Friday, November 18, 2011

BUCHENWALD KZ 1937-1945 Part 1


-Part 1-
Location of Buchenwald


In April 1936, an SS Guard Unit took over the duties of the Thuringian concentration camp  Bad Sulza that had existed since 1933 and had little more than a hundred prisoners. Its closure was to be expected because the Finance Ministry would not provide a grant for the payment of all camps and prison costs and refused to pay the guards. Only major concentration camp guard units were further funded. Theodor Eicke, inspector of concentration camps and leader of the SS Death's Head Units (SS-Totenkopfverbände) proposed in early June 1936 to the Reich Governor of Thuringia, Fritz Saukel* who was interested in the preservation and expansion of the camp, that the Prussian Lichtenburg concentration camp Unit, the II SS Totenkopf Sturmbann "Elbe" to be relocated to Thuringia. Saukel should seek approval from Hitler for this request. Of the Thuringian government Eicke demanded an appropriate site and the acceptance of costs. Referring to the internal threat of Thuringia "in the A-trap", (i.e war), he made it clear that the SS had no intention of a reconstruction of the interment  camp at Bad Sulza, but only interested in "Model Construction of Concentration-Camps". Eicke was acting in accord with the Reichsführer SS Himmler, whose appointment as Chief of the German police was carried out simultaneously. The concept of such a camp was from the summer of 1936 implemented on the model built at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.*[The entire labor program was put in charge of Fritz Saukel, who was given the title of Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor. A second string NS-member, he had been Gauleiter and Governor of Thuringia. A pig-eyed little man, rude and tough he was, one of the dullest of the dull. One of the directives laid it down that the foreign workers were to be treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure. He admitted at Nürnberg that of all the million of foreign workers "not even 200,000 came voluntarily". However at the trial he denied all responsibility for their ill-treatment. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and hanged in the Nürnberg jail on the night of October 15-16, 1946. sic]

Note: Material I used is available through the Gedenkstätte Buchenwald, the translations are my own and will be in several parts due its length.
HKW Stolpmann,
Auckland NZ 
November 2011


Letter of Theodor Eicke, Inspector of Concentration Camps, to the Thüringen Interior Ministry regarding the building of a Concentration Camp there 27.10 1936
Visibly impatient Eicke wrote on October 27, 1936, he envisioned a camp with inmates from 3000-6000 and a required a minimum area of ​​60 hectares (1 hectar = 10,000 square meters sic). On 16 November 1936 he visited the site with Thuringian authorities the state farm Magdala, the proposal was later rejected. At the end of January 1937, Hitler (notoriously indolent sic) agreed to the extension of the first concentration camp at Bad Sulza, which Saukel had requested. But only at a meeting in the SS Main Office in Berlin on 23 April 1937,  Eicke and Grommlich Head of the Police Department and SD in Thuringia, with other representative of the SS leadership who took part, forced certain preparations. At the suggestion of  Eike's, Grommlich now sought within Weimar  a contiguous forest area of 75 hectares, that should have in its vicinity suitable deposits for the mining of clay or clay deposits.

Letter of Theodor Eicke to Himmler within the County of Weimar 1.6.1937, which was limited   regarding the naming of the to certain areas

Preliminary drawing for the construction of a Camp
Concentration Camp 24.7.1937

For the first time the NSDAP in Germany, held both the capital as well as governmental posts and  that of the Prime Minister since August1932. [It is perhaps little understood by outsiders that the NSDAP (the Party, translated: National-Socialistic German Workers Party ) played a dual rule within the third Reich in as much as Legislation AND Execution by the Regime, rubber stamped by the Judiciary,  were carried out  immediately, no matter how well he or she was educated, the NSDAP would sit in a leading position to ensure, orders "Im Sinne des Führers"(in the spirit of the Führer) are proceeded with sic] As the center, the city of  Weimar for the NSDAP was the basis of the NS- movement on the way to Berlin. Half of the residents chose Hitler in 1933. Simultaneously with the establishment of the Buchenwald concentration camp the city began the construction of monumental  Party Buildings. Thus, the township was mentally ready for the establishment of the "concentration camp Ettersberg". There was only one objection to this first name of the camp. The "NS- Kulturgeneinde" protested which had no affiliation with the NSDAP. Nevertheless, Himmler accepted the objections and ordered a renaming. On 28 Juli1937 camp commandant Karl Koch wrote to Gommlich the Senior Executive Officer, that the camp should be called from now on "K.L-Buchenwald, Post Office Box Weimar". Even the municipal bureaucracy was already involved prior to the incorporation of Camp Buchenwald in late 1937.  In the crematorium of the the main cemetery during 1937-1940 a total of about 2000 inmates were cremated . The municipal cemetery office took over during the same period the returning of urns containing the ashes to the next of kin.This contravened the statutory provision that required the consent of relatives for cremations of the dead.  The law was circumvented and became the function of the camp commander. This agreement was taken with the Municipal Authorities long before the first prisoners died on mass later on.

