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Procecuting fascist War Criminals
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Odilo Globocnik ~ “The Worst Man in the World”
Odilo Globocnik was born in Trieste on 21 April 1904 he was the son of an Austrian/Slovenian family of petty officials and was a builder by profession.
Globocnik addressing troops in Trieste
He joined the Nazi Party in Carinthia Austria in 1930 and became a “radical” leader of its factory cells in the province. In 1933 Globocnik joined the SS and was appointed deputy district leader of the NSDAP in Austria.
He was imprisoned for over a year for a number of political offences, he may have even murdered the Jewish jeweller Futterweiss. Globocnik re-emerged as a key liaison man between Hitler and the Austrian National Socialists, he was appointed provincial Nazi chief of Carinthia in 1936, and subsequently he was promoted to Gauleiter of Vienna on 24 May 1938.
But his decline was soon at; Globocnik was using an astonishing number of dirty tricks, particularly in financial matters.
Another was that he was an absolutely uncompromising person who was extremely successful in finding new opponents and enemies in the party ranks, mainly in the Catholic wing of the NSDAP.
A major factor was the fact that Hermann Göring (ReichsMarshall) endeavoured to have Globocnik removed from his high party office. On January 30, 1939, Globocnik was suspended as a Gauleiter and replaced by Josef Burckel.
Globocnik was pardoned by Himmler and appointed on 9 November 1939 as SS and Police Leader for the Lublin district in Poland. Globocnik was a brutal police commander who not only waged a terrible war on Polish Jewry, but who carried out drastic population expulsions in the Zamosc Lands, to germanise the Lublin area.
He was chosen by Himmler as the central figure in Operation Reinhard – named after Reinhard Heydrich, no doubt because of his scandalous past record and well-known virulent anti-semitism.
Put in charge of a special company of SS men not subordinate to any higher authority and responsible only to Himmler, Globocnik founded three death camps as part of Aktion Reinhard, and one combined death camp and concentration camp Majdanek (Lublin).
Globocnik drew rich rewards from the slaughter of 1.7 million Jews whose property ranging from their houses and valuables down to the gold in their teeth was seized by the SS.
As Globocnik’s Summary Reports show, he carried out Himmler’s orders with brutal efficiency and by November 1943 Operation Reinhard had been completed and the three death camps directly under his control were liquidated.
Aktion Reinhard had consisted of four separate tasks:
The extermination of Polish Jewry.
The exploitation of manpower.
The realisation of immovable property from the liquidated Jews.
The seizure of hidden valuables and moveable property.
According to Globocnik’s final accounts to Himmler, the overall value of the cash and valuables accruing to the Reich between 1 April and 15 December 1943 from Operation Reinhard came to approximately 180 million Reichsmarks.
For helping himself too liberally to some of this plunder, Globocnik was promoted to Trieste, together with a number of the “Aktion Reinhard Kommando”, to the post of Higher SS and Police Leader Adriatic Region.
At the end of the war, Globocnik succeeded in evading arrest by returning to his native country in the mountains south of Klagenfurt.
He was eventually tracked down and arrested by a British patrol on 31 May 1945 at Weissensee, Carinthia, and committing suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule, after the arresting officer Captain Ramsay, shouted his name across the courtyard, and Globocnik slightly turned his head.
A photograph of the dying Globocnik was taken by a German –born sergeant interpreter, who wanted a memento of “the worst man in the world.”
The Capture and Death of Odilo Globocnik
Statement by W.K. Hedley
4 January 1964
Dear Mr Dobson,
I attach a statement which should clear this affair up once and for all.
The retranslation of my letter of the 16th of January 1949 is of course erroneous as in it, I stated that Globocnik committed suicide (not attempted suicide).
If you require to get in touch with then Captain Wheeler he is now Lieutenant Colonel G.P.M.C Wheeler, Royal Scots Greys and is commanding the Royal Scots Greys in B.A.O.R.
If, any further corroboration is required I imagine reference to the 4th Hussars War Diary will provide the necessary information.
Statement By W. K. Hedley
When the war ended the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars were ordered to move to Paternion in the Drau Valley. The officers were quartered in the Castle at Paternion with the lock-up 100 yards away.
As the only officer who spoke German reasonably fluently I was detailed to deal with all matters which could affect the local population. This assignment sounded rather drab, but, became more exciting when it became apparent that Dr Friedrich Rainer, the Gauleiter was hiding in the neighbouring mountains and was thought to be the figurehead around whom a Werewolf Resistance Group was forming.
In the course of my duties I arrested a number of SS officers and lodged them in a local lock-up. They were given minimum rations of water in the hope that hunger would loosen their tongues. This proved to be the case as on the night of the 30th of May, when a party was given in the Officers Mess one of the captured SS officers stated he wished to make a statement.
This was to the effect that SS- Obergruppenfuhrer Globocnik and certain members of his staff were hiding in a hut above the Weissensee. He had been acting as a food carrier and stated they could not be taken by day as they withdrew to a vantage point above the hut from which they could watch troops bathing in the lake below and any approach to the hut.
A party of troops was organised and was accompanied by a number of special service officers of the parachute regiment who were attending the party in the officers mess.
The hut was surrounded (after an arduous climb) shortly before 4am, 31st May. It was locked and after both doors had eventually been opened a number of men and women were hustled out of the rather dim interior. Some were rather reluctant “to get a move on” and were encouraged with a kick in the pants.
One of them said in German “Don’t treat me like that I am the Gauleiter.” Rainer was known to have a duelling scar on his cheek and was easily identified from this and his circulated description. His presence tended to distract attention from the others in the hut, approximately seven men and three women.
After a preliminary search of the building I decided to escort Rainer to Paternion and arrange for more vehicles to go to the bottom of the mountain as our bag had greatly exceeded expectations. I handed over to Major Ramsay of the Parachute Regiment, a fluent German speaker.
During the search Rainer was found to have a metal phial containing a suicide capsule as issued to all senior members of the Nazi hierarchy. Little attention was, at the time, attached to a similar empty phial found on the floor of one of the rooms.
Rainer was lodged in the local lock-up and the main body of prisoners arrived in Paternion at about 11 am. The SS informer had identified all the prisoners by name and gave details of their duties in Trieste
With one exception they were all locked up, the exception stated, he was “a poor merchant from Klagenfurt frightened by the possible Yugoslav invasion.” He had almost convinced Major Ramsay of his innocence was walking up and down in the castle yard, very coolly, escorted by the regimental provost sergeant until his Klagenfurt references could be checked.
The informer insisted he was Globocnik. Major Ramsay and I decided that he (Ramsey) should sharply shout out the name Globocnik while I watched the captive’s reaction very closely. Then the name was called Globocnik’s step never falted, but his head moved fractionally.
I shouted to him (in German) “you have given yourself away, you moved your head very slightly “ and ordered Sowler to add him to the gang in the lock-up.
I then started to go to my room to have a bath only to hear shouts of “he’s dead, he’s dying.”
I ran downstairs to find Globocnik lying on the ground between the castle yard and the lock-up. He had held his suicide capsule under his tongue continually since his arrest and until using it about 11.25.
We had noticed at the time that he refused any form of food or drink. Captain M.M. Leigh RAMC, the Regimental Medical Officer, was quickly on the scene and he gave Globocnik two inoculations in the arm and one in the heart, but to no avail.
As soon as they saw his corpse Lerch, Hofle, Michaelsen and Helletsberger who had denied their identities admitted who they were and identified the corpse as their former commanding officer Globocnik. Rainer also identified the corpse as Globocnik.
Globocnik was subsequently buried by the regimental police in the presence of Captain G.P.M.C. Wheeler. I have tried to trace a number of photographs I have both of the corpse and the other prisoners but they are in a trunk, and I have not been able to find them.
If, very urgent I have no doubt I could produce them.
Herman Julius Höfle
Herman Julius Höfle was born in Salzburg on 19 June 1911. He joined the NSDAP on 1 August 1933, with party number 307,469, having been a member of the Austrian Nazi party, three years earlier. As well as being a trained mechanic, he had been a Salzburg taxi driver, and at one point even owned a taxi company.
Höfle went on to join the SS and during the latter months of 1935 until January 1936, served time in a Salzburg police prison. A year later he headed Sturmbann 1/76, a unit of the SS. His first action was the Kristallnacht, which so impressed Eichmann that he recommended him to Odilo Globocnik, the Gauleiter of Vienna.
After being trained at the officer’s school in Dachau, Höfle served briefly in the Sudetenland prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. After the invasion he served in the Selbschutz in Nowy Sacz, in Southern Poland.
Following this from November 1940 he served as an overseer of Jewish work camps working on the frontier fortifications, a network of huge anti-tank ditches, near Belzec, which was of course, within a couple of years the site of the first Action Reinhard death camps.
Höfle along with a number of other key players in Action Reinhard were also involved in the construction of SS and Police bases, in the newly occupied eastern areas. During 1941, Höfle was in Mogilew. After this he was sent back to the Lublin area, where he was involved in the early planning of Aktion “Reinhard”
On the 16 March 1942 he participated in the meeting of the SS-men from “Aktion Reinhard” and the members of the German civil administration when they discussed how to organise the deportations to Belzec.
Höfle, as Globocnik’s Chief of Staff for Aktion Reinhard, and according to another member of the Aktion Reinhard staff, Georg Michalsen, lived in the Julius Schreck Barracks :
“The staff building was a three story house. On the ground floor – immediately by the entrance – there was the transport squad. On the first floor – on one side – there was the administration, accounts, and archive (documents) office.
Here the Chief of Staff also had a room and an ante-room. On the second floor there was located the personnel department. Here Herman Höfle also had his living quarters in one room.”
Höfle as Chief of Staff, made all recruits to sign a secrecy pledge, on joining Action Reinhard service, a copy is attached. Herman Höfle, played a major role in deportation actions in Mielec, Lublin, Rzeszow, Warsaw and Bialystok, as well as escorting Adolf Eichmann, to the Belzec and Treblinka Death Camps.
He was also responsible for the reception of transports to Lublin district from Germany, Theresienstadt and Slovakia. According to some testimonies he personally selected young men from these transports and sent them mainly to Majdanek concentration camp.
It was in accordance with his order about the selections of all transports, which were sent to the transit ghettos or directly to the death camps in Belzec and Sobibor. These selections were organised in Lublin (on the ramp in Flugplatz) or in Naleczow railway station (30 km. from Lublin) from which the transports were sent to the transit ghetto in Opole Lubelskie, Konskowola or Deblin or directly to the death camp in Sobibor. The selections in Naleczow were organised when the Slovakian transports arrived to Lublin district.
The procedures he was involved in during the first weeks of Aktion “Reinhard”, were replayed later during the deportations from other ghettos, mainly from the Warsaw ghetto. His activity in clearing the Warsaw Ghetto is well documented, after one week of arriving in Warsaw, at 10.00 am on Wednesday 22 July 1942, Höfle and his aides appeared at the Judenrat Headquarters.
Höfle informed Czerniakow, the Chairman of the Warsaw Judenrat, “that all the Jews irrespective of sex and age, with certain exceptions, will be deported to the East. By 4pm today a contingent of 6,000 people must be provided. And this, at the minimum, will be the daily quota.
In his statement, Zygmunt Warman, the member of the Warsaw`s Judenrat told that during this meeting with Czerniakow, Höfle ordered the Judenrat to prepare wooden boxes – 150x70 cm. “It was very strange order for us. Much later we realised that they were the boxes for gathering the valuables in Treblinka, the gold teeth and jewellery which were plundered and which did not go directly to the pockets of the hangmen.”
At midday official wall posters appeared in the streets of the ghetto, dictated by Höfle, but prepared by the Judenrat, under orders. Throughout the “Great Action” in Warsaw ghetto, according to the memoirs by Samuel Puterman, Höfle visited the streets of the ghetto and Umschlagplatz. He was indifferent to what he saw, except the number of the deportees to Treblinka.
Every evening some SS-Unterscharführer who was responsible for counting the numbers of the people who were loaded to the trains, gave his report to Höfle about the daily statistic of the Jews who were deported to Treblinka. Probably the same procedure was organised during the deportations from other ghettos and the reports about the numbers of the victims were sent to the Höfle`s office in Lublin.
Höfle knew exactly about the conditions in the transports and he knew that many people died before they arrived at the camps. He knew also that in Warsaw ghetto within a short time the rumours spread about Treblinka because some deportees who had been at the camp, escaped and returned to the ghetto
Michalsen, Globocnik, Wirth & Oberhauser
According to Georg Michalsen, Höfle told him that "it made no sense to keep the destination of the transports a secret, if every Jew knew about it”.
Höfle had three children, but two his children, twins died of a disease in Lublin, at the graveside, overcome with grief, Höfle exclaimed. “This is the punishment for the children of Warsaw”.
Höfle continued in Lublin, after Globocnik had left for Trieste, in September 1943, and was heavily implicated in the Operation Erntefest (Harvest Festival) in November 1943, which saw the liquidation of the Jewish Labour Camps in the Lublin district. After departing Lublin, Höfle served time in Oranienburg , Brussels and the Netherlands, but rejoined Globocnik in Trieste.
Höfle was with Globocnik when he committed suicide in Paternion, Carinthia , on 31st May 1945, and was photographed by the British. He was interrogated by the British in captivity. During his interrogation, he clearly lied about his role in the destruction of Jews in Poland:
Summary Statement - Transcript
Herman Hoeflle was born in Salzburg 19 June 1911. After the annexation of Austria he became a full time worker in the General SS. In 1939 he entered the Waffen – SS – after the end of the war he was turned over to the Austrians by the English- he was released on parole in October 1947.
Informant worked for Globocnik from 1941 to 1943 in the Office for the Construction of SS and Police Strong Points in the East area. It was planned to construct strong points in which units could be stationed with their families. Billets were built but the whole plan was not carried out.
Informant had to supply the guards- he had a battalion consisting of racial Germans and some Russians. Informant claims he was never in Warsaw. Globocnik was not competent for Warsaw. The 5th district (Krakau, Lemberg and Warschau) had its own SS and Police Leader.
Informant has three children living in Salzburg – two of his children died in 1942 and are buried in Lublin. Informant claims that he never saw any Jews being evacuated while the Strong Points were being constructed.
In Minsk the city section Nord-Kaserne was used. There was also a settlement in Lublin, informant claims that he only drove through there once, he had nothing to do with these people.
Interrogated by Mr H. Meyer
Date: 15 December 1947. Nuremburg
Höfle was released and not immediately brought to justice and lived in Italy, Austria and Germany, but he was arrested in 1961 in Salzburg. Höfle was transferred from Salzburg to Vienna, but ten weeks after his transfer, on 20 August 1962 he committed suicide, by hanging himself, in his solitary cell.
- 19 June 1911~20 August 1962
Christian Wirth "Dealer in Death"
Christian Wirth was born on 24 November 1885 in Oberbalzheim, Wurttemburg, Germany. Following the completion of his education, he was employed as an apprentice carpenter with the Buhler brother’s timber firm.
Entered the police force in 1910 and joined the Stuttgart Criminal police in 1913. As a non-commissioned officer in World War One on the western front, his bravery was rewarded by the golden Military Cross – one of Imperial Germany’s highest decorations.
Wirth re-joined the police force after the Great War ended and thanks to his dedication, zeal , he became notorious for his “special” methods of investigation in criminal matters, which eventually resulted in his arraignment before the Wurttenburg Landestag.
Nevertheless, by 1939 Wirth had reached the rank of Kriminalkommissar in the Stuttgart KRIPO, a department of the Gestapo under Arthur Nebe.
Following special police duties in Vienna and Olmitz, he was transferred to the Fuhrers Chancellery to help with the planning and organisation of the Euthanasia operation, from October 1939.
Wirth personally participated in the first gassing experiments in Brandenburg, and straight after that in February 1940 to May 1940 he served at Grafeneck castle killing centre, and then a brief stay at Hartheim castle in Austria killing centre.
Between June 1940 and August 1941 Wirth served as a roving inspector of all euthanasia institutions throughout the Third Reich. His whereabouts between September and December 1941 are unknown, but some sources say he was involved at seeking to establish a Euthanasia killing centre in Lublin and passing on his experience at Chelmno death camp. It is alleged that local Poles identified Wirth from selections of photographs.
On the 22 December 1941 Wirth arrived in Belzec to inspect the construction of the Death Camp, and he returned with Adolf Eichmann and Hermann Hofle a week later.
On the 1 January 1942 Wirth was appointed the first Commandant of the Belzec death camp. He was a brutal commander, who perfected the killing process, with ruthless efficiency.
He was in command when Belzec became operational in March 1942 with the mass extermination of the Lublin ghetto. After Belzec was established Wirth was appointed Inspektor of the SS Sonderkommado Aktion Reinhard, and after a temporary stay in the Aktion Reinhard Headquarters in the Julius Screck Barracks, he moved to a new Headquarters on the old Lublin airfield, and took over control of the Old Airfield Camp..
Wirth frequently visited the three death camps (Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka) bringing fear and terror, which earned him the nickname from his subordinates of “Christian the Terrible”.
One of Wirth’s first task as Inspektor was establishing order at Treblinka death camp during late August early September 1942, following a complete breakdown in order at the camp, because Eberl accepted too many transports and the gas chambers could not cope.
Wirth totally re-organised the camp, and instructed larger gas chambers to be built, ten instead of the three that had existed previously. Wirth was posted to Trieste in September 1943, but he did briefly return to Lublin for the 1943 Harvest Festival massacre.
In Trieste Wirth commanded the SS-Einsatzkommando R, which was composed of former Aktion Reinhard members. On the 26 May 1944 Wirth was shot and killed by Yugoslav partisans near Kozina, Istria.
He was buried with full military honours in the German Military Cemetary in Opcina, near Trieste. His remains were transferred in 1959 to the German Military Cemetary at Costermano, near Lake Garda, northern Italy.
- Oberbalzheim, Wurttemburg, Germany.
- 24 November 1885 ~26 May 1944
Frank was born in Karlsruhe, Germany on 23rd May, 1900, to lawyer Karl Frank and his wife Magdalena Buchmaier. He had an elder brother, Karl Jr., and a younger sister by the name of Elisabeth. He joined the German army in 1917. He served in the Freikorps and joined the German Worker's Party (which soon evolved into NSDAP), in 1919, being one of the party's earliest members took part in the Beer Hall Putsch.
He went on to study law, passing the final state examination in 1926, and rose to become the personal legal advisor to Hitler. When Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 he appointed Frank as Minister of Justice in Bavaria. While in this post he complained about the illegal killings that was taking place in the concentration camp at Dachau.
During the Night of the Long Knives Frank raised objections to the execution of the proposed execution without trial of 110 members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA). As as result of his intervention only 20 men were shot. After this Frank lost his influence in the NSDAP hierarchy.
Strongly influenced by the charisma of Hitler, he returned to the Party in 1928 whereupon he formed the "National Socialist Jurist Association" with himself as leader. In 1929 Hitler appointed him director of the headquarters legal department of the Nazi Party. He won an election to the Reichstag (German parliament) as a National Socialist representative in 1930 and shared his experience with Friedrich Krüger who entered the Reichstag in 1932.
In 1930, Hilter entrusted Frank to research his ancestry in order to dispell rumors that Hitler had Jewish blood. "Frank undertook this delicate task, and he declared in the autobiography written in his cell at Nuremberg that what he discovered made it appear possible, if not likely, that Hitler's father had been half Jewish.
The main facts are clear enough. Hitler's grandmother, a Fraulein Maria Anna Schicklgruber, worked as a cook for a well-to-do Jewish family named Frankenberger. The Frankenbergers had a son who was nineteen years old at the time Hitler's forty-two-year-old grandmother bore a child out of wedlock, and the Jewish family paid for the support of the child up to the time it was fourteen years old. Frank wrote that the money was given to avoid a public scandal.
Apparently, although Frank does not say so, Fraeulein Schicklgruber had threatened to bring a suit against the Frankenbergers. Frank wrote that many letters were subsequently exchanged between them and Hitler's grandmother, which seemed to him to be evidence of a cordial relationship. Nevertheless, both he and Hitler were convinced that the child was actually the offspring of a millworker, Johann Georg Hiedler, a second cousin of Fraeulein Schicklgruber, who five years after the birth of the child married her and legitimized her son.
But Frank, writing in Nuremberg no longer for the benefit of the Fuehrer, was also of the opinion that it was not out of the question that Hitler's father, who later changed his name from Hiedler to Hitler, was half Jewish."
In 1931 Hitler showered more accolades upon him by designating him as a Reichsleiter (high Party official). By 1933, when the National Socialists came to power, Frank was a leading protagonist of the New Order by being appointed Bavarian Minister of Justice, Reich Commissioner and reformer of the Nazi state legal system.
In 1934, he aspired to Reichsminister without portfolio, the high point of his political career as from then on, others Himmler, Göring, Goebbels et al.), were ally vying for Hitler’s personal recognition and favours. Frank was never subservient when it came to the interpretation of the law and because of this, he had many fallings out over the draconian measures being introduced. In 1939, because of Frank’s legal contribution to the Führerstaat, Hitler made him president of the German Academy of Law.
In September of that same year Frank was assigned as Chief of Administration to Gerd von Rundstedt in the General Government. From October 26, 1939, following the invasion of Poland, Frank was the Governor-General of the General Government for the occupied Polish territories (Generalgouverneur für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete), that is head of the General Government controlling those areas of Poland that had not been directly incorporated into Germany (roughly 90,000 km² out of the 170,000 km² Germany had gained).
He was granted the SS rank of Obergruppenführer and also tasked to oversee the segregation of the Jews into ghettos (Jewish quarters) and the use of Polish civilians as "forced and compulsory" Labour.
"...A problem that occupies us in particular is the Jews. This merry little people (Voelklein), which wallows in dirt, and filth, has been gathered together by us in ghettos and [special] quarters and will probably not remain in the Government-General for very long."
(Vigorous applause from the audience)
"We will get these Jews marching and cause them – as they have already covered the distance from Jerusalem to Poland – to move eastward a few thousand kilometers. But these Jews are not that parasite gang alone, from our point of view, but strangely enough – we only realized it over there [in Poland] – there is another category of Jews, something one would never have thought possible.
There are laboring Jews over there who work in transport, in building, in factories, and others are skilled workers such as tailors, shoemakers, etc. We have put together Jewish workshops with the help of these skilled Jewish workers, in which goods will be made which will greatly ease the position of German production, in exchange for the supply of foodstuffs and whatever else the Jews need urgently for their existence.
These Jews may well be left to work in this way; in the way in which we are now using them it is something of an achievement for the work-Jews themselves; but for the other Jews we must provide suitable arrangements. It is always dangerous, after all, to leave one’s native land. Since the Jews moved away from Jerusalem there has been nothing for them except an existence as parasites: that has now come to an end.
If one looks at the Warsaw ghetto today in which 480,000 Jews – well, let us say – live, then one must realize that only the determination of the National-Socialist revolution was capable of successfully confronting even this problem. In 1919, at our first meetings in Munich, we proclaimed the motto: An end must be put to the rule of the Jews in Europe...."
Later in life Frank was to refer to his time as Governor-General of Poland as 'the most terrible years' of his life and repeatedly pointed out that, contrary to appearances, he was 'an isolated, powerless man who had no influence on events'. In fact, from the very day of his appointment his jurisdiction was eroded from all sides, and it casts a revealing light on the disloyal duplicity of Hitler's policies towards his followers that from the outset he failed to give Frank any support in his struggle for authority, in particular support against the bid for autonomy by SS Obergruppenfuhrer Kruger, who was in overall control of the SS and the police in Poland. Hitler actually fostered the rival independent authority, though Kruger was formally subordinate to the Governor-General.
The system of half-jurisdictions that were combined into total jurisdiction only at the summit, in the person of Hitler as the final arbiter— a system which we can observe throughout the Third Reich— subsequently resulted in a total disorganization that was quite obviously accepted as a necessary price to pay; it was also made the pretext for continual exhausting conflicts in which Frank, a man at the mercy of uncontrollable emotion, proved hopelessly inferior to the cold intriguer Kruger.
While Frank, obviously in increasing desperation, invoked his exclusive competence to give orders at sittings of the government, Kruger, under Himmler's protection, simply went ahead with his, or at least the SS's, conception of a policy for Poland.
Frank in Prison
Frank tried alternately to counteract this policy by one of relative leniency and reason towards the Poles, with occasional rudimentary attempts at cooperation, or to outdo the SS by even greater harshness, hoping by acts of terror and mass extermination to gain a reputation with Hitler and his entourage for National Socialist ability in dealing with the East.
His famous diary, which he handed over during his imprisonment in May 1945, contains in thirty-eight volumes, along with minute descriptions of the events of every single day during his period of government, countless passages designed to impress by their brutality. For example, when asked by a correspondent of the Völkischer Beobachter named Kleiss what was the difference between the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the government in Poland, Frank replied,
"I can tell you a graphic difference. In Prague, for example, big red posters were put up on which could be read that seven Czechs had been shot today. I said to myself: If I put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not be sufficient to manufacture the paper for such posters."
Frank was captured by American troops on May 3, 1945, at Tegernsee near Berchtesgaden. Upon his capture, he attempted suicide in which he tried to cut his own throat. After the attempt failed he tried suicide again on 5 May, when he lacerated his left arm. However, this failed too.
After his arrest he was selected as one of the defendants in the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg from 20 November 1945 to 1 October 1946. During the trial he renewed his childhood practice of Catholicism and, under the pressure of being on trial for his life, claimed to have a series of religious experiences.
Frank voluntarily surrendered over forty volumes of his personal diaries to the Allies, which were then used against him as evidence of his guilt. Frank confessed to some of the charges put against him and viewed his own execution as a form of atonement for his sins. On the witness stand he uttered:
"A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Germany will still not have been erased."
However, during the trial, he vacillated wildly between penitence for his crimes and blaming the Allies, especially the Soviets, for an equal share of wartime atrocities.
He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and on October 1, 1946, he was sentenced to death by hanging.
- 23rd May, 1900~October 1, 1946
Georg Wippern was born on 26 May 1909 in Hildesheim and during his service in Lublin was a crucial figure in the organized plunder of the Jewish victims of “Aktion Reinhard.”
One of his post-war statements illustrates well his role in Lublin during the Second World War:
“In my capacity as leader of the SS- garrison administration (Standortverwaltung) Lublin, I received an order in the spring of 1942 from the leader of the Main Economic Administration in Berlin, Oswald Pohl, to take charge of and sort all the jewellery, valuables and foreign currency and other money confiscated from the Jews and to maintain their correct delivery.
Accumulated jewellery and valuables, as well as foreign currency, were delivered to the Central Economic Administration (WVHA) in Berlin and then to the Reichsbank in Berlin on receipt.
Jewellery was melted down, if the design was not of special value, and then delivered to the Reichsbank as gold bars. The same applied with the silver. Local currency, Polish Zloty was transferred by my office at the Emissionbank in Lublin to an account at the Reichsbank.”
In the early days of Aktion Reinhard Christian Wirth delivered the confiscated jewellery and valuables from the Jews at Belzec directly to the Reichsbank in an unsatisfactory manner – after the order from Pohl, Wirth had to hand over the valuables to Wippern.
Rudolf Reder described the process at Belzec for transferring the valuables:
“Valuables, money and dollars were taken out of the storehouse each day. The SS-men collected it themselves and put it into suitcases which workers carried to Belzec to the headquarters. A Gestapo officer went first, with Jewish workers carrying the suitcases.
It was not far, only a twenty minute walk to the Belzec station. The camp in Belzec, that is, the torture chamber in Belzec, was under this headquarters. Jews working in administration said that the whole shipment of gold, valuables and money was sent to Lublin, where the main headquarters was, with authority over the Belzec headquarters.”
Wippern’s sorting and processing unit was known as Abteilung Reinhard and Abteilung Iva. Two senior SS-men were assigned to Wippern’s staff Unterscharfuhrer Eicholz and Dorl who worked at different times with a small Jewish workforce between 20-30 people.
The Jewish workforce were involved in the sorting and storing of the high value possessions removed from hundreds and thousands of Jewish families.
In addition Wippern had assigned to him trained banking personnel , SS Obersturmfuhrer Huber, SS-Oberscharfuhrer Teichmann and Rzepa, as well as SS-Unterscharfuhrer Pflanzer.
Wippern’s special depot was located in a large five-storey building at 27 Chopin Street, near the centre of Lublin, items were sorted, cleaned and stored on huge shelves by 20 Jews brought from the nearby Jewish Labour camp on Lipowa Street.
A description of Wippern’s operation is described in the report of SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Albert Franke- Gricksch on a tour of Poland with his superior Max von Herff in May 1943:
"From Trawniki we travelled back to Lublin to inspect the special enterprise Reinhard. This branch has had the task of realising all mobile Jewish property in the Gouvernement Poland.
It is astonishing what immense fortunes the Jews have collected in their ghetto and even ragged and vermin infested dirty little Jews who look like beggars, carry with them, when you strip their clothes off them, foreign currency, pieces of gold, diamonds and other valuables. We wandered through the cellars of this “special enterprise” and we were reminded of the fairy tales of the “Arabian Nights.
Whole boxes full of genuine pearls, cases full of diamonds, a basket full of pieces of gold and many cwts of silver coins, beside jewellery of every kind. In order to carry out a better realisation of all these valuables, the gold and silver are melted into bars.
We inspected the melting process in the garden of the house. There is a small foundry where gold and silver are melted and then formed into bars and then delivered to the German National Bank on certain days. “Special enterprise” Reinhard has so far delivered 2,500 kilos of gold, 20,000 kilos of silver and six and a half kilos of platinum, 60,000 Reichsmarks in currency, 800,000 dollars in money and 144,000 dollars in gold.
The huge quantity of diamonds and pearls can hardly be evaluated. The best proof of the repercussions this enterprise has on the international market is the quotations on the Swiss Stock Exchange and the effects on the international market in diamonds and brilliants. The prices have all gone down and Switzerland could not absorb any more diamonds, because our enterprise has swamped the market.
In this respect alone, the “special enterprise” Reinhard gives us the means for our political struggle and would have a decisive effect on the world market. Apart from other valuables there are 60,000 watches, most of them double –cased watches of high value, very often decorated with diamonds, 800,000 wrist watches and a huge quantity of other small valuables from tobacco and cigarette cases and gold fountain pens and silver bracelets etc.
In special workshops all these treasures are sorted out and examined by specially trained Jews, jewelers, bank clerks and goldsmiths. If necessary the diamonds are broken out in order to separate them and use the metal in a different way.
The wrist watches will be repaired, if necessary and will be handed out to front-line troops. When one goes through the cellar of this special branch it appears like a secret treasure and you get a very different idea of all the things for which people have sacrificed their lives and forgotten, through them the real issues.
You get the right distance from these false values and, even if our eye is delighted by the shine of thousands of brilliants, some of them the size of a pea, for which the old world has paid hundreds of thousands , one recognises a people which saw its whole existence in the heaping up of such treasures.
It is a pleasure to see with what indifference the Oberscharfuhrer registers these valuables as if they were bits of coal or other things of everyday life. The real values of our life which carry us as human beings and as a nation become very clear and more precious still."
The treasure of these people of parasites prove that the age of the power of gold is over and a new time, which has new values, has begun. Wippern’s offices were located in adjoining buildings on the corner of Pilsudski Allee and Lipowa Strasse.
In 1942 he visited Majdanek concentration camp several times, and after each visit he was nervous and overwrought. Wippern also participated in Aktion Reinhard planning meetings which he recalled after the war:
“Furthermore, I remember that I had repeatedly participated at meetings at the office of SS and Police leader Lublin, Odilo Globocnik. I remember for sure that Wirth had also attended those meetings several times. There were at times office leader conferences, where all office leaders of the SS and police took part.
The subjects of the official conference topic discussions I do not remember in particular, but mostly they dealt with general garrison or security matters. Special topics were always discussed in closed circles, because they were subject to official secrecy and also could not be of interest to other departments. I can say here with certainty that at the department leader meetings, where I was present, questions regarding Aktion Reinhard were not dealt with. That applies especially to internal matters.”
The sorting depot at the Old Airfield Camp at Chelmska Street was used as the central clearing depot for the substantial quantities of clothing from the Jewish victims of the Aktion Reinhard death camps, was also under Wippern’s administration.
Wippern was also ordered by Odilo Globocnik to equip the Belzec and Sobibor death camps personnel with uniforms. Wippern stated that:
“The SSPF Globocnik had already requested from me the fitting out of 40 men who had come from the Reich. At that time nothing had been said about the Jewish resettlement. Globocnik ordered me to fit out these men. They were an SS-Sonderkommando sent from Berlin."
After the war Wippern was employed as a lower grade civil servant. Together with his family they moved often and lived in a number of different towns such as Saarbrucken, Hannover, Aachen, Bad Durrheim, Homburg(Jagerburg) and Bonn.
German investigators questioned him after the war, but no proceedings were commenced and he was never brought to trial. This may have been employed solely as an administrative chief. So a view could be formed that Wippern was a “desk bound” offender.
In spring 26 May 1909Wippern died in Bonn.
- 26 May 1909~26 May 1909
Franz Paul Stangl
Franz Stangl was born in Altmunster, Austria on 26 March 1908, the son of a night-watchman who had once served in the Habsburg Dragoons.
After training as a master- weaver Stangl joined the Austrian police force in 1931, graduating two years later. In 1935 he was transferred to the political division of the criminal investigation department in the small Austrian town of Wels.
A year later he became an illegal member of the Nazi Party, and in November 1940 he became the Police Superintendent of the notorious Euthanasia Institute at Scloss Hartheim, where the mentally and physically handicapped and also political prisoners from concentration camps were transferred for liquidation.
In March 1942, after being sent to Berlin, then Lublin, Stangl reported to Odilo Globocnik, his fellow Austrian SS- Brigadefuhrer, the head of “Aktion Reinhard.”
Stangl was appointed commandant of the Sobibor death camp, which became operational in May 1942, during Stangl’s period as “Kommandant” , which lasted until September 1942 when he was transferred to Treblinka, approximately 100,000 Jews were killed.
Following his arrival at Treblinka, the largest of the three “Aktion Reinhard” camps in occupied Poland, Stangl proved himself a highly efficient and dedicated organiser of mass murder, even receiving an official commendation as the “best camp commander” in Poland.
Always impeccably dressed, he attended the unloading of transports dressed in white riding clothes, soft-voiced, polite and friendly, Stangl was no sadist, but took pride and pleasure in his work, running the death camp like clockwork.
He came to regard his victims as “cargo to be despatched”, recalling in an interview at the end of his life with the journalist Gitta Sereny that he rarely saw them as individuals – “it was always a huge mass… they were naked, packed together, running, being driven with whips.”
Stangl claimed that his dedication had nothing to do with ideology or hatred of Jews. “They were so weak- they allowed everything to happen – to be done to them. They were people with whom there was no common ground, no possibility of communication- that is how contempt is born. I could never understand how they could just give in as they did.”
Soon after the revolt in Treblinka on the 2 August 1943 – SS –Hauptsturmfuhrer Stangl was transferred to Trieste to help organise the campaign against the Yugoslav partisans.
His next assignment was in Italy as a special supply officer to the Einsatz- Poll, a strategic construction project in the Po Valley, involving some half a million Italian workers under German command.
In 1945 Stangl was captured by the Americans and interned as a member of the SS who had been involved in anti-partisan activities in Yugoslavia and Italy, whilst his earlier service in Poland was not known at the time.
He was handed over to the Austrians and transferred to an open, civilian prison in Linz in late 1947, in connection with his involvement in the Euthanasia programme at Schloss Hartheim.
Stangl simply walked out of the prison and managed to escape to Italy with his Austrian ex-collegue at Sobibor death camp, Gustav Wagner, with the help of Bishop Hudal and his Vatican network.
Stangl escaped via Rome on a Red Cross passport with an entrance visa for Syria. In 1948 he arrived in Damascus where he worked for three years as a mechanical engineer in a textile mill and was joined by his wife and family.
In 1951 the Stangl’s emigrated to Brazil where he was given an engineering job and after 1959 he worked at a Volkswagen factory, still using his own name.
Only in 1961 did his name appear on the official Austrian list of “Wanted Criminals” , though for years his responsibility in the deaths of hundreds of thousands Jewish men, women and children had been known to the Austrian authorities.
Tracked down by Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, Stangl was arrested in Brazil on 28 February 1967. After extradition to West Germany he was tried for co-responsibility in the mass murder of 900,000 Jews at Treblinka and sentenced to life imprisonment on 22 October 1970.
He died of heart failure in Dusseldorf prison on 28 June 1971.
- 26 March 1908~28 June 1971
Georg Michalsen was born Georg Michalczyk, in Wendrien on 13 September 1906. Michalsen had been an accountant in Oppeln and he joined the SS on 10 January 1932.
He was one of the SS members of Globocnik’s staff who was employed on building SS Strong-points in the East, such as Thomalla, Hofle, Claasen , Dolp and Hantke, Michaelsen was based in Riga.
Michalsen become one of the staff who worked for Odilo Globocnik’s Aktion Reinhard staff, and was involved in the deportation actions in Warsaw and Bialystok. He accompanied Hofle when they visited Adam Czerniakow at the Warsaw Judenrat building on 22 July 1942. He was a key figure in the “Ghetto Clearance Commando.”
Michalsen was charged to oversee incoming transports and would often personally conduct operations in the field. He was one of the SS officers caught along with Globocnik, Wirth and Hofle, when they were captured by a British patrol on 31 May 1945.
In 1961 when war crimes investigators closed in on him, he was living in Hamburg with his wife and eighteen year-old daughter. It was reported in the press at the time as saying, “During the war I was a soldier and sometime I worked in administration.”
When interrogated by the British he was careful to leave out any mention of serving in Lublin.
- 13 September 1906~
Ernst Lerch was born in Klagenfurt Austria on 19 November 1914. According to his initial British interrogation report, he was educated in Klagenfurt and briefly studied at the Hochschule fur Welthandel in Vienna.
From 1931 to 1934 he worked as a waiter in various hotels in Switzerland, France and Hungary to learn the hotel trade, from 1934 until Austria was annexed by the Reich, he was employed in the café of his father in Klagenfurt.
It was during this time at the café, he met Globocnik, kaltenbrunner and Kurt Kutscera who changed his surname to Claasen, who also worked with Globocnik in Lublin.
Lerch became a member of the illegal Nazi Party and the SD since 1936, the annexation brought him promotion to the rank of an SD-Hauptsturmfuhrer and he became an SD –Leiter, a post he resigned from in July 1938.
He was called up to serve in the German Army and served in the Polish campaign as a signals corporal, in 1940 he was released from the army and employed with the Fremdenverkehrsverband Karnten in connection with the resettlement of German hotel proprietors from South Tyrol.
According to Lerch in his interrogation with the British in September 1941 he joined the Waffen-SS and was appointed Rasse und Seidlungsfuhrer based in Krakow in the General Government.
However, Lerch joined Globocnik the SSPF Lublin on 20 December 1941 and became chief of Globocnik’s personal office and Stabsfuhrer der Allgemienen –SS.
Lerch played a leading role in Aktion Reinhard responsible for Jewish affairs and he was responsible for the radio link between the Aktion Reinhard Headquarters in Lublin and Berlin.
