The Siemens manager
Hanns Benkert (1899-1948) joins Siemens in 1925 where he works in several positions until he becomes a factory manager and management board member in Berlin in April 1941. Since 1937 he is a NSDAP member.
From 1938 onward Siemens uses the Jewish population of Berlin via the so-called “Segregated labor deployment”, and later also foreign forced laborers, war prisoners and concentration camp inmates. Jewish forced laborers at the Siemens-Schuckert-factory in Berlin under Benkert’s supervision are abused and intimidated, they are not allowed to enter the factory floor unescorted which sometimes means waiting outside the factory for hours in subzero temperatures. Their access to basic amenities like toilets is also very limited, even mild infringements of rules such as sitting down or speaking during work could result in high penalties or in some cases being handed over to the Gestapo.
Benkert is personally involved in reporting a female Jewish forced laborer to the Gestapo. Evidence of such cases can be found in the personnel-files of Jewish forced laborers in Siemens. After the war, Benkert faces a denazification trial. He is not pardoned. Hanns Benkert dies in Berlin in 1948. His wife appeals the tribunal’s decision after his death, during which Benkert is acquitted.