Hanns Benkert

The Siemens Manager

In 1925, Hanns Benkert (1899-1948) joined Siemens, where he worked in several positions before becoming a factory manager and management board member in Berlin in April 1941. He had been a member of the NSDAP since 1937.

From 1938 onward, Siemens used Berlin Jews in"The Segregated Labor Deployment Later it also used foreign laborers, prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates for forced labour in its factories. Jewish forced laborers under Benkert’s supervision at the Siemens-Schuckertwerk in Berlin suffered abuse and intimidation. They were not allowed to enter the factory floor unescorted, which sometimes meant that they had to wait outside the factory for hours in subzero temperatures. Their access to basic amenities such as toilets was also very limited: Even mild infringements of rules, such as sitting down or speaking during work, could result in severe punishment and in some cases to being handed over to the Gestapo. 

Benkert was personally involved in reporting a female Jewish forced labourer to the Gestapo. Evidence of such cases can be found in the personnel files of Jewish forced labourers at Siemens. After the war, Benkert faced a denazification trial during which he was not pardoned. Hanns Benkert died in Berlin in 1948. His wife appealed the tribunal’s decision after his death, which led to Benkert’s acquittal.