At the former trial of the former Gestapo Chief in Lublin, Hermann Worthoff’s it was stated that Lerch had overseen the liquidation of thousands of Jews from the Majdan Tatarski ghetto in Lublin at the nearby Krepiec Forest.
When Aktion Reinhard was finished, Lerch was transferred to Italy in September 1943, together with some of Globocnik’s staff. In Trieste he continued to serve as chief of Globocnik’s personal staff in Adriatic Coastal Area, he was also involved in anti-partisan operations, and for a few weeks Lerch was provisional police commander in Fiume.
After the German surrender in Italy, he made his way back to Carinthia, his homeland, where he was captured along with Gobocnik, Hofle, Michaelsen and Hellesberger, near the Wiessensee Lake.
Interrogated by the British in Wolfsberg from where he escaped and went into hiding between 1947 and 1950. Lerch was eventually brought to trial on 15 May 1972. The trial was held in Klagenfurt, however the case was eventually dropped on May 11, 1976 due to lack of witness testimony.
Ernst Lerch died in 1997 in Klagenfurt, having never been truly brought to justice.
- 19 November 1914~1997
Nazi henchman Silberbauer who arrested Anne Frank was West Germany's Spy
Silberbauer was tracked down in Vienna
The Gestapo officer who arrested the Holocaust victim Anne Frank was one of hundreds of Nazi henchmen who were later recruited by West German intelligence after the Second World War and worked for the organisation for years, a new book has revealed.
Karl Josef Silberbauer tracked down and arrested Anne Frank and her family as they were hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic in 1944. Anne died of typhus in Belsen in 1945. Her best-selling diary, discovered on the attic floor, survives as one of the most poignant memoirs of the Holocaust.
The role played by West German intelligence in offering Silberbauer refuge is outlined in a new book, Double Agents Unmasked, by Peter-Ferdinand Koch, a former editor of Der Spiegel magazine. His describes how the post-war intelligence services, or BND, were riddled with former SS men, many of whom were implicated in the Holocaust.
Silberbauer was used by the BND to infiltrate post-war Nazi organisations and report on suspect communist groups for over a decade. Mr Koch's book is published today on the 50th anniversary of the trial in Israel of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal who masterminded the Holocaust and who was also Silberbauer's commanding officer. The 472-page book is based on research carried out at the CIA's archives in Washington and the Nazi federal archives at Koblenz, Germany. Mr Koch reveals that some 200 former employees of the Nazi regime's main security office worked for the BND after the war.
Silberbauer was employed directly by Eichmann and answered to him at Berlin's infamous department IVB4, the headquarters of the programme to exterminate the Jews. Silberbauer was the officer in charge of the Gestapo squad which arrested the Frank family on 4 August, 1944. After the War, the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal tracked down Silberbauer, who was working as police inspector in Vienna.
Silberbauer was quoted as asking Wiesenthal after he burst in on him: "Why pick on me after all these years? I only did my duty. Now I am suspended and I have just bought some new furniture and how am I going to pay for it?" After a cursory investigation, Silberbauer was reinstated by the Austrian authorities who declared that he was only doing his job when he rounded up the Franks and dispatched them to their deaths.
His later employment as a spy, first for the Organisation Gehlen – West Germany's first spy agency – and subsequently the BND was hitherto unknown. Mr Koch reveals the BND believed Silberbauer's credentials as a former Gestapo officer would enable him to infiltrate easily the numerous secret Nazis groups in both Austria and Germany after 1945.He died aged 61 in 1972.
He is quoted as saying of Anne Frank's diary: "I bought the little book last week to see if I am in it. But I am not. Maybe I should have picked it up off the floor."
Adolf Eichmann~"the banality of evil."
Legend has it that in 1958, when Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal closed his office in Linz, Austria, and moved to Vienna, he kept just one file: that of Adolf Eichmann.
Wiesenthal and many other investigators had worked hard through the late 1940s to track down the architect of the Holocaust, in which about 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime. But by the late 1950s, Eichmann loomed large as the major Nazi figure who had evaded capture.
“The outstanding person at large was Adolf Eichmann,” explained Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Jerusalem office.
When Eichmann was finally captured in Argentina in 1960 and put on trial a year later in Israel, exactly 50 years ago on Tuesday, it was a watershed moment in the pursuit of Nazi war criminals and justice for Holocaust victims and survivors. It was, Zuroff told The Local, a shot in the arm for Nazi hunters like Wiesenthal, a milestone for Israel, and the first real chance for many survivors to tell their stories.
On Tuesday, the half-century anniversary of the start of Eichmann’s eight-month trial will be marked in Israel, Germany and the United States, the Israeli government has announced. The Nazi official responsible for masterminding the logistics of the “Final Solution,” as it was called, was eventually convicted and hung.
His capture was a story straight from the thriller novels. Throughout the 1950s, Wiesenthal gathered solid information that Eichmann was hiding in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian capital. He passed this on to the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, which sent a team to keep the Eichmann suspect under surveillance.
After several months, they concluded that the man now calling himself Ricardo Klement, a rabbit farmer and foreman at a Mercedes Benz plant, was indeed Eichmann.
Without the knowledge of the Argentinian authorities, Israeli agents snatched Eichmann off the street on May 11, 1960, bundled him into a car and drove him to a safe house. The agents then drugged Eichmann to make him appear drunk, dressed him in the uniform of a flight attendant for El Al airline and flew him to Israel. Their methods, when discovered, sparked a row with Argentina, which complained bitterly about the breach of sovereignty.
Eichmann went on trial in December 1961 in Israel. His efforts to persuade the judges that he was a humble bureaucrat failed, and he was convicted and hanged on May 31, 1962. His mild-mannered appearance prompted writer and political theorist Hannah Arendt to coin the phrase, "the banality of evil."
“He was the person responsible for all the logistics in the implementation of the Final Solution,” Zuroff said. “Contrary to the image he tried to project on the witness stand, he was a zealous advocate of the mass-murder of European Jews, not some dry, grey, idiotic, brainless civil servant who just carried out orders.”
It was, Israelis say today, a milestone for the Jewish people.
"It marked a turning point in which the State of Israel and the Jewish people began to mete out justice to their persecutors and said: Enough! No more," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the weekend.
Zuroff, the leading modern Nazi hunter and author of the new book "Operation Last Chance," which has just been translated into German, said the trial truly revitalized what had become a flagging effort by the early 1960s to catch Nazi suspects.
“The efforts to bring Nazis to justice had slowed down considerably and the whole effort was losing its momentum, and the Eichmann trial revitalized the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in the Federal Republic [of Germany]. That obviously was very important because the most important perpetrators were there or the Federal Republic was responsible for them.
“It had a tremendous impact on German society. It also had a tremendous impact for Israel. Until then, the survivors had had little opportunity to tell their story. The focus of the trial was the witness testimony. Also, it basically wasn’t only the individual criminal, Adolf Eichmann, on trial but the entire process.”
Wiesenthal’s own career as a Nazi hunter also got a major boost, he said.
“His career was revived in the wake of the Eichmann trial. It’s quite ironic. It was the Nazi he didn’t catch that really gave him the push that turned him into the world-famous figure.”
It has since emerged that both the German intelligence agency, the BND, and also the American agency, the CIA, knew of Eichmann’s whereabouts as early as 1952. Only at the weekend it was reported that the SS officer who arrestedAnne Frank, had gone on to work for the BND.
Last year, the New York Times revealed the existence of a 600-page report that said the CIA had created a “safe haven” for former Nazis who they used for post-war intelligence.
“There was a lot of dirty business going on, which of course comes as no comfort to Holocaust survivors or people who think Nazi war criminals deserve to end their lives in jail or at the end of a noose,” Zuroff said.
Today, the pursuit of Nazi war criminals is winding down as suspects and witnesses grow old and die. But there a strong final push is being made to bring suspects to justice. John Demjanjuk, a 90-year-old death camp guard accused of helping murder some 27,900 Jews, is being tried in Munich, while Hungarian former police captain Sandor Kepiro – whom Zuroff tracked down – is set to go on trial in Budapest on May 5.
“Obviously it’s getting harder and harder to prosecute Nazi war criminals, but precisely because we’re getting towards the end of this endeavour, in certain countries there is an energetic effort to try to maximize justice,” Zuroff said.
Adolf Otto Eichmann
(March 19, 1906 – May 31, 1962)
Was a German Naziand SS-Obersturmbannführer (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel in Wehrmacht) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by Obergruppenführer (General)Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of massdeportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupiedEastern Europe.
After the war, he fled to Argentina using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passerissued by the International Red Cross. He lived in Argentina under a false identity, working for Mercedes-Benz until 1960. He was captured by Mossad operatives in Argentina and taken to Israel to face trial in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was found guilty and executed by hanging in 1962. He is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.
Adolf Eichmann was born to a Lutheran family in Solingen, Germany. His parents were businessman and industrialist Adolf Karl Eichmann and Maria née Schefferling. After his mother died in 1914, his family moved to Linz, Austria. During the First World War, Eichmann's father served in the Austro-Hungarian Army. At the war's conclusion, Eichmann's father moved the family back to Linz where he operated a business. Eichmann left high school—Realschule—without having graduated and began training to become a mechanic, which he also discontinued. In 1923, he started working in the mining company of his father.
From 1925 to 1927 he worked as a sales clerk for theOberösterreichische Elektrobau AG and then until spring 1933 Eichmann worked as district agent for the Vacuum Oil Company AG, a subsidiary of Standard Oil. During this time he was a member of the Jungfrontkämpfervereinigung, the youth section of Hermann Hiltl's right-wing veterans movement. In July 1933 he moved back to Germany.
Eichmann married Veronika Liebl (1909–1997) on March 21, 1935. The couple had four sons: Klaus Eichmann (b. 1936 in Berlin), Horst Adolf Eichmann (b. 1940 in Vienna), Dieter Helmut Eichmann (b. 1942 in Prague) and Ricardo Francisco Eichmann (b. 1955 in Buenos Aires).
Work with the Nazi Party and the SS File:EichmannSSdoc.jpg Adolf Eichmann's Lebenslauf (i.e.,curriculum vitae) for his application for promotion from SS-Hauptscharführer to SS-Untersturmführer in 1937
On the advice of family friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Eichmann joined the Austrian branch of the NSDAP—member number 889,895—and the Schutzstaffel (SS). He enlisted on April 1, 1932, as anSS-Anwärter (Candidate). He was accepted as a full SS member that November, appointed an SS-Mann (Man), and assigned the SS number 45326.
For the next year, Eichmann was a member of the Allgemeine SS (General SS) and served in a mustering formation operating from Salzburg. In 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Eichmann returned to Germany and submitted an application to join the active duty SS regiments. He was accepted, and in November 1933, was promoted to Scharführer (Squad Leader) and assigned to the administrative staff of Dachau concentration camp.
By 1934, Eichmann requested transfer into the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS, to escape the "monotony" of military training inSS-Standarte Deutschland at Dachau. Eichmann was accepted into the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and assigned to the sub-office on "Freemasons" that was run by SS-Sturmbannführer Prof. Schwarz-Bostowitsch.
After a short time, Eichmann had a meeting in theWilhelmstrasse with Leopold von Mildenstein, a fellow Austrian, and was invited to join Mildenstein's "Jews Section", or Section II/112, of the SD at its Berlin headquarters. He later came to see this as his "big break".] Eichmann's transfer was granted in November 1934. In 1935, he was promoted to Hauptscharführer (Head Squad Leader) and later commissioned as an SS-Untersturmführer in 1937.
In 1937, Eichmann was sent to the British Mandate of Palestine with his superior Herbert Hagen to assess the possibilities of massive Jewishemigration from Germany to Palestine. They landed in Haifa but could obtain only a transit visa so they went on to Cairo.
There they met Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah, who discussed with them the plans of the Zionists and tried to enlist their assistance in facilitating Jewish emigration from Europe. According to an answer Eichmann gave at his trial, he had also planned to meet Arab leaders in Palestine, but this never happened because entry to Palestine was refused by the British authorities.
In 1938, Eichmann was assigned to Austria to help organize SS Security Forces in Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria with Germany. Through this effort, Eichmann was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer (1st Lieutenant) and, by the end of 1938, Eichmann had been selected by the SS leadership to form the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, charged with forcibly deporting and expelling Jews from Austria.
Participation of the Eichmannreferat during deportations: woman with children on the way to the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau (May/June 1944), photo by SSBernhard Walter, with permission of Eichmann (Auschwitz Album).
At the start of World War II, Eichmann had been promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) and had made a name for himself with his Office for Jewish Emigration. Through this work Eichmann made several contacts in the Zionist movement, which he worked with to speed up Jewish emigration from the Third Reich.
Eichmann returned to Berlin in 1939 after the formation of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office, RSHA). In December 1939, he was assigned to head RSHA Referat IV B4 (RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4), which dealt with Jewish affairs and evacuation, where he reported to Heinrich Müller.
In August 1940, he released his Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt (Reich Main Security Office: Madagascar Project), a plan for forced Jewish deportation that never materialized. He was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer(Major) in late 1940, and less than a year later to Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel).
Reinhard Heydrich disclosed to Eichmann in autumn 1941 that all the Jews in German-controlled Europe were to be murdered. In 1942, Heydrich ordered Eichmann to attend the Wannsee Conference as recording secretary, where Germany's anti-Semitic measures were set down into an official policy of genocide.
Eichmann was given the position of Transportation Administrator of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", which put him in charge of all the trains that would carry Jews to the death camps in the territory of occupied Poland.
In 1944, he was sent to Hungary after Germany had occupied that country prior to a Soviet invasion. Eichmann at first made an offer throughJoel Brand (who was to act as an intermediary) to trade captive European Jews to the Western Allies for trucks and other goods (see Blood for goods). When there was no positive response to this offer, Eichmann started deporting Jews, sending 430,000 Hungarians to their deaths in the gas chambers.
By 1945, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered Jewish extermination to be halted and evidence of the Final Solution to be destroyed. Eichmann was appalled by Himmler's turnabout, and continued his work in Hungary against official orders.
Eichmann was also working to avoid being called up in the last-ditch German military effort, since a year before he had been commissioned as a Reserve Untersturmführer in the Waffen-SS and was now being ordered to active combat duty.
Eichmann fled Hungary in 1945 as the Soviets entered, and he returned to Austria, where he met up with his old friend Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Kaltenbrunner, however, refused to associate with Eichmann since Eichmann's duties as an extermination administrator had left him a marked man by the Allies.
Adolf Eichmann's Red Cross–issued passport
At the end of World War II, Eichmann was captured by the U.S. Army, which was not aware of Eichmann's true identity as he presented himself as "Otto Eckmann." Early in 1946, he escaped from U.S. custody and hid in Altensalzkoth, an obscure hamlet on the Lüneburg Heath, for a few years. In 1948 he obtained a landing permit for Argentina, but did not use it immediately.
At the beginning of 1950, Eichmann went to Italy, where he posed as a refugee named Riccardo Klement. With the help of a Franciscan friar who had connections to Bishop Alois Hudal, who organized one of the first postwar escape routes for Axis personnel, Eichmann obtained an International Committee of the Red Cross humanitarian passport, issued in Genoa, and an Argentine visa. Both of these issued to "Ricardo Klement, technician."
However, Hannah Arendtclaims that Eichmann was assisted in his escape by ODESSA, "a clandestine organization of SSveterans". In early May 2007, this passport was discovered in court archives in Argentina by a student doing research on Eichmann's abduction.
Eichmann boarded a ship heading for Argentina on July 14, 1950. For the next 10 years, he worked in several odd jobs in the Buenos Aires area—from factory foreman, to junior water engineer and professional rabbit farmer. Eichmann also brought his family to Argentina.
BND and CIA inaction
Among the 27,000 documents was a March 1958 memo from the German BND agency to the CIA, which stated that Eichmann was reported to have lived in Argentina since 1952 using the alias "Clemens".
The CIA took no action on this information, because Eichmann's arrest could embarrass the US and Germany by turning public attention to the former Nazis they had recruited after World War II. For example, the West German government, headed by Konrad Adenauer, was worried about what Eichmann might say, especially about the past of Hans Globke, Adenauer's national security adviser, who had worked with Eichmann in the Jewish Affairs department and helped draft the 1935 Nuremberg Laws.
At the request of the West German government the CIA persuaded Life magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann's memoirs, which it had bought from his family.
By the time the CIA and the BND had this information, Israel had temporarily given up looking for Eichmann in Argentina because they could not discover his alias. Neither the CIA nor the US government as a whole at that time had a policy of pursuing Nazi war criminals. In addition to protecting Eichmann's and Globke's past, the CIA also protected Reinhard Gehlen, who recruited hundreds of former German spies for the CIA.
In 1948, the State of Israel was established. In 1949, its official intelligence agency, Mossad, was formed. One of Mossad's principal assigned tasks was to hunt down accused Nazi war criminals. Throughout the 1950s, many Jews and other victims of the Holocaust also dedicated themselves to finding Eichmann and other notorious Nazis.
Ich sah jenes schmutzige Schwein Eichmann. ("I saw that filthy pig Eichmann.") Er wohnt in der Nähe von Buenos Aires und arbeitet für ein Wassergeschäft. ("He lives near Buenos Aires and works for a water company.")
With this and other information collected by Wiesenthal, Israel had solid leads about Eichmann's whereabouts. However, Isser Harel, the head of Mossad, later claimed in an unpublished manuscript that Wiesenthal "had no role whatsoever" in Eichmann's apprehension but in fact had endangered the entire Eichmann operation and aborted the planned capture of Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele.
Eichmann changed his name but never changed those of his wife and sons. It was this that led to his capture.
Also instrumental in exposing Eichmann's identity was Lothar Hermann. He was a worker of Jewish descent who fled from Germany to Argentina following his incarceration in the Dachau concentration camp, where Eichmann had served at one time on the administrative staff.
By the 1950s, Hermann had settled into life in Buenos Aires with his family. His daughter Sylvia became acquainted with Eichmann's family and romantically involved with Eichmann's son, Klaus Eichmann. Klaus made boastful remarks about his father's life as a Nazi and direct responsibility for the Holocaust. In 1957, Hermann realized who Eichmann was after reading a newspaper report about German war criminals—of whom Eichmann was one.
Soon after, he sent Sylvia to the Eichmanns' home on a fact-finding mission. She was met at the door by Eichmann himself who identified himself as Klaus' uncle. Sylvia asked for Klaus, and, after learning that he was not home, sat down to wait and made small talk with the man.
On Klaus' return home, he immediately took Sylvia to the bus stop, but upon leaving his home, he addressed Eichmann as 'Father' Hermann soon began a correspondence with Fritz Bauer, chief prosecutor for the West German state of Hessen, and provided details about Eichmann's person and life. Bauer contacted Israeli officials, who worked sporadically with Hermann over the next several years trying to discover if this was really Eichmann.
In 1959, the Mossad was informed that Eichmann was in Buenos Aires under the name Ricardo Klement (Clement) and then began an effort to locate his exact whereabouts.
Through relentless surveillance, it was concluded that Ricardo Klement was, in fact, Adolf Eichmann. The Israeli government then approved a covert operation to capture Eichmann and bring him to Jerusalem for trial as a war criminal.
It was to be a joint operation, carried out by the Mossad and Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency. The Israelis continued their surveillance of Eichmann through the first months of 1960 until it was judged safe to take him.
Eichmann was captured by a team of Mossad and Shin Bet agents in a suburb of Buenos Aires on May 11, 1960. The Mossad agents had arrived in Buenos Aires in April 1960 after Eichmann's identity was confirmed. After observing Eichmann extensively, a team of Mossad agents waited for him as he arrived home from his work as foreman at a Mercedes Benz factory.
The Mossad developed a strategy (practiced in their hideout) that they would ambush Eichmann when he was walking from the bus stop to his house at 14 Garibaldi St (now 4261 Garibaldi Street) in San Fernando, Buenos Aires, an industrial community 20 km north of the center of Buenos Aires.
A backup car was involved, should their primary transportation break down. The Israelis also had forged license plates attached to their car. It was crucial that Eichmann couldn't be tipped off; otherwise he might vanish again.
The plan was almost abandoned when Eichmann was not present on the bus he usually took home. Tension rose when many passers-by inquired of the disguised Mossad agent who pretended to be fixing their broken down vehicle.
Finally, almost a half hour later, Eichmann got off a bus. A Mossad agent engaged him, asking him in Spanish if he had a moment. Eichmann was frightened and attempted to leave while blinded by Mossad headlights. Two Mossad men wrestled him to the ground and he was brought to the car. While in the car he reportedly told the Mossad, "I have already surrendered to my fate".
Then the Mossad agents ran into a police checkpoint and managed to evade the police when they checked their license plates. He was then brought to the Mossad safe house. There, he was tied to a chair, ungagged, and interrogated.
It was concluded that Klement (Clement) was undoubtedly Eichmann.
Eichmann was given a choice between instant death or trial in Israel. He chose to stand trial. The agents kept him in a safe house until they judged that he could be taken to Israel without being detected by Argentine authorities.
Eichmann was drugged to make him appear drunk and dressed as a flight attendant. They smuggled Eichmann out of Argentina on board an El Al Bristol Britannia flight from Argentina to Dakar and then to Israel on May 21, 1960. Eichmann arrived heavily sedated, and like the agents, disguised in the uniform of the El Al crew.
There had been a backup plan in case the apprehension did not go as planned. If the police happened to intervene, one of the agents was to handcuff himself to Eichmann and make full explanations and disclosure.
For some time the Israeli government denied involvement in Eichmann's capture, claiming that he had been taken by Jewish volunteers who eagerly turned him over to Israeli authorities. Negotiations followed between Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Argentine president Arturo Frondizi, while the abduction was met from radical right sectors in Argentina with a violent wave of antisemitism, carried on the streets by the Tacuara Nationalist Movement—including assaults, torture and bombings.
Ben-Gurion then announced Eichmann's capture to the Knesset—Israel's parliament—on May 23, receiving a standing ovation in return. Isser Harel, head of the Mossad at the time of the operation, wrote the book The House on Garibaldi Street about Eichmann's capture, which was made into the 1979 American television movie of the same name.
When Eichmann was brought to Israel for trial, the Israeli police officer Avner Less, was Eichmann's interrogator. Extracts from Less's interrogation of Eichmann have been published in the book Eichmann Interrogated (ISBN 0-88619-017-7), and the 2007 film Eichmann dramatizes Eichmann's interrogation.
Some years later, Peter Malkin, a member of the kidnapping team, wrote Eichmann in My Hands, which explores Eichmann's character and motivations, but its veracity has been questioned.
- (March 19, 1906 – May 31, 1962
International dispute over capture
In June 1960, after unsuccessful secret negotiations with Israel, Argentina requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council, to protest what Argentina regarded as the "violation of the sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic". In the ensuing debate, Israeli representative Golda Meir claimed that the abductors were not Israeli agents but private individuals and so the incident was only an "isolated violation of Argentine law".
Eventually the Council passed Resolution 138, which requested Israel "to make appropriate reparation", while stating that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused."
After further negotiations, on August 3, Israel and Argentina agreed to end their dispute with a joint statement that "the Governments of Israel and the Republic of the Argentine, imbued with the wish to give effect to the resolution of the Security Council of June 23, 1960, in which the hope was expressed that the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries will be advanced, have decided to regard as closed the incident that arose out of the action taken by Israel nationals which infringed fundamental rights of the State of Argentina."
In the subsequent trial and appeal, the Israeli courts avoided the issue of the legality of Eichmann's capture, relying instead on legal precedents that the circumstances of his capture had no bearing on the legality of his trial. The Israeli Court also determined that because "Argentina has condoned the violation of her sovereignty and has waived her claims, including that for the return of the Appellant, any violation of international law that may have been involved in this incident has thus been remedied."
Isser Harel, Chief Executive of the Secret Services of Israel (1952–1963), who headed the successful capture of Eichmann in Buenos Aires in 1960, feels they almost apprehended Josef Mengele. As he claims to have told the co-pilot that transported Eichmann at the time: "had it been possible to start the operation several weeks earlier Mengele might also have been on the plane." When they checked on the last known location for the "murderous doctor" in Argentina, he had apparently moved on just two weeks earlier.
Trial Eichmann in Jerusalem court, 1961.
Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem before the Jerusalem District Court began on April 11, 1961. He was indicted on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership in an outlawed organization.
In accordance with Israeli criminal procedure, the trial was presided over by three judges: Moshe Landau, Benjamin Halevyand Yitzhak Raveh. The chief prosecutor was Gideon Hausner, the Israeli Attorney General]. The three judges sat high atop a plain dais. The trial was held at the Beit Ha'am—today known as the Gerard Behar Center—an auditorium in downtown Jerusalem.
Eichmann sat inside a bulletproof glass booth to protect him from victims' families. This image inspired the novel, stage play, and filmThe Man in the Glass Booth, although the plot of the drama has nothing to do with the actual events of the Eichmann trial.
The legal basis of the charges against Eichmann was the 1950 "Nazi and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law".
The trial caused huge international controversy, as well as an international sensation. The Israeli government allowed news programs all over the world to broadcast the trial live with few restrictions. The trial began with various witnesses, including many Holocaust survivors, who testified against Eichmann and his role in transporting victims to the extermination camps.
One key witness for the prosecution was an American judge named Michael A. Musmanno, who was a U.S. naval officer in 1945. Musmanno had questioned the Nuremberg defendants and would later go on to become a Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He testified that the late Hermann Göring "made it very clear that Eichmann was the man to determine, in what order, in what countries, the Jews were to die."
Eichmann, speaking in his own defense, said that he did not dispute the facts of what happened during the Holocaust. During the whole trial, Eichmann insisted that he was only "following orders"—the same Nuremberg Defense used by some of the Nazi war criminals during the 1945–1946 Nuremberg Trials.
He testified that: "I never did anything, great or small, without obtaining in advance express instructions from Adolf Hitler or any of my superiors."
During cross-examination, prosecutor Hausner asked Eichmann if he considered himself guilty of the murder of millions of Jews. Eichmann replied: "Legally not, but in the human sense ... yes, for I am guilty of having deported them".
When Hausner produced as evidence a quote by Eichmann in 1945 stating: "I will leap into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction." Eichmann countered the claim saying that he was referring only to "enemies of the Reich".
Witnesses for the defense, all of them former high-ranking Nazis, were promised immunity and safe conduct from their German and Austrian homes to testify in Jerusalem on Eichmann's behalf. All of them refused to travel to Israel, but they sent the court depositions.
However, almost none of the depositions supported Eichmann's "following orders" defense. One deposition was from Otto Winkelmann, a former senior SS police leader in Budapest in 1944. His memo stated that "(Eichmann) had the nature of a subaltern, which means a fellow who uses his power recklessly, without moral restraints.
He would certainly overstep his authority if he thought he was acting in the spirit of his commander [Adolf Hitler]". Franz Six, a former SS brigadier general in the German security service, who was assigned the supervision of the occupation of the United Kingdom had Operation Sea Lion been successful, said in his deposition that Eichmann was an absolute believer in National Socialism and would act to the most extreme of the party doctrine, and that Eichmann had greater power than other department chiefs.
After 14 weeks of testimony with more than 1,500 documents, 100 prosecution witnesses (90 of whom were Nazi concentration camp survivors) and dozens of defense depositions delivered by diplomatic couriers from 16 different countries, the Eichmann trial ended on August 14.
At that point, the judges began deliberations in seclusion. On December 11, the three judges announced their verdict: Eichmann was convicted on all counts. Eichmann had said to the court that he expected the death penalty.
On December 15, the court imposed a death sentence. Eichmann appealed the verdict, mostly relying on legal arguments about Israel's jurisdiction and the legality of the laws under which he was charged. He also claimed that he was protected by the principle of "Acts of State" and repeated his "following orders" defense.
On May 29, 1962 Israel's Supreme Court, sitting as a Court of Criminal Appeal, rejected the appeal and upheld the District Court's judgment on all counts. In rejecting his appeal again claiming that he was only "following orders", the court stated that, "Eichmann received no superior orders at all.
He was his own superior and he gave all orders in matters that concerned Jewish affairs ... the so-called Final Solution would never have assumed the infernal forms of the flayed skin and tortured flesh of millions of Jews without the fanatical zeal and the unquenchable blood thirst of the appellant and his associates." A large number of prominent persons sent requests for clemency.
On May 31, Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi turned down Eichmann's petition for mercy. On the telegram that Eichmann's wife, Vera, sent in support of the clemency, Ben-Zvi added in his handwriting a passage from the First Book of Samuel: "As your sword bereaved women, so will your mother be bereaved among women." (1 Samuel 15:33, Samuel's words to Agag, king of the Amalekites).
In 1999, 128 minutes of the original video recordings made during court sessions of the Eichmann trial were released to cinemas and later to home video under the title Un spécialiste (The Specialist in the US). The title is related to Eichmann's wartime reputation as a "specialist" in logistics regarding the expatriation, expropriation, and deportation of Jewish people.
West German government attempts to influence the trial Execution
Secret German documents made available in 2011 to the German periodical Der Spiegel indicate that the Adenauer government was in a panic after the arrest of Eichmann.
There was fear that a trial would highlight a number of former high level government officials who had served the Nazis, particularly Hans Globke who was the Chancellery Chief of Staff and a close advisor to Chancellor Adenauer.
An agent from the German Intelligence Service, Rolf Vogel, was sent to the trial in the guise of a reporter for the German newspaper, Deutsche Zeitung. Vogel worked closely with the Israeli prosecutors, making sure that there would be no implication of Globke and other former Nazis.
He even arranged a meeting with David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister where he expressed the German concern. Vogel came away with the impression that the names of people like Globke would not be raised at the trial.
At the same time, negotiations for a large arms purchase by Israel from the FRG were taking place. In the event, no mention was made during the trial nor were there any reference which were made public from the interrogations of Eichmann to former Nazi German officials. In 1962, military aid worth some 240 million DM was approved by the German government.
Eichmann was hanged shortly before midnight on May 31, 1962, at a prison in Ramla, Israel. This remains the only civil execution ever carried out in Israel, which has a general policy of not enforcing the death penalty. Eichmann allegedly refused a last meal, preferring instead a bottle of Carmel, a dry red Israeli wine, consuming about half the bottle. He also refused to don the traditional black hood for his execution.
There is some dispute over Eichmann's last words. One account states that these were:
Long live Germany. Long live Austria. Long live Argentina. These are the countries with which I have been most closely associated and I shall not forget them. I had to obey the rules of war and my flag. I am ready.
Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family, and my friends. I am ready. We'll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men. I die believing in God.
Shortly after the execution, Eichmann's body was cremated in a specially designed furnace, and a stretcher on tracks was used to place the body into it.
The next morning, June 1, his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean, beyond the territorial waters of Israel by an Israeli Navy patrol boat. This was to ensure that there could be no future memorial and that no country would serve as his final resting place.
- May 31, 1962
Uncovering Lost Path of the Most Wanted Nazi
ZDF German Television
By SOUAD MEKHENNET and NICHOLAS KULISH Published: February 4, 2009
CAIRO — Even in old age the imposingly tall, athletic German known to locals as Tarek Hussein Farid maintained the discipline to walk some 15 miles each day through the busy streets of Egypt’s capital. He walked to the world-renowned Al Azhar mosque here, where he converted to Islam, and to the ornate J. Groppi Cafe downtown, where he ordered the chocolate cakes he sent to friends and bought the bonbons he gave to their children, who called him Uncle Tarek.Multimedia Shawn Baldwin for The New York Times
The Kasr el Madina Hotel in Cairo, where Aribert Ferdinand Heim lived under the name of Tarek Hussein Farid.LKA Baden-Wuerttemberg, via Associated Press
Aribert Ferdinand Heim in a photo released in 1950.
Friends and acquaintances here in Egypt also remember him as an avid amateur photographer who almost always wore a camera around his neck, but never allowed himself to be photographed. And with good reason: Uncle Tarek was born Aribert Ferdinand Heim, a member of Hitler’s elite Waffen-SS and a medical doctor at the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps.
It was behind the gray stone walls of Mauthausen, in his native Austria, that Dr. Heim committed the atrocities against hundreds of Jews and others that earned him the nickname Dr. Death and his status as the most wanted Nazi war criminal still believed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to be at large.
Dr. Heim was accused of performing operations on prisoners without anesthesia; removing organs from healthy inmates, then leaving them to die on the operating table; injecting poison, including gasoline, into the hearts of others; and taking the skull of at least one victim as a souvenir. After living below the radar of Nazi hunters for more than a decade after World War II — much of it in the German spa town of Baden-Baden where he had a wife, two sons and a medical practice as a gynecologist — he escaped capture just as investigators closed in on him in 1962.
His hiding place, as well as his death in 1992, have remained unknown until now.
Investigators in Israel and Germany have repeatedly said that they believed Dr. Heim was alive and hiding in Latin America, near where a woman alleged to be his illegitimate daughter lived in Chile. Witnesses from Finland to Vietnam and from Saudi Arabia to Argentina have sent tips and reported sightings to investigators.
A dusty briefcase with rusted buckles, sitting nearly forgotten in storage here in Cairo, hid the truth behind Dr. Heim’s flight to the Middle East. Obtained by The New York Times and the German television station ZDF from members of the Doma family, proprietors of the hotel here where Dr. Heim resided, the files in the briefcase tell the story of his life, and death, in Egypt.
The briefcase contains an archive of yellowed pages, some in envelopes that were still sealed, of Dr. Heim’s letters and medical test results, his financial records and an underlined, annotated article from a German magazine about his own manhunt and trial in absentia, even drawings of soldiers and trains by the children he left behind in Germany. Some documents are in the name Heim, others Farid, but many of the latter, like an application for Egyptian residency under the name Tarek Hussein Farid, have the same birthday, June 28, 1914, and the same place of birth, Radkersburg, Austria, as Dr. Heim.
Although none of the 10 friends and acquaintances in Cairo who identified a photograph of Dr. Heim knew his real identity, they described signs that he might have been on the run. “My idea, which I’ve taken from my father at that time, is that he was in dispute with maybe the Jews, but he took refuge in Cairo at that time,” said Tarek Abdelmoneim el Rifai, the son of Abdelmoneim el Rifai, 88, Dr. Heim’s dentist in Cairo and close friend.
A certified copy of a death certificate obtained from Egyptian authorities confirmed witness accounts that the man called Tarek Hussein Farid died in 1992. “Tarek Hussein Farid is the name my father took when he converted to Islam,” said his son Rüdiger Heim. In an interview in the family’s villa in Baden-Baden, Mr. Heim, 53, admitted publicly for the first time that he was with his father in Egypt at the time of his death from rectal cancer.
“It was during the Olympics. There was a television in the room, and he was watching the Olympics. It distracted him. He must have been suffering from serious pain,” said Mr. Heim, who is tall, like his father, with a long mournful face and speaks softly and carefully. Dr. Aribert Heim died the day after the Games ended, on Aug. 10, 1992, according to his son and the death certificate.
Mr. Heim said he learned of his father’s whereabouts through his aunt, who has since died. He said he did not come forward because he did not wish to bring trouble to any of his father’s friends in Egypt. As the number of surviving Nazi war criminals has dwindled, his father’s case has grown in prominence.
Shelter in the Middle East
Despite the newly uncovered evidence of Dr. Heim’s time in Egypt, it is impossible to definitively close his case, with the location of his burial site still a mystery.
His death would be a significant but hitherto unknown milestone in the winding up of the passionate and at times controversial hunt for Nazi war criminals that led to the trial and execution of the Holocaust planner Adolf Eichmann but never managed to catch up with Josef Mengele, the most famous of the Nazi doctors, who died in Brazil in 1979, as forensic tests later proved.
While the secret lives of Nazis in countries like Argentina and Paraguay captured the popular imagination in books and films like “The Odessa File” and “The Boys From Brazil,” the Heim case casts light on the often overlooked history of their flight to the Middle East.
Until political winds shifted, ex-Nazis were welcomed in Egypt in the years after World War II, helping in particular with military technology. Rüdiger Heim said that his father told him he knew other Nazis there, but tried to steer clear of them.
Even so, how Dr. Heim was able to elude his pursuers for so long, while receiving money from Europe, most notably from his late sister, Herta Barth, and corresponding with friends and family in long letters, is unclear.
“The Arab world was an even better, a safer haven than South America,” said Efraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who had been searching for Dr. Heim and traveled to Chile last July to raise awareness about the case. Mr. Zuroff expressed surprise when informed of Dr. Heim’s apparent fate, saying the center had been about to raise the reward for information leading to his arrest to $1.3 million from $400,000.
A Trail Gone Cold
The only time Dr. Heim was ever jailed was after World War II when he was held by the American military in Germany. But the military released him, apparently unaware that investigators in Austria were building a case against him. A United States war crimes team took testimony about his crimes from Josef Kohl, a former inmate at Mauthausen, on Jan. 18, 1946, less than a year after the German surrender.
“Dr. Heim had a habit of looking into inmates’ mouths to determine whether their teeth were in impeccable condition,” Mr. Kohl said, according to a transcript of the interview. “If this were the case, he would kill the prisoner with an injection, cut his head off, leave it to cook in the crematorium for hours, until all the flesh was stripped from the naked skull, and prepare the skull for himself and his friends as a decoration for their desks.”
Mr. Zuroff said that because Dr. Heim was at Mauthausen for a short time early in the war, in the fall of 1941, he was “aware of no people alive today who suffered at his hands and can give first-hand testimony of his crimes.”
German investigators said that Dr. Heim was careful throughout the postwar period when less-controlled people might have let down their guard.
Investigators noted that Dr. Heim, a talented ice hockey player, stayed out of pictures when his hockey team posed for its group portrait, even after they won the German championship. Dr. Heim owned an apartment building in Berlin, which investigators said for years provided him with income for his life incognito.
At the headquarters of the Baden-Württemberg state police in Stuttgart today, small magnets freckle a map of the world, marking the spots where clues or reports of sightings surfaced. Investigators said that they had searched continuously since his disappearance in 1962, checking more than 240 leads and ruling out several people thought to be Dr. Heim. While they never caught him, they appear to have come tantalizingly close to his hiding place in the Middle East.
“There was information that Heim was in Egypt working as a police doctor between 1967 and the beginning of the ’70s,” said Joachim Schäck, head of the fugitive unit at the state police. “This lead proved to be false.”
According to his son, Dr. Heim had left Germany and driven through France and Spain before crossing into Morocco, and eventually settling in Egypt. “It was only sheer coincidence that the police could not arrest me because I was not at home at the time,” Dr. Heim wrote in a letter to the German magazine Spiegel, after it published a report about his war-crimes case in 1979. It is unclear whether he ever sent the letter, which was found in his files, many of which were written in meticulous cursive style in German or English.
In the letter he also accused Simon Wiesenthal, who was interned at Mauthausen, of being “the one who invented these atrocities.” Dr. Heim went on to discuss what he called Israeli massacres of Palestinians, and added that “the Jewish Khazar, Zionist lobby of the U.S. were the first ones who in 1933 declared war against Hitler’s Germany.”
