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"Women Of The Gestapo"

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections.
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"Women Of The Gestapo"

Postby sbowron on 26 Sep 2006 19:27

I'm new to the forum so forgive me if this has been covered before. There was a book published in 1943 called "Women Of The Gestapo" by an author called Richard Baxter. It purports to give an account of the activities of the Women's Branch of the secret police - it concentrates on entrapments. But it says that the Head of the Women's Branch was someone called Carola Limbach. I can't find any more information on Limbach on line and details in the book are scanty. It's a slim volume (paper was tight during the War), written in purple prose, oobviously a propaganda exercise. In style it reminds me of the late Dennis Wheatley and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that Wheatley and Baxter were one and the same person as I believe DW worked in Intelligence during WW2. But does anyone have any more information on Carola Limbach - or, indeed, Richard B?
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Postby simondodkins on 27 Sep 2006 09:09

Hummmm seems to be leaning much more towards fiction rather than truth judging from the your comments about it being propaganda...plus if it were written in 1943, long before defeat, the allies would have had only scant details about such activities and what details it did hold would have been classified top secret...i.e. unlikely to be published in a book.

It as only after defeat in late 1945 that the allies had almost complete access to surviving documents detailing such activities.

A 1943 book on the subject is likely to be propaganda based on rumor. Maybe Carola Limbach is not even a real person?
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women of the gestapo

Postby sbowron on 29 Sep 2006 19:11

Thanks Simon.
In the foreword Baxter writes, "the incidents which I have given are facts, based on authentic information". He says that one of Hitler's first moves was to place Carola Limbach in charge of the Madchen-Bund (sic). Apparently she was in her "50s and never a beauty - tall, gaunt and domineering". There's little more data than that - nothing about where she came from in Germany etc,and it certainly is odd that there is no mention of her in any files or records anywhere. Surely she would be a high profile war criminal on top of everyone's list. I mean, I know that the Gestapo was a secret organisation but this is ridiculous!
So yes, it's possible that Baxter was fed duff info, or just simply invented her as a stereotypical Nazi.
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Postby RedBarDragon on 24 Nov 2006 00:48

simondodkins wrote:Hummmm seems to be leaning much more towards fiction rather than truth judging from the your comments about it being propaganda...plus if it were written in 1943, long before defeat, the allies would have had only scant details about such activities and what details it did hold would have been classified top secret...i.e. unlikely to be published in a book.

It as only after defeat in late 1945 that the allies had almost complete access to surviving documents detailing such activities.

A 1943 book on the subject is likely to be propaganda based on rumor. Maybe Carola Limbach is not even a real person?


I do not think there were ANY women in gestapo of whatsoever. Those were all men, because they had to be strong to be able to beat the prisoners. Sad, but true. :cry:
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Postby ancasta on 24 Nov 2006 01:57

RedBarDragon wrote:I do not think there were ANY women in gestapo of whatsoever. Those were all men, because they had to be strong to be able to beat the prisoners. Sad, but true. :cry:

Not true. There are accounts in this book for instance, and in other eyewitness ones too. Also take a look at this document grouping at an American militaria dealer; Gestapo papers belonging to a woman: http://www.usmbooks.com/gestapo_kennkarte.html
Women were often used by the Gestapo to 'beguile' men from foreign embassies, and to spy too. They weren't all doing the brutal horrors that they are infamous for. Some also accompanied their male counterparts for paperwork spot checks.
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Postby Heimatschuss on 10 Jan 2007 01:21

Hello,

sbowron wrote:
I'm new to the forum so forgive me if this has been covered before. There was a book published in 1943 called "Women Of The Gestapo" by an author called Richard Baxter. It purports to give an account of the activities of the Women's Branch of the secret police - it concentrates on entrapments. But it says that the Head of the Women's Branch was someone called Carola Limbach. I can't find any more information on Limbach on line and details in the book are scanty. It's a slim volume (paper was tight during the War), written in purple prose, oobviously a propaganda exercise. In style it reminds me of the late Dennis Wheatley and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that Wheatley and Baxter were one and the same person as I believe DW worked in Intelligence during WW2. But does anyone have any more information on Carola Limbach - or, indeed, Richard B?

...........

In the foreword Baxter writes, "the incidents which I have given are facts, based on authentic information". He says that one of Hitler's first moves was to place Carola Limbach in charge of the Madchen-Bund (sic). Apparently she was in her "50s and never a beauty - tall, gaunt and domineering". There's little more data than that - nothing about where she came from in Germany etc,and it certainly is odd that there is no mention of her in any files or records anywhere. Surely she would be a high profile war criminal on top of everyone's list. I mean, I know that the Gestapo was a secret organisation but this is ridiculous!
So yes, it's possible that Baxter was fed duff info, or just simply invented her as a stereotypical Nazi.


