Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 28 Feb 2023 20:48

Actually, what color is the Helferins' uniform here?

I assume this, an original:

Image

I see that the cap is distinctively black.

And do you know if the SS Helferins ever worn brown uniforms, like this: https://colorcodes.io/wp-content/upload ... b1/notWebP, and if so, what group of helferins they were?...

Uniforms, insignia, the ranks, it's sort of new to me and I am trying to make sense of the picture (pun not intended :) )

I understand that different groups of Helferins had uniforms in different colors, I am trying to establish whether the same group (such as the communication assistants seen here) had any kind of variety in their uniforms (including but not limited to color) or was that pretty much a fixed thing?

User avatar
Geoff Walden
Member
Posts: 2616
Joined: 29 Mar 2002 14:50
Location: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Geoff Walden » 12 Mar 2023 20:18

Mary Jane, this is a great line of research, and I encourage you to continue your impressive work, in spite of the naysayers here who have tried to belittle it. I have some interest in the topic, having stood where those photos were taken.
"Ordnung ist das halbe Leben" - I live in the other half.
http://www.thirdreichruins.com

Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 13 Mar 2023 12:58

Geoff Walden wrote:
12 Mar 2023 20:18
Mary Jane, this is a great line of research, and I encourage you to continue your impressive work, in spite of the naysayers here who have tried to belittle it. I have some interest in the topic, having stood where those photos were taken.
Thank you so much Geoff. It wouldn't be possible without especially Oscar's help, since I myself didn't have access to a key source (Jutta Mühlenberg's book) and accessing the Bundesarchiv files of women bumped into an obstacle as they requested a fee. I am yet to try my chance with Bundesarchiv Ludwigsburg however, as suggested by Steve. The files are not in digitized form, anywhere yet, including the NARA. And I actually wonder why this is so...

I am still so curious about the identity of some women. Namely the number 7 in the source photo and the laughing one in blueberries, a key figure, whom we don't have the details of. Without a *name* I can't request a file...

The matching so far is not %100 confirmed since I personally don't have the files of women; but it is %90-95 right with only a little room for mistake and I am satisfied with it.

I find myself theorizing and hypothesizing about what happened to no 7's files; but without any proof, it's hard to know where to look for, even if I tried indirect methods and did a lot of guesswork; such as what if she was married to an SS man, as they were encouraged indeed, and I tried to find if there were any SS officers whose probable age, rank, and service dates at Auschwitz could match, and who could be married to the woman. I came up with some possible names even, but it's like shooting at the dark to go to the Bundesarchiv and say, "I need like the files of these 5 men to see if they were married to an SS Helferin" :)

I sometimes really wish that I was in the Bundesarchiv and in a position to have ready access into whatever I want!

Can you please tell me more about having stood where the photos are taken?...

The cafeteria at Solahütte has been demolished in 2011; an original, historical building which looked quite sturdy and well-kept. It's a loss in my opinion, and I don't know just why they opted to destroy it. (Theories again, lol, did they fear it became a Neo-Nazi shrine sort of after the surfacing of the album; or is it just that it was private property you know, and when there weren't enough profits, they do whatever they want with it, having nothing to do with history or with any other reason...)

User avatar
Geoff Walden
Member
Posts: 2616
Joined: 29 Mar 2002 14:50
Location: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Geoff Walden » 15 Mar 2023 14:52

Mary Jane wrote:
13 Mar 2023 12:58
Can you please tell me more about having stood where the photos are taken?...
On a visit to Auschwitz I drove down and visited the Solahütte site. As you stated, the building itself is gone. All that is left is the large concrete/asphalt patio. The blueberries railing is gone, but you can see where it had been.
The little wooden footbridge is gone, but there is a culvert where the stream used to run, so you can also tell where the bridge used to be. There are also period houses and bunkers left there.
wrote:I sometimes really wish that I was in the Bundesarchiv and in a position to have ready access into whatever I want!
I have felt the same thing at the US National Archives. What an adventure it would be to be let loose in there “behind the desk,” to search all that one would wish.
"Ordnung ist das halbe Leben" - I live in the other half.
http://www.thirdreichruins.com

LAstryAGAIN
Member
Posts: 203
Joined: 14 Mar 2023 19:48
Location: USA

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by LAstryAGAIN » 15 Mar 2023 15:48

Check Wikipedia there is a good listing by name and fate of SS Helferins

steve248
Member
Posts: 4324
Joined: 10 Aug 2003 20:53
Location: Hertfordshire, England

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by steve248 » 14 Apr 2023 15:14

Many of the Helferinnen (and Aufseherinnen) were naturally arrested following the arrival of the British Army at Belsen, and later Neuengamme. Most were interrogated and their interrogation used as Exhibits at the Bergen-Belsen trial (British Military Court, 1945).. This is by Ruth Astrosene (sic):
IMG_0521a.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 15 Apr 2023 21:39

Thanks for the feedback @Geoff.

Thank you @Steve.

I wish it was that easy @Lastryagain.

*

Now, I have a name whom I suspect that could be the number 7.

I needed to delve deep into the Bundesarchiv's Invenio search facility and I have accessed some names who were trained at the SS Oberenheim school.

She may or may not be Erika Erling, born 20.3.1920. I think I have nothing to lose by requesting her personal file from the Bundesarchiv too see if this person could possibly be our number 7, or rather the lady marked with no:7 in our pretty satisfactory match. Her details are curiously missing, and I had to follow a very indirect path as you see. (The name appeared along with Charlotte, Lotte, Herta, and Dorothea.)