The Turkic ethnic group the Khazars were a recurring theme for Dr. Heim, who kept himself busy in Cairo, researching a paper he wrote in English and German, decrying the possibility of anti-Semitism owing to the fact, he said, that most Jews were not Semitic in ethnic origin. Mr. Rifai recalled that Dr. Heim had shown his family many different drafts of the paper, which were among the papers found in the briefcase that The Times and ZDF television obtained. A list also showed plans to send drafts of the paper to prominent people around the world — under the name Dr. Youssef Ibrahim — including the United Nationssecretary general, Kurt Waldheim, the United States national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Yugoslavia’s leader, Marshal Tito.
Life as Uncle Tarek
He formed close bonds with his neighbors, including the Doma family, which ran the Kasr el Madina hotel, where Dr. Heim lived the last decade before his death. Mahmoud Doma, whose father owned the establishment, said Dr. Heim spoke Arabic, English and French, in addition to German. Mr. Doma said his neighbor read and studied the Koran, including a copy in German that the Domas had ordered for him.
Mr. Doma, 38, became emotional when talking about the man he knew as Uncle Tarek, whom he said gave him books and encouraged him to study. “He was like a father. He loved me and I loved him.”
He recalled how Uncle Tarek bought rackets and set up a tennis net on the hotel roof, where he and his siblings played with the German Muslim until sundown. But by 1990, Dr. Heim’s good health began to fail him and his illness was diagnosed as cancer.
After his death, his son Rüdiger insisted that they follow his father’s wishes and donate the body to science, not an easy task in a Muslim country where the rules dictate a swift burial and dissection is opposed. Mr. Doma, who wanted to put Uncle Tarek in the family crypt next to his father, opposed the plan.
The two men rode in a white van with the body of Dr. Heim, which had been washed and wrapped in a white sheet in accordance with Muslim tradition and placed in a wooden coffin. Mr. Doma said they bribed a hospital functionary to take the body, but Egyptian authorities found out, and Dr. Heim was instead interred in a common grave, anonymously.
From the Briefcase of Dr. Aribert Heim
The New York Times obtained the personal archives of the most wanted Nazi war criminal, which tell the story of his life, and death, in Egypt.In His Own Words
In addition to his will, Aribert Heim penned extensive rebuttals to charges against him as well a lengthy paper attacking allegations of anti-Semitism.Medical Documents
Dr. Heim, who died in 1992, maintained a file of medical documents related to his diagnosis and treatment of rectal cancer.Official Papers
Over the nearly 30 years he lived in Egypt, Dr. Heim saved an array of official documents, including copies of his Egyptian residence papers and bank statements.Articles
Dr. Heim collected articles about his case and other Nazis.Death Certificate
Dr. Heim, who converted to Islam and taken the name Tarek Hussein Farid, died August 10, 1992.
A native Ukrainian, John (né Ivan) Demjanjuk has said he was conscripted into the Red Army in 1940 and captured by the Nazis in 1942. The following three years are up for debate. Prosecutors say he volunteered for the German SS and was trained as a camp guard. Substantial evidence places Demjanjuk at Nazi camps.
• After living in Bavaria immediately following World War II, Demjanjuk emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Cleveland. He toiled unremarkably until 1977, when evidence that he may have served as a Nazi guard sparked an investigation into his past.
In 1981 an Ohio court ruled that Demjanjuk was indeed an escaped Nazi war criminal and stripped him of his citizenship. Israeli police, acting on a tip from U.S. immigration officials, found several Treblinka survivors who identified Demjanjuk as the notorious Ivan the Terrible. (Some have argued that the process by which Demjanjuk was identified was legally flawed.)
• In 1986 Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel. Two years later, after a much heralded trial that featured testimony from five Treblinka survivors, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.
• Demjanjuk's case was reopened in 1993 after Israeli courts unveiled testimony from 37 former guards and laborers at Treblinka that suggested Demjanjuk was not their man. The aggregated statements — which had been withheld at trials — instead implicated another Ukrainian, Ivan Marchenko. The Israeli Supreme Court found that while Demjanjuk had served as a guard at three concentration camps, he was not, in fact, the infamous Nazi. His conviction and death sentence were vacated.
• Following his release, Demjanjuk returned to the U.S., where his citizenship was restored in 1998. The following year, new evidence spurred the U.S. Justice Department to rekindle the case.
• He has since fought an ongoing battle against U.S. authorities seeking to deport him. In 2005 an immigration court ruled that he could be sent to Germany, Poland or his native Ukraine, and last May, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The charges brought against him in Germany were triggered by recently obtained lists of Jews transported to Sobibor during Demjanjuk's alleged tenure at the camp in 1943.
Ivan Demjanjuk Also known as John Demjanjuk, the U.S. resident and Ford auto plant worker first came under suspicion in 1977 of being Treblinka Concentration Camp guard "Ivan the Terrible." (For Ford, Demjanjuk worked on Diesel engines; in court, he was accused of operating the Diesel engines at the gas chambers.)
In 1986, he was extradited to Israel to face charges, and in 1988 was sentenced to death for war crimes -- a sentence overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993. The fact that he served at the Sobibor and Majdanek death camps was less in doubt, and in 2002 was ordered deported to Ukraine by a U.S. judge. His 2008 appeal of the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court failed; the same week, Poland dropped its investigation into his war activities.
Ending a trial that had dragged on for almost 18 months, a court in the south German city of Munich on Thursday convicted 91-year-old John Demjanjuk of being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews at the Sobibor concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and sentenced him to five years in prison. The presiding judge, Ralph Alt, said the court found that Demjanjuk served as a Nazi guard at the camp in 1943 and, as such, played a crucial role in the "Nazi machinery."
The court sentenced Demjanjuk to five years in prison, and then set him free, saying he would not have to stay in jail pending his appeal — a decision that provoked a furious response from the families of Holocaust victims. Judge Alt defended the decision by noting that Demjanjuk had already spent two years in detention awaiting trial and, being both old and stateless, is not considered a flight risk.(Was the evidence used against Demjanjuk faked?)
Throughout the trial, Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, wearing his trademark baseball cap and sun-glasses, remained silent about the charges leveled against him. When the verdict was read out on Thursday, he looked on impassively from his wheelchair. "He was part of the machinery of extermination," the judge told the packed courtroom, adding that the court was convinced Demjanjuk served as a guard at Sobibor from March 27, 1943 to mid-September 1943.
As he delivered the verdict, Judge Alt described how thousands of Jews arrived at the camp on trains from the Netherlands, were forced to undress, and then were herded into the gas chambers — where they desperately tried to open the doors from the inside before they met their deaths.
Some of the victims' relatives, who had traveled to Munich for the verdict, broke down in tears as the judge read out the long list of those who were killed at Sobibor. "For me, it is justice. This chapter is finally over — he received a sentence," Jan Goedel, whose parents and grandparents died at the camp, told reporters.(See more on Demjanjuk's trial.)
Thursday's verdict was the culmination of a long and tortuous legal battle. In 1988, Demjanjuk was sentenced to death by a court in Israel after he was identified as the brutal guard known as "Ivan the Terrible" from the Treblinka concentration camp.
But the verdict was overturned in 1993 by Israel's Supreme Court, which found Demjanjuk was the victim of mistaken identity. The trial in Munich began in November 2009, after Demjanjuk was extradited to Germany from the U.S., where he had settled in Ohio in 1952.
Germans have been watching the trial closely, as the nation continues to struggle to come to terms with its Nazi history. German authorities have recently stepped up efforts to bring suspected Nazi war criminals to justice after facing criticism in the past that some suspects had evaded prosecution.
In January, German tabloid Bild reported on documents from Germany's foreign intelligence service which revealed that the country's spy agency knew where Adolf Eichmann, chief architect of the Holocaust, was hiding in 1952, eight years before he was captured in Buenos Aires by Israeli agents.
Back then, Eichmann was the most significant Nazi war criminal still at large. The revelations were heralded as a "sensation" by historians and commentators, who said they added further weight to the accusation that West Germany lacked the political will to put former Nazis on trial in the post-war years.(See photos of Adolf Hitler's rise to power.)
But these days German authorities are eager to show that they are serious about bringing Nazi criminals to justice. And Demjanjuk's case may have made that task a little easier. Although the prosecutors weren't able to prove that Demjanjuk committed a specific crime, his presence at Sobibor was enough to convict him of being an accessory to murder. Some historians say the verdict could pave the way for future war-crimes trials. According to Jürgen Zarusky, an expert in Nazi history at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, the quest to bring surviving Nazis to justice doesn't end with Demjanjuk — there are several other Nazi war-crimes cases pending. "This verdict could make it easier for future prosecutions of Nazi war crimes suspects in death camps," says Zarusky, "because [it] has shown that having been a guard in an extermination camp is sufficient proof for a court that the person concerned was complicit in murder."
Following the court ruling on Thursday, Demjanjuk's attorney, Ulrich Busch, immediately filed an appeal and told TIME he hoped the retired autoworker would one day be able to join his family back in the U.S. "John Demjanjuk is free, but he has no passport and no citizenship and he will have to stay in Germany for the time being," Busch said. "He's a very old and sick man and he should be with his family."
But Jewish groups and the families of Holocaust victims are far from happy. "Demjanjuk's release is totally inappropriate given the fact he was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of tens of thousands of Jews," says Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and director of the center's Israel office. "It's an insult to Demjanjuk's victims."
Dr. Sandor Kepiro
Dr. Sandor Kepiro Kepiro was a Hungarian police captain during the three-day Novi Sad, Serbia, massacre in 1942, in which more than 1,200 civilians were killed -- shot along the Danube and dumped into the freezing waters. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1944, but was set free by Hungary's fascist regime and fled to Argentina. Two years later, Hungary's communist government convicted him of war crimes in absentia. After that regime fell, Kepiro returned in 1996. Ten years later, the Wiesenthal Center discovered his whereabouts and held a press conference outside his Budapest apartment. Kepiro told reporters that he did round up victims, but claims that soldiers and not his paramilitary police committed the killings. Hungary has opened a new probe.
Milivoj Asner INTERPOL Asner served as a Croatian police chief of the Ustasha, and is accused of sending hundreds of Jews, Gypsies and Serbs to death camps. By 1942, the entire Jewish community in Asner's town, Pozega, was wiped out. After the war, Asner fled to Austria, where he was granted citizenship. Some five decades later he felt comfortable enough to settle again near Pozega, where he was discovered by a young Croatian historian. Asner promptly fled back to Austria. In 2005, Croatia requested extradition, but Austria denied the request on the basis of Asner's citizenship. When it was discovered that he's lost his citizenship, Austria denied extradition on
Soeren Kam A former SS officer, Kam has been indicted in Denmark for the 1943 slaying of anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen. Germany refused his extradition, maintaining that the kidnapping and slaying was manslaughter and not murder, thus the statute of limitations had supposedly expired. The Daily Telegraph, probing Kam's life in Germany last fall, noted he "has regularly attended veterans' rallies of SS men. He has also been closely associated with Heinrich Himmler's daughter Gudrun Burwitz and her network Stille Hilfe (Silent Aid), set up to support arrested, condemned or fugitive former SS men." Danish authorities are now investigating his role in the deportation of Jews.
After the war, while in Allied custody, Boere admitted killing three men -- Fritz Hubert Ernst Bicknese, Teun de Groot and F.W. Kusters -- in 1944 as part of a Waffen-SS hit squad tasked with taking out the Dutch resistance. Boere found shelter in Germany before a Dutch court convicted him in the slayings in 1949. Germany has since refused to extradite him. Yet in April 2008, a German prosecutor brought charges against Boere in what was dubbed as possibly Germany's last World War II war crimes trial. "I'm not interested in what happened back then," Boere told Der Spiegel last fall. UPDATE: Boere was convicted on charges of killing the trio and sentenced to life in prison by a German court on March 23, 2010.
Karoly (Charles) Zentai
Karoly (Charles) Zentai Hungarian Karoly Zentai, who later anglicized his name to Charles, is accused of conducting manhunts against and committing slayings of Jews in Budapest. Witnesses claim that in 1944, Zentai pulled a Jewish teen (Peter Balazs) not wearing his yellow star off a train, took him to army barracks, beat him to death, then threw his body into the Danube. Hungary has been trying to get Zentai extradited from Australia since 2005. Zentai's attorneys joined a technical challenge to the extradition law mounted by an Irishman wanted for fraud in Dublin. Efraim Zuroff, Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the legal morass in Australia "one of the most bizarre efforts ever mounted to block the prosecution of a Holocaust perpetrator."
The Last Days of Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Personal recollections of the capture and show trial of an intelligence chief.
THE LAST DAYS OF ERNST KALTENBRUNNER
The list of the 22 once exalted Nazis on trial at Nuremberg was led by the notorious names Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop, and Keitel, in that order. The man who came fifth, after Robert Ley's suicide, was not well known to the public, either in Germany or abroad.
The prosecution was distressed that documents bearing his signature were few and far between. His name had rarely appeared in public print. The official Reich photographer, Heinrich Hoffman, had been unable to find in his extensive collection a likeness of the man.
The press kept running some other Nazi official's photo to represent him and getting mixed up about what his position and duties had been. This obscurity was fitting and proper from the professional point of view, for Ernst Kaltenbrunner had headed the at last unified Reich intelligence and security services.
Succeeding after Reinhard Heydrich's assassination in June 19421 to the chieftainship of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, Kaltenbrunner inherited the RSHA's ascendancy over Admiral Canaris' Abwehr which Heydrich had achieved, and eventually, with the assistance of circumstance, he contrived to have the Abwehr completely abolished and its main remnants made the RSHA's Militaerisches Amt, to be directed along with its foreign intelligence Amt VI by Walter Schellenberg. Amt III, under Ohlendorf, was the internal Sicherheitsdienst, and Mueller's Amt IV the Gestapo. But Kaltenbrunner's main interest lay in foreign affairs: according to Schellenberg he aspired to get hold of the foreign ministry in place of Ribbentrop, whom he hated.
He was a powerful man. Even Himmler, to whom he theoretically reported, feared him: asked in April 1945 to receive some Swedish delegates from the Jewish World Congress, Himmler said to Schellenberg,
"How am I going to do that with Kaltenbrunner around? I should then be completely at his mercy." (Schellenberg considered Kaltenbrunner, his immediate boss, to be one of his own "most active and dangerous enemies" and therefore worked closely with Himmler.) Kaltenbrunner, not Himmler, was entrusted with the investigation of the July 1944 attempt on Hitler. He often by-passed Himmler to report directly to Hitler, with whom he had had personal ties since childhood, and toward the end spent several hours with him daily.
On the Scent of the Chief Werewolf
After the Siegfried Line was breached and Nazi Germany began to fall apart, it was said that the hard core of Party leaders and their Waffen SS would hole up in a National Redoubt which they had made ready in the Austrian Alps and from there descend to prey like werewolves on the Allied occupation forces.
This bad dream, of course, never came true, and later there was a good deal of scoffing at the "myth." But at the beginning of May in 1945 there was nothing mythical about either the Werewolves or the National Redoubt. As General Walter Bedell Smith said, "We had every reason to believe the Nazis intended to make their last stand among the crags."5 All of our intelligence pointed to the Alpine area east and south of Salzburg as the final fortress for the Goetterdaemmerung of the remaining Nazi fanatics.
Reconnaissance photographs showed that they were installing bunkers and ammunition and supply depots in this mountain region. Interrogations of military and political prisoners indicated that government officers, ranking Party leaders, and the SS troops were moving to the Redoubt, leaving it to the Wehrmacht to stem the allied advance.
Under these circumstances the 80th Infantry Division, Third U.S. Army, was ordered back on May 3 from its meeting with the Russian troops at Steyr on the Enns river to a position about sixty kilometers north of the center of the National Redoubt area. I was in charge of the CIC team covering the area of the 80th Division's 319th Regiment. Interpreter Sydney Bruskin of New Haven, Connecticut, worked closely with me.
On May 5 we arrested and interrogated the Party leader of the village of Vorchdorf. He revealed that two days earlier August Eigruber, Gauleiter of Upper Austria, had passed through Vorchdorf on his way to Gmunden on Traunsee, a fashionable resort about sixty kilometers east of Salzburg in the foothills of the mountain Redoubt.
Gmunden was beyond our prescribed area, but a Gauleiter was too tempting a quarry; there were only four in Austria, 42 in all the Greater Reich. So we took up the pursuit. But in Gmunden the Austrian police told us that during the previous week not only Eigruber but also Kaltenbrunner and Reichsleiter Ley of the German Labor Front had passed through.
Here was big game indeed. They had been headed for the heart of the Redoubt in the Salzkammergut, a mountain fastness dotted with salt mines and extending from Attersee through St. Wolfgang and Bad Ischl to Bad Aussee in the Steiermark.
Proceeding the same day up the long Traunsee shore into the Redoubt area with a tank battalion, Sid and I were afforded the opportunity to examine a concrete manifestation of Kaltenbrunner's work, the concentration camp at Ebensee. Part of the Mauthaeusen extermination system built up by Kaltenbrunner when he had been the "Little Himmler" of Austria, it seemed more horrible even than Dachau or Ohrdruf.
Bodies that one would never have believed could exist alive were walking around, covered with sores and lice. The filth was indescribable. Adjacent to the crematorium were rooms piled high with shrunken nude bodies, lye thrown over them to combat the stench and vermin. The excess bodies that couldn't be handled at the crematorium were hauled by the wagonload to another part of the enclosure, where they were dumped into open pits filled with a chemical solution.
Worse still was the hospital, where the dying and sick had been herded for experimentation before being carted off to the crematorium. There were no beds in it; the inmates lay on shelves covered with dirty rags, groups of two or three huddled together like mice to keep warm.
As we entered they put out their hands and begged for food. When we told them we had none, but that the American medics and military government personnel would be along immediately, they broke down and sobbed, "We have waited for you four, five, six years. Now you come empty-handed."
On the next day, May 6, we seemed about to close in on Kaltenbrunner, the man who shared with Himmler and SSI General Poehl responsibility for the whole system of Nazi concentration camps. We had pushed sixteen kilometers into the Redoubt without encountering any sign of resistance and reached Bad Ischl, home of Franz Lehar and formerly the summer residence of Emperor Franz Josef I.
Here we were told "on reliable authority" that at that moment Kaltenbrunner and his wife were in Strobl, a town ten kilometers to the west. Our informant, who wore the uniform of a Wehrmacht lieutenant, was a local leader in the Austrian Freedom Movement which had sprung up in opposition to the Nazis.
This Movement did in fact give invaluable aid to the CIC in tracking down the Nazi leaders: about 80% of our arrests of SS, Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst, and Party leaders in Austria were due directly to leads received from it.
The lieutenant offered to drive me to Strobl with his interpreter, a German soldier, and to have a second car with other members of the Freedom Movement follow us. Suppressing my suspicions of this quick proposal I left Sid in Bad Ischl to organize an informant net and set out with the volunteer escort.
I was thankful for their Wehrmacht uniforms when we found the road clogged with remnants of General Sepp Dietrich's Sixth SS Panzer Army retreating before the Russians. We were not bothered. The war was effectively at an end, anyway, and the main bulk of the SS, like the Wehrmacht, was glad to call a halt to the fighting; it was mostly fanatics and the underground that worried us now.
In Strobl, the burgermeister admitted in a trembling voice, that the Kaltenbrunner party had been staying at an estate on the outskirts of town. We drove to this estate, parked the two cars at the entrance to the grounds, and walked from there to the house.
Several men in civilian clothes followed but did not stop us. At the house we were greeted by a large blond woman of about 38 years, who immediately acknowledged that she was Mrs. Ernst Kaltenbrunner. With her were her three young children but no husband.
I informed her that she was under arrest for purposes of interrogation and, to impress the civilian bodyguard, mentioned the imminent arrival of American soldiers. We then escorted her down to the car, still followed by her silent bodyguard.
At the car their leader finally spoke, in perfect English: he and his men had personally been instructed by General Kaltenbrunner to safeguard Mrs. Kaltenbrunner and the children; only yesterday, however, he had heard on the radio that General Eisenhower had ordered all civilians to turn their weapons in to local burgermeisters, and he had told his men to comply; they therefore had no means to carry out their assigned mission. It was apparent that the will to resist was gone.
Back in Bad Ischl, our informants helped us pin-point the center of the National Redoubt as being in the vicinity of the mountain town of Alt Aussee, thirty kilometers to the south and well up in the Totes Gebirge range.
We took this information, and Mrs. Kaltenbrunner, back to the 80th Division command post at Voecklabruck. Interrogated, Mrs. Kaltenbrunner acknowledged that her husband had been with her at their Strobl estate as recently as May 3.
He had presided over a meeting attended by the following important Nazi officials: Neubacher, ambassador to Belgrade; General Glaise-Horstenau, minister to Croatia; Gauleiter Rainer of Salzburg; RSHA foreign intelligence area chiefs Wilhelm Waneck and Wilhelm Hoettl; SS Oberfuehrer Muehlmann;
Otto Skorzeny, leader of the RSHA sabotage units. Kaltenbrunner, she said, knew the Alt Aussee area well from summer visits he had made when he was the "Little Himmler" of Austria. She described him as 43 years old, six feet four inches tall, weighing 220 pounds, having a powerful build and dark features, with deep scars on both sides of his face.
A task force of tanks and infantry under Major Ralph Pearson was ordered to the Alt Aussee area, and I was instructed to join them there. It was now V-E day. Sid Bruskin and I left Voecklabruck at four in the morning on May 9.
As we drove up over the Poetschen pass, it was difficult to keep our minds on the mission, so beautiful was the scenery. The road led up beside a rushing mountain stream that cascaded merrily down the rocks in steep descent, its spray sparkling in the early morning sun.
Above and around us were snowcapped peaks, and the green alms on either side were brightly splashed with mountain flowers. We rested in Bad Aussee and then climbed the last four kilometers into Alt Aussee, a town of 4,000 at the end of a winding mountain road, the last village in the ascent up the Totes Gebirge.
Nestled on the west shore of Alt Ausseersee, it looks across the deep, cold lake to the Trisslwand Peak on the east and over the Loser Alm on the north shore to the snowcapped summit of the Totes Gebirge range.
Alt Aussee was for the Viennese what Lake Tahoe is for Californians. Three Gauleiters--Henlein, Jury, and Eigruber--had their summer homes there. Prince Chlodwig Hohenlohe-Schillingsfurst, the largest landowner in the Salzkammergut, was born and now lived there.
Prince Hohenlohe, who had lived for a decade in New York with an American wife, made transparent attempts to ingratiate himself with us. He got us living quarters in the Hotel Eibl and offices in one of his villas down the street. He invited us to tea and apologized for his poor hospitality, saying that the Nazis made him live in his barn.
(Later he was arrested for interrogation, after Kaltenbrunner told 12th Army Group interrogators that he had been Ribbentrop's observer in Spain and Portugal and had produced a mine of information regarding the United States and Latin America.
We established an informant net from our "white list" of anti-Nazis and the most knowledgeable and trustworthy members of the Freedom Movement. This latter group was headed by Johann Brandauer, the assistant burgermeister. Rumors were rife that Kaltenbrunner, Ley, Eigruber, Kreisleiter Stichnot of Gmunden, and strong groups of SS troops and high SS officers were hiding out in the recesses of the Totes Gebirge. From May 9 to May 11 we worked sixteen or eighteen hours a day trying to get some clue to Kaltenbrunner's whereabouts.
Our first important contact was with Albrecht Gaiswinkler, a British agent who had been parachuted into the area on April 20. A native of Bad Aussee, he had been drafted into the Wehrmacht, had deserted in France, turning a Nazi supply train over to the French Maquis, and when the Third Army liberated Alsace had given himself up to the Americans.
The Americans had turned him over to the British, to whom the Aussee area was allocated for future occupation. Gaiswinkler had learned that Wilhelm Waneck, Chief of the RSHA Intelligence Section for Southeastern Europe--and one of Kaltenbrunner's May 3 conferees at Strobl--was now operating a wireless transmitting station in the Kerry Villa located on a hill at the outskirts of Alt Aussee. Working with Waneck were his deputy, Wilhelm Hoettl, (another of the conferees), Werner Goettsch, who had earlier held Waneck's job and now was a sort of chief ideologist for the RSHA, and a number of other Nazi officials.
Thanks to Gaiswinkler's effective groundwork, Sid and I were able to arrest this group, seal its headquarters at the Kerry Villa, and stop the operation of its transmitter. We did not know then that this was the central communications center for the National Redoubt and Kaltenbrunner's only connection with the outside world; its importance and the feverish activities of the Goettsch-Waneck group during the preceding month were revealed only later after detailed interrogation of the principals.
For the moment our attention was all on locating Kaltenbrunner, and these people gave no leads on his whereabouts except the information that he had been at Alt Aussee on May 3.
We located and arrested many lesser Nazis who had fled to Alt Aussee, seeking for the most part time to collect their thoughts and prepare their anti-Nazi alibis--Gunther Altenburg, Minister Plenipotentiary to Greece; General Erich Alt of the Luftwaffe; Joseph Heider, who had been detailed by Eigruber to blow up the Alt Aussee salt mines wherein was stored a fabulous collection of looted art treasures for the projected Great Hitler Museum in Linz;
Dr. Hjalmar Mae, head of the puppet state in Esthonia; Walter Riedel, construction chief for the V-2 weapons at Peenemuende; Ernst Szargarus, Foreign Office secretary in Rome; Spiros Hadji Kyriakos, Under Governor of the National Bank of occupied Greece; William Knothe, General Counsel of the Foreign Office; Dr. Carlos Wetzell, head of the pharmaceutical industry; and Dr. Bailent Homan, minister in the Hungarian puppet government.
As we cast about during those three days for traces of Kaltenbrunner's movements, we sorted out the diverse social groups in Alt Aussee, each busy trying to establish its anti-Nazi premise. There was the artist's group, with movie actors Ernst von Klipstein and Lotte Koch, the Viennese theater star Unterkirchner, the aged composer Wolf-Ferrari, the sensational pianist-composer-conductor Peter Kreuder, self-styled "Cole Porter of Germany," the composer and conductor Nico Dostal, the Austrian tenor and movie star Johannes Heesters, and many members of the Vienna symphony orchestra.
More intriguing from the CIC viewpoint was the old German nobility group of Countess Platen and Herbert von Hindenburg, nephew of the Field Marshal, because they had living with them one Jean Schils, a Dutch intelligence man who claimed to have been a member of the anti-Nazi underground, and a certain Norman Bailey-Stewart.
Schils gave us several false leads on "V-3 weapons" supposed to be located nearby in a Russian-occupied area, and seemed in general bent on provoking incidents between the Russians and the Americans.
One day Schils came into the office to volunteer information on the whereabouts of Gauleiter Eigruber and brought Bailey-Stewart along as his interpreter. It soon became apparent that Bailey-Stewart was deliberately misinterpreting everything Schils said, and he was acting very abnormally.
About 35 and unusually good-looking, he showed his impatience with the dullness of the business at hand. I questioned him alone, and he turned out to be England's famous "Officer in the Tower" of the thirties, eager to tell the world the sequel to those early espionage activities--his work for the Nazis in the war just ending.
In 1932, according to his account, returning as a second lieutenant from duty in India, he was disillusioned with England's imperial policy. He volunteered for the German secret service and was sent back to London to collect order-of-battle information.
Discovered through the alertness of the English censors, he was tried amid much publicity and sentenced to five years in the Tower of London. When his family's influence obtained his release in 1936 he went to Vienna, watched now not only by the English secret service but also by the Gestapo and Schuschnigg's and Skubl's Austrian police.
He applied for Austrian citizenship. The English picked him up in 1938 and accused him of smuggling arms into Austria to help the then illegal Nazi Party. The charges were not proved, however, and with the Anschluss he became a German citizen. In the same year he was questioned by RSHA agents about his criticism of Nazi propaganda beamed to England, and his criticism was so good that he was flown to Berlin and given a job in the Rundfunk, where in 1939 he began what were to become later, under William Joyce, the Lord Haw Haw programs.
But about this time he was reported to have made remarks detrimental to the Nazi State, and he became involved in personal antagonisms. Through a friend in the Foreign Ministry he was given a job in its wireless department. In March 1944 he was sent to Vienna. In December, having been called to service in the Volksturm, he gave a false address and departed for Alt Aussee.
All this was very interesting, but it did not advance the Kaltenbrunner chase. We arrested Bailey-Stewart on behalf of the British and went back to our job. The most promising set of people in Alt Aussee for our purposes was the one comprising Countess Gisela von Westarp, Iris Scheidler, and Dr. Rudolf Praxmarar.
Gisela von Westarp was Kaltenbrunner's mistress. A pretty blonde of twenty-two with blue eyes, vivacious and extremely intelligent, she had been working at Himmler's Berlin headquarters when Kaltenbrunner came from Vienna in early 1943 to take over the RSHA.
On March 12, 1945, she bore him twins, Ursula and Wolfgang, in a cowshed in Alt Aussee. I still have a letter she wrote to her mother describing the event, declaring that she "almost deserved the Mother Cross," and pointing out that Mrs. Kaltenbrunner had taken twelve years to produce only three children. One of the twins' godfathers, Gisela told me proudly, was Hitler's personal physician, Dr. Karl Brandt.
Iris Scheidler was the wife of Arthur Scheidler, formerly adjutant to Heydrich and now to Kaltenbrunner. She was thirty years old, an attractive society brunette, seemingly intent on having a good time.
She and Gisela were good friends with many of those in the Hitler inner circle, especially Heinrich Hoffman, the Reich photographer who had introduced Eva Braun to Hitler, Eva Braun herself, Baldur von Schirach, Hitler Youth leader and later Gauleiter of Vienna, and Herman Fegelein, the SS General who acted as liaison officer between Hitler and Himmler.
Dr. Rudolph Praxmarar had once been Iris' husband, and they still had great affection for each other. He had been a classmate and friend of Kaltenbrunner's at the University of Graz and then became a prominent physician in Vienna.
Now he was the SS Chief of Hospitals and military commander of Alt Aussee. He was about 50 years old, with a genial personality and the reputation of being a great sportsman. But we received from Freedom Movement informants in the SS hospitals an accusation against him signed by members of his own staff. It read in part:
Until two days prior to the entry of the American Task Force int Alt Aussee, Praxmarar kept active association with the bloodhound Kaltenbrunner. He has not been afraid to shelter him in the hospital and provide him with medicines and food and weapons.
Arms were loaded into a car at night to help Kaltenbrunner escape to the mountains. Praxmarar, prior to the arrival of the Americans, tried to force several of the patients into the Kampgruppe Kaltenbrunner for the purpose of staging a last stand in the mountains. He also tried to get one hundred men from Georg [Gaiswinkler] for the same purpose. Under the pretext of angina pectoris he took into the safety of his hospital the Kaltenbrunner Gestapo chief in Vienna, SS Brigadier General Huber.
We found Huber still in the hospital and arrested him. Praxmarar we didn't arrest until several days later, when we had received further proof of his complicity with Kaltenbrunner.
The Quarry Taken
Finally, on the morning of May 11, we received our first solid piece of information on the location of Kaltenbrunner's hideout. Johann Brandauer reported that the Alt Aussee forest ranger--a member of the Freedom Movement--had seen General Kaltenbrunner, Scheidler, and two SS guards five days before in a cabin called Wildensee Huette atop the Totes Gebirge.
Though the tip was five days old, it had the merit of coming from a reliable source: Brandauer was one of our closest and most trustworthy collaborators. I therefore asked him to bring me immediately two reliable Austrians who knew the mountain trails to serve as guides.
Brandauer brought not two but four Austrian guides, all former Wehrmacht soldiers. They said it would take us five hours to reach the cabin. There would still be from twenty to thirty feet of snow on the ground, and no cover for us except drifts on the last four kilometers of the way up to the cabin.
We would have to leave before midnight to arrive under cover of darkness and while the crust on the snow was still hard. I would dress in Austrian costume--lederhosen, Alpine jacket and hat, and spiked shoes. I would approach the cabin alone; the Austrians were not willing to come closer than five hundred yards.
I would go up unarmed so as not to draw fire or arouse suspicion. I would pose as a passer-by crossing the mountains on the way to Steyrling, in the next valley: there were many Wehrmacht deserters and fleeing Nazis whose safest and most expedient mode of travel was by foot over the mountains. If Kaltenbrunner was not there I would come out immediately.
This was a sensible plan. That it was executed stumblingly was due to the fact that Major Pearson, the task force commander, insisted on sending a squad of his boys along. I was afraid their presence might bring on a pitched battle, leaving either a dead or an escaped Kaltenbrunner, and my arguments achieved at least the compromise agreement that I would have authority to use the infantry squad in any manner I saw fit. I ordered it to stay well to the rear and on the approach to the cabin keep under cover out of sight.
After this matter had been arranged, on the afternoon of the eleventh, I sent for Gisela. She was extremely anxious to find out what information we had regarding Kaltenbrunner. I told her we had some leads and asked her to write a note to him urging him to accompany the bearer into safe custody with the Americans rather than let himself be taken, and probably killed, by the Russians.
After a moment's thought she complied. Later that afternoon we were visited by several delegations from the Gisela-Iris group--first Hans Unterkirchner, the Viennese actor, then Lotte Koch and Ernst von Klipstein, then Praxmarar and Iris--all fishing for information.
Iris was apparently most concerned about the safety of her husband Arthur Scheidler. Although she was going to have a baby in six weeks, she insisted that she be allowed to accompany any patrol that might go off into the mountains after him, arguing that if she were in evidence there would be no shooting on the part of the Kaltenbrunner group.
Thinking that she might indeed be useful in this way, I told her she could come; but then she backed down. Never quite sure what the maneuverings of these friends of Kaltenbrunner might mean, I sent Sid to the Gisela-Iris house to keep and eye on them for the next twelve hours.
That night at 11:30 p.m. the patrol assembled in the CIC office for final briefing. The infantry boys, although they had volunteered for this mission, were a little dubious about the plan as outlined, and especially about being guided by former German soldiers. They wanted it made clear that if they made a single false step the guides would be dead ducks; after coming through the war alive they didn't want to get killed with peace and home in sight.
As we started off at midnight the squad of soldiers loaded with their rifles, hand grenades, and ammunition seemed to make as much noise as a company of tanks rolling through the streets; it would be evident to the village people that a patrol was leaving.
We walked past the See Hotel, where one of Praxmarar's SS hospitals was quartered, past Fischerndorf, along the Alt Ausseersee shore, and then began to climb. There were unexpected obstacles: trees swept down by heavy snowslides lay across the path, and the foot bridge over the Stammern stream had been carried away in the spring floods.
Up through the timber, up past the timber line we wound our way, snake-like over the hairpin trail. The infantry, weapon-laden and without spiked shoes, slowed us down, and it was soon clear that we could not keep to our schedule. Three of the soldiers, injured by falls, were dropped along the way.
At 5 a.m., as day began to touch the sky, we finally reached a snow-covered pass from which through glasses we could see the Wildensee Huette. It lay across a great expanse of exposed down-slope and then up a long bare ridge, just below the crest. We nevertheless decided to proceed directly, in full view, rather than take a circuitous route to gain cover from overhanging crags. It was getting late; everybody was thoroughly tired from breaking through the crust calf-deep at every step; and the cabin appeared to be utterly deserted.
Behind a ridge of snow some 300 yards from the cabin I left the four Austrian guides and what remained of the infantry squad and worked my way around to the blind west side of the cabin, taking advantage of any cover there was.
As I was laughing at myself for being so cautious in approaching an evidently deserted cabin, I heard a bird-call signal off to the right. No, it was a bird, apparently as lonesome as I felt. The cabin, I could see, was a typical Alpine hut--two rooms, a wood shelter, a porch that faced down the slope in the direction we had come. The shutters were tight closed; no smoke was coming from the chimney; no fresh foottracks were visible in the snow.
I walked onto the porch and knocked at the door. There was no response. I tried the door and found it locked. But then a sleepy groan came from the left-hand room. I knocked loudly on the window shutter. Someone got out of bed and walked across the room.
The shutter opened, revealing a rough-looking man of about 35, not Kaltenbrunner. "Was suchen?" he asked. I said in very American-sounding German that I was cold and wanted to come in. But he clearly wasn't going to ask me in, so I came straight to the point and handed him Gisela's note to Kaltenbrunner.
He read it carefully, but then said he didn't know these people, he was just a passer-by on his way down to Bad Ischl. At that moment he looked over my shoulder down the slope, and saw the four guides coming up with rifles slung over their shoulders; observing that nothing had happened to me, they had decided that there was no danger.
He quickly crossed the room and took a revolver from his trousers hanging beside the bed. I retreated to the protection of the cabin's west side, and he slammed the shutter shut. The guides, alarmed, brought the eight infantry boys up in a half-circle around the front of the cabin. While this maneuver was being executed, the man in the cabin opened the door and came out on the porch, perhaps to negotiate, but when he saw the reinforcements he quickly reentered, slamming and bolting the door behind him.
With the men in position, we called out to the occupants to come out with their hands over their heads. For ten minutes we kept repeating this call, with no results. Not wishing to start shooting, we went onto the porch and began to knock down the door. But immediately it opened and four men walked out with their hands over their heads. They had decided to come peacefully after all.
Inside the cabin we found four Wehrmacht rifles, four revolvers, a large quantity of ammunition, two machine pistols, and a machine gun, the latter hidden in the recess of the chimney. Also a case of empty champagne bottles, some French bonbons, some American tax-free cigarettes, and a large quantity of counterfeit American and British money.
In the ash pit at the base of the chimney was a picture of Kaltenbrunner with his wife and children, a copy of his last radio message to Fegelein for Himmler and Hitler, his identification card as Chief of the SIPO and SD, and his metal identification discs as number two man (Himmler was number one) of the Gestapo and the Kriminalpolizei.
I interrogated each of the four men. Two of them admitted they were SS guards, but claimed they had no connection with Kaltenbrunner. And Kaltenbrunner and Scheidler, although there was no mistaking at least the former, refused to admit their identities.
They had false papers, Kaltenbrunner those of a doctor discharged from the Wehrmacht, and he carried a medical kit and all the usual accessories. (Later he took pains to explain that these papers were not forged, but the authentic identification of deceased persons.
This rather fine distinction was characteristic of his efforts to appear an Austrian gentleman and a good Catholic.) He stood rigidly at attention during the interrogation, trying to create a good initial impression by being earnest and cooperative. Scheidler was the antithesis. He made no attempt to hide his wrath.
His eyes flashed furiously at me as we swung heavy packs onto the four men for our trip down to the village.
At 11:30 in the morning we arrived back in Alt Aussee, where word had apparently circulated that a mountain patrol was returning: a crowd was gathered in the village street. As we passed Prince Hohenlohe, he remarked, "I see you have your man Kaltenbrunner," and at the same time Iris and Gisela broke from the throng and ran up and embraced their respective men. Kaltenbrunner and Scheidler now had to drop their masks.
The Last Days
In time, through the interrogation and testimony of Kaltenbrunner and others,7 it was possible to piece together the story of his recent efforts to salvage something from the German defeat. On April 18 Himmler had named him Commander in Chief of all forces in southern Europe.
He had reorganized his intelligence services as a stay-behind underground net, dividing the command up between Otto Skorzeny, head of the sabotage units, and Wilhelm Waneck, whose radio station in the Kerry Villa, kept in contact not only with Kaltenbrunner and other centers in the Redoubt and in Germany, but also with stay-behind agents in the southern European capitals.
Waneck, however, with Werner Goettsch, Wilhelm Hoettl, and others, concluding as early as 1943 that the Nazis would lose the war, had been intriguing for a negotiated peace with the western allies and a common front against Russia.