I've looked around a bit for Carola Limbach but did not find anything on her either. Did a Women's branch of the Gestapo exist at all? I've drawn various organigrams of the Gestapo's structure over time according to the descriptions in Höhne's 'Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf' (1967, pp.171-175) but there was no hint to such an institution. The net didn't give me anything useful either.
There were of course female employees in the Gestapo but they all seem to have had only very minor positions (secretaries, archive clerks). The papers Ancasta posted for example give the woman's position as 'Angestellte' (clerk), not as 'Beamtin' (official) which would permit her to exert state authority. When the Gestapo tried to trap one of the 'Rote Kapelle' parachute agents in October 1943 they had to rely on one of their female clerks, Gertrud Breiter, to pose as the agents German contact woman (Höhne, 1988, p.380), Obviously no specially trained female personnel was available in the Gestapo even then.
They also had some women available they could force to cooperate (like Stella Goldchlag) or who had volunteered to do so (like Dagmar Imgart) but noone in his right mind would base a police force on such types.

Swoboda-Riecken (2001) and Seidler (1998) don't provide any information on Gestapo women at all,

Therefore I doubt that anything like a female branch of the Gestapo ever existed.

The person who's fitting best to Baxter's vague details is Regierungs- und Kriminalrätin Friederike Wieking, head of the 'Weibliche Kriminalpolizei' (Women's CID)

Friederike Wieking
August 3rd, 1891 born in Gildehaus, County Bentheim
Attends local primary and secondary schools
1910-1911 attends the Christian social Women's College in Hanover.
1911 obtains her social worker diploma
1918 - 1922 social worker for the police in Stettin, appointed to state official in 1919.
1919 - 1933 member of the 'Deutscher Sozialbeamtenverband' (German Public Service Social Workers Union).
1922 - 1927 senior social worker in 'Preußisches Landesjugendamt' (Prussian Youth Administration Office) in Berlin
1927 joins Prussian police
1927 - 1937 head of of the 'Weibliche Kriminalpolizei' (Women's CID) in Berlin. First rank Kriminalrätin, later promoted to Kriminaldirektorin (i.e. in the career track of 'Höhere Beamte' (senior officials)).
1933/1934 joins NS Beamtenbund (National Socialist State Officials Union)
1934 joins NS Frauenschaft
1936 Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei are teamed up to form the 'Sicherheitspolizei' (SiPo, security police)
1937 - 1945 head of the 'Weibliche Kriminalpolizei' (Women's CID) in the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt (Reich's CID)
1939 Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei are transferred to the newly established Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). The Kriminalpolizei is Office V of the RSHA, Wieking commands department V A 3
1941 joins NSDAP
1942 staff member of the Reichsfrauenführung
1943 promoted to Regierungs- und Kriminalrätin
July 3rd, 1945 arrested by the NKVD in Spandau, incarcerated in special camp no.7 Weesow
August 1945 transferred to special camp no. 6 Frankfurt/Oder
September 1945 transferred to special camp Jamlitz
March 1947 transferred to special camp no. 1 Mühlberg
September 1948 transferred to special camp no. 2 Buchenwald
released from Buchenwald on February 6th, 1950
Friederike Wieking dies on August 21st, 1958 in West-Berlin.

Age, physical appearance and professional position do losely fit Baxter's description. At best he relied on some rumours that reached Great Britain via traitors and spies for his book. but it could be total fiction as well.

Sources:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stella_Goldschlag
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagmar_Imgart

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friederike_Wieking
http://www.efh-hannover.de/geschichte.php
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauptamt_S ... itspolizei
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichskriminalpolizeiamt
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichssicherheitshauptamt

Andreas Weigelt
"Umschulungslager existieren nicht". Zur Geschichte des sowjetischen Speziallagers Nr. 6 in Jamlitz 1945 - 1947
Brandenburgische Historische Hefte Nr. 16,
Hersausgeber: Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung, Postdam, 2001
Online version http://www.politische-bildung-brandenbu ... slager.pdf
pp.154-155, picture from there too

Heinz Höhne
Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf. Die Geschichte der SS.
Bertelsmann Verlag, Güterloh, 1967 (licensed print from Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, 1992)

Heinz Höhne
Der Krieg im Dunkeln. Macht und Einfluß der deutschen und russischen Geheimdienste.
Ullstein Verlag, Berlin, 1988

Franz W. Seidler
Frauen zu den Waffen?
2nd ed., Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn, 1998