If she indeed happens to be Erika Erling, it's going to be fantastic.

But I don't know.

Time and further research will tell.

If I don't follow my suspicion and instincts like a detective, I don't think I can go anywhere with this.

As for the central laughing figure at the blueberries... Well, I can't help but wonder who she is as well. She doesn't have the SS runes, she doesn't appear in the source group photo.

And don't you think it is interesting that we have every name which appears in uniform in the source photo, but only except the number 7?

I don't think it's a coincidence, I have sufficient reason to believe that her records (the original SS personnel file) got destroyed on spot (and the answer is not in NARA hence).

CraigM
Member
Posts: 120
Joined: 27 Sep 2019 08:18
Location: Canberra Australia

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by CraigM » 27 May 2023 01:46

These photos and many more feature prominently in this 10 minute Australian documentary: https://youtube.com/watch?v=jUvcmGbtHWA

Ingnrw
Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 25 Aug 2023 05:03
Location: Germany

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Ingnrw » 25 Aug 2023 05:14

I am also working very intensively on this topic. I have received permission from the Federal Archives for these personnel files. In autumn, I will look at the files in Berlin and hope to be able to say more about these people then.

I am currently working on the biography of Charlotte Schünzel and have looked at her personnel files. So I can assure that no. 4 is not Charlotte Schünzel. Based on the photo I have seen of her, I would rather assume it is No. 9 because of her facial features. Charlotte Schünzel lived only 4 kilometers away from me. According to the historical Krefeld address book, she even lived after 2000.

Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 08 Sep 2023 13:00

Ingnrw wrote:
25 Aug 2023 05:14
I am also working very intensively on this topic. I have received permission from the Federal Archives for these personnel files. In autumn, I will look at the files in Berlin and hope to be able to say more about these people then.

I am currently working on the biography of Charlotte Schünzel and have looked at her personnel files. So I can assure that no. 4 is not Charlotte Schünzel. Based on the photo I have seen of her, I would rather assume it is No. 9 because of her facial features. Charlotte Schünzel lived only 4 kilometers away from me. According to the historical Krefeld address book, she even lived after 2000.
Can you please share the individual pictures of Charlotte Schünzel with us?... I am fairly convinced that the younger lady listed as no 9 is Dorothea Schoetz. Charlotte is older, and in the group (source) photo younger personnel are grouped on the right (to the viewer).

Do you have an idea who the no 7 is (and/or other unidentified ladies not shown in the source photo but appear in blueberries and the rain sets)?

It would be awesome if you can share with us the women's date of death (or if any still survives albeit quite a remote chance). I can then update the list with their details.

Thanks.

Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 08 Sep 2023 13:26

Guys, in the meantime who the man is behind Karl Höcker in the source group photo?

Ingnrw
Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 25 Aug 2023 05:03
Location: Germany

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Ingnrw » 11 Sep 2023 02:55

Mary Jane wrote:
08 Sep 2023 13:00
Ingnrw wrote:
25 Aug 2023 05:14
I am also working very intensively on this topic. I have received permission from the Federal Archives for these personnel files. In autumn, I will look at the files in Berlin and hope to be able to say more about these people then.

I am currently working on the biography of Charlotte Schünzel and have looked at her personnel files. So I can assure that no. 4 is not Charlotte Schünzel. Based on the photo I have seen of her, I would rather assume it is No. 9 because of her facial features. Charlotte Schünzel lived only 4 kilometers away from me. According to the historical Krefeld address book, she even lived after 2000.
Can you please share the individual pictures of Charlotte Schünzel with us?... I am fairly convinced that the younger lady listed as no 9 is Dorothea Schoetz. Charlotte is older, and in the group (source) photo younger personnel are grouped on the right (to the viewer).

Do you have an idea who the no 7 is (and/or other unidentified ladies not shown in the source photo but appear in blueberries and the rain sets)?

It would be awesome if you can share with us the women's date of death (or if any still survives albeit quite a remote chance). I can then update the list with their details.

Thanks.
With pleasure. As I will be looking at the available personnel files soon, we will find out who each of these are.

I have asked the cemetery office for the date of Charlotte Schünzel's death. I will receive feedback on this soon and will post it here.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Ingnrw
Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 25 Aug 2023 05:03
Location: Germany

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Ingnrw » 12 Sep 2023 10:04

I have a few more women here who were deployed in Auschwitz. However, I, personally, find it difficult to match them to the faces in the Höcker album. There are probably some of them who are not in the album.

And besides, the National Archives only knows the submitter of the album, not the names. Even the submitter does not know who these women are.

More access will follow in the following weeks.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 14 Sep 2023 19:18

Thank you so much @Ingnrw!

Number 5 is Lotte Gramattke saying hello big time. (I respect your personal opinion.) If only the unidentified no 12's face looked clearly, I could have compared her to Ingrid Witte.

Who is who in these set of pictures is not a complicated mystery at all.

Auschwitz Memorial was quite clear with me from the start: - "Who these women are?" + "Here is the list of names we have, they are them, but we can't match names with faces." (That's been up to us :) )

Looking forward to updates from you.

Mary Jane
Member
Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Mar 2016 16:04
Location: Cyprus

Re: Who were the SS Helferinnen shown in the famous Hoecker album?

Post by Mary Jane » 14 Sep 2023 19:21

Mary Jane wrote:
08 Sep 2023 13:26
Guys, in the meantime who the man is behind Karl Höcker in the source group photo?
Edit: Who are the men behind Karl Höcker in the source group photo?

Return to “Women in the Reich”