The plan was to set up an independent Austrian state in rebellion against the Nazi Reich and supported by the Anglo-Americans. Goettsch had valuable contacts among the Vienna Socialists, and one idea had been to send Karl Doppler to the United States to broach the plan because he had the same masonic degrees as President Roosevelt.
Kaltenbrunner was informed of this conspiracy and gave tacit assent, though he could not actively participate. Later other Socialists were brought in, including Karl Winkler, who had contacts with America and England through Draja Mihailovich, and Raffael Spann and Professor Heinrich, who had an excellent contact in England, their friend Major Christie at the Travellers Club, London.
Attempts in 1944 to contact Major Christie by letter failed, however; and an opportunity provided by Mihailovich to get in touch with the American Legation in Belgrade was lost when Belgrade was occupied.
Finally, in March 1945, according to the interrogation reports, Hoettl went to Switzerland with the Polish Count Potocki, with whose help and that of Prince Alois Auersperg, a former Abwehr officer implicated in the July 1944 attempt on Hitler's life, he was able to get into touch with Mr. Schultze-Gaevernitz, a member of the American Embassy, and through him with Allen Dulles.
Through Auersperg and a Dr. Kurt Grimm, Austrian Freedom Movement representative, Hoettl also had contact with a Mr. Leslie of an Allied Commission in Berne. The Americans, he was told, did not want a strong Russian influence in Austria, and they were particularly interested in Kaltenbrunner's attitude toward an independent Austrian state.
With this information Hoettl, Waneck, and Goettsch were able to urge Kaltenbrunner to set up a rival Austrian government to the Russian-sponsored one in Vienna, which the western allies refused in April to recognize. Kaltenbrunner held two meetings with members of this Free Austria group--Neubacher, Glaise-Horstenau, Muehlmann, Hayler, Pschikril, Hoettl, Goettsch, and Waneck--at which a provisional cabinet was discussed and it was decided that Kaltenbrunner, in accordance with American wishes, should be an advisor. Having now full powers in southern Europe, Kaltenbrunner was in an excellent position to use his reorganized intelligence services as a bargaining counter with the Allies.
On April 26, at Strobl, Hoettl reported to Kaltenbrunner, Glaise-Horstenau, Neubacher, Muehlmann, Waneck, and Goettsch on the results of a second visit to Switzerland. It was agreed at this time to try to arrange a meeting between Allen Dulles and Kaltenbrunner at Feldkirch, in Austria near the Swiss border.
During the next few days Kaltenbrunner met with Field Marshall Kesselring and Lieutenant General Winter at Koenigsee regarding the project. But the sands were running out; the war was coming to an unexpectedly rapid end. Kaltenbrunner could pursue the political way out no longer.
Facing capture as the Russian and American troops closed in, he retired to Alt Aussee to bid Gisela farewell and from there with his two SS guards and his adjutant Scheidler made the ascent to the mountain hideout among the snowy crags of the Totes Gebirge.
Interrogated now briefly by the 80th CIC at Alt Aussee before being sent on to Third Army and 12th Army Group, Kaltenbrunner said that he had intended to come down from his retreat after things had quieted down and, on the basis of the underground forces at his command, his Free Austria project, and his knowledge of Bolshevism, come to terms with the western allies: "If there is one man in Europe who knows Bolshevism, it is I."
We allowed Gisela and Iris a last tearful farewell before sending the two men on to higher headquarters. There was a plan afoot which never materialized to have Kaltenbrunner talk with General Eisenhower and then issue a statement calling on the underground to end all resistance.
During subsequent interrogations Kaltenbrunner remained very cooperative, intent on establishing his alibi. At Third Army he said that with Hitler's consent he "began in 1945 to use the foreign intelligence service to counteract Ribbentrop's pernicious influence and to find a political way out." He wrote a letter to his wife, Lisl, clearly designed for American eyes:
My own destiny lies in the hands of God. I am glad that I never separated from Him. . . . I cannot believe that I shall be held responsible for the mistakes of our leaders, for in the short time of my activity I have striven hard for a reasonable attitude, both internal and external.... They ought to have paid more attention to my words. . . . We have no property worth mentioning. Perhaps the only resource for you will be my small stamp collection.... Was it not my duty to open the door to socialism and freedom as we imagined and desired them? ... I have not given up hope that the truth will be found out and for a just legal decision.
But he never disclaimed his positive relationship with Hitler, one apparently bordering on adoration. His subordinate Wilhelm Hoettl said of him that he "was fascinated by Hitler, believed in him without reservation . . . . He believed he had a mission to serve Hitler with his entire RSHA . . . . He came to believe that Hitler was the man sent by God. This developed into a mania."
In July Kaltenbrunner was sent to British Interrogation Center 020 outside of London. Here, at a time when the horrors of the concentration camps were being brought to light, he was seized on as the first prisoner that had played a significant and responsible part in the extermination program.
He was given third-degree treatment, I learned later from an American intelligence officer working on the case. The result was that henceforth he not only did not cooperate but refused even to admit he had any responsibility at all in the Nazi system.
He refused to admit that he knew men who had been his closest associates. He denied that he had ever been near a concentration camp. He refused to admit that he signed orders incarcerating persons in concentration camps. In short, he denied from this time on any connection with Nazi crimes or persons responsible for such crimes. He was flown to Nuremberg for the trial in handcuffs--the only one of the 21 major defendants treated in this manner.
In November, two weeks before the scheduled opening of the trial, I was sent to Nuremberg to set up a security plan: the American military commanders were becoming anxious about "lone-wolf assassins," and Robert Ley had succeeded in committing suicide despite supposedly elaborate precautions.
To test the Palace of Justice security system, another CIC man and I tried penetrating without proper credentials to the inner cell block which housed the 21 defendants. We succeeded, as anybody might have done, in passing through the four interior guard posts without the required Red Pass. A fifth post guarded the individual cells. I asked to see Kaltenbrunner and was readily admitted upon signing the registration book.
Kaltenbrunner looked gaunt and pale. He clearly showed the effects of what he had been through since I saw him on May 12. He gave no indication of wanting to remember, me; it seemed as if he had mesmerized himself into a state of complete forgetfulness. Only when I mentioned the name Gisela he nodded and asked several questions about her and the twins. But that was all.
On the opening day of the trial, to everyone's great disappointment, Kaltenbrunner was not in the prisoners' dock; he had been stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage the night before. It was three weeks before he was well enough to make his plea, "I do not believe I have made myself guilty in the sense of the indictment." On December 10 I was present at the scene described in the press release of the International Military Tribunal's public relations office:
Ernst Kaltenbrunner received a cool welcome from his co-defendants when he made his initial appearance at the trial Monday afternoon. Entering the prisoners' dock just before the afternoon session began, no welcoming hands were proffered to greet him.
When he offered to shake hands with some of the defendants there was a noticeable reluctance on their part. Taking his seat in the dock between Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Rosenberg, he tried to engage his neighbors in a conversation without much luck. ... When he was approached by his own defense council, Kaltenbrunner held out his hand. His lawyer had, however, with studied casualness locked his hands behind his back.
I walked down beside Kaltenbrunner during the intermission that afternoon. He recognized me and motioned that he wanted to speak with me. That was not permitted. I had received that day through the mail a note from Gisela for him, a girlish love-note telling him that his heart must never grow cold, that she was thinking of him and would always love him.
I handed it to Kaufman, Kaltenbrunner's defense counsel. AP correspondent Daniel DeLuce, however, who was talking with Kaufman at the time, appropriated it and wrote a story on it. Kaltenbrunner presumably never found out that Gisela was keeping the home fires burning.
Later that week Kaltenbrunner was stricken with a recurrence of the cerebral hemorrhage, and could not return to the dock until January. But he survived through the entire trial, to be hanged on October 15, 1946, with eleven of his co-defendants.
- October 15, 1946
Ernst Kaltenbrunner ~ Photos
The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich
On the twenty-ninth of May, 1942, Radio Prague announced that Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, lay dying at the Bulovka hospital in Prague from wounds sustained in a daring ambush by Czech partisans as his car passed through the city outskirts at Holesovice, on the Rude Armady VII Kobylisky not far from the Vltava river.
The assassins attempted to kill Heydrich with automatic weapons but experienced a malfunction so a grenade was then tossed at the car by one of the Czechs. The resulting explosion caused sever damage to the right rear wing of the Mercedes, puncturing the tire and blowing a large hole in the bodywork.
The attackers then fled and, Heydrich attempted to shoot at the escaping assassins but his weapon also misfired. He then staggered back to the car and collapsed on the hood in severe pain.
He was rushed to the Bulovka emergency room shortly after 11:00 a.m. and was registered under the number 12.555/42. Heydrich's spleen had been fatally damaged and he contracted blood poisoning from grenade shrapnel, seat-spring splinters, and horse-hair used to cushion the cars upholstery.
He soon developed a fever and suffered from copious wound drainage until June 2, but the following day the fever appeared to have subsided. However, around noon, while Heydrich was sitting in bed eating a late breakfast, he suddenly went into shock and quickly lapsed into a deep coma from which he never recovered.
He died at 4:30 a.m. the next morning, June 4, 1942. The death of the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia was recorded in the Bulovka death register as “Nr 348/1942.Reinhard Tristan Heydrich.
Cause of death: gunshot wound/murder attempt/wound infection.
So ended the life of Reinhard "The Hangman" Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague.
On September 27, 1941, the Czech Press Agency released the news that the Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath had fallen ill, and Hitler had named a substitute Reich Protector, Reinhard Heydrich. The Protectorate at that time experienced numerous acts of sabotage and assassinations of Germans and their collaborators by the Czech underground.
The low morale and starvation level rations for workers had reduced Bohemia’s industrial output of armaments, putting essential part of the German war effort at risk.
Konstantin von Neurath was sent away to recuperate and on that very same day, a plane landed in Prague with Reinhard Heydrich on board. Heydrich, as SS Police General and chief of the Reichssicherheitschauptampt (RSHA, Reich Security Main Office) was one of the most powerful and most feared Nazi leaders in the party.
Considered exceptionally intelligent, hard-working, ambitious and totally amoral, he had climbed to the top of the SS hierarchy and ruthlessly crushed his and Hitler’s domestic and foreign enemies. He was the main architect of the “Final Solution,” Hitler’s plan to destroy European Jewry.
Hitler believed with Heydrich in charge of Bohemia and Moravia, the Czechs would soon learn what it meant to live under a master of suppression. Not being a man to disappoint the Fürher, Heydrich immediately put his plan into action with the objective of annihilating all resistance in the Czech Lands.
On September 28, 1941, at 11 am, the official inauguration began at Prague Castle, the next day Heydrich announced a martial law in Prague, Brno, Moravská Ostrava, Olomouc, Kladno and Hradec Králové.
He instituted what he called his "whip and sugar" policy; he increased the food rations to dissuade resistance among the Czechs, and he threatened to lower them if they did not work efficiently. This tactic seemed to resonate with the common workers but against the Czech intelligentsia, he would employ far deadlier measures.
Without hesitation he started from the top down. The Protectorate’s Prime Minister, General Alois Eliáš, was arrested, proven guilty of maintaining contacts with the enemy and sentenced to death on October 1, 1941.
Two acting leaders of the military resistance organization, Gen. Josef Bílý and Div. Gen. Hugo Vojta, Commander of the Bohemian Provincial Headquarters were sentenced under martial law and executed by a firing squad at Ruzyn? Barracks. Hundreds from among the Czech intelligentsia were executed or sent to concentration camps.
From his quarters in Czernin Palace on October 2, 1941, Reinhard Heydrich gave a speech where he made the following statements:
"I must unambiguously and with unflinching hardness bring the citizens of this country, Czech or otherwise, to the understanding that there is no avoiding the fact they are members of the Reich and as such they owe allegiance to the Reich… This is a task of priority required by the war. I must have peace of mind that every Czech worker works at his maximum for the German war effort… This includes feeding the Czech worker – to put it frankly – so that he can do his work.”
One of Heydrich's first decrees, dated September 29, 1941,concerning the treatment of Jews and closing of synagogues stated:
“…Jewish synagogues and places of prayer have not been used for religious purposes for some time. Instead, they have become centers for all kinds of Jewish subversive elements and focal points of illegal whispered propaganda. For this reason I have ordered the closing of all Jewish synagogues and places of prayer.
This is to take effect immediately… Certain Czech circles are behaving in a very friendly manner toward the Jews, especially in recent times. They are mainly the Czech elements that are trying to demonstrate their anti-Reich thinking. I am ordering the State Police to intervene against the Czechs who openly demonstrate their friendship with the Jews in the streets and public places and place them in protective custody!.”
Concerning the Germanizing of Aryan types, and racial elements Heydrich had this to say:
“To be able to make a decision as to who is suited to be Germanized, I need their racial inventory…We have all kinds of people here, some of them are showing racial quality and good judgment. It’s going to be simple to work on them – we can Germanize them. On the other hand, we have racially inferior elements and, what’s worse, they demonstrate wrong judgment. These we must get out. There is a lot of space eastwards. Between these two extremes, there are those in the middle that we have to examine thoroughly.
We have racially inferior people but with good judgment, then we have racially unacceptable people with bad judgment. As to the first kind, we must resettle them in the Reich or somewhere else, but we have to make sure they no longer breed, because we don’t care to develop them in this area… One group remains, though, these people are racially acceptable but hostile in their thinking – that is the most dangerous group, because it is a racially pure class of leaders. We have to think through carefully what to do with them.
We can relocate some of them into the Reich, put them in a purely German environment, and then Germanize and re-educate them. If this cannot be done, we must put them against the wall.”
On June 18, 1941, Britain recognized the Czecho-Slovak government in exile in London, despite the fact that the Munich Agreement remained in force. Alarmed by Heydrich’s success, the Czechoslovak government in exile in London was in fear of slipping into last place among the representatives of the occupied countries that were actively contributing in their resistance to the defeat of Germany.
It was decided by former Czezh President Edvard Beneš and other political and military leaders in Paris and London that some action must be taken if they wanted to retain the leadership of the exiled movement under their control. That action was to be the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.
The operation was to be named ANTHROPOID and full preparations for the attack began on October 2, 1941, in cooperation with the British SOE. Warrant Officer Josef Gab?ík and Staff Sergeant Karel Svoboda were selected to carry out the assassination.
Josef Gab?ík and Karel Svoboda left for a completion para-course in Manchester, where they were to carry out two daytime jumps from a Whitley aircraft and one night jump from a fixed balloon.
It was a fateful leap from a fixed balloon for Staff Sergeant Svoboda. Who suffered a head injury during the jump and was replaced by Jan Kubiš at the request of Gab?ík, but the date for the operation would now have to be postponed.
The postponement allowed the new team additional time to complete their training and to improve the plan and overall mission objective. Jan Kubiš and Josef Gab?ík spent a week, in Scotland, where they graduated from the Special SOE Course under the tutelage of the Scottish Guard.
On October 20, 1941, both men were sent to Station XVII in Brickendonbury Manor, near London, which specialized in special operations training. There they learned specialized tactics in handling explosives. They also learned to create improvised explosive devices and sabotage techniques on railroad tracks, bridges and houses. They were trained in the use of electric and chemical fuses by British explosives expert Captain Pritchard of the SOE.
It was Captain Pritchard who taught them how to handle the specially designed grenades and sensitive timers/fuses that would eventually be the downfall of Reinhard Heydrich.
After completing their training and receiving the necessary false documents required to move safely through the protectorate, Kubiš and Gab?ík signed a pledge on Dec 1, 1941 in London.
The pledge stated the following:
“The substance of my mission basically is that I will be sent back to my homeland, with another member of the Czechoslovak Army, in order to commit an act of sabotage or terrorism at a place and in a situation depending on our findings at the given site and under the given circumstances.
I will do so effectively so as to generate the sought-after response not only in the home country but also abroad. I will do it to the extent of my best knowledge and conscience so that I can successfully fulfill this mission for which I have volunteered.”
On December 28, 1941, both Kubiš and Gab?ík wrote their last will and testament, and at at 22:00 hours, Handley-Page Halifax Mk.II carrying 15 men took off from Tangmere Airport in Sussex in southern England.
The Halifax flew over the French coast to the Le Crotoy area, and from there headed towards Darmstadt, at around 00:42 hours they encountered German fighter planes but were able to avoid being shot down. Due to heavy snow cover the ANTHROPOID team missed their appointed drop zone and landed at near a village called Nehvizdy near Celakovice just east of Prague.
Upon dropping the parachutists the Halifax headed back towards Darmstadt where they encountered fire by by anti-aircraft batteries. Flying over the French coast at 07:20 hours and the touched down at Tangmere Airport at 08:19.
The ANTHROPOID team was equipped two pistols, a 38 COLT – with four full spare magazines and 100 bullets – six amour-piercing bombs filled with plastic explosives. two magazines of fuses, two model Mills grenades, one Tree Spigot bomb launcher with one bomb, four electric fuses, one Sten Mk.II machine gun with 100 bullets, 32 lbs. of plastic explosives, two yards of fuse rope, four smoke bombs, a reel of steel string and three timing pencils.
Gab?ík and Kubiš then made their way to Pilsen to contact their allies, and from there on to Prague, where the attack was planned. In Prague, they contacted several families and anti-Nazi organizations who helped them during the preparations for the assassination. Gab?ík and Kubiš initially planned to assassinate Heydrich on a train, but after exploration they realized that this was not possible.
The second plan was to assassinate him on the road in the forest on the way from Heydrich’s seat to Prague. They planned to pull a cable across the road that would stop Heydrich’s car but, after waiting several hours, their commander, Lt. Adolf Opálka, from the underground resistance group called "Out Distance", came to bring them back to Prague. The third plan was to assassinate Heydrich in Prague.
By April 1942 the team made a breakthrough when Heydrich moved from his temporary quarters in Prague Castle to a Château in Panenské B?ežany. The drive from the chateau to the castle meant passing a sharp right 'hairpin" turn, straddling the streets Kirchmayerova and V Holešovi?kách, below a school in Kobylisy.
The corner was considered the ideal location for the attack. As Heydrich's driver Johannes Klein took this route daily and had to slow down considerably to execute the turn. There was also a Tram stop located just near the corner which provided the assassins with a reason for waiting at the ambush location.
On the morning of May 27, 1942. Heydrich's black Mercedes driven by his adjutant SS-Oberscharführer Johannes Klein, approached the hairpin turn on Kirchmayer street on their daily commute from Panenské B?ežany to Prague Castle.
At approximately 10:35 a.m. Klein begins navigating the hairpin turn, dramatically slowing the Mercedes in the process. At that very moment Josef Gab?ík jumps in front of the vehicle, holding a British made Sten machine gun pointed directly at Reinhard Heydrich.
The gun failed to fire. With lightning quick reflexes Jan Kubiš pulled out one of the specially prepared grenades from his briefcase. It was fitted with a highly sensitive impact fuse which is set to explode on the slightest impact.
Heydrich seeing Gab?ík standing in front of him with the Sten orders Klein, to stop the car. He pulled his pistol and stood up to shoot at Gab?ík from the car, not noticing Kubiš who tossed the grenade at the Mercedes.
The bomb goes off and and its fragments ripped through the car’s right fender, embedding shrapnel and fibers from the upholstery into Heydrich’s body, even though the grenade failed to enter the car. Kubiš is also injured by the shrapnel.
Heydrich, apparently unaware of his shrapnel injuries, got out of the car, returned fire, and tried to chase Gab?ík but soon collapsed. Klein returned from his abortive attempt to chase Kubiš, and Heydrich ordered him to chase Gab?ík. Klein was shot twice by Gab?ík now using a revolver. During their escape, neither Gab?ík or Kubiš is aware of the wounds sustained by Heydrich in the bomb blast and both were convinced that the attack was a failure.
Heydrich was taken to Bulovka Hospital, near the site of the attack. There he was operated on by Professor Hollbaum, a Silesian German who was Chairman of Surgery at Charles University in Prague, assisted by Doctor Dick, the Sudeten German Chief of Surgery at the hospital.
The surgeons re-inflated the collapsed left lung, removed the tip of the fractured eleventh rib, sutured the torn diaphragm, inserted several catheters and removed the spleen, which contained a grenade fragment and upholstery material.
At 3:26 pm on May 27, 1942 SS-Standartenführer Horst Böhme reported the results of Heydrich’s first operation to Berlin:
“…a lacerated wound to the left of the back vertebrae without damage to the spinal cord. The projectile, a piece of sheet metal, shattered the 11th rib, punctured the stomach lining, and finally lodged in the spleen.
The wound contains a number of horsehair and hair, probably material originating from the upholstery. The dangers: festering of the pleura due to pleurisy. During the operation the spleen was removed."
On May 27, 1942, Karl. Hermann Frank, declared a state of civil emergency. Posters appeared in the streets offering a reward for information on the perpetrators. Himmler, at Hitler’s headquarters in Rastenburg was immediately notified of the incident and ordered Dr. K. Gebhardt, his personal physician and Professor of Orthopedics in Berlin, to fly at once to Heydrich’s bedside.
Gebhardt landed in Prague the evening of May 27, and followed Heydrich progress closely even telephoning Himmler twice a day to report on his patient’s status.
Hitler ordered the SS and Gestapo to “wade in blood” throughout Bohemia to find Heydrich’s killers. Hitler wanted to start with brutal, widespread killing of the Czech people but, after consultations, he reduced his response to only some thousands. The Czech lands were an important industrial zone for the German military and indiscriminate killing could reduce the productivity of the region.
Things went from bad to worse for the ANTHRPOID team and their collaborators in hiding. Karel ?urda another of the men from the OUT DISTANCE unit, who left Prague immediately after the assassination and hid out with his mother in Nová Hlína near T?ebo?, was captured by the Gestapo and betrayed the names of the team’s local contact persons for the bounty of 1 million Reichsmarks.
First, on June 13, 1942, he wrote a traitorous letter in which he identified Gab?ík and Kubiš as the assassins. ?urda then betrayed to the Gestapo everyone he knew personally who had assisted the paratroopers, not only in Prague but in Pardubice, Lázn? B?lohrad and Pilsen. Through his betrayal he caused the deaths of Czech patriots and their families.
The very next morning, the Gestapo began extended raids on the apartments of the people who had assisted the paratroopers. The first in line was the Moravec family in Biskupcova Street in Prague. The Moravec family was made to stand in the corridor while the Gestapo searched their apartment.
Mrs. Moravec was allowed to go to the toilet, and killed herself with a cyanide capsule. Mr. Moravec, oblivious to his family's involvement with the resistance, was taken to the Pe?ek Palác together with his son Ata. Ata was tortured throughout the day. Finally, he was stupefied with brandy and shown his mother's severed head in a fish tank . Ata Moravec told the Gestapo all he knew.
At 3:45 am on June 18, 1942, SS-Brigadeführer Karl von Treuenfeld, issued an order to the Reserve Battalion Deutschland and the Guard Battalion Prague to surround the area around the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius. The location of where Kubiš, Gab?ík and Opálka were hiding.
German Police under the command of Gestapo Chief Heinz Pannwitz and Nazi Secretary of State Karl Frank quickly overpowered the priest, Father Vladimir Petrek and von Treuenfeld was given the order to attack. The battled ensued for fourteen hours as the Czech parachutists put up fierce resistance.
The Germans first searched the church warden’s apartment. They quickly found the window with an unscrewed inside grating, which would have been used in the event of the paratroopers’ escape. The Gestapo and SS then proceeded to the inner section of the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, where Adolf Opálka, Josef Bublík and Jan Kubiš were keeping guard in the gallery and the choir.
The attackers tried to reach the choir through a narrow staircase, under cover fire provided by Adolf Opálka. Wounded and nearing the end of his ammunition Adolf Opálka took poison and simultaneously ended his life with a pistol shot to the left temple.
After the inside of the church was overrun, the battle shifted to the crypt, the only entrance to which led through a small ventilation opening in the western part of the church which was accessible from the street outside. The Germans seized this opportunity and ordered in the Prague fire department to begin flooding the crypt with water and tear gas.
Near the altar, under a carpet, the Germans found an entrance into the crypt covered with a stone slab. After destroying it with explosives, they discovered steep stairs leading into the crypt; the Czechs were now fighting from all sides.
Pannwitz and Frank had ?urda brought in to try and persuade the men in the crypt to surrender, but his shouts for them to give themselves up were met by fire form the defenders guns. The Czech's thought they might have a chance if they could tunnel there way out of the crypt into the sewer system below, but Jan Kubiš suffered from multiple gun shot and grenade wounds and died of blood loss.
The remaining defenders both exhausted and their ammunition just about gone, chose suicide over capture. Josef Gab?ík ended his own life with a pistol shot. Fourteen German soldiers had been killed and many more injured in the series of attacks. The dead paratroopers were carried out in front of the church and identified by the traitor Karel ?urda.
The assassination led to the reprisal of the complete destruction of the village of Lidice, 173 Lidice men were shot on that fateful day in the garden of the Horak farm.
Jan Kubiš' girlfriend, Anna Malinova, was arrested in the aftermath of the assassination, and died in Mauthausen concentration camp. Many Resistance helpers were also arrested and murdered, including Father Petrek.
The Germans erected a monument to Heydrich which was torn down by the Czechs in 1945. Hitler granted Lina, Heydrich's widow, heavily pregnant at the time of his death, the estate at Panenske Brezany, and she ended her days as a hotel-keeper on the island of Fehmarn.
Hitler eulogized Reinhard Heydrich in ceremony in Berlin on June 9, 1942:
"I have only a few words to dedicate to this dead man. He was one of the best National Socialists, one of the strongest defenders of German Reich, one of the biggest opponents of all the enemies of the Reich. He fell as a martyr for the preservation and safeguarding of the Reich. As leader of the party and as leader of the German Reich, I give you, my dear comrade Heydrich, the highest recognition I have to bestow, the uppermost level of the German Order. "
A memorial pamphlet entitled "My Honor is Loyalty" was Issued by: the Reich Security Main Office I B I shortly after Heydrich's death.
- June 4, 1942
A photo of Heydrich's car where it came to a stop during the ambush
Werner Best was a Senior SS and Security Police Leader who became Reich Commissioner for occupied Denmark.
Werner Best was born in Darmstadt on 10 July 1903, his parents moved to Dortmund in 1912 and then to Mainz, where Werner Best completed his education. After the Great War – his father, a senior postmaster, had fallen in France at the outset of the war in 1914 – Best founded the first local group of the German National Youth League and became active in the Mainz group of the German National People’s Party, all before he was twenty.
From 1921 to 1925 he studied law at Frankfurt am Main, Freiburg, Giessen and Heidleberg, where he received his doctorate in 1927. During these years he was strongly influenced by the German youth movement with its return to nature, its Germanic myths and Volkisch world-view.
He was twice imprisoned between the end of 1923 and the spring of 1924 by the French authorities during the nationalist struggle in the Ruhr region. In 1929 he was appointed Gerichtsassessor in the Hessian Department of Justice, but was forced to resign from his position two years later when the so-called Boxheim documents were found in his possession – the name came from the Boxheim estate near Worms, where groups of National Socialists had held meetings to discuss a plan for seizing power after a hypothetical communist revolution.
The tenants of the Boxheim documents:
- Fascist "Storm Divisions" should seize the Government by a counter coup d'état
Any citizen caught bearing arms or disobeying the orders of a "Storm Commander" should be shot without trial.
Private property should be "abolished provisionally," all bank deposits "immobilized in the banks" and interest payments stopped.
The Fascist Dictatorship should abolish wages, enroll the able-bodied citizenry (except Jews) in State labor divisions, and distribute food by a system of rationing to everyone (except Jews, who would starve).
The documents which bore Best’s signature and contained a blueprint for a Nazi putsch and the subsequent execution of political opponents, embarrassed Hitler at a time when he was seeking power by legal means.
Nevertheless Best was made Police Commissioner in Hessen in March 1933 and by July of the same year he was appointed Governor. Werner Best advanced rapidly in the next six years, becoming the deputy of Heydrich and Himmler.
Werner Best was also chief legal advisor to the Gestapo, as well as holding the position of Chief of the Bureau of the Secret State Police at the Reich Ministry of the Interior.
Werner Best was ambitious, a cool amoral technician of power, used his academic and legal skills to justify the totalitarian practice of the Nazi regime, “which corresponds to the ideological principle of the organically indivisible national community.”
As a leading constitutional theoretician and Nazi jurist in the Third Reich, Best did a great deal to give respectability and legitimacy to the political police and the concentration camps. As long as the Gestapo was carrying out the will of the leadership, it was in his view, “acting legally.”
By 1935 Best was already a Standartenfuhrer – during World War Two he was promoted to SS- Obergruppenfuhrer – and the closest collaborator of Heydrich in building up the Gestapo and the Security Services. Between 27 September 1939 and 12 June 1940 Werner Best was Chief of Section l of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) and it was in this capacity that he was charged and found guilty with complicity in the murder of thousands of Jews and Polish intellectuals.
After leaving the RSHA, Best served for the next two years as Chief of the Civil Administration in occupied France, involved in fighting the French Resistance and in the deportation of Jews, to the death camps in Poland.
The climax of his career came in Denmark, where he was Reich Plenipotentiary from November 1942 to 1945. in spite of his record as a “desk murderer,” there is evidence that in Denmark Best sought to sabotage Himmler’s orders concerning the implementation of the “Final Solution.”
Only 477 out of more than 7,000 Danish Jews were finally rounded up by the Nazis who were forbidden by Best to break into Jewish apartments. Pre-warned the majority of Danish Jews were able, with help, to escape to Sweden and safety.
Werner Best was originally sentenced to death by a Danish court in 1948 following his extradition, but his sentence was commuted to five years and he was granted a clemency release in August 1951. Werner Best also appeared at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial as a witness.
He returned to West Germany, working for a time in a solicitor’s office and then as a lawyer for Stinnes Co, one of the largest German trading concerns.
In 1958 he was fined 70,000 marks by a Berlin de-Nazification court for his past activities as a top SS officer. In March 1969 he was held in detention whilst new investigations concerning his responsibility for mass murders.
He was finally charged in February 1972 but released in the August of the same year on medical grounds though the accusations were not withdrawn.
Werner Best was one of the most illustrious figures of the Third Reich, the author of a famous book on the police, Die Deutsche Polizei 1941, a free-floating intellectual with a blurred sense of morality who devoted his legal talents to the service of a power-mad clique of criminals.
Werner Best’s role remained ambiguous, at least in relation to his period in control of Denmark. A combination of personal ambition, opportunist careerism and ideological inclinations drove him to the apex of the Nazi system, a system of terror, he helped to function smoothly
Yet at the end of his career in National Socialist it would appear that he belatedly began to revert to that respect for law which he had done so much to destroy from within, in his earlier career.
- 10 July 1903~
Erich Koch was born in Elbersfed on the 19 June 1896. After a relatively undistinguished military service during the Great War of 1914 -1918, Koch returned home and became a railway clerk until he was dismissed in 1926 for anti-republican political activity.
Having joined the Nazi party in 1922, he was involved in the revolt against the French occupation in the Ruhr and was imprisoned by the French occupation authorities.
During the years 1922 and 1926 he was one of the Party district leaders in the Ruhr and a supporter of the radical wing of the NSDAP led by Gregor Strasser, who was murdered by the Gestapo on the infamous “Night of the Long Knives,” on the 30 June 1934.
From 1928 Koch was Gauleiter of the Party in East Prussia and from 1930 a member of the Reichstag for East Prussia and appointed a member of the Prussian State Council in July 1933 and was then madeOberprasident of East Prussia in September 1933.
His autocratic rule never allowed the SA or SS to come to the fore, as in other Gaue, but Koch’s support of collectivisation in agriculture made him unpopular with the peasants and he was ruthless in arresting his critics, or expelling them from the party.
During the Second World War Erich Koch proved himself one of Hitler’s cruellest administrators in the conquered eastern territories, his brutal rule, caused the death of untold numbers of innocent men, women and children, who were deported to concentration and labour camps, and the destruction of countless numbers of villages, which were burnt to the ground.
In addition to his stewardship of East Prussia, he was appointed head of the civil administration in Bialystok and from October 1941 to 1944 he was Reichskommissar in the Ukraine which included the control of the Gestapo and the police.
His first official act in the Ukraine was to close local schools, declaring that “Ukraine children need no schools. What they’ll have to learn later will be taught them by their German masters.”
During a speech in Kiev on the 5 March 1943 Koch was explicit about the methods he intended to use to build a slave State in the Ukraine and his complete contempt for Slav “Untermenschen, “(German term for sub-human).
”We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here.”
Thanks to his twisted policy of brutal “Germanisation” and the repression, murder and exploitation of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews, Erich Koch’s empire was soon swarming with partisans.
The destruction of Ukrainian Jews was carried out with harsh brutality, a German engineer Hermann Graebe was an eyewitness to one action in the ghetto of Rowno on the 13 July 1942:
“On the evening of this day, I drove to Rowno and posted myself with Fritz Einsporn in front of the house in the Bahnhofstrasse in which the Jewish workers of my firm slept.
Shortly after 2200 the ghetto was encircled by a large SS detachment and about three times as many members of the Ukrainian militia. Then the electric arc lights which had been erected in and around the ghetto were switched on.
SS and militia squads of four to six men entered or at least tried to enter the houses. Where the doors and windows were closed and the inhabitants did not open at the knocking, the SS man and militia broke the windows, forced the doors with beams and crowbars, and entered the houses.
The people living there were driven on to the street just as they were, regardless of whether they were dressed or in bed. Since the Jews in most cases refused to leave their houses and resisted, the SS and militia applied force. They finally succeeded with strokes of the whip, kicks and blows, and rifle butts, in clearing the houses.
The people were driven out of their houses in such haste that small children in bed had been left behind in several instances. In the streets women cried out for their children and children for their parents. That did not prevent the SS from driving the people along the road at running pace, and hitting them, until they reached a waiting freight train.
Carriage after carriage was filled, and the screaming of women and children and the cracking of whips and rifle shots resounded unceasingly. Since several families or groups had barricaded themselves in especially strong buildings and the doors could not be forced with crowbars or beams, the doors were now blown open with hand grenades.
Since the ghetto was near the railroad tracks in Rowno, the younger people tried to get across the tracks and over a small river to get away from the ghetto area. As this stretch of country was beyond the range of the electric lights it was illuminated by small rockets.
All through the night these beaten, hounded and wounded people moved along the lighted streets. Women carried their dead children in their arms, children pulled and dragged their dead parents by their arms and legs down the road toward the train. Again and again the cries “Open the door! Open the door!” echoed throughout the ghetto. “
After the loss of the Ukraine, Koch returned to Konigsberg, and then after the fall of East Prussia, he disappeared in Germany until he was arrested by British security officers in Hamburg at the end of May 1949.
Erich Koch on trial
His extradition was demanded by the Polish and Soviet governments who regarded him as one of the worst war criminals, directly responsible for the extermination of Poles, Soviet partisans and hundreds of thousands of Jews in Bialystok and the Ukraine.
On the 14 January 1950 Erich Koch was delivered by the British to a prison in Warsaw but his trial did not commence for another eight years. On the 19 October 1958 his trial began when he faced charges relating to the extermination of 400,000 Poles, his crimes in the Ukraine were not investigated.
Koch was found guilty of these crimes and was sentenced to death on the 9 March 1959 by the Polish district court in Warsaw, for having planned, prepared and organised mass murder of civilians.
Due to his ill-health his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he died in Barczewo prison on the 12 November 1986.
- 19 June 1896~12 November 1986.
Szucha Avenue and Pawiak Prison -Warsaw
Pawiak Prison -Warsaw (photo circa 2003)
Gestapo Headquarters – 25 Szucha Avenue, Warsaw
The Gestapo Head Quarters at 25 Szucha Avenue was one of the most feared buildings in Warsaw, its very name one that provoked fear and dread amongst the population of Warsaw.
In the basement or on the upper floors of this building prisoners were beaten up and abused, by Gestapo men, and suspects were placed blood stained in isolated cells, or collective cells, the latter which were called “trams” by the prisoners.
Many Poles lost their lives in this gloomy institution of terror, bodies of murdered and dying people littered the corridors, thrown there by Gestapo thugs.
Jozef Garlinski, a member of the Home Army - Polish Underground recalled his arrest after climbing off a tram, on 20 April 1943.
“ Suddenly I was conscious of someone behind me. Then I heard footsteps. As I turned my head, I heard – “Halt! Hande Hoch! Two young men rushed towards me, the dark metal of revolvers in their right hands”.
We went down Litewska Street. A man came out of a gateway and followed us at a convenient distance. We had crossed the frontier into the undisputed territory of the Germans.
We turned left and again left and entered a building up several steps. We were in Gestapo headquarters.
In the dark anteroom the windows of the spacious inquiry office sparkled and inside a sleepy NCO on guard sat by the telephones. The man escorting me said a few words to him and pointed to the stairs on the left, leading down to the cellars.
We went up to the iron bars and my guard rang a bell. Keys rattled and a dishevelled NCO in bedroom slippers opened them. My guard whispered a few words and quickly withdrew. The bars grated open then shut.
The NCO gave me a bored look of dislike. Komm.
We turned left along a pale narrow corridor, rather poorly lit. The left- hand wall consisted of iron gratings, which formed the doors of four windowless cells. This must be the famous tramcar I thought.
I knew the Gestapo building fairly well from the numerous reports I received.
Beyond the last cell was a small room with a typewriter and a large wireless set. I felt myself growing tense”.
After an initial interrogation Garlinski was led to the tramcars.
“ I sat down quickly on a bench with my face to the wall. This was the cell ‘mit musik’ it was only separated by a wall from the room with the wireless. The bench made out of narrow boards was small and uncomfortable. But we had to sit still for behind our backs, on the other side of the bars, a guard paced up and down, observing us constantly. Anyone who attracted his attention was led out to do ‘gymnastics’ from which he returned breathless and with reddened cheeks.
At last the little room with the radio came to life too. A cheerful tune rang out, mingled with the noise of the typewriter. Names began to be called out. The cell ‘mit musik’ became quiet. In the little room next to it the radio was turned off and the occupants got down to work.
One could hear curt questions, the murmur of low answers and again and again, the sound of blows, after which came a shriek, often a women’s sob, clutching at our hearts and impeding our breathing”.
Soon it was Garlinski’s turn:
“It was nine o’clock when my turn came. In the room were the two Gestapo men who had been there yesterday, as well as a big fellow in uniform and a small dark curly-haired civilian with a sullen look. He addressed me in good Polish.
After a brutal interrogations with beatings with a hide whip, Garlinski was pushed back into the tramcars for eight hours, after having revealed very little about himself.
It would appear that he had been arrested by the Gestapo in a case of mistaken identity.
“ At five in the afternoon the guard read out several names. We were stood side by side and led through a maze of corridors onto the courtyard.
There was a black van waiting for us. It was with some relief that I discovered we were going to the Pawiak Prison.
We were strongly escorted the horns blowing loudly and, as it was six o’clock in the evening and the city at its liveliest, trams stopped and cars got out of the way. A wall, a barrier.
Over the ghetto rose clouds of smoke. I was arrested on 20 April 1943 and one day earlier the Germans started the final assault on the Jewish district and were greeted by fire from small arms and grenades. The Jewish Fighting Organisation had started to resist.