Susanna Swoboda-Riecken
Berufliche Sozialisation und Rollenverständnis der Geschlechter in der Gegenwart. Dargestellt am Beispiel der Frauen in der Schutzpolizei.
Ph.D. thesis, University of Kiel, 2001
Online version http://deposit.ddb.de/cgi-bin/dokserv?i ... 579423.pdf
(pp.56-83 give a useful synopsis on the historical development of police women in Germany from 1900 - 1945.)
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Postby ancasta on 10 Jan 2007 01:44

Interesting quotes there Heimatschuss. I didn't say there was a woman's branch in the Gestapo as a whole, I was just making a point that they had female employees because:
RedBarDragon wrote:
I do not think there were ANY women in gestapo of whatsoever

But whatever rank they may or may not have held is something for a more serious researcher to pursue than I.
Seidler (1998) don't provide any information on Gestapo women at all [snip] Therefore I doubt that anything like a female branch of the Gestapo ever existed.

I once emailed Professor Seidler about this and he said it wasn't an area that he researched at this time (my italics as he may persue it in the future) hence no mention. If you notice he also discusses very little about the Marinehelferinnen in his books, preferring the other branches.
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Postby sbowron on 10 Jan 2007 20:52

Hello - thanks to everyone who has contributed to this, particularly Heimatschuss whose level of research has been staggering. I'm very appreciative. I wasn't aware of Friederike Wieking before and, as you say Heimatschuss, the scant descriptions of Carola Limbach in the book do bear a resemblence to this woman, so maybe Friederike was the template for the mythical Limbach.
I'm actually having another look at Women Of The Gestapo and there's a chapter entitled 'A Gestapo Girl's Fate in Norway'.
"The body of a beautiful blonde of twenty-five was found early one morning lying outside the headquarters of the Gestapo headquarters in Oslo. ... She had obviously been strangled. On her outer clothing had been pinned a note. It read; "another viper removed"
"The body" (it goes on) "was that of a German girl, known as Hilda Woermann, who had gone to Norway in the guise of a secretary a few years before the invasion.... For a time,Hilda worked in the offices of a shipping company in Hamburg, but then she decided to enter the Gestapo Women's School and learn how to spy on men and women"...
So it goes on. But you put 'Hilda Woermann' into a search engine and it's a...ship! She wasn't in the offices of the shipping company in Hamburg, but was probably in the dock!
More evidence that it's actually a bit of a crock.
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Postby Phil Nix on 21 Jan 2007 10:40

Here is proof of females in RHSA and the Kripo
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Postby Vikki on 21 Jan 2007 13:34

Thank you very much, Phil, for some actual primary documentation on the subject!

I know it's a small corner of your work, but thanks for posting it!

Best,
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Postby Phil Nix on 21 Jan 2007 14:19

You are welcome
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Postby ancasta on 21 Jan 2007 16:55

Thanks for your post, Phil, which makes for very interesting reading. I see that one was a lab worker and one an office worker.
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Postby Phil Nix on 21 Jan 2007 18:35

Female names are scattered throughout the lists of those from the RHSA deopartments who were killed during air raids. I can post more if anyone is interested
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Postby Trench Digger on 04 Feb 2007 19:36

I don't know if this counts as Gestapo or civilian or what, but, Margrete Buber gave some brief descriptions of the Alexander Platz ["Alex"] Police Presidium in UNDER TWO DICTATORS.

"The prison of the Polic Presidium was a clearing centre which received prisoners arrested by ordinary detectives and by the Gestapo. After a preliminary examination, prisoners would then usually be transferred to Moabit Prison or released. Long-term lodgers, as I proved to be, were rare."

Buber describes her arrival and the "Women's Department" :

"...the door was opened by a very tall, very thin woman of advanced years in a white overall. Her hair was done in a bun on top of her head, which made her even taller. To my surprise, the voice of this strange apparition was a deep bass. It was, I subsequently discovered, 'Aunt Annie', the head of the Women's Department in the Police prison, Alexander Platz ... 'Aunt Annie' was a fixture at the Alex. The Nazis had 'taken her over' from the Weimar Republic, and under her rule the Women's Department of the Alex was an idyllic little oasis. Like master, like man; and all the wardresses under Aunt Annie were friendly and considerate. One hardly ever heard a snapped order ... when we went into the yard for exercise, it was just as bare and depressing, but there were no shouts of "Hands behind your back!" "Eyes down!". Most of the women were prostitutes, and as they went round and round, detectives and Gestapo men looked down on them from the windows with an expert eye, and from below more than one mocking remark went up. The women were on the best of terms with those who had arrested them."
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Postby Vikki on 19 Feb 2007 23:08

Phil Nix wrote:Female names are scattered throughout the lists of those from the RHSA deopartments who were killed during air raids. I can post more if anyone is interested
Phil Nix


Phil,

I for one would be very interested in seeing more examples.

Best,
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