
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  13. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    I've made a start (there's a mention of Gehlen in Erwin Lachmann's transcript). There's a lot to go through here chaps (in looking for any mention of Herbert Becker and what became of him postwar).

    The more the merrier, and if so inclined please feel free to dig in!

    Fort Hunt Oral History Project - PO Box 1142

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  14. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Regarding my "find" ( post 5 ) two NARA members of staff deserve the credit.

    Greg Bradsher alerted me to the University of Marburg site many years ago. He had a great deal to do with the release of the war crimes material and wrote extensively about war crimes in the early 2000's. His guide to the Far East material at NARA is superb. I have mentioned the Marburg site on here before.

    The item about Herbert Becker was transcribed by another member of staff at NARA, ( see the buttons below the photograph, and click the "Transcription" one ) called Ryan Cooper. He seems to have transcribed many similar documents ( his transcriptions are in the region of 3,500. ) Perhaps worth contacting him ?

    NARA are unfailingly courteous.

    They sent a photocopy of an affidavit to a member here ( not seen for a long time ) through the post, with no charge.
     
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  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    This isn’t my field of interest but I’m just posting in praise of those members who have taken the time to search for and more importantly to share the information discovered. Hopefully it will greatly assist in Professor Wilson’s research.

    Well Done

    Steve
     
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  16. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Most of the information on the net seems to be based on the personnel file, which was located in the Berlin Document Center.
    Now stored at:
    Bundesarchiv Internet - Berlin Document Center

    There you can find, among other things, correspondence between Becker and Himmler about an - alleged - lesbian affair of his wife.(Bl. 56944ff)
    What else is there, I don't know, but there you should maybe try to find out

    In any case, Becker remained completely under the radar after the war, from '45 onwards there is not the slightest hint of any activities
     
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  17. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    From Professor Wilson to all:
    Just sent Alina Skibinska (cited in Post 4) an email asking if Becker has ever appeared in her research. Alas email for the research institute has bounced back 'addresses failed' and 'Service currently unavailable'.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  18. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Requests for extradition from US authorities in Europe in the post war period. Poland got 1172 people, having asked for 2202..

    Screen Shot 2021-07-02 at 14.53.23.png
     
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  19. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Now I can only guess why Becker never stood trial:
    As a ranking SS member, Becker was of course arrested and subjected to interrogation. But it seems that nothing concrete could be proven against him at that time.
    I strongly suspect that at some point an accusation was made by the Polish government - that's how he got on the UN list.
    But it is to be assumed that there was no judicial indictment. from the Polish side.
    The USA ended the extradition of war criminals in 1947, and since Becker lived in the US control zone (and there were no officially recognized charges), he was relatively safe.

    Such cases were almost more the rule than the exception in West Germany after the war. Also the old networks functioned excellently....
    And especially those who had committed crimes in the East were mostly in the clear, because if the "evil communists" accused someone, it was considered per se untrustworthy: the militant anti-communism of the McCarthy era played right into the hands of such subjects.
     
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