We were under a black canvas hood, but it was possible to see a little. The gloomy blocks of houses, standing close together, were shaken every moment by the nearby detonations of shells. From inside came shrieks, smothered by wild firing.
The barrier had been raised to let in our column of cars. We raced through the deserted streets, past a group of gendarmes and SS men crouching behind a wall, past some corpses. Finally, the crazy barking of dogs, the curses and shouts of the Gestapo men, “Raus, Raus” (Get Out).
We had reached the Pawiak Prison, an island in the midst of the stormy sea of the fighting Ghetto.
Pawiak Prison – 24/26 Dzielna – Warsaw
A decision to erect a new prison in Warsaw was taken in 1829. The prison later called Pawiak was located between Dzielna, Pawia and Wiezlenna Streets. The construction works started in 1830 and were completed in 1836.
The buildings were designed by Henryk Marconi , official builder and one of the most outstanding Polish architects of the 19th century. The first inmates were imprisoned in 1835.
The prison had a rectangular shaped plot occupying an area of 1.5 hectares, surrounded by a wall with two turrets on the Dzielna and Pawia Street sides. The main building which contained the men’s section, consisted of four storeys. The women’s prison known as “Serbia”, had three storeys.
The complex also included various auxiliary buildings, such as warehouses, workshops, a kitchen, storerooms, baths, a boiler house, potato treatment rooms and a laundry.
During the first period under the Nazi occupation, until March 1940, the prison was subordinated to the Department for Justice of the Generalgouvernement. From March 1940 Pawiak became a prison under the control of the Commander of the Security Police, SD and Gestapo.
At the beginning of November 1940 permanent German staff took up duties in the prison. This affected the conditions within the prison, as Polish warders had tried to help the inmates in various ways, including facilitating contacts with the outside world. The Polish warders were arrested between March and April 1942.
Joe Heydecker a German soldier described a house that was near the prison:
“There were about twenty people. Most of them slept on the bare parquet floor on blankets or newspapers covering themselves with coats. In one corner sat a woman trying to comfort a crying child. Then it struck me that in this room there were only women, girls and children. At a glance one could see their deprivation, the absence of any hygienic facilities, and their wretchedness.
The cold air was suffocating. The windows were shut and nailed down, the glass in them had been painted over with thick blue paint. Later I learnt that the windows had been nailed down and painted over because they looked out onto the Pawiak, the prison of the German Gestapo and SD. The name Pawiak struck terror in the heart during the German occupation of the city.
The whole building complex bordered onto the back of Dzielna Street and would have afforded a view into it from the windows at the back of the house. “We always hear the shooting”, one of the people in the room told me. “Often during the day, more frequently at night, and screams too, when the city is quiet”.
Pawiak was designed to accommodate 1,000 inmates, housed three times that amount, the conditions in the prison was extremely harsh.
One prisoner recalls
“Although a small grated window was open at all times, the air inside the cell was unbearably stuffy – a nasty chill in winter and an equally nagging heat during the summer months. Despite frequent delousing – bedbugs and fleas made inmates lives miserable”.
Food at Pawiak was insufficient throughout the entire period of the German occupation. The worst situation was in the second half of 1941, and during the whole of 1942. Without aid from the outside prisoners would have starved to death.
The first public execution in Warsaw was closely linked with Pawiak, the announcement of 3 November 1939 informed the population about the execution of Ms Eugenia Wlodarz and Ms Elzbieta Zahorska who were arrested for tearing down a German propaganda poster reading “England this is your work”. They were imprisoned at Pawiak and later executed at Fort Mokotowski.
Around two hundred and fifty Pawiak prisoners were executed between 1939 – 1944 in Warsaw and its surrounding areas, such as Bukowiec, Palmiry, Wolka Weglowa, Luze, Laski, Magdalenka, Stefanow, Las Kabacki, Wawer and Anin. The executions reached their climax in 1943 and 1944, after the Ghetto had been liquidated executions were carried out in the streets near the prison.
An inmate recalls:
“During the ghetto uprising in April – May 1943 Pawiak became an assault base for the Nazis. Prison warders under the command of Burkl, volunteered to hunt for insurgents. Captured victims were beaten, humiliated and ill-treated. Then they were shot dead at point blank range in the back of their heads. Men and women alike.
Also the Ukrainians did the same, later like their masters, they returned excited by murder. We looked at their faces with disgust – we were petrified to hear their tales. In Pawiak the cells were filled with acrid smoke. We could smell human bodies burning. Iron cupboards and beds were scorching. Rubber soles turned into balloons. Apparently, we would also go up in flames”.
After the final liquidation of the ghetto in May 1943 Jews captured in the Aryan part of the city were brought to Pawiak prison marked with a plus sign and immediately thrown in dark, dirty bed-bug infested cells in Section Vlll. Executions were carried out nearly every day, in the ruins near the prison.
The Directorate of the Civilian with the co-operation of the Polish Home Army and the clandestine prison unit, pronounced death sentences on a number of Gestapo men from both the Pawiak Prison and Szucha Avenue. Hans Burkl, deputy commander of Pawiak, a sadist and multiple murderer, was shot dead on 7 September 1943 by soldiers from the Agat detachment at the corner of Marszalkowska and Litewska Streets.
WW1 veteran Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger led the infamous SS Dirlewanger Brigade, a penal battalion comprised of the sickest most vicious criminals in the Riech. Dirlwanger raped two 13 year old girls on separate occasions in the 1930s, and lost his Dr. title after being imprisoned, only to have it reinstated after his bravery Fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
He volunteered for the SS at the start of WW2, and was given his own battalion due to his excellent soldiery, Dirlewanger’s unit was employed in operations against partisans in the occupied Soviet Union, but he and his soldiers are widely believed to have tortured, raped and murdered civilians (including children) and he allegedly fed female hostages strychnine in order to entertain his soldiers whilst they died in agony.
Dirlewanger was captured by the French in a hospital after being injured at the front as he had always led his soldiers into battle. The French handed him over to the Polish, who locked him up and beat and tortured him over the next few days. He died from injuries inflicted by the Polish guards around June 5, 1945.
- June 5, 1945
Klaus Barbie "The Butcher of Lyon"
A Nazi war criminal known as the 'Butcher of Lyon' who was personally responsible for the torture and death of thousands of Jews. Barbie managed to evade execution for his war crimes by fleeing Europe to Bolivia with the assistance of U.S. intelligence agents. Personal Information:
Klaus Barbie was tried in Lyon and sentenced to life in prison in 1987. In 1991, Barbie died of leukemia in prison at the age of 78.
Telex signed personally by Barbie was sent to Gestapo headquarters in Paris:
The Jewish children’s home in Izieu (Ain) was closed down this morning. A total of 41 children aged 3 to 13 were arrested. Additionally, all the Jewish personnel – comprising ten people, including five women – were also arrested. Money or other valuables were not discovered. Transit to Drancy follows 7.4.44
- October 25, 1913~ September 25, 1991
Martin Ludwig Bormann
(17 June 1900 – 2 May 1945?)
Was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery (Parteikanzlei) and private secretary to Adolf Hitler. He gained Hitler's trust and derived immense power within the Third Reich by controlling access to the Führer and by regulating the orbits of those closest to him.
Bormann was last seen on May 1, 1945, trying to get out of Berlin. Whether he was killed that day or he escaped is unknown.
Bormann’s chauffeur, Jakob Glas, insisted that he saw Bormann in Munich weeks after May 1. Bormann was tried in absentia by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in October 1946, who sentenced him to death. A cottage industry has arisen to make the case that Bormann survived.
Bormann sightings were reported in Europe and South America, particularly in Paraguay. But none were confirmed. Some claimed that he had plastic surgery. Another story has it that with the help of German industrialists he set up a network of shadow companies in which to launder Nazi wealth. Then there is the theory that Bormann lived his remaining years in Moscow, as a retired Soviet spy.
A test on a skull thought to be Bormann?s in 1998 found the remains compatible with his son?s. This photo of the skull and portrait was made in 1972.
In the end it was the wildest of wild goose chases, but not even the head of MI5 could prevent his spies becoming obsessed with the postwar manhunt for Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler's trusted private secretary, secret files released today reveal.
Sightings of Bormann, who sat alongside the Fuhrer in his Berlin bunker before he committed suicide in 1945, occupied the secret service officers until at least 1952, more than seven years after he actually died.
Bormann's MI5 file shows how, to the increasing infuriation of their masters, British agents diligently recorded sightings of the prominent Nazi wearing a Tyrolean hat in Germany, sitting on a mountainside in Tibet alongside a pale-looking Hitler, and posing as an Israeli doctor in Lugano, Switzerland, all long after he had, in fact, died as the Red Army converged on Berlin.
According to now fading MI5 memos typed onto tracing paper released to the National Archives for the first time today, senior intelligence officials became more and more exasperated at their spies' over-active imaginations as accounts of spurious sightings flooded back to London. Bormann was allegedly spotted in Switzerland wearing a beard, dark suit and silk tie and carrying a 6.35 calibre Mauser pistol, and on another occasion he was apparently holed up beside an airfield in Spanish Morocco surrounded by piles of world maps and a globe in a glass case as he plotted a Nazi revival.
The low point in the increasingly farcical and ultimately futile hunt, came in May 1947 when a low-ranking officer called Merry, in charge of the ports in Ceylon, implored London to send a description of the Nazi war criminal on the off chance he might pass through.
"He admits it is a long chance, but would like to have an up-to-date description for purposes of look out," explained assistant Superintendent of police, Perera, in Ceylon in a memo to London on Merry's behalf.
It prompted a cutting reply from an officer called Courtenay Young at HQ, which by now was at the end of its tether and was convinced Bormann was dead.
"I think Perera might be commended for his enthusiasm, but it might also be broken to him gently that the late but peripatetic Herr Bormann is currently being seen in Switzerland (the most persistent locale), Bolivia, Italy, Norway and Brazil – in the last country sitting in state on a high mountain beside his pallid Fuhrer," Young wrote. "The press is doubtless waiting to break the silly season scoop: that he has been seen riding the Loch Ness monster."
The incessant and increasingly unreliable sightings of Bormann, eventually so infuriated HQ that the director general of the security service, Sir Percy Sillitoe, himself weighed in and dispatched a terse note to Ceylon.
"Bormann is almost certainly dead, but his decease has not prevented numerous rumours as to his whereabouts gaining currency," he wrote. "Recently he has been reported in Switzerland, Bolivia, Italy, Norway and Brazil. Most of these reports derive from the press and probably come from irresponsible persons. We do not consider therefore, that it would be worth your while bothering to look out for Bormann in your territory."
But even this high-ranking intervention did not stop the excitable chatter. On the same day as Sir Percy's intervention, a report came through from what was claimed to be "an absolutely reliable German source" that Bormann was in the Argentine city of Posadas, having arrived there by submarine on 29 July 1945. He had since moved on, the source said in a letter from Berlin written in Spanish, to hiding in Chile where he was operating "secret Nazi organisations, which are still in operation in the Western zone of Germany".
Another report had him in Sweden, but MI5 deemed it "so involved" it must be rubbish.
"It was about time Martin Bormann should arrive in Sweden!" noted a jaded agent.
But it was perhaps no surprise people were keen to track Bormann down. Not only had he risen from an unpromising background, including a year in prison for his role in a political murder, to become a key confidant of Hitler, he looked like an irresistibly comic-book version of a Nazi fugitive. Descriptions on the MI5 file mark say he had a "bloated complexion, pale, almost Chinese yellow. Probably duelling scars on left cheek … a deep voice, bull neck and knock-kneed walk".
In the end, the sightings proved to be flights of fantasy. DNA taken from the remains of a body found close to where Bormann was seen trying to escape when the Red Army invaded Berlin in May 1945, confirmed he died there. A test on a skull thought to be Bormann's in 1998 found the remains compatible with his son's and the mystery was over. He had died just hours after Hitler and his adventures from Tibet to South America via north Africa were nothing more than spy stories.
Death, rumours of survival and discovery of remains
17 October 1946 newsreel of Nuremberg Trials sentencing Axmann's account of Bormann's death
As World War II came to a close, Bormann held out with Hitler in the Führerbunker in Berlin. On 30 April 1945, just before committing suicide, Hitler signed the order to allow a breakout. On 1 May, Bormann left the Führerbunker with SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger, Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmannand Hitler's pilot Hans Baur as part of one of the groups attempting to break out of the Soviet encirclement. At the Weidendammer Bridge, a Tiger tank spearheaded the first attempt to storm across the bridge, but it was destroyed. Bormann and Stumpfegger were "knocked over" when the tank was hit.
There followed two more attempts and on the third attempt, made around 1:00, Bormann in his group from the Reich Chancellery crossed the Spree. Leaving the rest of their group, Bormann, Stumpfegger and Axmann walked along railway tracks to Lehrter station, where Axmann decided to go alone in the opposite direction of his two companions. When he encountered aRed Army patrol, Axmann doubled back and later insisted he had seen the bodies of Bormann and Stumpfegger near the railway switching yard with moonlight clearly illuminating their faces. He did not check the bodies, so he did not know what killed them.
Axmann, Werner Naumann, and their adjutants escaped Berlin. Axmann hid in the Bavarian Alps under the alias "Erich Siewert". He was arrested in December 1945 while organising an underground Nazi movement. Naumann found asylum in Argentina, where he became an editor of the neo-Nazi magazine Der Weg.
Lieutenant General Konstantin Telegin, of the Soviet 5th Assault Army, remembered his men bringing Bormann’s diary to him. "It was brought-in immediately after the fighting had ended. As far as I can remember, it was found on the road when they were cleaning up the battle area." Inspired by the diary and reports from prisoners, Telegin said, "Naturally, we sent a recon group to the bridge, who searched the site of the breakthrough attempt. All they found were a few civilians. Bormann was not found."Tried at Nuremberg in absentia
During the chaotic closing days of the war, there were contradictory reports as to Bormann's whereabouts. For example, Jakob Glas, Bormann's long-time chauffeur, insisted he saw Bormann in Munich weeks after 1 May 1945. The bodies were not found, and a global search followed including extensive efforts in South America. With no evidence sufficient to confirm Bormann's death, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg tried Bormann in absentia in October 1946 and sentenced him to death. His court-appointed defence lawyer used the unusual and unsuccessful defence that the court could not convict Bormann because he was already dead.
In 1965, a retired postal worker named Albert Krumnow stated that around 8 May 1945 the Soviets had ordered him and his colleagues to bury two bodies found near the railway bridge near Lehrter station. One was "a member of the Wehrmacht" and the other was "an SS doctor".
Krumnow’s colleague, Wagenpfohl is said to have found a paybook on the SS doctor’s body identifying him as Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger. He gave the paybook to his boss, postal chief Berndt, who turned it over to the Soviets. They in turn destroyed it. The Soviets allowed Berndt to notify Stumpfegger’s wife. He wrote and told her that her husband’s body was "…interred with the bodies of several other dead soldiers in the grounds of the Alpendorf in Berlin NW 40, Invalidenstrasse 63."
In mid-1965, Berlin police excavated the alleged burial site looking for Bormann's remains, but found nothing. Krumnow stated he could no longer remember exactly where he buried the bodies. Stern magazine editor Jochen Von Lang, whose investigation inspired the dig, later wrote, "even if bones had been discovered, it would have been exceedingly difficult to identify them as those of Martin Bormann." He went on to opine that the only way to identify Bormann would be to find "glass particles" from a cyanide capsule in the jaw and that "would border almost on the miraculous."Two decades of unconfirmed sightings
Unconfirmed sightings of Bormann were reported globally for 20 years, particularly in Europe, Paraguay and elsewhere in South America. Some rumours claimed that Bormann had plastic surgery while on the run.
At a 1967 press conference, Simon Wiesenthal asserted there was strong evidence that Bormann was alive and well in South America. Writer Ladislas Farago's widely-known 1974 book Aftermath: Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich argued that Bormann had survived the war and lived in Argentina. Farago's evidence, which drew heavily on official governmental documents, was compelling enough to persuade Dr. Robert M. W. Kempner (a lawyer at the Nuremberg Trials) to briefly re-open an active investigation in 1972. However, Farago's claims were generally rejected by historians and critics. Allegations that Bormann and his organisation survived the war figure prominently in the work of David Emory.Allegations of being a Russian spy
Reinhard Gehlen states in his memoirs his conviction that Bormann was a Russian agent and that at the time of his 'disappearance' in Berlin he in reality went over to his Russian masters and was spirited away by them to Moscow. He bases his conclusion on a conversation he had with Admiral Canaris and on his conviction that there was an enemy agent at work inside the German supreme command.
He deduced the latter from the fact that the Russians appeared to be able to obtain "rapid and detailed information on incidents and top-level decision-making on the German side". Of course, at the time he was writing up his memoirs (late 1960s to early 1970s), Gehlen was not aware of the British breaking of the Enigma codes. Gehlen goes on to say that he discovered that Bormann was engaged in a Funkspiel with Moscow with Hitler's express approval.
He claims that in the 1950s, when he headed first the Gehlen Organization and later the Bundesnachrichtendienst(BND), the West German Intelligence Service, he "was passed two separate reports from behind the Iron Curtain to the effect that Bormann had been a Soviet agent and had lived after the war in the Soviet Union under perfect cover as an adviser to the Moscow government. He has died in the meantime." (quotes from the 1971 ed.) After the collapse of the Soviet Union, based on KGB archival material from this period, it was claimed that the Russians may indeed have had a spy in the bunker, code named Sasha. However, Sasha was said to have been a Russian, not Bormann.Discovery of remains and controversy surrounding identification
The hunt for Bormann lasted 26 years without success. International investigators and journalists searched for Bormann from Paraguay to Moscow and from Norway to Egypt. Digs for his body in Paraguay in March 1964 and Berlin in July 1964 were unsuccessful. The German government offered a 100,000-Mark reward in November 1964, but no one claimed it. The final straw came in July 1965, when the search of Albert Krumnow’s Berlin location turned up nothing. The German government determined that Berlin was simply "too full of cemeteries andmass graves dating from the last days of the war."
On the political end, the hunt for Bormann became a recurring memory of the Nazi regime and also an embarrassment that would not go away. On 13 December 1971, the West German government officially called an end to the search for Bormann. This pronouncement was met with protest from Jewish human rights groups and Nazi-hunters like Simon Wiesenthal who insisted the search must continue until Bormann was found, alive or dead.
Almost a year later, on 7 December 1972, Axmann and Krumnow's accounts were bolstered when construction workers uncovered human remains near the Lehrter Bahnhof in West Berlin just 12 m (39 ft) from the spot where Krumnow claimed he had buried them. Dental records — reconstructed from memory in 1945 by Dr. Hugo Blaschke — identified the skeleton as Bormann's, and damage to the collarbone was consistent with injuries Bormann's sons reported he had sustained in a riding accident in 1939.
The second skeleton was deemed to be Stumpfegger‘s, since it was of similar height to his last known proportions. Fragments of glass in the jawbones of both skeletons suggested that Bormann and Stumpfegger committed suicide by biting cyanide capsules to avoid capture.
Soon after, in a press conference held by the West German government, Bormann was declared dead, a statement condemned by Britain's Daily Express as a whitewash perpetrated by the Brandt government. West German diplomatic officials were given official instruction that "if anyone is arrested on suspicion that he is Bormann we will be dealing with an innocent man".
The remains were conclusively identified as Bormann's in 1998 when German authorities ordered a genetic test on the skull. The test identified the skull as that of Bormann, using DNA from one of his relatives. Bormann's remains were cremated and the ashes scattered in the Baltic Sea by Bormann's son Martin Adolf Bormann, a Roman Catholic and retired priest.
Despite these DNA tests, there had and continues to be controversy regarding the authenticity of the remains. For example, Hugh Thomas' 1995 book Doppelgängers claimed there were forensic inconsistencies suggesting Bormann died later than 1945. When exhumed, Bormann’s skeleton was covered in flecks of red clay, whereas Berlin is a city based on yellow sand. This indicated to some that the body had been re-interred from somewhere with a clay-based soil, such as Paraguay, the Andes Mountains or even Russia (as the Gehlen theory surmised).
Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal refused to accept the government’s declaration of Bormann‘s death, persisting in the belief that Bormann escaped Berlin with Axmann and headed south to the safety of the Alps. There he was rumoured to have been seen in both Bavaria and Austria. Bormann’s aide Wilhelm Zander was captured in Passau, along the Austrian frontier, in December 1945. From the Alps, Wiesenthal believed, Bormann and others escaped to South America.
Others, like English scholar and intelligence officer Hugh Trevor-Roper, decried the evidence upon which the German government based its searches for Bormann: the testimony of one man. He and others argued that the testimony of Artur Axmann, the only man who said he saw Bormann dead was falsified to protect Bormann who was then on the run.
Both men were unrepentant Nazis and shared the motivation to keep their cause alive. Axmann, they argued, probably escaped Berlin with Bormann. Russian author Lev Bezymenski wrote that Axmann’s statements had, "the apparent aim of convincing the world that the Reichsleiter had been killed."
Bezymenski also wrote that Axmann’s statements, "give rise to a lot of doubt, especially when one considers that he changed his explanations at least three times in the postwar years." Some also believed it implausible that the Soviets would identify the body of Stumpfegger and ignore Bormann’s body, supposedly at Stumpfegger’s side. Further, it was said that Bormann was reinterred only to later be "discovered" by the German government.
- 17 June 1900 – 2 May 1945
BUDAPEST (AFP)---The trial of Hungarian Nazi war crime suspect Sandor Kepiro can continue after physical and mental health checks showed the 97-year-old was fit, even if very frail, a Budapest court ruled Thursday.
"Sandor Kepiro's mental state is not impaired and he is able to understand and process information from outside," Budapest Municipal Court judge Bela Varga said, quoting the findings of recent medical examinations of Kepiro's physical and mental health.
"Nevertheless, due to his advanced age, his mental state deteriorates rapidly after two sessions of 45 minutes," Varga said.
The proceedings would therefore continue over three more days, with a verdict expected on June 3, the judge added.
Frail and hard of hearing, Kepiro -- one the last suspected Nazi war criminals to go on trial -- stands accused of being directly responsible for the deaths of 36 Jews and Serbs during a raid by Hungarian forcecs in the Serbian town of Novi Sad in January 1942.
If found guilty, he could face a life sentence.
After three days of hearings since the proceedings began on May 5, the trial was suspended last week so that doctors could determine whether Kepiro
-- who is extremely frail and hard of hearing -- was fit enough to stand trial.
He turned up in court on Thursday in a wheelchair and wearing a set of headphones that would enable him to hear the proceedings clearly.
Kepiro answered in the affirmative when the judge asked him whether he was able to what had been said so far.
The former Hungarian gendarmerie officer was formerly number one on the list of wanted Nazi criminals by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
He is being tried in connection with a raid by Hungarian forces on Novi Sad between January 21 and 23, 1942, in which more than 1,200 Jews and Serbs were murdered.
Specifically, Kepiro is charged, as head of one of the patrols involved in the raids, with having ordered the rounding up and execution of 36 people.
Hungarian Nazi war crime suspect Sandor Kepiro sits on May 19, 2011 in a wheelchair at Budapest Municipal Court before the start of the third day of his trial. The court ruled on May 19 that Kepiro's trial could continue after physical and mental health checks showed the 97-year-old was fit, even if very frail. He stands accused of being directly responsible for the deaths of 36 Jews and Serbs during a raid by Hungarian forces in the Serbian town of Novi Sad in January 1942. The former Hungarian....
Sandor Kepiro, a former officer in a Hungarian special security force who was recently acquitted of Holocaust-era war crimes charges, died here on Saturday. He was 97.Filip Horvat for The New York Times
Sandor Kepiro in 2006Related
His death was announced by his lawyer, Zsolt Zetenyi.
In July, Mr. Kepiro was acquitted of charges that he was responsible for the deaths of 36 people during World War II raids by Hungarian forces allied with the Germans in northern Serbia. More than 1,200 civilians were killed in those raids.
Mr. Kepiro had been convicted twice before of taking part in that massacre. He was freed from prison shortly after his first conviction, in 1944, and he was convicted in absentia two years later by the Communist government, after he had fled to Argentina. He returned to Hungary in 1996.
Mr. Kepiro had acknowledged that as a junior police officer he took part in rounding up people before the massacre, but he denied killing anyone or giving the order to shoot victims. His case was brought to the attention of the Hungarian authorities in 2006 by theSimon Wiesenthal Center, which declared him the world’s most-wanted Nazi war criminal.
- May 19, 2011
Hanging at Landsberg Prison.
Three of the 19 camp guards tried and convicted by a general military court at Dachau (separate from the Nuremberg one) for atrocities committed at Mauthasen await execution by hanging at Landsberg prison.
Their names are Rudolf Mynzak, Wilhelm Mueller and Kurt Kleiwitz.
Defendants at Nuremberg
The defendants at Nuremberg. Front row, from left to right: Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Walther Funk, Hjalmar Schacht. Back row from left to right: Karl Dönitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl, Franz von Papen, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Albert Speer, Konstantin van Neurath, Hans Fritzsche.
The CIA and Nazi War Criminals
Gen. Reinhard Gehlen persuaded the U.S. Army and then the CIA to sponsor his intelligence network even though he employed numerous former Nazis and known war criminals.
A Nazi war criminal living in Vancouver will spend the long weekend in jail after the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld an extradition request from Italy, which wants him returned to serve a life sentence for torturing and murdering prisoners.
Now a frail 83-year-old who walks with a cane, Michael Seifert was a German Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel) officer and a guard at the Bolzano Transit Camp in northern Italy during the Second World War.
The Italian government alleges Seifert beat, tortured, starved and murdered inmates at the Nazi-run prison camp between December 1944 and April 1945.
The function of the Bolzano camp was to gather anti-fascist and anti-Nazi politicians, Jews, German army deserters and others rounded up in Italy who were destined to be transferred to concentration and extermination camps in Austria (Mauthausen), Germany (Dachau, Flossenburg, Ravensbruck) and Poland (Auschwitz).
Seifert refused to travel to Italy for his trial in 2000, where he was convicted, in absentia, on nine murder counts involving 11 people. He was sentenced to life in prison.
One of his grounds of appeal was that Italy's conduct was an abuse of process because a trial was held before extradition, so he was unable to defend himself.
But the appeal court found Seifert couldn't complain about in-absentia proceedings he refused to attend.
The court also noted a defence lawyer was appointed for Seifert by the court at his trial in Italy.
The lawyer asked questions of the witnesses and made submissions on behalf of Seifert, who was acquitted on six of the 15 charges for which he was tried, the appeal court noted.
Seifert's lawyer, Doug Christie, said Friday he will seek leave to appeal the latest ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Seifert had to surrender himself Friday morning before the appeal court ruling, and remained in custody after the ruling. He had been free on bail since 2003.
"I intend to bring a bail application next week," Christie said.
Seifert has been fighting his extradition to Italy since 2003. He moved to Canada more than 50 years ago, raised a family and has been living in east Vancouver.
The appeal court also dismissed Seifert's petition for a judicial review of the justice minister's order in 2005 that Seifert be surrendered to Italy.
Seifert alleged that then-justice minister Irwin Cotler had a background as a passionate advocate for Jewish organizations in matters related to the Holocaust and bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, which gave rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.
"Seifert must be accountable for his criminal acts," the appeal court concluded. "They are high crimes of the worst order. They overwhelm his personal circumstances. It is not unjust or oppressive for him to face the consequences of nine murders accompanied by extreme cruelty."
At his extradition hearing, Seifert's lawyer initially questioned whether his client was mentally fit to participate in the process and challenged the sufficiency of the evidence adduced by Italy in various ways.
Seifert testified for four days, denying every allegation of wrongdoing by every witness in Italy's record of the case.
On Aug. 27, 2003, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Selwyn Romilly committed Seifert to be extradited to Italy on seven of the nine murder offences.
The latest appeal judgment is online at: www.courts.gov.bc.ca/Jdb-txt/CA/07/04/2007BCCA0407.htm
The lawyer asked questions of the witnesses and made submissions on behalf of Seifert, who was acquitted on six of the 15 charges for which he was tried, the appeal court noted.
Seifert's lawyer, Doug Christie, said Friday he will seek leave to appeal the latest ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Seifert had to surrender Friday morning before the appeal court ruling, and remained in custody after.
He had been free on bail since 2003.
"I intend to bring a bail application next week," Christie said.
Seifert has been fighting his extradition to Italy since 2003. He moved to Canada more than 50 years ago, raised a family and has been living in east Vancouver.
The appeal court also dismissed Seifert's petition for a judicial review of the justice minister's order in 2005 that Seifert be surrendered to Italy.
Seifert alleged that then justice minister Irwin Cotler had a background as a passionate advocate for Jewish organizations in matters related to the Holocaust and bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, which gave rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.
"Seifert must be accountable for his criminal acts," the appeal court concluded. "They are high crimes of the worst order. They overwhelm his personal circumstances. It is not unjust or oppressive for him to face the consequences of nine murders accompanied by extreme cruelty."
At his extradition hearing, Seifert's lawyer initially questioned whether his client was mentally fit to participate in the process and challenged the sufficiency of the evidence adduced by Italy in various ways.
Seifert testified for four days, denying every allegation of wrongdoing by every witness in Italy's record of the case.
On Aug. 27, 2003, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Selwyn Romilly committed Seifert to be extradited to Italy on seven of the nine murder offences.
- 1945~Aug. 27, 2003
(29 November 1899 – 16 January 1988)
was a Croatian politician and a member of the Ustaše movement. Artukovi? was convicted of war crimes committed against minorities in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War II. His active participation in these crimes earned him the nickname "the Himmler of the Balkans"
Andrija Artukovi? was born in Klobuk, near Ljubuški (in Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary) and studied at a Franciscan monastery at Široki Brijeg in Herzegovina. He obtained a law PhD degree at University of Zagreb. From 1924 he worked as a court apprentice in Zagreb and in 1926 he opened an independent office in Gospi?. In 1929, he became part of the revolutionary group the Ustaše, and led a small uprising in Lika, after which he returned to Italy. In 1934 he was arrested as a participant in the death of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia but was released.
During World War II, in 1941 Artukovi? became Minister of the Interior in the newly-formed NDH. He was closely involved in the mass murder of Serbs, Jews, Roma, and other minorities, and the opening of concentration camps such as Jasenovac. His close associate was propagandistSavi? Markovi? Štedimlija, a publicist of Montenegrin ethnicity.
In 1941 Artukovi? had personally ordered the incarceration of the former national deputy Jesa Vidic in the Danica concentration camp. Olga Vidic proposed to exchange title to a piece of property for her husband's release to which Artukovi? replied "... I will kill him and take ... the land", which he did.Ante Paveli? (left) and Andrija Artukovi? (in the middle) meet patriarch Germogen
After the war he was held at a British prisoner-of-war camp at Spittal an der Drau, Austria. He avoided extradition to Yugoslavia, and travelled without a passport, moving to Switzerland and later to Ireland. Using the false name of Alois Anich, he used an Irish Certificate of Identity to obtain a non-immigrant visitor's visa from the American consul in Dublin. On 16 July 1948 he thus illegally entered the United States as a "temporary visitor for pleasure".
He moved to Seal Beach, California in 1948. When his visa and two extensions expired in April 1949 and his application for permanent residence under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 was denied, he nonetheless remained in the United States, along with his wife and his children, until the mid-1980s. His extradition was requested by the Yugoslav authorities to be put on the trial for war crimes (e.g. causing the death of several thousand persons).
It was first stayed by an immigration judge and shelved for two decades due to pressure from Croatian Americans and theRoman Catholic Church, but then reactivated and after a long court battle he was eventually expelled from the USA to Yugoslavia. The court in Zagreb issued a death sentence on 14 May 1986, but a year later the authorities ruled that he was too ill (with senile dementia) to be executed.
He died from natural causes in a prison hospital in Zagreb in 1988, aged 88.Remains
His remains have never been returned to his family. In 2010, the president of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for human rights, Ivan Zvonimir ?i?ak, called for authorities to investigate what happened to the remains
- 29 November 1899 – 16 January 1988
Ante Paveli? (July 14, 1889 – December 28, 1959) was a Croatian fascist leader, revolutionary, and politician. He ruled as Poglavnik or head, of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. In the 1930s, he was a founding member and leader of the Croatian fascist movement, the Ustaše.
Paveli? was a lawyer and prominent politician in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, known for his nationalistic beliefs, particularly about an independent Croatia. From 1927 until 1929 he was a member of the Yugoslav Parliament where he declared his beliefs about Croatian independence.
During this time he called on Croats for armed revolt against Yugoslavia, and after King Alexander I declared his 6 January Dictatorship he escaped to Italy where he founded the Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement. At first it was a Croatian nationalist movement with the goal of creating an independent Greater Croatia by means of armed revolt.
In October 1934 he planned the assassination of King Alexander I and spent time in prison in Italy until 1936. After the Axis invaded Yugoslavia on April 10, 1941 Slavko Kvaternik declared the Independent State of Croatia in the name of the Poglavnik, Paveli?. As the leader of the Croatian state Paveli? took full control of the country and soon created a political system similar to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
After the war he escaped to Argentina where he remained politically active. He was wounded in a 1957 assassination attempt by the Yugoslav Department of State Security, following which he went to Spain where he died from his wounds on December 28, 1959.
- July 14, 1889 – December 28, 1959
was an SS officer in Nazi Germany, attaining the grade of Colonel (Standartenführer) in June 1944. From January 1938 he was an aide of Reinhard Heydrich firstly in the Sicherheitsdienst or SD, the SS security service, later in the Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA, the Reich Security Main Office, a department created by Himmler in 1939 grouping the Gestapo, SD and Kripo, the criminal police. Between 1958 and 1962 he worked for the Bundesnachrichtendienst, West Germany's intelligence service.
Rauff is thought to be responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths during the Second World War. In the late 1970s and early '80s, he was arguably the most wanted Nazi fugitive still alive.
Gas van engineering
In 1941-1942 Rauff was involved in the development of gas vans, mobile gas chambers used to fatally poison Jews, disabled people, communists and others who were considered by the SS to be enemies of the German State. According to declassified C.I.A. documents: "As an official of the Criminal Technical Institute of the Reich Security Main Office, Rauff designed gas vans used to murder Jews and persons with disabilities."
The MI5 file is more explicit concerning Rauff's "technical" skills:"Rauff supervised the modification of scores of trucks, with the assistance of a Berlin chassis builder, to divert their exhaust fumes into airtight chambers in the back of the vehicles. The victims were then poisoned and / or asphyxiated from the carbon monoxide accumulating within the truck compartment as the vehicle travelled to a burial site. The trucks could carry between 25 and 60 people at a time."
In 1972, in Santiago de Chile, Rauff made a deposition as a witness before a German prosecutor. On the subject of the extermination of Jews in Poland and Russia, asked whether at that time he had any doubts concerning the use of gas vans, Rauff answered:"I cannot say. The main issue for me at the time was that the shootings were a considerable burden for the men who were in charge thereof and that this burden was taken off them through the use of the gas vans."
Rauff delegated the task of keeping the gas vans operating in the Soviet Union and other Nazi-occupied areas to an SS chemist, August Becker. Becker kept Rauff fully informed on the gas van killing operations.Persecution in North Africa
Rauff was later involved in the persecution of Jews in North Africa during 1942 and 1943, as part of the Nazis' long-term aim to export theJewish Holocaust to the Near and Middle East (including the British Mandate of Palestine, British-occupied Iraq, French-occupied Syria, theLebanon, Egypt, and Libya), and capture the region’s petroleum fields.
A month after German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s defeat of the British at Tobruk in June 1942, the SS set up a special extermination unit to follow in the wake of Rommel’s Afrika Korps. The unit was commanded by Rauff who was empowered to carry out "executive measures on the civilian population", the Nazi euphemism for mass murder and enslavement.
According to a 2007 German national television series, "Rauff’s mission to exterminate the Middle East's Jewish population was brought to an abrupt halt by the British 8th Army's defeat of Rommel at El Alamein in October 1942.
Rommel was forced to withdraw the remnants of his army to Tunisia, where it sustained a bridgehead until May 1943, enabling Rauff's SS to start the persecutions locally. The MI5 file records that Rauff was posted to Tunis in 1942 as head of the Sicherheitsdienst, where he led an Einsatzkommando (an SS task force) which conducted a "well-organised persecution campaign against the country's Jews and Partisans". The Jewish community was particularly hard hit:"More than 2,500 Tunisian Jews died in a network of SS slave labour camps before the Germans withdrew. Rauff's men also stole jewels, silver, gold and religious artifacts from the Tunisian Jews. Forty-three kilogrammes of gold were taken from the Jewish community on the island of Djerba alone. Secret police boss in Northern Italy
Rauff was then sent to Milan in 1943 where he took charge of all Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst operations throughout northwest Italy. The MI5 file states:"In both these postings [Tunisia and northern Italy] Rauff rapidly gained a reputation for utter ruthlessness. In Tunis he was responsible for the indiscriminate execution of both Jews and local Partisans. His work in Italy involved imposing total German control on Milan, Turin and Genoa. His success in this task earned him the congratulations of his SS superior, who described it as 'a superb achievement'".
Rauff remained in Italy until the end of the war. The MI5 file states:"He narrowly avoided being lynched by an Italian mob, having barricaded himself and a number of other SS officers into the Hotel Regina in Milan. He was arrested by Allied troops and sent to a prisoner of war camp."
According to Rauff's declassified C.I.A. file:"Near the end of the war Rauff, then the senior SS and police official in northern Italy, tried to gain credit for the surrender of German forces in Italy, but ended up only surrendering himself. After escaping from an American internment camp in Rimini, Rauff hid in a number of Italian convents, apparently under the protection of Bishop Alois Hudal" . Spy officer in the Middle East
In 1948 he was recruited by Syrian intelligence and went to Damascus where he served as military adviser to President Hosni Zaim, only to fall out of favor after a coup there a year later. According to one report, he tortured Jews in Syria. He and his family then settled in Ecuador, later shifting to Chile."
After barely escaping from Syria, Rauff fled to Lebanon and later back to Italy, where he gained a transit pass for Ecuador.
Before sailing for Ecuador (December 1949), Rauff is said to have worked for a while with Israeli intelligence. In 1949 Israeli secret agent Edmond "Ted" Cross wanted to send Rauff to Egypt. The idea was the utilization of former Nazi elements for observation and penetration in the Arab countries. This attempt having failed, Edmond Cross also helped Rauff to get the necessary papers for immigration to South AmericaFinal refuge in Chile Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal holding a picture of Nazi war criminal, Walter Rauff, in May 1973
After settling in Chile in 1958, Rauff worked as the manager of a king crab cannery in Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost towns in the world.
From 1959 to 1963 Rauff earned 70.000 Deutsche Marks from the West-GermanBundesnachrichtendienst and he was warned (and removed from the BND) before his detention in Chile. He subsequently partially recovered the lawyer's fees from the BND. He had to build a spy network in South America. He was evaluated as "untrustworthy" (charakterlich äußerst unzuverlässig), "intriguer" (er konspirierte nach allen Seiten) and drunkard (eng mit dem Alkohol befreundet).
In 1972 he confessed that in 1960 and/or 1962 he had been in Germany. He was arrested by the Chilean authorities in December 1962 after Germany requested his extradition, but was freed by Chile's Supreme Court five months later in 1963.