Even before the arrival of the first prisoners the SS built on the north side of the mountain the first barracks. In the late morning of July 15th 1937 a truck arrived  from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp with the first 149 inmates, all craftsman. Thus, the "Concentration Camp Ettersberg" was opened by the SS and  in the following weeks was filled with detainees from the dissolved concentration camps Sachensburg (near Chemnitz) and Lichtenburg.
Construction began in a hurry and, as the Forestry Minister stated later, without any prior permission of the  Ministry of Finance or the Forestry Bureau of Ettersberg. From the beginning, the SS had taken over the supervision of the impending  camp facilities. Under the SS supervisor Robert Riedel, during the first construction phase, which lasted into the second year of the war, which constituted the basic structure of the area that would in future become the "Schutzhaftlager"(the protective custody camp). Relentlessly driven by the SS, prisoners had to clear the forest, lay sewer and power lines, building roads and paths. Not infrequently, they worked from sunrise well into the night hours. The material for roads and foundations was taken from the nearby quarry and often transported with bare hands to their destinations.
Arrival of Inmates at KZ Ettersberg to commence Prisoners clearing forest,
Partially built Main Entrance building 15.7.1937
The Secret Police took a total of 52 preparing the ground for the of KZ Buchenwald 10.11.1937 pictures to document the work progression erection of barracks 23.7.1937


During 1937-38 the SS had established two basic Standardizations : the SS Death's Head Regiments in regimental strength in the concentration camps at Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen and the SS-VT troop available as a reserve.  The SS-Totenkopfstandarte 3-Thuringia, maintained by the fall of 1937 to September 1939 the Guard Company of Buchenwald concentration camp and at the same time was part of their training. Until 1939, the recruitment  proceeded on a voluntary basis and a commitment of four or twelve years of enlistment was a prerequisite . Based purely on the SS Death's Head Regimental ideas of their leaders to represent the elite of the SS, the selection of recruits was initially under strict criteria but was relaxed after the war began: They had to have German citizenship and proof over 100 years of racial purity, they must at least be 1.72 meters tall, young and healthy. The age of the majority of the teams was initially well below the legal age of 21 years. Thus, for example of the 25 executions of prisoners "during escape attempts", which were at Buchenwald, Dachau and Sachsenhausen which had been committed between 23rd June to 8th Juli1938, four SS men were at the age of 16 years, six, seventeen, eight eighteen year old and five nineteen that were involved  in these shootings.[Proof of racial purity was based on the simple request to provide the so called "Taufschein"(Church Certificate) up to your Great Grand Parents (for the SS) that had been baptized in a Christian Faith. The question: "Are you a Jew" was never raised or mentioned, furthermore for tax purposes (Kirchensteuer) you are obliged to state your faith by law in Germany up to this date sic]
The hard drill where they were exposed to by basic military training which essentially consisted of two factors: first, the conscious strengthening of the elite corps and the feeling of racial superiority came the long sessions of "Politische Weltanschauung" which is why all non-official dealings with prisoners had been  strictly prohibited and punished. On the other hand, the education of  violence and cold-bloodiness towards these "inferior" people was the political task of the SS-Totenkopf to eliminate all enemies of the Reich.

SS-Totenkopfstandarte marching during NSDAP Anniversary Day in Weimar 7.11.1938 
Note at beginning of WW2 the uiniforms were field grey.


