Hellmuth Becker (12 August 1902 – 28 February 1953) was a high-ranking German SS commander during World War II who led the SS Division Totenkopf. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. Post-war, Becker was tried by Soviet authorities twice, for war crimes and sabotage, and was executed in 1953.
Born in 1902, Becker joined the army in 1920. In 1933, he joined the SS and met Wilhelm Bittrich and Hermann Priess. In 1935, Becker was transferred to the SS Totenkopf Standarte "Oberbayern", stationed at the SS-Übungslager Dachau, which later became part of the SS Division Totenkopf. Becker was appointed regimental commander in August 1941. In October, he was given command of the division, until in March 1944, he assumed command of the 36th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS in Italy. On July 20th 1944, Becker was given command of the SS Division Totenkopf.
In December, the division was moved to Hungary for the battles around Budapest. The division crossed the Danube River to Vienna, attempting to surrender to the U.S. forces. Under the terms of Germany's capitulation, the surrender was refused and the unit was handed over to the Soviet Red Army.
Trials, convictions and execution
In November 1947, he was put on trial before a Soviet military court in Poltava and sentenced to 25 years forced labor for war crimes. While serving his sentence, Becker "tried his jailers' patience" by attempting to manufacture explosives, leading to his retrial. "The personification of the brutal landknechts who formed the high-ranking officers of the Waffen-SS", he was convicted and executed in February 1953.
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (24 May 1940) & 1st Class (26 June 1940)
- German Cross in Gold on 26 September 1942 as SS-Standartenführer in SS-Totenkopf Regiment 3
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Knight's Cross on 7 September 1943 as SS-Standartenführer and commander of the SS Regiment Theodor Eicke.
- Oak Leaves on 21 September 1944 as SS-Oberführer and commander of the SS Division Totenkopf