Salvador Allende's election as Chilean president in 1970 did not change the situation. In a friendly letter to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal Allende wrote that he could not reverse the Supreme Court's 1963 decision.
Under Augusto Pinochet's regime, Rauff may have served as an advisor in Chilean intelligence, DINA. Allegedly, C.I.A. officials could not determine Rauff's exact position. General Pinochet's government resisted all calls for his extradition to stand trial in West Germany or Israel. In the meantime Rauff disappeared and was discovered by the documentary filmmaker William Bemister in Los Pozos, Santiago de Chile, in 1979, and interviewed.
The last request to extradite Rauff to West Germany was presented by renowned Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld in 1983, but was flatly rejected by the Pinochet government, which alleged that Rauff had been a peaceful Chilean citizen for over 20 years and that the case was closed since the Supreme Court's 1963 decision.
The authorities instead arrested Klarsfeld twice in Santiago de Chile. Following her brief detention, the Israeli government's foreign affairs director, David Kimche, officially requested Rauff's outright expulsion in a meeting with Chilean Foreign Minister Jaime del Valle, but the request was turned down.Death
Rauff remained an unrepentant Nazi until his death from lung cancer at the age of 77 in Santiago on 14 May, 1984. His funerals were the occasion of a Nazi celebration. According to his MI5 file, "he never showed any remorse for his actions, which he described as those of "a mere technical administrator."
- June 19, 1906 ~May 14, 1984
Alois Brunner~The Eichmann Henchman
(born 8 April 1912) is an Austrian Nazi war criminal. Brunner was Adolf Eichmann's assistant, and Eichmann referred to Brunner as his "best man." As commander of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris from June 1943 to August 1944, Brunner is held responsible for sending some 140,000 European Jews to the gas chambers.
Nearly 24,000 of them were deported from the Drancy camp. He was condemned to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity. In 1961 and in 1980, Brunner lost an eye and the fingers of his left hand, respectively, as a result of letter bombs sent to him by Mossad.
In 2003, The Guardian described him as "the world's highest-ranking Nazi fugitive believed still alive." Brunner was last reported to be living in Syria, whose government rebuffed international efforts to locate or apprehend him.
Born in Nádkút, Vas, Austria-Hungary (now Rohrbrunn, Burgenland, Austria). He is the son of Joseph Brunner and Ann Kruise. Brunner was a trouble-shooter for the Schutzstaffel (SS) and held the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) when he organized deportations to Nazi concentration camps from Vichy France and Slovakia.
He was commander of a train of Jews deported from Vienna to Riga in February 1942. En route Brunner shot and killed the well-known financier Siegmund Bosel, who, although ill, had been hauled out of a Vienna hospital and placed on the train. According to historian Gertrude Schneider, who as a young girl was deported to Riga on the same train, but survived the Holocaust:
Alois Brunner chained Bosel, still in his pajamas, to the platform of the first car -- our car -- and berated him for having been a profiteer. The old man repeatedly asked for mercy; he was very ill, and it was bitterly cold. Finally Brunner wearied of the game and shot him. Afterward, he walked into the car and asked whether anyone had heard anything. After being assured that no one had, he seemed satisfied and left.
He was personally sent by Adolf Eichmann in 1944 to Slovakia to oversee the deportation of Jews. From early 1944 until January 1945, over one million Jews were transported to Auschwitz. Before being named commander of Drancy internment camp near Paris, Brunner deported 43,000 Jews from Vienna and 46,000 from Salonika. In the last days of the Third Reich he managed to deport another 13,500 from Slovakia.After the war and escape to Syria
In an interview with the German magazine Bunte, in 1985, Brunner describes how he escaped capture by the Allies immediately after the Second World War. The identity of Brunner was apparently mixed up with that of another SS member, Anton Brunner, who was executed for war crimes, instead of Alois, who, like Josef Mengele, lacked the SS blood type tattoo, which prevented him from being detected in an Allied prison camp. Anton Brunner, who also worked in Vienna deporting Jews, was confused after the war with Alois Brunner, even by historians such as Gerald Reitlinger.
Claiming that he "received official documents under a false name from American authorities", Brunner professed he found work as a driver for the United States Army in the period after the war. It has been alleged that Brunner found a working relationship after WWII with theOrganisation Gehlen.
He then fled Germany only in 1954, on a fake Red Cross passport, first to Rome, then Egypt where he worked as a weapons dealer, and then to Syria, where he took the pseudonym of Dr. Georg Fischer. In Syria, he was allegedly hired as a "government advisor" — with some suggesting he was advising the Syrian dictatorship on torture and repression techniques, some dating from his time as an SS torturer.
He also allegedly trained Kurdish rebels to operate against Turkey, and shipped arms to Algerian rebels during their war of independence with France. Syria has constantly refused entry to French investigators as well as to Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld who spent nearly 15 years bringing the case to court in France. Simon Wiesenthal tried unsuccessfully to trace Brunner's whereabouts
In his 1980s interview by the German magazine Bunte, Brunner declared that his sole regret was not having murdered more Jews. In a 1987 telephone interview to the Chicago Sun Times, he stated: "The Jews deserved to die. They were garbage, I have no regrets. If I had the chance I would do it again... He was reported to be living in Damascus under the alias of Dr. Georg Fischer. Although there were unconfirmed reports that Brunner may have died in 1996, he was reportedly sighted in 2001
In 2011, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that the German intelligence service BND had destroyed its file on Brunner in the 1990s, and that remarks in remaining files contain conflicting statements as to whether Brunner had worked for the BND at some point.Letter bombs
Brunner lost an eye and fingers on his left hand from letter bombs sent to him in 1961 and in 1980 by Israel's intelligence service, Mossad. In December 1999, rumours surfaced saying that he had died in 1996 and had been buried in a cemetery in Damascus. However, German journalists visiting Syria said Brunner was living at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus. According to The Guardian, he was last seen alive by reliable witnesses in 1992, and by journalists in 1996.Convictions in absentia
Germany and other countries have unsuccessfully requested his extradition. He was twice sentenced to death in absentia in the 1950s; one of those convictions was in France in 1954. In August 1987 an Interpol "red notice" was issued for him. In 1995, German State prosecutors inCologne and Frankfurt posted a €333,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
On 2 March 2001, he was found guilty in absentia by a French court for crimes against humanity, including the arrest and deportation of 345 orphans from the Paris region (which had not been judged in the earlier trials) and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
According toSerge Klarsfeld, the trial was largely symbolic - an effort to honour the memories of victims such as Celestine Ajzykowicz (11 years old), Jean Bender (4 years old) and Alain Blumberg, a two-week-old baby kicked to death by an SS guard. Klarsfeld's own father, arrested in 1943, was reportedly one of Brunner's victims.Recent attempts to locate
In 2004, for an episode titled "Hunting Nazis", the television series Unsolved History used facial recognition software to compare Alois Brunner's official SS photograph with a recent photo of "Georg Fischer", and came up with a match of 8.1 points out of 10, which they claimed was, despite the elapse of over 50 years in aging, equivalent to a match with 95% certainty.
Brazilian police are said to be investigating whether a suspect living in the country under an assumed name is actually Alois Brunner. Dep.-Cmdr. Asher Ben-Artzi, the head of Israel's Interpol and Foreign Liaison Section, passed on a Brazilian request for Brunner's fingerprints to Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, but Zuroff could not find any.
In July 2007, the Austrian Justice Ministry declared that they would pay €50,000 for information leading to his arrest and extradition to Austria.
A self described "team of Israelis" who have "hunted down" Nazi war criminals all over the world list him as their second most wanted man, and since the first may have already died, he could very well be their most wanted Nazi war criminal, and if found alive by them, will be brought back to Israel to face charges of crimes against humanity, mass murder and membership of an illegal party. In March 2009, the Simon Wiesenthal Center admitted that the possibility of Brunner still being alive was "slim". Despite this reality, he resurfaced in media reports in 2011 as being one of the most wanted men globally whom many insist could still be alive.
- 8 April 1912
Baldur von Schirach Reich Youth Leader
Baldur von Schirach was born in Berlin on the 9 March 1907, the son of an aristocratic German father and an American mother whose ancestors included two signatories of the Declaration of Independence. On his father’s side descended from an officers’ family with artistic tendencies and a cosmopolitan background, Baldur grew up in a pampered, well-to-do environment.
One of the earliest members of the Nazi Party, he entered the party in 1924 while attending the University of Munich, where he briefly studied German folklore and art history, he was soon a member of its innermost circle, despite his youth.
Von Schirach became a convinced anti-Semite after reading Henry Ford’s The International Jew and writings by Houston S. Chamberlain and Adolf Bartels. The aristocratic von Schirach was also a militant opponent of Christianity and of his own caste.
Throwing himself body and soul into organising high school and university students for the Nazi Party, von Schirach proved himself an outstanding organiser and propagandist of National Socialism.
With his infectious enthusiasm and power to inspire youth with the ideals of comradeship, sacrifice, courage and honour, von Schirach was highly regarded by Hitler who also appreciated his blind devotion as expressed in hero-worshipping verses and sycophantic sayings.
In 1929 von Schirach was put in charge of the National Socialist German Students League and two years later he was appointed Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP, a post he held until 1940.
In 1933 he organised the gigantic youth march in Potsdam, in which wave upon wave of youngsters greeted Hitler. Already before the Nazi seizure of power, von Schirach ceaseless propaganda, his idealism and organisational flair for mobilising youth had succeeded in winning over hundreds of thousands of young Germans to Hitler’s cause.
In May 1933 he was made Leader of the Youth of the German Reich at the age of twenty-six and in the next few years his cult seemed second only to that of Hitler himself. He married Henriette Hoffmann, daughter of Hitler’s official photographer. Placed in control of the Hitler Youth, which by 1936 already comprised of six million members, von Schirach used a powerful mixture of pagan romanticism. Militarism and naïve patriotism to build up recruits for Hitler’s war machine.
Young Germans were to be drilled into acceptance of Nazi concepts of character, discipline, obedience and leadership as set out in von Schirach’s book, Die Hitler – Jugend published in 1934, they were to be moulded into a new race of “supermen.”
Von Schirach who fancied himself as a writer and poet, published two books which were best-sellers in 1932, Hitler wie ihn Keiner Kennt, with photographs by his father –in –law, Heinrich Hoffmann (Hitler’s official photographer) and Triumph des Willens.
The following year, his collection of poems, Die Fahne der Verfolgten and the short biographies of Nazi leaders, Die Pionere des Dritten Reiches, were published. Von Schirach taught German youth that their blood was better than that of any nation and devoted his lyricism to hollow worship of the Fuhrer’s genius.
Towards the outbreak of the Second World War, his position was being undermined by the intrigues of Martin Bormann and other enemies. Jokes about his effeminate behaviour and his allegedly white bedroom furnished in a girlish manner, were legion and he was never quite able to live up to his own ideal type of the hard, tough quick Hitler youth.
At the beginning of 1940, von Schirach enlisted as a volunteer in the German army, serving in France for a few months as an infantry officer and receiving the Iron Cross – Second Class. In 1940 he organized the evacuation of 5 million children from cities threatened by Allied bombing.
Later that year, he joined the army and volunteered for service in France, where he was awarded the Iron Cross before being recalled. Schirach lost control of the Hitler Youth to Artur Axmann, and was appointed Gauleiter of the Reichsgau Vienna, a post in which he remained until the end of the war.
His unorthodox cultural policies in Austria soon aroused Hitler’s distrust, with promptings from Bormann, and after a visit to theBerghof in 1943, where he pleaded for a more moderate treatment of the eastern European peoples and criticised the conditions in which Jews were being deported, he lost all real influence.
Nevertheless, he was on record in a speech on the 15 September 1942 as saying that the “removal” of Jews to the East would “contribute” to European culture.” The deportation of 65,000 Jews from Vienna to Poland during his tenure as Governor was a major indictment against von Schirach at the Nuremberg trials.
The war crimes tribunal conceded that he did not originate the policy but had participated in the deportations from Vienna, though he knew that the best the Jews could hope for was a miserable existence in the ghetto’s in the East.
During his trial, he underwent a change of heart, recognizing that he had misled German youth and contributed to poisoning a whole generation. He stated: "I put my morals to the side when, out of misplaced faith in the Führer, I took part in this action. I did it. I cannot undo it."
With regard to the death camp Auschwitz he said: "It was the most all-encompassing and diabolical genocide ever committed by man .. Adolf Hitler gave the order .. Hitler and Himmler together started this crime against humanity which will remain a blot on our history for centuries .."
Von Schirach admitted that he had approved the “resettlement” but denied all knowledge of genocide, denouncing Hitler from the dock as a “million –fold murderer,” and calling Auschwitz “the most devilish mass murder in history.”
Von Schirach was sentenced on the 1 October 1946 to twenty years imprisonment for crimes against humanity in which he served out in the company of Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer in Spandau prison.
In his memoirs Ich Glaubte an Hitler, published one year after his release from Spandau prison in Berlin, von Schirach tried to explain the fatal fascination which Hitler had exerted on him and on the younger generation.
He now considered it his duty to destroy any belief in the rebirth of Nazism and blamed himself before history for not having done more to prevent the concentration camps.
After his release on the 30 September 1966, von Schirach lived a secluded life in south-west Germany. He died in his sleep at a small hotel in Kroev an der Mosel on the 8 August 1974.
- 9 March 1907~ 8 August 1974
SS-Obersturmführer Søren Kam
(born 2 November 1921)
is a former Danish Waffen-SS officer, an SS-foreign volunteer, who served with the 5.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking during World War II rising to the rank of Obersturmfuhrer (First Lieutenant). Born in Copenhagen, he was a member of the DNSAP, the Danish Nazi Party. Also during World War II, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II. He obtained West Germancitizenship in 1956.
Kam is wanted in his native country in connection with the murder of newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensenin Lyngby, a suburb of Copenhagen during World War II. In 1946, a Danish court sentenced one of Kam's associates, Flemming Helweg-Larsen, to death in the same case and citing the same evidence material.
Helweg-Larsen was executed the same year. According to the evidence presented in the 1946 trial, Clemmensen had been killed by eight bullets fired from three different revolvers. Danish police were unable to apprehend Jørgen Valdemar Bitsch, identified in the 1946 trial as the third person involved in the shooting, and his whereabouts remain unknown.
In 1999, Danish Minister of Justice Frank Jensen requested an extradition of Kam. This was refused by Germany. This request was later repeated by Jensen's successor Lene Espersen. In 2004, one of Clemmensen's grandchildren, Danish actor Søren Fauli, interviewed Kam in a documentary about the killing, titled Min morfars morder (My grandfather's murderer). In this programme, Fauli forgives Kam, but asks him to admit his guilt. The documentary was aired on Danish television in 2004 and 2005.
On 4 February 2007, Germany denied his extradition to Denmark, after a German court claimed that the killing of Clemmensen was notmurder but manslaughter — thus falling under the statute of limitations which had expired. Kam has stated that he admits having taken part in the abduction and killing of Clemmensen, but that he considers the case to be under the statute of limitations and the killing an accident.
In February 2008, BBC World Service presented a radio program titled The Danish Nazi which listed Kam as "the eighth most wanted Nazi War Criminal." The reporter was able to contact Kam, giving the only recorded interview with him, including a statement by Kam in which he says in English, "I am a good man, I never did anything wrong."
According to the Daily Telegraph, while in Germany, Kam "has regularly attended veterans' rallies of SS men. He has also been closely associated with Heinrich Himmler's daughter Gudrun Burwitz and her network Stille Hilfe (Silent Aid), set up to support arrested, condemned or fugitive former SS men.
The 86-year-old Dane is number eight on the list of 10 “most wanted Nazi war criminals” drawn up by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
But in Bavaria, Kam, a man who met Adolf Hitler, lives openly. By his doorbell is a traditional Bavarian clay plaque, made by his grandchildren, and bearing the family name.
Kam responded to knocks on his front door by opening his front window and hiding behind the curtains. All that could be seen was his hand, but the voice of the SS man remained clear and dismissive. “I know who you are. I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me in peace,” he said, before slamming the window.
Kam has been indicted by the Danish government for the murder in 1943 of Carl Henrik Clemmensen, the anti-Nazi Danish newspaper editor.
Clemmensen’s bullet-riddled body was found by a roadside after he was seized from his home by three men, led by Kam. Denmark’s authorities would also like to talk to him regarding the theft in 1943 of a population register, later used to round up and deport 500 Danish Jews to concentration camps.
But Kam is protected. Munich courts earlier this year threw out attempts, under a European Union arrest warrant, to deport him back to Denmark. A clear case, claimed Dr Zuroff, of “misplaced German judicial sympathy for a despicable Nazi collaborator who faithfully served the Third Reich”.
While many of Denmark’s Jews were able to flee the Holocaust to Sweden, others were not so lucky, and hundreds were deported to Terezin, in what is now the Czech Republic, en route to Auschwitz and other death camps.
“Not all the Danish Jews were rescued,” said Dr Zuroff. “Five hundred were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and dozens died there due to the awful conditions.”
Kam’s daughter confronted The Daily Telegraph near his home. “What do you want from my father?” she said. “Can’t you leave my father alone? He is not talking. If you don’t leave immediately we will call the police.”
Many of Kam’s elderly neighbours seemed to agree and reactions ranged from refusals to talk to indifference.But one young father, who asked not to be named, admitted his shame. “We all know who he is and what he has done,” he said. “I have strong personal opinions on this and I would prefer him not to be my neighbour.”
Kam was born in Copenhagen on Nov 2 1921 but fled his country after the war to take German citizenship in 1956.
He has the dubious distinction of being the highest decorated Nazi Dane after being awarded the Knight’s Cross for his leadership of Danish SS men against the resistance of his countrymen.
The former obersturmfuehrer — a senior lieutenant — has remained a controversial figure, active on the far-Right and has regularly attended veterans’ rallies of SS men.
He has also been closely associated with Heinrich Himmler’s daughter Gudrun Burwitz and her network Stille Hilfe [Silent Aid], set up to support arrested, condemned or fugitive former SS men.
Until 1999, Kam denied any role in the Clemmensen murder. Of the two other Danish SS men involved, Knud Flemming Helweg-Larsen, was executed in 1946 solely for his role in the murder. The other culprit disappeared after the war.
Mona Clemmensen, a teenager in 1943 remembers her father’s death. “He was afraid and covered his face with his hands. I was told that they shot through his hands to kill him,” she said.
Miss Clemmensen believes that Kam’s prosecution is of wider historical importance. “It is always important that somebody who has done what he did is put to justice. Furthermore it is of great importance today to serve as an example for genocide cases in Yugoslavia and Africa,” she said.
But earlier this year, Munich courts rejected the allegations of the Danish government and believed the former SS man’s claim that he was acting in self-defence when the unarmed Clemmensen was killed. The offence of manslaughter or accidental death expires under Germany’s statute of limitations, meaning Kam’s peaceful Bavarian life could continue.
Erik Høgh Sorensen, a Danish journalist and Nazi-hunter, who has compiled detailed evidence of Kam’s alleged war crimes, claims that the Bavarian courts showed a clear bias. Officials from Germany’s Justice Ministry have refused to comment “on judicial proceedings”.
- 2 November 1921~
Charles Zentai, (born Károly Steiner October 8, 1921) is a Hungarian-born resident of Australia accused of a Holocaust-related war crime. He has resided in Perth, Australia for many years after living in the American- and French-occupied zones of post-World War II Germany.
Zentai, who denies the charges against him, was serving in the Hungarian Army at the time he is accused of having murdered Péter Balázs, an 18-year old Jewish man, in November 1944. According to witnesses, Balázs was not wearing his yellow star on the train, a crime punishable by death in Hungary at the time.
Zentai allegedly took him to an army barracks, beat him to death, and threw his body into the Danube. Zentai was tracked down by The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is also heading the effort to extradite him to Hungary to stand before amilitary tribunal. The case has been a long-held passion of Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who presented his allegations against Zentai to Hungarian prosecutors.
On 8 July 2005, Zentai was arrested by the Australian Federal Police to await an extradition hearing. Zentai's family say the 86-year-old widower, who has heart disease and peripheral neuropathy, would not survive the trip to Hungary. When first declared a suspect during the war and a warrant issued for his arrest Zentai, at that time living in Germany, expressed his willingness to go to Hungary to clear his name.Extradition fight
On 16 April 2007, his first appeal against the extradition case was dismissed by a full bench of the Australian Federal Court. Simon Wiesenthal Center director Efraim Zuroff said he was very pleased that Zentai's appeals had been rejected and that "the extradition process can finally proceed".
On 1 October 2007 new evidence came to light: a testimony by Zentai's military commander which was used at a trial in the Budapest People's Court in February 1948. This commander blamed a fellow soldier who was later convicted.
On the 2nd of March 2009, and despite these accusations, Zentai passed a polygraph test conducted by Gavin Willson from Australian Polygraph Services. In interviews, Willson expressed "no doubt" that Zentai was telling him the truth.
Zentai's lawyers continued to argue against extradition, saying that war crimes were not considered illegal in Hungary in 1944 when the alleged crime took place. Zentai remained free on bail while his case was again appealed to the full bench of the Australian Federal Court. The Australian government approved Zentai's extradition to Hungary on November 12, 2009, making Zentai's case the first in which the Australians approved of extraditing any Nazi suspect.
After an appeal to the Federal Court the extradition order was overturned on 2 July 2010. During the appeal Zentai's defence lawyers argued that Zentai could not be extradited, as the Hungarian authorities had not charged him with an offence, and instead he was only being ordered to return to face questioning. The court found that the government did not have the jurisdiction to order Zentai to be extradited.
In early January 2011 the Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor lodged a further appeal against the decision which said that as the Hungarian authorities had not laid charges, the Australian government did not have the legal power to extradite him. The Hungarian authorities have not explained why they could not question him in Australia under the treaty on criminal cooperation. In their public response to the latest decision, the Simon Wiesentahl Centre has already assumed Mr Zentai will face trial if extradited.
- October 8, 1921
Alois Brunner: Commander of Paris internment camp, deported thousands to death camps. Last seen in Syria. Possibly dead. Born 1912.
Aribert Heim: Doctor who experimented on prisoners at Mauthausen camp. Possibly dead. Personal papers recently found in Egypt. Born 1914.
John (Ivan) Demjanjuk: Accused of participating in mass murder at Sobibor death camp. Germany seeking extradition from US. Born 1920.
Sandor Kepiro: Accused of mass murder of civilians at Novi Sad, Serbia. Convicted but never punished in Hungary in 1944. Born 1914.
Milivoj Asner: Former Croatian police chief, accused of role in deporting hundreds to their deaths. Indicted in Croatia. Born 1913.
Soeren Kam: Accused of murdering anti-Nazi newspaper editor. Indicted in Denmark. Born 1921.
Heinrich Boere: Accused of murdering three Dutch civilians. Sentenced to death in absentia in Holland in 1949. Indicted in Germany in 2008 but case dropped on medical grounds. Born 1921.
Karoly (Charles) Zentai: Accused of participating in persecution and murder of Jews. Currently appealing against extradition from Australia to Hungary. Born 1921.
Mikhail Gorshkow: Accused of participating in murder of Jews. Denaturalised in US, under investigation in Estonia. Born 1923.
Algimantas Dailide: Arrested Jews who were later murdered by Nazi collaborators in Lithuania. Deported from US. Convicted by Lithuania and sentenced to jail - but sentence was not carried out. Born 1921.
Harry Mannil: Accused of arresting Jews and Communists who were later murdered by Estonian Nazi collaborators. Cleared by Estonian investigation but barred from entry to US. Born 1921.
Algimantas Mykolas Dailid?
Algimantas Mykolas Dailid?
(born March 12, 1921 in Kaunas)
is a former Lithuanian Security Police (Saugumas) official. After the war, Dailid? sought refuge in the United States, saying he had been a "forester." While in the United States, Dailid? was a real estate agent until he retired to Gulfport, Florida. His citizenship was revoked in 1997 and he was deported in 2004.
A Lithuanian court convicted him for capturing Poles and Jews trying to escape from the Vilna Ghetto, who were then summarily executed by the Nazis; however he was not sentenced to prison "because he is very old and does not pose danger to society."
- March 12, 1921
Dr. Heinrich Otto Abetz
(May 26, 1903 – May 5, 1958)
Abetz did not join the Nazi Party until 1937, the year he applied for the German Foreign Service.
Abetz attended the Munich Conference in 1938. He was deported from France in June 1939 following allegations he had bribed two French newspaper editors to write pro-German articles; his expulsion created a scandal in France when it emerged that the wife of the French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet was a close friend of the two editors, which led to much lurid speculation in the French press that Bonnet had received bribes from Abetz, though no firm evidence has ever emerged to support the rumors.
He was present in Adolf Hitler's entourage at the fall of Warsaw, and served as a translator for the German Führer. He returned to France in June 1940 following the German occupation and was assigned by Joachim von Ribbentrop to the embassy in Paris.
Following Hitler's June 30 directive, Abetz was assigned by Ribbentrop the project of "safeguarding" all objects of art, public, private, and especially Jewish-owned. Abetz embarked on the job with enthusiasm and announced to the Wehrmacht that the embassy had been "charged with the seizure of French works of art... and with the listing and seizure of works owned by Jews." On 17 September 1940 Hitler allowed Einsatzstab Rosenberg into the game too and soon pushed Abetz out of the confiscation business. The Pétain government protested Abetz's undertakings in late October, but nothing could stop the German agencies. By the end of October so much material had accumulated at the Louvre that it was decided more space was needed.Vichy France
In November 1940 Abetz was appointed to the German Embassy in Paris, in occupied France, at the age of 37 - a post he held until July 1944. He was also head of the French fifth columnists through Ribbentrop's special unit within the Foreign Service. Abetz was never accredited as Ambassador to France as there was never a peace treaty between Germany and France, but he acted with the full powers of an ambassador.
He advised the German military administration in Paris and was responsible for dealings with Vichy France. In May 1941, he negotiated the Paris Protocols to expand German access to French military facilities.
Otto Abetz was one of the few German functionaries who admired and respected von Ribbentrop. His primary objective was to secure complete collaboration (Kollaboration) from the French, through negotiations with Laval and Admiral Darlan. Abetz's function eventually evolved into becoming the catalyst for society, the arts, industry, education, and above all, propaganda. He assembled a team of journalists and academics. In the former German Embassy, where he entertained often and in regal style, he soon became known as “King Otto I”.
The Embassy was theoretically responsible for all political questions in occupied France, which included SD operations, and for advising the German police and military. Abetz advised the military, the Gestapo and the SD, who nevertheless did not heed his advice. As the official representative of the German Government with the honorary rank of SS-
Standartenführer (Colonel), he sought to seize the initiative as much as possible. In 1940 he created the German Institute, to be headed by Karl Epting, which was intended to improve French-German relations by offering a taste of German culture to the French people. Thirty thousand people signed up for the Institute's German language courses, but far more popular were the concerts which featured Germany's best musicians, including Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Following the occupation of all of Vichy France on 11 November 1942, von Ribbentrop's influence was minimal as all of France was run by German military authorities, in conjunction with military police. An NSDAP Reichskommissariat of Belgien-Nordfrankreich held sway in several northern departments.
Abetz was helpless to aid von Ribbentrop in Paris. Von Ribbentrop recalled him in November following the occupation of Vichy France. Abetz knew that he was in disfavour, although he did not understand why. He saw neither Hitler nor von Ribbentrop for a full year. He was consulted only once, on the formation of the French volunteer Waffen-SS unit Charlemagne.
In his memoirs, Abetz assumed that he was considered "too francophile" and that his constant warnings about the loss of the French fleet and the loss of theFrench North Africa colonies were a thorn in the side of von Ribbentrop, particularly now that they had turned out to be correct. The scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon on 27 November had ensured that the French would not join the Axis.
He left France in September 1944 as the German armies withdrew.
He was captured by Allied authorities in the Schwarzwald in October 1945. He was quoted in the Francesoir following the announcement of his arrest stating Adolf Hitler was not dead, which is found in the FBI files pertaining to Hitler's apparent escape to Argentina. In July 1949 a French court sentenced Abetz to twenty years' imprisonment for war crimes, particularly his role in arranging the deportation of French Jews to the death camps. He was released on 17 April 1954 from Loos prison.
He died on 5 May 1958 in an auto accident near Langenfeld on the Cologne-Ruhr autobahn. There was speculation that the accident might have been arranged as revenge for Abetz' wartime activities, but this has never been proven.
- May 26, 1903 – May 5, 1958
Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski
Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski or Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski
(1 March 1899 - 8 March 1972),
World War II
After the war broke out, units under his command took part in reprisal actions and the shooting of POWs during the September Campaign, although von dem Bach was not personally present. On 7 November 1939, SS chief Heinrich Himmler offered him the post of Commissioner for the Strengthening of Germandom in Silesia. His duties included mass resettlements and the confiscation of private property. By August 1940, his units had forced more than 20,000 ?ywiec families to leave their homes.Moving up in rank in Minsk
On 22 June 1941, von dem Bach-Zelewski became the Higher SS and Police Leader (Höhere SS und Polizeiführer) in the region of Silesia. He would provide the initial impetus of building a concentration camp at the Polish artillery barracks in the Zasole suburb of O?wi?cim (Auschwitz); a location scouted by his Obergruppfuhrer Arpad Wigand. In July 1943, he became commander of the so-called "Bandenkämpfverbände" ("Band-fighting Units"), responsible for the mass murder of 35,000 civilians in Riga and more than 200,000 in Belarus and eastern Poland.
The authorities designated him as the future HSSPF in Moscow; however, the Wehrmacht failed to take the city. Until 1943, von dem Bach-Zalewski remained the HSSPF in command of "anti-partisan" units on the central front, a special command created by Adolf Hitler. Von dem Bach-Zalewski was the only HSSPF in the occupied Soviet territories to retain genuine authority over the police after Hans-Adolf Prützmann and Jockeln lost theirs to the civil administration.
In February 1942, van dem Bach-Zelewski was hospitalized with severe stomach and intestinal ailments. Dr. Ernst Robert Grawitz of the SS described him as suffering from "hallucinations connected with the shooting of Jews". He resumed his post in July, with no apparent reduction in his ruthlessness. However, Hannah Arendt , in her famous account of Eichmann's trail in Israel, states that he subsequently tried to protect Jews from the Einsatzgruppen.
In June 1942, after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, Hitler wanted von dem Bach-Zelewski to take Heydrich's place as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. When Himmler argued that von dem Bach-Zelewski could not be spared due to the prevailing military situation, Hitler relented and appointed Kurt Daluege to the position.
On 12 July 1943, von dem Bach-Zalewski received command of all anti-partisan actions in Belgium, Belarus, France, the General Government, the Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, and parts of the Bezirk Bialystok. In practice, his activities remained confined to Belarus and contiguous parts of Russia.Ruthless tactics
Von dem Bach-Zelewski's tactics produced high civilian deaths and relatively minor military gains. German forces would more or less encircle partisan-controlled areas before closing in. Since deploying the necessary forces was time-consuming and conspicuous, the partisans would be forewarned and many would slip away, after hiding their heavier equipment and much of their supplies, while the remaining partisans would carry out a fighting withdrawal, picking off the lead German troops, often killing more men than they lost.
In fighting these irregular battles, the Germans wantonly slaughtered civilians in order to inflate the figures of "enemy losses"; indeed, far more fatalities were recorded than weapons captured.
After an operation was completed, no permanent military presence would be maintained, allowing the partisans to slip back in, retrieve their hidden stocks and pick up where they had left off (occasionally, partisans would not return but would begin operating from the positions to which they had retreated). Even when successful, von dem Bach-Zalewski accomplished little more than forcing partisans to relocate, and swelling their numbers with enraged civilians.]Fighting on the front line
In 1944, he took part in front-line fighting in the Kovel area, but in March he had to go to Germany for medical treatment. Himmler assumed all his posts.
On 2 August 1944, he took command of all troops fighting against the Warsaw Uprising as Korpsgruppe Bach. Units under his command killed approximately 200,000 civilians (more than 65,000 in mass executions) and an unknown number of POWs.
After more than two months of heavy fighting and the total destruction of Warsaw he finally managed to control the city. For his actions in Warsaw von dem Bach-Zalewski was awarded on September 30, 1944, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by the Nazi regime. Despite the slaughter and destruction wrought on Warsaw, he is alleged to have personally saved Chopin's heart from destruction. The heart is preserved in a Warsaw church.
Between 26 January and 10 February 1945, von dem Bach-Zalewski commanded X SS Armeekorps, one of the "paper-corps", in Germany, but his unit was annihilated after less than two weeks.
After the war
Von dem Bach-Zelewski went into hiding and tried to leave the country. However, US military police arrested him on 1 August 1945. In exchange for his testimony against his former superiors at the Nuremberg Trials, von dem Bach-Zelewski never faced trial for any war crimes. Similarly, he never faced extradition to Poland or to the USSR. He left prison in 1949.
In 1951, von dem Bach-Zelewski claimed that he had helped Hermann Göring commit suicide in 1946. As evidence, he produced cyanide capsules to the authorities with serial numbers not far removed from the one used by Göring.
The authorities never verified von dem Bach-Zelewski's claim, however, and did not charge him with aiding Göring's death. Most modern day historians dismiss von dem Bach-Zalewski's claim and agree that a U.S. Army contact within the Palace of Justice's prison at Nuremberg most likely aided Göring in his suicide.
Also in 1951, von dem Bach-Zelewski was sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp for the murder of political opponents in the early 1930s; however, he did not serve time until 1958, when he was convicted of killing Anton von Hohberg und Buchwald, an SS officer, during the Night of the Long Knives, and was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment.
In 1961, he was sentenced to an additional 10 years in home custody for the murder of 10 German Communists in the early 1930s. None of the sentences referred to his role in Poland, in the East and his participation in the Holocaust, although he openly denounced himself as a mass murderer . He died in a Munich prison on 8 March 1972.
- 1 March 1899 - 8 March 1972
Franz Anton Basch
Dr. Franz Anton Basch (Hungarian: Basch Ferenc Antal)
(July 13, 1901 – April 27, 1946)
Franz was born in Zurich. He was a student of Jakob Bleyer at the University of Budapest between 1920 and 1924. In 1925 he became the secretary of the German Cultural Society of Hungary. He published many works in this period.
From 1930, he began to express extreme nationalist propaganda and became a follower of Nazism. In 1934 he resigned his position because he affronted the Hungarian nation with his ideas. In 1938 he founded his Nazi organization the People's Union Of Germans In Hungary (the Volskbund) and became the chairman of it. In 1940 Hitler appointed him the leader of Germans in Hungary (the Danube Swabians and theTransylvanian Saxons).
- July 13, 1901 – April 27, 1946
(16 July 1896 – 5 January 1975)
Nazi organizational efforts
He was the father-in-law of SS-Sturmbannführer Karl Leib, the head of the Norwegian recruitment office at Drammensveien, Oslo. In SS ranks, he was known as one of Himmler's "Twelve Apostles" and was nicknamed "der Allmaechtige Gottlob"—"the Almighty Gottlob" (a play on "The almighty God", as "Gott" is the German word for "God"). His organizational abilities contributed to the amazing expansion of the Waffen-SS in World War II, but he also became ensnared in typical in-fighting among the SS hierarchy.
He ran the main SS office in Berlin from 1940 and was involved in liaising with the so called 'Eastern Territories'. In August 1944, he was sent to deal with an uprising in Slovakia and immediately after this was put in control of all prisoner of war camps. Upon the establishment of theVolkssturm in 1944 Berger was appointed one of two Chiefs of Staff along with Helmuth Friedrichs.Trials for crimes against humanity Defendants of the Ministries Trial sit in the dock at Nuremberg. Gottlob Berger is sitting on the second row, second from left.
that between September 1944 and May 1945, hundreds of thousands of American and Allied prisoners of war were compelled to undertake forced marches in severe weather without adequate rest, shelter, food, clothing and medical supplies; and that such forced marches, conducted under the authority of the defendant Berger, chief of Prisoner-of-War Affairs, resulted in great privation and deaths to many thousands of prisoners.
Berger claimed that it was in fact the Germans' duty under the Geneva Convention to remove POWs from a potential combat zone, as long as it did not put their lives in even greater danger. He also claimed that the rapid advance of the Red Army had surprised the Germans, who had planned to transport the POWs by train.
He claimed that he had protested about the decision, made by Hitler, according to him, but he was "without power or authority to countermand or avoid the order". The case failed due to these claims and the lack of eyewitness evidence—most ex-POWs were completely unaware of the trial taking place.
He was however convicted in 1949 for his role in the genocide of European Jews and sentenced to 25 years in prison. The sentence was reduced to 10 years in 1951 because of his refusal to kill The Prominente in Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle, despite direct orders from Adolf Hitler.
He had helped these prisoners escape by moving them to Bavaria and then onto Austria where he met up with them twice before they were returned to American forces. He claimed that he had saved the Prominente as Ernst Kaltenbrunner (head of the RSHA) had sent a group of extremists to try to kill them.
After the war, he claimed that Hitler had wanted more shootings of prisoners and more punishments, but that he had resisted this. In 1948, Berger gave details to an American judge in Nuremberg of Hitler's plans to hold 35,000 Allied prisoners hostage in a "last redoubt" in theBavarian mountains. If a peace deal was not forthcoming, Hitler had ordered that the hostages were to be executed. Berger claimed that on 22 April 1945, Hitler had signed orders to this effect and these were passed to him by Eva Braun but he decided to stall and not carry out the order.
After World War II, Berger also claimed that there was a plan, proposed by the Luftwaffe and approved by Hitler, to set up special POW camps for British and American airmen in the center of large German cities to act as human shields against Allied bombing raids. Berger realized that this would contravene the Geneva Convention and argued that there was not enough barbed wire—as a result this plan was not implemented.Activities after release from prison
- 16 July 1896 – 5 January 1975
(August 13, 1894 – June 8, 1951)
was a German Nazi war criminal, an SS-Standartenführer (Colonel) and a member of the SD. Born in the city of Potsdam, he participated in the First World War, where by all accounts he served well and was decorated with the Iron Cross first class. After the war, Blobel studied architecture and practiced this profession from 1924 until 1931, when upon losing his job, he joined the Nazi Party, the SA and the SS (he had joined all of these by 1 December 1931).
During the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he commanded Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C that was active in Ukraine. Following Wehrmacht troops into Ukraine, the Einsatzgruppen would be responsible for liquidating political and racial undesirables. Blobel was primarily responsible for the Babi Yar massacre at Kiev.
Owing to health reasons brought about mostly by his alcoholism, he was dismissed from his command on January 13, 1942.
In June 1942 he was put in charge of Aktion 1005, with the task of destroying the evidence of all Nazi atrocities in Eastern Europe. This entailed exhumation of mass graves, then incinerating the bodies. Blobel developed efficient disposal techniques such as alternating layers of bodies with firewood on a frame of iron rails.
Hartl had told me of a summer? evening—that same hot summer in 1942—in Kiev when he was invited to dine with the local Higher SS Police Chief and Brigadeführer, Max Thomas. A fellow guest, SS Colonel Paul Blobel, had driven him to the general's weekend dacha. 'At one moment—it was just getting dark,' said Hartl, 'we were driving past a long ravine. I noticed strange movements of the earth. Clumps of earth rose into the air as if by their own propulsion—and there was smoke; it was like a low-toned volcano; as if there was burning lava just beneath the earth. Blobel laughed, made a gesture with his arm pointing back along the road and ahead, all along the ravine—the ravine of Babi Yar—and said, 'Here lie my thirty-thousand Jews.Paul Blobel at the start of theEinsatzgruppen Trial in September 1947
Up to 59,018 killings are attributable to Blobel, though during testimony he was alleged to have killed 10,000-15,000. He was later sentenced to death by the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal in the Einsatzgruppen Trial. He was hanged at Landsberg Prison shortly after midnight on June 8, 1951. His last words were "I die in the faith of my people. May the German people be aware of its enemies!"
- August 13, 1894 – June 8, 1951
(December 18, 1902 – April 24, 1947)
I was born December 18, 1902, in Bremen, the son of Julius Biebow, an insurance company director. After graduating from secondary school, I entered my father's company — the district branch of the Stuttgart Insurance Company — as an apprentice, planning on eventually assuming my father's post. I received thorough training, remaining there an additional year as an employee.
Since the insurance business had come almost completely to a standstill during the inflation, I then gave up my position to join the cereal and foodstuff bank in Bremen as a trainee. From there I went into the cereal business and stayed in this trade until I was 22. I should mention that I managed a large branch of an Eichsfeld cereal company in Göttingen for half a year.
When the inflation ended, I became particularly interested in the reviving coffee trade. After a short training period with a business friend of my father's, I opened my own business with very little capital, building it, in the course of 18 years, into one of the largest such companies in Germany. At the end I employed about 250 workers and office personnel.
After working as a coffee importer in his hometown of Bremen, Biebow became the overseer of the ?ód? Ghetto. He realized that the Lodz Ghetto could make a profit for the Germans if it were converted into essentially a slave labor complex.
Under his administration, the 164,000 Jews of Poland's second largest city were crammed into a small area of the city. Communication between the Ghetto inhabitants and the outside world was completely cut off and the supply of food was severely limited, ensuring that many of the inhabitants of the Ghetto would slowly starve.
Over the course of its existence, the population of the Ghetto swelled to 204,000 with more Jews from Central Europe being sent there. The Ghetto Administration remained in operation from April 1940 until the summer of 1944, but there were transports out of the Ghetto to extermination camps (primarily Auschwitz and Chelmno) beginning at the end of 1941.
Biebow was a ruthless administrator, concerned with the ghetto's productivity and his own personal gain. He was directly responsible for starving the ghetto's population beyond limits of endurance, and he assisted the Gestapo in rounding up Jews during deportations. In the days just before the liberation of Lodz by the Red Army, Biebow ordered large burial pits to be dug in the local cemetery, intending that the Gestapo execute the remaining 877 Jews who served as a clean-up crew in the ghetto. This might have been an attempt by Biebow to eliminate witnesses to his role in the workings of the Ghetto.
Biebow exercised his control in part through a Jewish administration headed by Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski. Rumkowski believed that the Jews could survive if they produced cheap, essential goods for the Nazis.
Biebow profited substantially from the sale of the products of Jewish labour as well as from the seized properties of Jews. He is also said to have provided less food to Ghetto inhabitants than was paid for, pocketing the difference. The Ghetto factories produced products such as boots for German soldiers and were profitable for the Germans because the Jews, cut off from all resources, worked for wages that consisted only of bread, soup, and other essentials.
The German profits from the Jewish factories have been estimated at $14,000,000 and the productivity of the Ghetto was a factor in its comparatively long survival. The inhabitants endured four years of starvation, illness and overcrowding before being sent to the extermination camps of Che?mno and Auschwitz. Of the 204,000 inhabitants, approximately 10,000 survived.
Among the Nazi hierarchy, Biebow was an early exponent of using the Jews as cheap labor rather than killing them, but he readily adapted to the extermination policy. Survivors report his encouraging the last surviving Jews of the Ghetto in the summer of 1944 to board the trains to Auschwitz with a speech that began "My Jews...” and promised them work in the West.
Biebow was able to escape into hiding in Germany in 1945 after the unconditional surrender, but was recognized by a survivor of the ghetto and subsequently arrested in Bremen. After he was extradited by the Allies to ?ód?, he stood trial from April 23 to April 30, 1947. He was found guilty on all counts and executed by hanging.
- December 18, 1902 – April 24, 1947
(11 September 1899 – 19 May 1945)
was a senior Nazi Party official who was both a Reichsleiter (English: National Leader) and Chief of the Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP. He was also an SS-Obergruppenführer in the Allgemeine SS who was responsible for the Nazi Aktion T4 euthanasia program that killed more than 70,000 handicapped adults and children in Nazi Germany.
Bouhler was captured and arrested on 10 May 1945 by American troops. He committed suicide on 19 May 1945 while in the US internment camp at Zell-am-See near Dachau/Bayern
Bouhler's office was responsible for all correspondences for Hitler which included private and internal communications as well as responding to public inquiries (for example, requests for material help, godfathership, jobs, clemency, NSDAP business and birthday wishes).War crimes
Bouhler was also responsible for activities involving the killing of people. He supervised the development and implementation of the Nazis' early euthanasia program, Aktion T4 in which mentally ill and physically handicapped people were murdered. Various methods of killing were tried out. The first killing facility was Schloss Hartheim in Upper Austria. The knowledge gained from the euthanasia program was later applied to the industrialized annihilation of other groups of people, such as Jewish people.
In 1942, Bouhler published the book, "Napoleon – Kometenbahn eines Genies" (Napoleon – A Genius's Cometary Path), which became a favorite of Hitler's. He had also published a National Socialist publication Kampf für Deutschland (Fight for Germany) in 1938.Death
Bouhler and his wife, Helene, were apprehended by American troops at Schloss Fischhorn in Bruck near Zell-am-See on 10 May 1945. Thereafter, both committed suicide. His wife jumped from a window at Schloss Fischhorn. On 19 May 1945, Bouhler used a cyanide capsule while in the US internment camp at Zell-am-See near Dachau/Bayern. The couple had no children.
- 11 September 1899 – 19 May 1945
was a Nazi war criminal, the organiser of the Euthanasia Programme, Action T4, where the Nazi state systematically murdered disabled German people. Following this, Brack was one of the men responsible for the gassing of Jews in the extermination camps, and he conferred with Odilo Globocnik about the practical implementation of the Final Solution. Brack was sentenced to death in 1947 and executed in 1948.
In 1929, Viktor Brack became a member of the NSDAP and the SS. In 1936, he was chief of Office 2 (Amt II) in the Chancellery of the Führer in Berlin. The office handled matters concerning the Reich Ministries, armed forces, Nazi Party, clemency petitions and complaints received by the Führer from all parts of Germany. In November 1940, Brack was promoted to the grade of SS-Oberführer (Senior Colonel).
In December 1939, Brack gave August Becker the task of arranging gas killing operations of mental patients and other people that the Nazis deemed "life unworthy of life." This operation later became known as Action T4.
During the Doctors' Trial Brack testified from the witness stand that after 1941, when the extermination of Jewish population by Nazis was at full capacity, Heinrich Himmler ordered him to contact physicians involved previously in the Euthanasia Program to find out a way of sterilizing young and strong Jews capable of labour for use in the German war effort. The idea was to develop a method by which the victim could be sterilized without being aware of the process.
In March 1941, Brack fulfilled his assignment and prepared a report for Heinrich Himmler, in which he described the method of sterilizing patients using X-rays on a large scale and without the subject's knowledge of the fact until the effects made themselves felt.
On 23 June 1942 Brack wrote the following letter to Himmler:
Dear Reichsführer, among tens of millions of Jews in Europe, there are, I figure, at least two to three millions of men and women who are fit enough to work. Considering the extraordinary difficulties the labour problem presents us with, I hold the view that those two to three millions should be specially selected and preserved. This can, however, only be done if at the same time they are rendered incapable to propagate. About a year ago I reported to you that agents of mine had completed the experiments necessary for this purpose. I would like to recall these facts once more. Sterilization, as normally performed on persons with hereditary diseases, is here out of the question, because it takes too long and is too expensive. Castration by X-ray however is not only relatively cheap, but can also be performed on many thousands in the shortest time. I think that at this time it is already irrelevant whether the people in question become aware of having been castrated after some weeks or months, once they feel the effects. Should you, Reichsführer, decide to choose this way in the interest of the preservation of labor, then ReichsleiterBouhler would be prepared to place all physicians and other personnel needed for this work at your disposal. Likewise he requested me to inform you that then I would have to order the apparatus so urgently needed with the greatest speed.Heil Hitler! YoursVIKTOR BRACK.
Following the letter, Himmler ordered the procedure to be tested on prisoners in Auschwitz. Since Brack was transferred to an SS division, his deputy Blankenburg would undertake the task and "immediately take the necessary measures and get in touch with the chiefs of the main offices of the concentration camps."The Nuremberg Trial Viktor Brack testifies in his own defense at the Doctors' Trial inNuremberg in 1947
From testimony given by a French physician of Jewish descent, who was a prisoner in Auschwitzfrom September 1943 to January 1945, it can be found that sterilization of Jewish inmates was carried out in Birkenau camp by SS doctors. About 100 male Poles who had been sterilized at Birkenau were attended to by the witness after the operation. According to the witness, members of the group were later castrated by camp physicians.
More evidence was presented, from which it is clear that sterilization using very high doses of X-raysduring several minutes was conducted on other persecuted groups. They also were subjected to the excruciatingly painful procedure, and later castrated.
Also, during the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg, Brack was implicated in the execution of the Euthanasia Program which later emerged as the famous "Action 14 f 13"; the extermination of those concentration camp inmates deemed unable to work.
Honorable Mr. Reichsfuehrer!
According to my impression there are at least 2-3 million men and women well fit for work among the approx. 10 million European Jews. In consideration of the exceptional difficulties posed for us by the question of labor, I am of the opinion that these 2-3 million should in any case be taken out and kept alive.Of course this can only be done if they are in the same time rendered incapable of reproduction. I reported to you about a year ago that persons under my instruction have completed the necessary experiments for this purpose. I wish to bring up these facts again. The type of sterilization which is normally carried out on persons with genetic disease is out of the question in this case, as it takes too much time and is expensive. Castration by means of X-rays, however, is not only relatively cheap, but can be carried out on many thousands in a very short time.
I believe that it has become unimportant at the present time whether those affected will then in the course of a few weeks or months realize by the effects that they are castrated.
In the event, Mr. Reichsfuehrer, that you decide to choose these means in the interest of maintaining labor-material, Reichsleiter Bouhler will be ready to provide the doctors and other personnel needed to carry out this work. He also instructed me to inform you that I should then order the required equipment as quickly as possible.
“In accordance with my orders from Reichsleiter Bouhler, I have long ago put at Brigadefuhrer Globocnik’s disposal part of my manpower to aid him in carrying out his special mission.
Upon his renewed request, I have now transferred to him additional personnel. Globocnik took this opportunity to explain to me his idea that the action against the Jews should be carried out with all deliberate speed, in order to avoid getting stuck (in the middle) one of these days when some sort of difficulty may force us to stop.
You yourself, Reichsfuhrer, once voiced to me your opinion that the requirements of secrecy also oblige us to act quickly as possible. Both conceptions are thus directed in principle toward the same result, and according to my experience, they are more than justified.”
-SS-Oberfuehrer Brack to Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, June 23, 1942
- 9 November 1904~2 June 1948
Otto Bradfisch, born on 10-05-1903 in Zweibrücken, Rheinland, was an economist, a jurist, an SS Obersturmbannführer, Leader of Einsatzkommando 8 of Einsatzgruppe B of the Security Police and the SD. Bradfisch joined the NSDAP (membership no. 405 869).
At the time he was studying in Munich, he was working as the acting local group leader. Bradfisch applied for service in the Gestapo, into which he was hired on 15-03-1937 and was attached to Einsatzgruppe B of the Security Police and the Sicherheitsdienst in June 1941. Einsatzgruppe B was one of four Einsatzgruppen deployed for special operations during Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the Soviet Union.
The Einsatzgruppen task was, as established by oral Führer order and a written direction from Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) Chief Reinhard Heydrich. They had to eliminate, Jews, comintern functionaries, saboteurs, assassins, agitators and so on. Bradfisch was awarded the rank deemed to befit a man in his position, SS Sturmbannführer. Leader of the EK 8, Bradfisch was responsible for all measures and executions.
To some extent, he led the executions and in the odd case even shot with his own hand. As the Red Army loomed, he managed to escape westwards, procuring for himself a Wehrmacht pay book with junior officer Karl Evers's name on it.
He then first found himself in American custody as a prisoner of war, but was then transferred to British custody and by August 1945 he was released. In 1963, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He then lived in Munich and died at the very old age of 91, on 22-06-1994.
Bradfisch is buried on the Westfriedhof of Munich, close by to the graves of Ernst Röhm and Hitler’s pilot Hans Baur. Generals Alfred Genz and Josef Kammhuber and Rudolf Trauch SA leader Johannes Schweighart, the founder of the NSDAP Anton Drexler , the SA leader Edmund Heines.
Buried : München, Westfriedhof. Feld 71-Reihe 3-Grab 60.
- Zweibrücken, Rheinland
- May 10, 1903 ~June 22, 1994
Walther von Brauchitsch
Heinrich Alfred Hermann Walther von Brauchitsch
(4 October 1881-18 October 1948)
Brauchitsch was born in Berlin as the fifth son of a cavalry general. He attended the Französisches Gymnasium Berlin. Brauchitsch was commissioned in the Prussian Guard in 1900. By World War I, he was appointed to the General Staff. In 1910, he married Elizabeth von Karstedt, a wealthy heiress to 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) in Pomerania.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power and began to expand the military. Brauchitsch was named Chief of the East Prussian Military District. His specialty was artillery. In 1937, he became commander of the Fourth Army Group.
Brauchitsch disliked or opposed much of the Nazi system, but also welcomed the Nazi policy of rearmament and was dazzled by Hitler's personality. He became largely reliant on Hitler as political patron and even for financial help. In February 1938, in the middle of the Munich Crisis,
Brauchitsch left his wife Elizabeth after 28 years. He wanted to marry Charlotte Rueffer (later married Schmidt), the daughter of a Silesian judge, and ardent admirer of the Nazis (Ulrich von Hassell—later part of the conspiracy against Hitler—described her as "a 200 percent rabid Nazi").
Hitler set aside his usual anti-divorce sentiments and encouraged Brauchitsch to divorce and remarry. Hitler even lent him 80,000 Reichsmarks, which he needed since the family wealth was all his wife's. In the same month, Brauchitsch was appointedOberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Commander of the Heer) as a replacement for General Werner von Fritsch, who had been dismissed on false charges of homosexuality.
Brauchitsch resented the growing power of the SS, believing that they were attempting to replace the Wehrmacht as the official German armed forces. He had disagreements with Erich Koch, the Gauleiter of East Prussia, and Adolf Hitler had to resolve the dispute between the two.
Like General Ludwig Beck, Brauchitsch opposed Hitler's annexation of Austria (theAnschluss) and Czechoslovakia (see Fall Grün), although he did not resist Hitler's plans for war. He took no action when Beck asked him to persuade the whole General Staff to resign if Hitler proceeded in his invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In September 1938, a group of officers began plotting against Hitler and repeatedly tried to persuade Brauchitsch—as Commander of theHeer—to lead the anticipated coup, but the only assurance he gave them was: "I myself won't do anything, but I won't stop anyone else from acting." After the collapse of the 1938 coup attempt, Brauchitsch ignored all further appeals from Beck and the other plotters to use the army to overthrow Hitler before Germany was plunged into world war.
In early November 1939, Brauchitsch and Franz Halder started to consider overthrowing Hitler. Brauchitsch and Halder had decided to overthrow Hitler after the latter had fixed "X-day" for the invasion of France for November 12, 1939; an invasion that both officers believed to be doomed to fail.
On 5 November 1939, the Army General Staff prepared a memorandum purporting to recommend against launching an attack on the Western powers that autumn. Brauchitsch reluctantly agreed to read the document to Hitler. In the meeting with Hitler on November 5, Brauchitsch had attempted to talk Hitler into putting off "X-day" by saying that morale in the German Army was worse than what it was in 1918, a statement that enraged Hitler who harshly berated Brauchitsch for incompetence.
The document's specific recommendations did not convey the dissent in the ranks of the General Staff, who were uneasy at having their planning and conduct of the Polish Campaign interfered with down to a regimental level. More generally, the unease at the army's position as the chief martial arbiter in the German State having been encroached upon since Hitler's ascendance to power was prevalent in the closing days of the 1930s.
It was left to Brauchitsch to voice these doubts, which he did, stating that the "OKH would be grateful for an understanding that it, and it alone, would be solely responsible for the conduct of any future campaign." The suggestion was received in "an icy silence", whereupon on an impulse Brauchitsch went on to complain that "the aggressive spirit of the German infantry was sadly below the standard of the First World War... [there had been] certain symptoms of insubordination similar to those of 1917-18".
Hitler responded by flying into a tremendous rage, accusing both the General Staff and Brauchitsch personally of disloyalty, cowardice, sabotage and defeatism. The Chief of the Army General Staff—Franz Halder, who was the main propagator of the memorandum's preparation—wrote that the scene was "most ugly and disagreeable". He returned to the Headquarters at Zossen where "he arrived in such poor shape that at first he could only give a somewhat incoherent account of the proceedings."
After that meeting, both Halder and Brauchitsch told Carl Friedrich Goerdeler that overthrowing Hitler was simply something that they could not do, and he should find other officers if he that was what he really wanted to.
Hitler then called a meeting of the General Staff to declare that he would smash the West within a year. He also vowed to "destroy the spirit of Zossen" — a threat that panicked Halder to such an extent that he forced the conspirators to abort their second planned coup attempt. Equally important, on November 7, 1939 following heavy snowstorms, Hitler put off "X-Day" until further notice, which removed the reason that had most motivated Brauchitsch and Halder to consider overthrowing Hitler.
Brauchitsch was promoted to Generalfeldmarshall in 1940 and was key in Hitler's "blitzkrieg" war against the West, making modifications to the original plan to overrun France. After France was conquered, Operation Sea Lion—the invasion of Britain—was planned. Had it succeeded, Hitler intended to place Brauchitsch in charge of the new conquest.
However, the Luftwaffe could not gain the requisite air superiority, and the plan was abandoned. Brauchitsch agreed with harsh measures against the Polish population claiming they were inevitable for securing the German Lebensraum and ordered to his army and commanders that criticism of Nazism racist policy should cease as Nazi policy was needed for "forthcoming battle of destiny of the German people".
When Germany turned east and invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the Army's failure to take Moscow earned Hitler's enmity. Things went further downhill for Brauchitsch as he endured a serious heart attack, and Hitler relieved him on 10 December. Brauchitsch spent the last three war years in the T?i Trubky hunting lodge in the Brdy mountains southwest of Prague. One of the few public comments he made after his retirement was a statement condemning the attempt on Hitler's life.
Brauchitsch was the uncle of Manfred von Brauchitsch, a 1930s Mercedes-Benz "Silver Arrow" Grand Prix driver, and Hans Bernd andWerner von Haeften, both members of the German resistance against Hitler. Brauchitsch was a strong admirer of Feldmarshal Helmuth von Moltke and used to linger in his former office that was made into a museum at a later date.
- 4 October 1881-18 October 1948
Karl Rudolf Werner Braune
Karl Rudolf Werner Braune
During the course of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, which began on 22 June 1941, Braune was the commander of Special Detachment (German: Sonderkommandoor Einsatzkommando) 11b, which was in turn part of a Special Purpose Unit D. This unit, and three others similarly organized, have since come to be known by their German name of Einsatzgruppen.
- Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria
- 11 April 1909~ 8 June 1951
In 1934, Dannecker became a member of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, a special combat support force, and a year later in 1935, he also became a member of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) (SD, Security Service was primarily the intelligence service of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany). In March 1937 came Dannecker's transfer to the Judenreferat ("Jew Unit") in the SD's main office.
From September 1940 until July 1942, Dannecker was leader of the Judenreferat at the SD post in Paris where he ordered and oversaw the French Police roundup of more than 13,000 Jews who were deported to Auschwitz where they were murdered.
Owing to misuse of his position,partially due to his theft of German confiscated property, he was ordered back to Berlin in August 1942. From January 1943 Dannecker was the highest German official in charge of the Final Solution, in all the Bulgarian territories. During March 1943 11,343 Jews were deported from the German occupied Bulgarian annexed territories of Greece and Yugoslavia to Auschwitz and Treblinka. Only twelve survived.
His attempt to deport Jews with Bulgarian citizenship from old Bulgaria, a collaborationist ally, failed due to widespread opposition led by heads of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Bishops Stephan and Kiril from Sofia and Plovdiv, and by prominent politicians such as vice-president of the parliament, Dimiter Peshev.
Danecker continued to deport the Italian Jews between September 1943 and January 1944, when Italy surrendered to the Allies and Germans occupied Italy. Before the occupation Mussolini refused to turn over Jerws to the Nazis except those areas annexed or occupied by the Italians in The Balkans.
After Germany's collaborationist ally Hungary switched to the allied side and Germany occupied Hunagry, Dannecker and The Fascist Hungarian Arrow Cross deported more than a half a million Hungarian Jews between early 1944 and summer of the same year despite knowing by that time that war was lost. Hunagry's regent had previously outlawed the Arrow Cross and repeatedly refused to hand over "his" Jews.
Theodor Dannecker developed under Adolf Eichmann into one of the SS's most ruthless and experienced experts on the "Jewish Question", and his involvement in the genocide of European Jewry was one of primary responsibility.
A passage from a 1942 report by Dannecker illustrates how the “Jewish Question” was handled in France:
Subject: Points for the discussion with the French State Secretary for Police, Bousquet... The recent operation for arresting stateless Jews in Paris has yielded only about 8,000 adults and about 4,000 children. But trains for the deportation of 40,000 Jews, for the moment, have been put in readiness by the Reich Ministry of Transport. Since the deportation of the children is not possible for the time being, the number of Jews ready for removal is quite insufficient. A further Jewish operation must therefore be started immediately. For this purpose Jews of Belgian and Dutch nationality may be taken into consideration, in addition to the former German, Austrian, Czech, Polish and Russian Jews who have so far been considered as being stateless. It must be expected, however, that this category will not yield sufficient numbers, and thus the French have no choice but to include those Jews who were naturalized in France after 1927, or even after 1919
- 27 March 1913~ 10 December 1945
Josef "Sepp" Dietrich
Josef "Sepp" Dietrich
He was one of Nazi Germany's most decorated soldiers and commanded formations up to Army level during World War II. Prior to 1929 he was Adolf Hitler's chauffeur and bodyguard but received rapid promotion after his participation in the murder of Hitler's political opponents during the Night of the Long Knives. After the war, he was imprisoned by the United States for war crimes and later by Germany for murder.
On 5 January 1930, Dietrich was elected to the Reichstag as a delegate for Lower Bavaria. By 1931, he had become SS-Gruppenführer. When the NSDAP took over in 1933, Dietrich rose swiftly through the Nazi hierarchy. He rose to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer, commander ofLeibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, General of the Waffen-SS and member of the Prussian state council. As one of Hitler's intimates, Dietrich was often able to disregard his SS superior,Himmler, at one time even banning Himmler from the Leibstandarte barracks.
In 1934, Dietrich played an active role in the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler told him to take six men and go to the Ministry of Justice to kill a number of Sturmabteilung (SA) leaders. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to SS Obergruppenführer. Dietrich's role earned him a nineteen-month sentence from a postwar court.
When World War II began, Dietrich led the Leibstandarte in attacks on Paris and Dunkirk. Dietrich remained in command of the Leibstandarte throughout the campaigns in Greece andYugoslavia before being promoted to command of the I.SS-Panzerkorps, attached to Army Group Center, on the Eastern Front. In 1943, he was sent to Italy to recover Benito Mussolini's mistressClara Petacci. He received numerous German military medals but also became notorious for his mistreatment of prisoners of war.
Dietrich commanded the I.SS-Panzerkorps in the Battle of Normandy. Because of his success, Hitler promoted him to command of the 6.SS-Panzer-Armee as well. Dietrich commanded the 6.SS-Panzer-Armee in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. He had been assigned to that task because, due to the 20 July Plot, Hitler distrusted Wehrmacht officers.
On 17 December,Kampfgruppe Peiper, (an SS unit) under his overall command killed between 77 and 82 U.S. prisoners of war near Malmedy, Belgium, in what is known as the Malmedy massacre. Interestingly, Dietrich was already becoming disillusioned with Hitler's war leadership and is said to have told Field Marshal Rommel that if he sought a separate peace on the Western Front, he (Dietrich) would support him.
At this point, Dietrich began to protest Hitler's unwillingness to let officers act upon their own initiative. In April 1945, after the failure of Hitler's planned Spring Awakening Offensive at Lake Balaton, spearheaded by Dietrich's troops, a frustrated Hitler ordered Dietrich to tell members ofLeibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler to give up their cuff titles, but Dietrich did not pass on the order. One version of this incident had Dietrich rip off his own cuff titles and medals and put them in a chamber pot which he told an SS officer to deliver to Hitler personally.
Dietrich commanded tank troops in Vienna but failed to prevent Soviet troops from taking the city. Accompanied by his wife, Dietrich surrendered on 9 May 1945 to Master-Sergeant Herbert Kraus of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division at Krems an der Donau north of St. Pölten in Austria.
Dietrich's formal military education was sparse and many critics have said command of an army was beyond his competence. Many of the German army generals looked down upon him in this regard, especially members of the General Staff.
However, Dietrich was an acknowledged expert small-unit tactician and no one questioned his personal bravery since he was a lead-from-the-front type of commander. The troops that he led appreciated his rough humor and identification with the soldiers on the front lines. Dietrich was also smart enough to appoint highly capable officers to his staff to handle the technical aspects of higher command, leaving him free to exercise overall command.Post war
Dietrich was tried as Defendant No. 11 by U.S. Military Tribunal at Dachau ("United States of America vs. Valentin Bersin et al.", Case No. 6-24), from 16 May 1946 until 16 July 1946. On 16 July 1946, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Malmedy massacre trial for ordering the execution of U.S. prisoners of war in Malmedy. Due to testimony in his defence by other German officers, his sentence was shortened to 25 years. He was imprisoned at U.S. War Criminals Prison No. 1 at Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria. Dietrich served only ten years and was released on parole on 22 October 1955.
However, he was rearrested in Ludwigsburg in August 1956. He was charged by the Landesgericht München I and tried from 6 May 1957 until 14 May 1957 for his role in the killing of SA leaders in 1934. On 14 May 1957, he was sentenced to nineteen months for his part in the Night of the Long Knives and imprisoned at Landsberg. He was released due to a heart condition and circulation problems in his legs on 2 February 1958.
By then he had already served almost his entire 19-month sentence. He then settled inLudwigsburg where he devoted himself to HIAG activities and hunting. Dietrich was sentenced to death in absentia by a Soviet court in connection with war crimes committed by Leibstandarte in Kharkov in 1943.
The post-war West German government denied Dietrich any form of a military pension. When his former soldiers learned of his straitened circumstances, thousands of them contributed to a fund which provided their old commander with a comfortable pension.
In 1966 Dietrich died of a heart attack in Ludwigsburg at age 73. Seven thousand of his wartime comrades came to his funeral. He was eulogized by former SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Wilhelm Bittrich.
- 28 May 1892 – 21 April 1966
Dr. Otto Dietrich
(August 31, 1897 - November 22, 1952)
Otto Dietrich is on the far right
He was born in August 1897 in Essen. After his time as a soldier in World War I, he was awarded the Iron Cross (First Class). After this he went to the universities of Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Freiburg, from which he graduated with a doctorate in political science in 1921.
Dietrich worked for newspapers in Essen and Munich. In 1929 he became a member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and advanced quickly. On August 1, 1931 he was appointed Press Chief of the NSDAP, and the following year joined the SS. By 1941 he had risen to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer.
His job as Press Chief overlapped with Joseph Goebbels's Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, and thus many anecdotes exist of their feuds. They were infamous for their disagreements, and both often felt obliged to "repair" the mistakes of the other.
Dietrich retained the confidence of the Führer throughout the regime until Hitler fired him after an argument towards the end of World War II. However, in the secrecy mandated by war, Dietrich, who was not in Hitler's "inner circle," often did not truly know of Hitler's whereabouts. In 1949, he was tried at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and being a member of a criminal organization, namely the SS and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. He was released in 1950. At the age of 55 Dietrich died in November 1952 in Düsseldorf.Memoir: The Hitler I Knew
In captivity in Landsberg Prison, Dietrich wrote The Hitler I Knew. Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief, a book sharply critical of Hitler personally and strongly denouncing the crimes committed in the name of Nazism. The first part of the book contains assessments by Dietrich about his character, his reflections on Hitler as a politician and as a soldier, and his critique of his leadership.
The second part (Scenes from Hitler's Life) describes Dietrich's often first-hand oberservations of Hitler's daily activities before and during the war. The book was republished in 2010 by Skyhorse Publishing, with a new introduction by historian Roger Moorhouse. Moorhouse indicates that "his (Dietrich) insights are sound and sincere, but the obvious question that arises is: when did they occur to him?".
However, following the suicide of Dr. Robert Ley at Nuremberg, Dietrich's sincere and insightful expression of the wrongs of the Nazi regime was the first, and perhaps the best expression of remorse with self-understanding of a convicted World War II war criminal after conviction and during incarceration.
Albert Speer wrote Spandau: The Secret Diaries, Inside The Third Reich, infiltration and The Slave State: Heinrich Himmler's Master Plan for SS Supremacy, but these works were not published until well after his release from Spandau Prison in 1966.
- August 31, 1897 - November 22, 1952
Hans Eppinger Jr.
(January 5, 1879–September 25, 1946)
was an Austrian physician who gained an infamous reputation due to experiments on prisoners.
Hans Eppinger was born in Prague, the son of the physician Hans Eppinger Sr. He received an education in Graz and Strasbourg. In 1903 he became a medical doctor in Graz, working at a medical clinic. He moved to Vienna in 1908, and in 1909 he specialized in internal medicine, particularly conditions of the liver. He became a professor in 1918, then taught in Freiburg in 1926 and in Cologne in 1930.
During World War II he gained an infamous reputation due to his experiments on prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp. Along with professor Wilhelm Beigelbock, he performed tests on 90 Gypsy prisoners by providing them sea water as their only source of fluids. (In some cases the taste of the water was disguised to hide the saline content.)
The prisoners suffered from severe dehydration, and witnesses reported that they had been seen licking the floors they had mopped in an attempt to get some water. The goal of the experiment was to determine if the prisoners would suffer severe physical symptoms or death within a period of 6–12 days.
Following the war he committed suicide, reportedly using poison. This occurred a month before he was to be called to testify at the Nuremberg Trials. Much later it was discovered that he had an unclaimed Swiss bank account.
- Prague, Czechoslovakia
- January 5, 1879–September 25, 1946
Karl August Genzken
Karl August Genzken
a physician, he conducted human experiments on prisoners of several concentration camps. He was a Major General of the Waffen-SS and the Chief of the Medical Office of theWaffen-SS. He was tried as a war criminal in the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg.
In 1934, he was reactivated as a reserve officer in the Naval Medical Service. After that, he transferred to the SS Operational Main Office then was promoted from an assistant medical director to the medical superintendent of the SS Hospital in Berlin, and appointed Chief of the Medical Office of the Waffen-SS in 1942.
Genzken had joined the NSDAP on July 7, 1926 (the party member No. 39,913). He joined the SS on November 5, 1933 (No. 207,954) and rose to the rank of Major General in the Waffen-SS.
Genzken was involved in a series of human experiments that were carried out on prisoners of several concentration camps. Genzken was accused and convicted of involvement in the typhus experiments conducted from December 1941 - February 1945, which were conducted for the benefit of the German armed forces to test the effectiveness of vaccines against typhus, smallpox, cholera, and other diseases. The experiments were conducted at Buchenwald and Natzweiler. Genzken was also accused of involvement in sulfanilamide experiments, poison experiments, and incendiary bomb experiments but was not convicted on these counts.Trial and conviction
Genzken was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and membership in an illegal organization by the American Military Tribunal No. I. He was condemned in August 1947 to life imprisonment by the tribunal. His sentence was later reduced to 20 years and he was released in April 1954.
- June 8, 1885~ October 10, 1957
(8 June 1899 – 24 April 1945)
Grawitz greeting members of the National Leader's School (Reichsführerschule} of the German Red Cross, February 20, 1939
As Reichsarzt SS and Polizei (Reichsphysician SS and Police), Grawitz advised Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler on the use of gas chambers. Grawitz was also head of the German Red Cross. His wife, Ilse, was the daughter of SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Waffen-SS Siegfried Taubert.
Towards the end of World War II in Europe, Grawitz was a physician in Adolf Hitler's Führerbunker. When he heard that other officials were leaving Berlin in order to escape from advancing Soviet armies, Grawitz petitioned Hitler to allow him to leave; his request was refused.Death
As the Soviets approached, a grenade exploded in Grawitz's house, killing him, his wife and his children. It is assumed that it was suicide in an act that also killed his family. The event was depicted in the 2004 historical film Der Untergang (Downfall), in which he was portrayed byChristian Hoening.
- 8 June 1899 – 24 April 1945
Ulrich Heinrich Emil Richard Greifelt
Ulrich Heinrich Emil Richard Greifelt (b. Berlin, Germany, 8 December 1896; d. Landsberg Prison, 6 February 1949) was an officer of the Schutzstaffel (SS) during the Nazi regime in Germany. He was found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg and died in Landsberg Prison.Biography
Greifelt was born in Berlin in 1896, the son of a pharmacist. He joined the German army in 1914, and joined the NDASP (Nazi Party) in 1933. He joined the SS in 1933 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
He rose quickly through the ranks, reaching the rank of Major Generalby 1941, and then being appointed as "Chief of SS German Nationhood Staff", a position he held from November 1941 through his arrest by the Allied Forces in May 1945.
Ulrich Greifelt before RUSH Process
Greifelt was tried at Nuremburg for war crimes by US Military Tribunal between 20 October 1947 and 10 March 1948. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
He was one of the main defendants in the so-called eighth. the Nuremberg trials - the RUSH ("Rasse-und Siedlungshauptamt", 1947 - 1948 ).He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in February 1949 after a long illness in Landsberg prison .
- 8 December 1896~ 6 February 1949
Friedrich "Fritz" Hartjenstein
Friedrich "Fritz" Hartjenstein
(July 3, 1905 – October 20, 1954)
was an SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) in the SS-Totenkopfverbände. He worked at various Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen. After the Second World War, he was tried for war crimes and found guilty for murder and crimes against humanity.
Hartjenstein, who was born in Peine, began his SS work at Sachsenhausen in 1938. The following year he was transferred to Niederhagen. In 1941 Hartjenstein served for a year with the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf, a Waffen SS combat division.
In 1942, he was appointed the commandant of Birkenau. This was the main camp at Auschwitzwhich contained the extermination facilities and crematoria. In 1944 Hartjenstein was appointed commandant of Natzweiler concentration camp in France. In 1945 he went to work at Flossenbürg concentration camp.Post war trials
He was arrested by the British and sentenced to life imprisonment on June 1, 1946, at Wuppertalfor executing four French Resistance members. Hartjenstein was then retried by the British for hanging a Royal Air Force POW. He was sentenced to death by firing squad.
He was then extradited to France where he was tried for his crimes at Natzweiler and sentenced to death.Death
Hartjenstein died of a heart attack while awaiting execution on October 20, 1954.
- July 3, 1905 – October 20, 1954
August Heißmeyer (or Heissmeyer
August Heißmeyer (or Heissmeyer –
born 11 January 1897 in Gellersen, nowadays part of Aerzen; died 16 January 1979 in Schwäbisch Hall) was a leading member of the SS. After the World War II, he was sentenced to a prison term as a war criminal. His nephew, Kurt Heissmeyer, an SS physician, was as well.
Previously married with six children in his custody, Heissmeyer married Gertrud Scholtz-Klink – the "Reich Women's Leader" ("Reichsfrauenführerin") – who had two previous marriages herself. After giving up his studies, he busied himself as a driving teacher. In 1923 he first came into contact with the Nazis, whom he joined in 1925. In early 1926, Heissmeyer also joined the SA in which he participated actively, was responsible for building up the SA-Gausturm Hannover-Süd, and was for a time the acting Gauleiter.
In January 1930, Heissmeyer applied to join the SS and was accepted as the 4370th member. From 1932, Heissmeyer was an associate at the SS main office and was promoted many times. From 1935, he was "Head of the SS Main Office", thus reaching a key position in the SS hierarchy and relieving Heinrich Himmler from that specific position. On 9 November 1936, Heissmeyer was appointed SS Obergruppenführer and Inspector of the National Political Institutes of Education (NPEA).
In April 1939, Richard Schulze served as an adjutant to Heissmeyer until his transfer on June 8. Furthermore, in 1939, Heissmeyer was appointed SS Oberabschnittsleiter "East" and in 1940 "Higher SS and Police Leader Spree". He thereby oversaw the Berlin-Brandenburgarea.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Heissmeyer now saw fit to set up the "Dienststelle SS-Obergruppenführer Heissmeyer" – his own bureau – and was thereby responsible for NPEA students' military training.
August Heissmeyer took over the General Inspection of the Strengthened SS Totenkopf Standard in 1940 from the outgoing Theodor Eicke, who in 1939 had begun commanding a front line division and therefore gave his supervision over the concentration camps back to the SS Main Leadership Office (SS-Führungshauptamt). Heissmeyer was provisionally in charge of this bureau until May 1942. Then, he left the position to the new "concentration camp inspector" SS Gruppenführer Richard Glücks.
On 14 November 1944, Heissmeyer was given the right to bear the title "General of the Waffen-SS" along with his regular SS rank, thereby affording him a prestigious position in the Waffen-SS. In April 1945, he was given command of Battle Group Heissmeyer, a collection of Volkssturm and Hitlerjugend tasked with protecting the Spandau airfield outside Berlin.
On 29 February 1948, Heissmeyer was captured by French authorities near Tübingen, and held for trial the following month. He served 18 months in prison before being released in 1949, but the following year he was sentenced by the de-Nazification appeals court to 3 years imprisonment as a "major Nazi offender" and forfeiture of property.
- 11 January 1897~
(February 10, 1903 – June 2, 1948)
was a Nazi and a physician atBuchenwald concentration camp.
Hoven was born in Freiburg, Germany. Between the years 1919 and 1933, he visited Denmark, Sweden, the United States, and France, returning in 1933 to Freiburg, where he completed his high school studies. He then attended the Universities of Freiburg and Munich. In 1934, he joined the SS. In 1939, he concluded his medical studies and became a physician for the SS. Hoven rose to the rank of Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the Waffen SS.
Hoven was involved in the administration of medical experiments regarding typhus and the tolerance of serum containing phenol, and which led to the deaths of many inmates. He was also involved in Nazi euthanasia programs, during which people who were considered useless eaters were killed, along with Jewish people who were considered unfit for work.
He was arrested by the Nazis in 1943, accused of giving a lethal injection of phenol to an SS officer who was a potential witness in an investigation against Ilse Koch, with whom Hoven was rumoured to be having an affair. He was convicted and sentenced to death, although he was released in March 1945 due to the Nazi shortage of doctors.Trial
Hoven was arrested at the end of World War II by the Allies and put on trial as a defendant at theDoctors' Trial (a part of the larger Nuremberg Trials). He was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and membership in a criminal organization. He was sentenced to death and hanged on June 2, 1948 at Landsberg prison in Bavaria.
- February 10, 1903 – June 2, 1948
(2 March 1894 – 24 May 1965)
In 1933 Jüttner became a university sport teacher in Breslau (Wroc?aw). At this time he also joined the SA and was installed in the SA Collegiate Office. In 1934, Jüttner also became leader of the SA training body in Munich. In May 1935, he switched to the SS combat support force (SS-Verfügungstruppe or SS-VT), which later became the Waffen-SS. Jüttner was promoted on 1 September 1936 to SS Sturmbannführerand appointed to the SS-VT inspection department in Berlin. By 1939, he had become the Inspector of Reserve Troops of the SS-VT-Division. From early 1940, Jüttner was leading the SS-VT command office.Chief of Staff for the Waffen-SS
In the summer of the same year, Jüttner was promoted to chief of staff of the newly created SS Leadership Main Office (SS-Führungshauptamt), which was responsible for the Waffen-SS's organizational and administrative leadership.
This was separate from the administration of Nazi concentration camps, the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt), and from the SS Reich Security Main Office (SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt) which administered the Gestapo and SD. Shortly after taking office, Jüttner was instrumental in wresting control of the militarized Death's-Head regiments (Totenkopfstandarten) from Inspector of Concentration Camps Theodor Eicke and amalgamating them into the Waffen-SS. In June 1942, after having been promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer, Jüttner was also given the military rank of General der Waffen-SS.High command within SS
On 30 January 1943, Jüttner reached the high point of his career when he became Leader of the SS Main Leadership Office.
Heinrich Himmler appointed Jüttner Chief of "Army Armament and Commander of the Reserve Army". Hereafter, Jüttner was Himmler's deputy in this area of command. Jüttner was one of those responsible for building the many prisoner of war camps in which Soviet prisoners of war were held.Post war conviction and later years
On May 17, 1945 Jüttner was taken prisoner by British forces. In 1948 he was condemned to 10 years service in a labour camp. In appeal proceedings 1949 the punishment was lowered to 4 years. In 1961 Jüttner testified for the prosecution in the trial of Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann. Later Jüttner was the proprietor of a sanatorium in Bad Tölz, where he died.
- 2 March 1894 – 24 May 1965
was an SS Brigadeführer and a Generalmajor (Brigadier General) of Police. Jost was involved in espionage matters as the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) or (SD) section chief of Office VI (foreign intelligence) of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt - RSHA). Jost was also responsible for genocide in eastern Europe as commander of Einsatzgruppe A from March to September 1942.
Jost joined the Nazi party on 2 February 1928 with a NSDAP card number of 75,946. He performed various functions for the party's operations in southern Hesse. From 1930 he settled as an independent lawyer in Lorsch, Hesse. After the Nazi seizure of power in March 1933, Jost was appointed Director of Police Worms and then to police director of Giessen.
From this period came his association withWerner Best, who brought Jost into the main Nazi intelligence and security agency, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). On 25 July 1934, Jost began his full-time career with the SD. His SS membership number was 36,243. He quickly rose in the SD Main Office to lead Office III (defense). In 1938, Jost was head of the Einsatzgruppe Dresden which occupied Czechoslovakia.
In August 1939 Jost was tasked by Reinhard Heydrich with the purchase of Polish uniforms needed for the bogus attack on the station in Gleiwitz. When the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) or RSHA was organized in September 1939, Jost was appointed as chief of Amt VI (Office VI) Ausland-SD (foreign intelligence). One of the chief purposes of Amt VI was to counteract foreign intelligence services that might try to operate in Germany. He served as an SS officer in the German invasion of Poland in 1939.Einsatzgruppe command
Jost's career suffered by being linked with Werner Best, who was a rival of Reinhard Heydrich. Best lost a power struggle with Heydrich who went on to became one of the most powerful men in the Nazi state. In March 1942, Jost was fired from his position as chief of the Ausland-SD. Jost's place was taken by Brigadeführer Walter Schellenberg, a deputy of Heydrich's. Schellenberg had been tasked by Heydrich with building up a case for Jost's removal. According to Schellenberg, Jost was lacking in bureaucratic skill and drive.
The general inefficiency of this Amt and the failure of Brigadeführer Heinz Jost in his capacity as chief, to both control his subordinates and manage the department's affairs was common knowledge. In an illuminating pen-picture Jost has been described by Schellenberg as a worn-out, tired, lazy individual lacking initiative or the will to work, who was active at the most for three or four hours a day.
During these hours he read a few reports, which he mostly passed on without appreciation or criticism and permitted a small number of individual [advisors] who had often been waiting weeks for an interview, to bring various matters before him. Because of his inability to say "no", Schellenberg says, his subordinates worked without direction needlessly duplicating their work.
Jost was sent to command Einsatzgruppe A, whose previous commander Franz Walter Stahlecker, had recently been killed in a battle with partisans. Einsatzgruppe A was then operating in the Baltic States and in Belarus, then known as White Russia or White Ruthenia. Jost became Commander of the Security Police and the SD (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD or BdS) in Reichskommissariat Ostland, with his headquarters at Riga. Jost retained this position until September 1942. According to Jost, this position carried substantial responsibility:
During my activity as Chief of the Einsatzgruppe A, I was also Commander in Chief of the Security Police and SD in East land (BdS Ostland). Headquarters for the Einsatzgruppe A was located in Krasnogvardeisk, while headquarters for the Commander in Chief for the Security Police and SD Eastland was located in Riga. On the whole, the duties of a Commander in Chief of the Security Police and SD were the same as those of a Chief of an Einsatzgruppe, and the duties of a Commander of the Security Police and SD (KdS) the same as those of a Chief of a Sonderkommando or Einsatzkommando, respectively.
During the time the territory under his jurisdiction was subject to army control, Jost as Chief of Einsatzgruppe A cooperated with the army command. When the territory came under civilian administration, he, as Commander in Chief of Security Police and SD received his orders from the Higher SS and Police Leader. In both cases Jost was responsible for all operations conducted in his territory.
After his Einsatzgruppen command, Jost was able to secure a position with the occupation administration for the eastern territories that was run by Alfred Rosenberg, where he acted as a liaison officer between Rosenberg and the Wehrmacht commander in southern Russia, Ewald von Kleist.
At his later trial, Jost claimed that he held this position until May 1944, when as a result of enmity from Himmler, he was forced to enlist with the Waffen-SS as a second lieutenant. Himmler decided in January 1945, that Jost should be retired from the SS with a pension.War crimes trial Otto Ohlendorf, in foreground, and Heinz Jost, in back, as defendants in theEinsatzgruppen Trial.
In April 1945, Jost was arrested in Gardelegen, in Saxony-Anhalt. He was charged with murders committed by Einsatzgruppen A. Jost tried to avoid responsibility for these crimes by claiming that the murders, or at least some of them, occurred before he came into the command of the unit:
The prosecution charges the defendant with responsibility for these murders. The item itself does not carry the exact date of its happening, but the latest date revealed in the entire document is 26 March. Thus the execution of the 1,272 persons mentioned therein could not have occurred on a date subsequent to 26 March. The defendant testified that he was in Smolensk when, on 24 or 25 March he received his orders to take over the command of Einsatzgruppe A and that he did not arrive in Riga, headquarters of the Einsatzgruppe, until 28 and 29 March.
This defense was rejected by the tribunal:
The record shows that Einsatzgruppe A had accomplished some hundred thousand murders prior to 29 March and, as late as 26 March as indicated by the report above-mentioned, was still killing Jews. It would be extraordinary that it should suddenly cease this slaughter for no given reason and with the Fuehrer Order still in effect, three days before Jost arrived. ...
The record clearly demonstrates, however, that as Chief of Einsatzgruppe A, the defendant was aware of the criminal purpose to which that organization was put, and, as its commander, cannot escape responsibility for its acts.
Jost also claimed, through his attorney, that whatever he had done was justified by "self-defense, necessity, and national emergency". He claimed further that he had had nothing to do with carrying out the Fundamental Order (Führerbefehl) for the extermination of entire populations. These claims were rejected by the tribunal as being inconsistent with each other: "If, as a matter of fact, the defendant committed or approved of no act which could be interpreted either as a war crime or crime against humanity, the argument of self-defense and necessity is entirely superfluous."
Jost did testify that when in May 1942 he received an order from Heydrich to surrender Jews under 16 and over 32 for liquidation, he placed the order in his safe and declined to transmit it. The tribunal found that the evidence contradicted him. According to Einsatzgruppen status report number 193, dated 17 April 1942, there was an execution in Kovno [Kaunas], on 7 April 1942, of 22 persons "among them 14 Jews who had spread Communist propaganda".
The defendant was asked on the witness stand —
"Do you regard it proper, militarily proper, to shoot fourteen people, or only one person for that matter, because he spreads Communist propaganda?" and he replied —
"According to my orders these measures had to be carried out. In that far it was correct and justified."
Defense counsel in arguing this phase of the case said that the victims had indulged in Communist propaganda "up to the last moment". But there is nothing in international law which justifies or legalizes the sentence of death for political opinion or propaganda.
In addition, the tribunal found, that on 15 June 1942, one of Jost's subordinates wrote to the RSHA, requesting shipment of a gas van (used by the Einsatzgruppen for executions by means of carbon monoxide asphixiation) and gas hoses for three gas vans on hand. Jost denied any knowledge of this letter but admitted that the subordinate in question had the authority to order equipment.Pardon and later life
- 9 July 1904~12 November 1964
(29 April 1905 - 8 June 1951)
Erich Naumann left school at the age of sixteen and obtained employment in a commercial firm in his home town of Meissen. He joined the Nazi party in November 1929 (nr. 170257). In 1933, Naumann joined the SA in a full-time capacity and then became an official and officer of police. He joined the SD in 1935. He was Chief of Einsatzgruppe B from November 1941 until February or March 1943.
During November 1941, reports he sent to Adolf Eichmann state that he was responsible for the deaths of 17,256 people in Smolensk. Under his command, he admitted that his Einsatzgruppe possessed three gas vans which "were used to exterminate human beings".Nuremberg
After capture by the Allies, Naumann stood trial at Nuremberg. During the proceedings he repeatedly stated that he did not consider his actions during his tenure as commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B wrong. When asked on the witness stand whether he saw anything morally wrong about the Führer's orders, he replied specifically that he:"considered the decree to be right because it was part of our aim of the war and, therefore, it was necessary".
He was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and of belonging to illegal organizations, namely the SS and the SD. Naumann was sentenced to death and hanged shortly after midnight on 8 June 1951.
- 29 April 1905 - 8 June 1951
Hans Conrad Julius Reiter
Hans Conrad Julius Reiter
(February 26, 1881 – November 25, 1969)
was a German physician convicted of war crimes for his medical experiments at the concentration camp at Buchenwald. He wrote a book on "racial hygiene" called Deutsches Gold, Gesundes Leben - Frohes Schaffen.
After receiving his doctorate, he went on to study at the hygiene institute in Berlin, the Pasteur Institute in Paris and St. Mary's Hospital in London, where he worked with Sir Almroth Wright for two years. Reiter was also known for implementing strict anti-smoking laws in Nazi Germany.
As a member of the SS during the Second World War, Hans Reiter designed typhus inoculation experiments that killed more than 250 prisoners at concentration camps like Buchenwald. He was an enthusiastic supporter of and participant in enforced racial sterilisation and euthanasia.
After the Nazis were defeated, he was arrested by the Red Army in Soviet Union-occupied Germany and tried at Nuremberg, where he was found guilty of his involvement in the deaths of hundreds of inmates at Buchenwald. He was interned at an American prisoner-of-war camp.Later Life
After his release, Reiter went back to work in the field of medicine and research in rheumatology. He died, aged 88, in 1969 at his country estate near Hessen.
- February 26, 1881 – November 25, 1969
(12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946)
He is considered one of the main authors of key Nazi ideological creeds, including its racial theory,persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to"degenerate" modern art.
He is also known for his rejection of Christianity, having played an important role in the development of Positive Christianity, which he intended to be transitional to a new Nazi faith. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and executed by hanging as a war criminal.
- 12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946
Schwarz was posted to the Auschwitz I camp within the town of O?wi?cim (Auschwitz) itself, and as of 30 September 1941 he was active in the Work Assignment Department (Abt. IIIa). In November 1943, Rudolf Höß was appointed leader of Office Group D in the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (SS-WVHA) and left Auschwitz.
The camp complex was then divided into three independent administrative units. Schwarz became camp commandant for Auschwitz III Monowitz. While camp commandants at other camps in the complex were removed after only a few months, Schwarz continued to enjoy his superior Oswald Pohl's goodwill.
After the evacuation he became camp commandant at the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Alsace-Lorraine. SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Schwarz was sentenced by a French military court to death and as a war criminal, he was put to death
- June 14, 1906~March 20, 1947
(August 24, 1911 in Tulln, Austria-Hungary – February 4, 1947 in Vienna) was a World War II Commandant of theTheresienstadt concentration camp located in the present-day Czech Republic. He was later a convicted war criminal.Life Hungarian Jewish mothers, children, elderly and infirm sent to the left after 'selection" They will be murdered in the gas chamber soon after (May 1944) Hungarian Jewish children and an elderly woman on the way to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, many children and elderly were murdered immediately after arrival and were never registered (May 1944)
Siegfried Seidl was born in Tulln an der Donau (Tulln on the Danube), then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, nowadays in Lower Austria. After completed his secondary schooling at the Oberschule, Seidl started a Law study.
After three semesters he interrupted his studies and took on various odd jobs. From 1935 until 1938 Seidl studiedhistory and German studies at the University of Vienna. He obtained his PhD in 1941 but this title was taken away from him in 1947. On 2 March 1939 Seidl married Elisabeth Stieber, a former teacher in a kindergarten, member of the NSDAP, the NS-Frauenschaft (NSF: National Socialist Women's League, literally NS-Womanship) and supporting member of the SS.Nazi Career
On 15 October Seidl joined the NSDAP (member number 300,738]. He was from September 1931 until May 1932 active in the SA. At the same day he left the SA, Seidl assigned to the 11th SS-Standarte (SS-regiment) as Scharführer (equivalent to Staff Sergeant (US) or Sergeant (UK)) (member number 46,106).
In late 1939, Seidl was called into the police as a result of his SS membership. As of January 1940, he was attached to the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) – Department IVB4 under Adolf Eichmann's command – and posted to the SS lead section in Posen. On 30 October 1941 Seidl was charged by Adolf Eichmann with establishing the Theresienstadt Ghetto. From November 1941 until July 1943, he was the Ghetto's Commandant, and as such the one responsible for mishandling andmurdering thousands of people. In November 1942,
Seidl was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain). As commandant Seidl reported directly to Hans Günther, chief of the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central office for Jewish emigration) in Prague. Günther in turn reported to Adolf Eichmann at the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) IV B 4 in Berlin.
On orders of Eichmann, Seidl was on 3 July 1943 transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. As commandant of Theresienstadt he was succeeded by SS-Obersturmführer Anton Burger.
In March 1944 Seidl get with the Wehrmacht to Budapest where he joined the 5th Einsatzgruppe (SS paramilitary death squad). As leader of the Debrecen outpost Seidl was part of the Sondereinsatzkommando-Eichmann (SEK). The SEK organised the largest and quickest deportation of the Holocaust. From 15 May 1944 until 9 July, that is in 56 days 437,402 Jews were deported from Hungary, according to German records.
With the exception of 15 thousand people, all of them were taken to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In July 1944, when the evacuation of the Jews of Hungary was finished, Seidl was appointed as acting leader of the SS Special Deployment Command, Outpost Vienna, he exercised control over the forced-labour camps for the few remaining Hungarian Jews, that had been built in Vienna and Lower Austria
On 14 November 1946, Seidl was sentenced by the Volksgericht (Austrian People's Court - established to prosecute Nazi war crimes) in Vienna to death. The penalty was carried out on 4 February 1947
- Tulln, Austria-Hungary
- August 24, 1911~February 4, 1947
Sievers joined the NSDAP in 1929. In 1933 he headed up the Externsteine-Stiftung ("Externsteine Foundation"), which had been founded by Heinrich Himmler to study the Externsteine in the Teutoburger Wald. In 1935, having joined the SS that year, Sievers was appointedReichsgeschäftsführer, or General Secretary, of the Ahnenerbe, by Himmler. He was the actual director of Ahnenerbe operations and was to rise to the rank of SS-Standartenführer by the end of the war.
In 1943 Sievers became director of the Institut für Wehrwissenschaftliche Zweckforschung (Institute for Military Scientific Research), which conducted extensive experiments using human subjects. He also assisted in assembling a collection of skulls and skeletons for August Hirt's study at the Reichsuniversität Straßburg as a part of which 112 Jewish prisoners were selected and killed, after being photographed and their anthropological measurements taken.Trial and execution
Sievers was tried during the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg following the end of World War II, where he was dubbed "the Nazi Bluebeard" by journalist William L. Shirer because of his "thick, ink-black beard". As the Institute for Military Scientific Research had been set up as part of the Ahnenerbe, the prosecution at Nuremberg laid the responsibility for the experiments on humans which had been conducted under its auspices on the Ahnenerbe, and Sievers, as its highest administrative officer, was accused of actively aiding and promoting the criminal experiments.
Sievers was charged with being a member of an organization declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal (the SS), and was implicated in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In his defense, he alleged that as early as 1933, he had been a member of an anti-Nazi resistance movement which planned to assassinate Hitler and Himmler, and that he had obtained his appointment as Manager of the Ahnenerbe so as to get close to Himmler and observe his movements. He further claimed that he remained in the post on the advice of his resistance leader to gather vital information which would assist in the overthrow of the Nazi regime.
- 10 July 1905~ 2 June 1948
Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer,
March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981
was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office. As "the Nazi who said sorry", he accepted responsibility at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs for crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of involvement in the persecution of the Jews and his level of knowledge of the Holocaust remain matters of dispute.
Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler's inner circle.
Hitler commanded him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium inNuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.
As Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production, Speer was so successful that Germany's war production continued to increase despite massive and devastating Alliedbombing. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labor. He served his full sentence, most of it at Spandau Prison in West Berlin.
Following his release from Spandau in 1966, Speer published two bestselling autobiographical works, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries, detailing his often close personal relationship with Hitler, and providing readers and historians with a unique perspective on the workings of the Nazi regime. He later wrote a third book, Infiltration, about the SS. Speer died of natural causes in 1981 while on a visit to London, England
- March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981
(12 February 1885 – 16 October 1946)
was a prominent Nazi prior to World War II. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda machine. His publishing firm also released three anti-Semitic books for children, including the 1938 Der Giftpilz ("The Toadstool" or "The Poison-Mushroom"), one of the most widespread pieces of propaganda, which purported to warn about insidious dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor of an attractive yet deadly mushroom. After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.
Julius Streicher was not a member of the military and did not take part in planning the Holocaust, or the invasion of other nations. Yet his pivotal role in inciting the extermination of Jews was significant enough, in the prosecutors' judgment, to include him in the indictment of Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal – which sat in Nuremberg, where Streicher had once been an unchallenged authority.
In essence, the prosecutors took the line that Streicher's incendiary speeches and articles made him an accessory to murder, and therefore as culpable as those who actually ordered the mass extermination of Jews (such as Hans Frank and Ernst Kaltenbrunner).
During his trial, Streicher displayed for the last time the flair for courtroom theatrics that had made him famous in the 1920s. He answered questions from his own defence attorney with diatribes against Jews, the Allies, and the court itself, and was frequently silenced by the court officers.
Streicher was largely shunned by all of the other Nuremberg defendants. He also peppered his testimony with references to passages of Jewish texts he had so often carefully selected and inserted (invariably out of context) into the pages of Der Stürmer.The corpse of Julius Streicher after his execution in 1946.
.For his 25 years of speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as ‘Jew-Baiter Number One.’ In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution...
Streicher's incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.”
Streicher was hanged in the early hours of October 16, 1946, along with the nine other condemned defendants from the first Nuremberg trial (Göring, Streicher's nemesis, committed suicide only hours earlier). Streicher's was the most melodramatic of the hangings carried out that night. At the bottom of the scaffold he cried out "Heil Hitler!".
When he mounted the platform, he delivered his last sneering reference to Jewish scripture, snapping "Purim-Fest 1946!". The Jewish holiday Purim celebrates the escape by the Jews from extermination at the hands of Haman, an ancient Persian government official. At the end of the Purim story, Haman is hanged, as are his ten sons.
Streicher's final declaration before the hood went over his head was, "The Bolsheviks will hang you one day!" Howard K. Smith, who covered the executions, said in his filed report that after the hood descended over Streicher's head, he also said what apparently was "Adele, meine liebe Frau!" ("Adele, my dear wife!").
The consensus among eyewitnesses was that Streicher's hanging did not proceed as planned, and that he did not receive the quick death from spinal severing typical of the other executions at Nuremberg.
Howard K. Smith, who covered the executions for the International News Service, reported that Streicher "went down kicking" which may have dislodged the hangman's knot from its ideal position. Smith stated that Streicher could be heard groaning under the scaffold after he dropped through the trap-door, and that the executioner intervened under the gallows, which was screened by wood panels and a black curtain, to finish the job.
- 12 February 1885 – 16 October 1946
Jürgen Stroop, (born Josef Stroop,
was a high-ranking Nazi Party and Gestapoofficial during World War II. He was best known for his role in liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto and for writing, "the Warsaw Ghetto is no more." In 1952, he was extradited to Poland, convicted of war crimes, and hanged.
Stroop joined the SS and the NSDAP in 1932. His career took off during the election campaign of the same year. In 1933, he was appointed leader of the state auxiliary police. One year later, he was promoted from the rank of SS-Oberscharführer to the rank of Hauptsturmführer. Subsequently he worked for the SS administration in Münster and Hamburg. In the fall (autumn) of 1938, he was promoted again, this time to the rank of SS-Standartenführer (Colonel).
Stroop served in the Sudetenland. After the invasion of Poland, he served as commander of the SS-section in Gnesen (Gniezno). During the occupation of Poland, Stroop was transferred to Poznan as head of Selbstschutz, the notorious "self-defense" formation of the local ethnic Germans.
In May 1941, Stroop changed his name from Josef to Jürgen for ideological reasons and in honor of his deceased son. From July 7 to September 15, 1941, Stroop served in combat on the eastern front with the infantry regiment of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf.
He was awarded a Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class and an Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze. On 16 September 1942, he was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer and assigned as an Inspector of the SiPo and SD of the Higher SS and Police Leader for Russia South.
In this position Stroop worked to help secure a key logistical route for German forces on the Eastern Front. Beginning in October 1942, Stroop commanded an SS garrison at Kherson, before becoming the SS and Police Leader for Lemberg (Lviv) in February 1943.The Warsaw Ghetto, transfer to Greece and return to Germany Jürgen Stroop (center, in field cap) with his men in the burning Warsaw Ghetto, 1943
Stroop's most historically prominent role was the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, an action which cost the lives of over 50,000 people. He was sent to Warsaw on April 17, 1943 by Heinrich Himmler, as a replacement for SS-Oberführer Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg, who was relieved of duty. Stroop took over from Sammern following the latter's failure at the onset of the uprising:
I had two battalions of Waffen-SS, one hundred army men, units of Order Police, and seventy-five to a hundred Security Police people. The Security Police had been active in the Warsaw ghetto for some time, and during this program it was their function to accompany SS units in groups of six or eight, as guides and experts in ghetto matters.The Stroop Report
Stroop had recently been involved in operations againstSoviet partisans in Ukraine and was familiar with the latest German counter-insurgency tactics. He ordered the entire ghetto to be burned down systematically and blown up building by building, and all of Warsaw's Jews to be killed or deported to extermination camps.
After the uprising was suppressed, he prepared a detailed record of the operation, a 75-page report, bound in black leather and included copies of all communiqués sent to SS Police Leader East Friedrich-Wilhelm Kruger and photographs. Originally titled "The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw is no more!", it is commonly referred to as "The Stroop Report" and would later be used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials.
Stroop then formally assumed the position of SS and Police Leader of Warsaw. Kruger presented an Iron Cross 1st Class to him on 18 June 1943 for the Warsaw Ghetto "action" at a gala reception in Warsaw’s Lazienki Park.
Stroop was subsequently named the Higher SS and Police Leader in Greece on September 8, 1943. The local civilian administration found his methods and behaviour unacceptable and withdrew cooperation, forbidding the local Order Police from having anything to do with him, which made his position untenable.
Consequently, he was removed and on November 9 he was appointed Commander of SS-Oberabschnitt Rhein-Westmark (an SS administrative district named for the Rhine and Gau Westmark) in Wiesbaden, serving until the close of the war.Trials and execution Warsaw Ghetto; 1943 Stroop before a Polish court in 1951
In early May 1945, Stroop was captured by American forces in the town of Rottau in Bavaria. Wearing the uniform of an infantry officer, he bore false discharge papers made out to a Wehrmacht Captain of Reserve Josef Straub. He kept to this story for nearly two months, before admitting to being Jürgen Stroop on July 2.
He was then put on trial by the U.S. Military Tribunal at Dachau (Dachau Trials) for the summary executions of Allied airmen (Fliegermorde), shot down over Germany in his field of command. On March 21, 1947, he was sentenced to death by the tribunal. However, that sentence was not carried out; instead, he was extradited for trial in the People's Republic of Poland.
While awaiting trial in Warsaw's Mokotów Prison, Stroop was placed in the same cell with Kazimierz Moczarski, an anti-communist political prisoner who had been jailed by the Poland's Ministry of Public Security. In conversation with Moczarski, Stroop gleefully recalled the destruction of Warsaw's Great Synagogue,
"What a wonderful sight! I called out, Heil Hitler! and pressed the button. A terrific explosion brought flames right up to the clouds. The colors were unbelievable. An unforgettable allegory of the triumph over Jewry."
- Warsaw, Poland
- September 26, 1895~died March 6, 1952
Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff
Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff
(13 May 1900 – 17 July 1984)
was a high-ranking member of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS), ultimately holding the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS. He became Chief of Personal Staff to the Reichsführer (Heinrich Himmler) and SS Liaison Officer to Hitler until his replacement in 1943. He ended World War II as the Supreme Commander of all SS forces in Italy.
Nazi Party and SS
The 1931 Deutsche Bank economic crisis (brought on by the Great Depression) convinced him that only the more radical parties were capable of resolving the economic and political dilemmas in Germany. For him the only option was the more extreme Right. Drawn by the ideal of a reborn Germany after this economic crisis, Wolff joined the NSDAP in July 1931.
His membership number was 695,131. His SS membership number was 14,235. Wolff still worked in his own public relations firm after training in the Reichsführer-SS school system. He served in a mustering squad in Munich, and later was commissioned as an SS-Sturmführer in February 1932.Karl Wolff (2nd from the right) together with, from left to right: Heinrich Himmler (far l.), Reinhard Heydrich (l.) and an unidentified assistant (far r.) at the Obersalzberg, May 1939.
In 1933, after the Nazi Party came to power, Wolff became a full-time political party member and was promoted to SS-Captain to serve as SS military liaison officer to the German Army. On 8 March 1933 he became a member of the Reichstag.
In June 1933 with the leap from volunteer to full member of the SS, the associated financial security allowed him to relinquish his previous profession and to sell his company.
He was personally recruited by SS Commander Heinrich Himmler to head the office of the Reichsführer's Personal Staff. Wolff became Himmler's adjutant(Chief of Staff) on June 15, 1933. By 1937 he was an SS-Gruppenführer and considered third in command of the entire SS (after Himmler and Heydrich).
It was at this point that his friendship with the head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office) Reinhard Heydrich was at its height, with whom he helped certain parties in conflict with Nazi party doctrine, including some Jews, to leave Germany.
World War II
As was later revealed in the 1964 trial, during the early part of World War II Wolff was probably "Himmler's eyes and ears" in Hitler's headquarters. Here at the centre of power, he would undoubtedly be aware of all significant events or could easily have access to the relevant information.
Apart from the information passing across his desk, Wolff received (as Chief of Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS) copies of all letters from SS officers, and his friends at this point included the organizer of "Operation Reinhard" Odilo Globocnik. His later denial of knowledge of Holocaust activities may be plausible only at the detailed level, but not of the extent of atrocities by the Nazi regime.
In example, as the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto resulted in rail transport bottlenecks, Wolff telephoned deputy Reich Minister of TransportDr. Albert Ganzenmüller. In a later letter dated 13 August 1942, Wolff thanked Ganzenmüller for his assistance:“ I notice with particular pleasure your report that for 14 days a train has been going daily with members of the chosen people to Treblinka...I've made contact with the participating agencies, so that a smooth implementation of the entire action is ensured. ”
After the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Wolff fell out of favor with Himmler. After making Wolff a full SS-Obergruppenführer, Himmler dismissed him in 1942. In 1943, Hitler assigned Wolff an SS adjutant to Benito Mussolini's Italian Government, personally granting him equivalent General's rank in the Waffen-SS.
When Italy surrendered to the Allies, from February to October 1943 Wolff became the Higher SS and Police Leader of Italy, and served as the Military Governor of northern Italy. On 6 March 1943 his divorce from Frieda von Roemheld was finalized. He had gone over Himmler's head and obtained permission from Hitler. Thereafter on 9 March he married Ingeborg Countess Bernsdorff.
As the Nazi Army retreated and Hitler dismissed various commanders, 1943 to 1945, Wolff was the Supreme SS and Police Leader of the 'Italien' area. By 1945 Wolff was acting military commander of Italy.
A modern report in the Italian newspaper Avvenire in 2005 suggested that Hitler ordered Wolff to kidnap Pope Pius XII, but in collaboration with Germany's Vatican diplomat Ernst von Weizsäcker, he refused. Wolff also removed important art treasures from Monte Cassino, and went ill on the day that the Allies entered Rome, leaving German forces immobilised.
According to historian Peter Gumpel, Pope Pius XII told senior bishops that should he be arrested by the Nazis, his resignation would become effective immediately, paving the way for a successor, according to documents in the Vatican's Secret Archives.
By now again in agreement with Himmler on the issue of futility of continuing the war, from February 1945 Wolff under Operation Sunrise took over command and management of intermediaries including Swiss-national Max Waibel, in order to make contact in Switzerland with the headquarters of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, under Allen W. Dulles.
After initially meeting with Dulles in Lucerne on March 8, 1945, Wolff resultantly negotiated the surrender of all German forces in Italy, ending the war in Italy six days before the war in Germany, on May 2, 1945.
Arrested on 13 May 1945 by U.S. Army troops (on the promise he would be reunited with his family) he was imprisoned in Schöneberg. During the Nuremberg Trials, Wolff was allowed to escape prosecution by providing evidence against his fellow Nazis, and was then transferred in January 1947 to the British Army prison facility in Minden.
Although released in 1947, he had been indicted by the post-war German government as part of the denazification process. Detained under house arrest, after a German trial Wolff was sentenced in November 1948 to five years' imprisonment due to his membership of the SS. Seven months later his sentence was reduced to four years and he was released. Wolff worked after his discharge as a representative for the ad department of a magazine and took his family to his new residence in Starnberg. Until his rearrest in 1962, it is alleged that Wolff worked for the CIA, while continuing to successfully build his reformed public relations firm.
In 1962 during the trial in Israel of Adolf Eichmann, evidence showed that Wolff had organised the deportation of Italian Jews in 1944. Wolff was again tried in West Germany and in 1964 was convicted of deporting 300,000 Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp, the deportation of Italian Jews to Auschwitz, and the massacre of Italian Partisans in Belarus. Sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment in Straubing, Wolff served only part of his sentence and was released in 1969 due to ill health, with his full civil rights restored in 1971.
Wolff has been a controversial figure because many believe he was far more privy to the internal workings of the SS and its extermination activities than he acknowledged. In fact, he claimed to have known nothing about the Nazi extermination camps, even though he was a senior general in the SS.
After his release, Wolff was quiet for a while and retired in Austria. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wolff returned to public life, frequently lecturing on the internal workings of the SS and his relationship with Himmler. This resulted in him appearing in television documentaries including The World At War, saying that he witnessed an execution of Jewish prisoners in Minsk in 1941 with Himmler, going so far as to describe the splatter of brains on Himmler's coat.
During this period, Wolff also became involved with former Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann and Stuttgart military dealer Konrad Kujau, for whom he in part authenticated the later discredited Hitler Diaries.
Asked to attend the trial of Messrs Heidemann and Kujau, Wolff had declined in health by the time he died in hospital in Rosenheim on 17 July 1984. His death brought his name up again in all major German newspapers, where he was described as "one of the most enigmatic figures of the Nazi regime". He was buried in the cemetery at Prien am Chiemsee on the 21 July 1984.
- 13 May 1900 – 17 July 1984
5 Female Nazi War Criminals
Irma Grese is perhaps the most notorious female Nazi war criminal. She was nicknamed the "Beautiful Beast" because only her ferocity rivaled her good looks. She was one of the few high-ranking female concentration camp guards, and she used her power for pure evil. She was well known for her sadistic attacks on prisoners that included randomly shooting at them and whipping them with a specially made cellophane whip that she commissioned herself. She was hanged for her crimes on the same day as Juana Bormann.
At barely 5 feet tall, perhaps it was Juana Bormann's slight stature that prompted her to send her vicious wolfhounds to do her evil bidding. She was employed at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and was known as "the woman with the dogs" for her tendency to sic her canines on prisoners and consequently tear them to pieces. She was sentenced to hanging and executed in December of 1945.
This Aufseherin, the German job title for a female concentration camp attendant, was reputed to be smart as a whip and mean as a snake. She had an affinity for classical music and listened to it when selecting women and children for the gas chambers — a deed she particularly enjoyed. She was arrested at Auschwitz in August of 1945 and was executed in 1947.
Herta Bothe claimed that she was forced to take employment at a concentration camp or she would have been put in one. Yet, she remained unrepentant for her war crimes, which included mercilessly beating prisoners, particularly the sick and defenseless. Bothe was arrested when British troops liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and she served 10 years in prison before she was released. There are conflicting reports about whether or not she's still alive.
Ilse Koch, better known as the "Bitch of Buchenwald," was actually not a concentration camp guard, but instead the wife of a camp commander. She flaunted about the camp in revealing clothing, tempting prisoners to look at her, for which they received a bullet. She reportedly scoped out prisoners' tattoos she liked, had the men killed and their skin made into lampshades. This was never proven, but she was ultimately convicted of murder. Koch committed suicide in jail.
Klaas Carel Faber
Klaas Carel Faber
He is the son of Pieter Faber and Carolina Josephine Henriëtte Bakker, and the brother of Pieter Johan Faber, who was executed for war crimes in 1948.
Faber came from a family with a strong Dutch National Socialist background. Faber joined the Waffen SS a month after the German occupation of the Netherlands. After five months, he abandoned military training for less demanding police jobs in Rotterdam and The Hague. From 1943 to 1944 he was part of a firing squad at the Westerbork concentration camp, the camp Anne Frank passed through on her way to her death at Belsen.
He was radicalized when his father Peter Faber, who was a baker at Heemstede, was killed by Hannie Schaft of the Dutch resistance on June 8, 1944. He participated in the SS's "Silbertanne" (Silver Fir)) death squad which targeted members of the Dutch resistance, and those who hid Jews and opposed Nazism. He was also a member of Sonderkommando Feldmeijer, which assassinated prominent Dutch citizens., and served as a bodyguard to Dutch Nazi leader Anton Mussert.Post-war
After the war, Klaas Carel Faber was tried by a Dutch court and sentenced to death by firing squad in June 1947, for the murder of at least 11 persons during the war. The Dutch court stated that the Faber brothers were "two of the worst criminals of the SS". Pieter Faber was executed in 1948.
On 14 January 1948, Faber's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. However, on 26 December 1952, he escaped from prison in Breda, with Herbertus Bikker, Sander Borgers and four other former members of the Dutch SS, and the same evening crossed the border into Germany.
The escape may have been masterminded by the Stichting Oud Politieke Deliquenten an organisation of former Dutch fascists and collaborators. As a former member of the SS, Faber had obtained German citizenship. Following his escape Faber went on to live in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt and before retirement worked for the car manufacturer Audi as an office clerk.Extradition requests
In 1957, a German court dismissed charges against him for lack of evidence. In 1952 Faber obtained German citizenship; at the time a Nazi-era law granted citizenship to foreign Nazi collaborators. Two extradition requests were made by the Dutch in 1954 and 2004 to have Faber returned to complete his sentence. Both requests were denied by the German authorities, the second referring to the 1957 decision of lack of evidence.
When new evidence was presented to a Munich court in 2006, the cases were viewed as manslaughter as opposed to murder, and thus outside the statute of limitations. A new arrest warrant from Dutch authorities was required to reopen the case.
In April 2009 Faber was listed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as one of most important Nazi era war criminals still at large. The center noted that he was a member of the Sonderkommando Feldmeijer execution squad. In July 2009 it was reported that the German government may want to prosecute Faber after all though other sources say that he enjoys immunity from prosecution.
In August 2010, following the petition of more than 150 lawyers organized by Jerusalem- based lawyer David Schonberg which pressed the Israeli government to demand that Germany enforce Faber's sentence or extradite him to the Netherlands, and change its policy of allowing Nazi war crimes suspects to escape prosecution. Israel's justice minister, Prof. Ya'akov Ne'eman, wrote to the German justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, asking that justice would be carried out.
In November 2010, the Netherlands issued a European Arrest Warrant for Faber, the first the country has issued for a war criminal. The application queries the legality of Faber's German citizenship given because of his membership in the SS. A Justice official from Bavarian justice stated that the request would be considered, "but as far as I know, there is nothing new"
- 20 January 1922~
Erna Wallisch Born Erna Pfannenstiel
(10 February 1922 – 21 February 2008)
Wallisch first served as a guard at Ravensbrück concentration camp for a year before she was transferred to the Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin Poland. While in service at Majdanek, she met a Nazi guard named Georg Wallisch, and married him in 1944.
It is alleged that she was a brutal guard, beating women and children on their way to the gas chambers and personally participated in the selections of inmates to be executed.] Survivors described a then pregnant Wallisch beating a young boy to death saying, "The sweating, breathless face of that monster was something I will never forget.Post World War II
In 2007, author and journalist Guy Walters tracked Wallisch down to a small flat in Vienna, Austria, as part of his research for an upcoming work titled Hunting Evil, about the pursuit of escaped Nazi war criminals. Though Wallisch would not talk to him and the Austrian government claimed that the statute of limitations had expired on her war crimes,
Poland has explored seeking an indictment against her.Though they had investigated Wallisch for her crimes in the 1970s, the renewed interest as well as evidence from Polish survivors, lead Austrian officials to commission a report on the crimes which had taken place six decades earlier. Before the report could be completed, the 86 year old Wallisch died in a hospital bed.
What's in a name? Erna's name-plate on the door of her Vienna home
- 10 February 1922 – 21 February 2008