While the composition of the guard troops changed frequently, the SS-command staff were directed to make provisions for a prolonged stay, they raised families, or moved their relatives in the vicinity of the camp. In 1939 a registry office opened up which undertook in the first two years of its existence, 48 marriages of SS members and registered twelve births. According to  their position, the members of the headquarters staff lived in two settlements, SS estate I was next to the camp and housed only members of the SS-Führerkorps (Leader Corps) . [As a confirmed member they would wear a silver "V" on the lower part of their right sleeve and ranked highly sic]. The families, which usually included several children lived a safe and secure life, prison workers or servants were always present, but  it remained strictly prohibited of any rapprochement. Multiple times, Commander Koch urged his subordinate SS men in writing ,"to educate" their women in the SS-Tradition and to avoid all confidentialities with public enemies ." Most staff members kept their private life strictly separate from the concentration camp duties, although the worst torturers took place only a few kilometers from the camp where they lived a petite-bourgeois family life.
The family of the camp commandant Karl Koch only differed from the other SS families, as Ilse Koch participated actively in the work and the activities of her husband and her role as a partner of the camp commander was not confined to the domestic sphere alone. Her acquaintance with Karl Koch began in 1934 followed by their marriage in1937 and the move to Buchenwald. In the house "Buchenwald", as the commander of  the Villa was named,  their first child in 1938, the second a year later and in 1940 their third was born. The Koch family raised their children in the immediate vicinity of the camp. On Sundays, they walked together in the SS-Zoo along the fence perimeter. Ilse Koch took an active part in the successful career of her husband within the SS, which was characterized by ruthlessness, brutality and egotism and brought forward with the emergence and can be directly associated with the concentration camp system. To finance his costly lifestyle, Karl Koch, enriched himself without restraint to the property of the prisoners and embezzled  some of the funds provided for the camp. The reputation of particular cruelty, which he acquired as a concentration camp commandant colored his wife as well. In fact, she appeared at the Arbeitskommandos  (work stations) and encouraged  the SS men to beat prisoners or to report them  for punishment. Known by the prisoners, the Witch and the Beast of Buchenwald, she had to share the responsibility after the war on behalf of her husband's crimes.[Ilse Koch was tried during the Dachau War Crimes Trials  and became pregnant during the proceedings which most likely saved her from a death sentence and received  life imprisonment. The only male who had excess to her was her  interrogator, Kirschbaum,an American/German officer. After two years General Lucius Clay reduced the judgment to four years. (He most likely knew the father of her child). After her release she was tried by a German Court and again sentenced to life. All her appeals failed, she committed suicide by hanging herself at Aichach women's prison September 1967, she was 60 years old sic.]
PS.:[After the release of a Buchenwald SS-Doctor from jail, he was asked, if Ilse Koch had selected Inmates to be shot so she could have their Tattoos for Lamp Shades, his answer was: "She may have been accused of a number of cruelties, but never of that". He had been beaten by his American Interrogators to sign this statement, but refused. The beatings with truncheons was directed onto the stomach, so no bruising was visible, this was not an isolated case. sic.]

Commandant Koch and wife Ilse Koch,
Commandant Koch 1938 with his son at the Camp Zoo
Ilse Koch at the Dachau Trial

Buchenwald camp had two commanders: Colonel Karl Koch (July 1937 to December 1941) and SS Colonel Hermann Pister (January 1942-April 1945). They were appointed by the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps. Both came from the lower strata of society, enjoyed a middle school education, had participated in the First World War as soldiers and already belonged to the SS before 1933.

was transferred several times because of the brutality during his career. He later took over as commander of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, after which he was briefly leader of the concentration camp guard units at Esterwegen and Schutzhaftlagerfiihrer in Lichtenburg concentration camp. At Dachau concentration camp he was acting as Adjutant. Since its Buchenwalder time he had the reputation of the worst Lagerkommandant. Koch's image as a " Project Building Captain" one already tarnished by an ongoing proceeding on corruption brought him first to a  transfer to Lublin, where he established with part of of his thugs and murderers from Buchenwald and built the concentration camp Majdanek.
The extent of the trust that the higher SS leadership placed in him can be seen in a telegram from Himmler, which ordered all Jews of Europe  be sent to 'Koch-Lublin' for extermination. He conducted himself no differently in Lublin than he had in Buchenwald. On the one hand, there were high living in luxuriously appointed rooms, with drinking parties and orgies of all types. On the other, the most brutal barbarities and sadistic tortures. Koch felt so confident that he carried on these exesses quite openly, but he had many enemies, in particular those who held it against him that all the profits from money stolen from prisoners ended entirely in the pockets of the commander himself.  Likewise the profits from all the robbery campaigns directed against arrested Jews. Even when Koch was still commandant of Buchenwald, there were many SS Officers who kept secret notes about disgraceful conduct, notes that would play a large role in the trial.
[Himmler later on dropped him as an SS court charged him with examples (this was a precedent sic) of all other corrupt camp commanders]
These people felt that their hour had come when Eicke was no longer Inspector of concentration camps, after he had been transferred to the eastern front [He was shot down over Russian lines with his pilot and killed]. A charge of incitement to murder was lodged against Koch, to which were later added charges of embezzlement. This was done with the help of SS General Prince von Waldeck-Pyrmont, Koch's long-time superior and his declared enemy. The grounds for the accusation were Koch's orders to shoot the two German antifascists hospital attendants Walter Krämer and Karl Peix. This order was carried out by an mass murderer called Blank, who was arrested in the course of the trial and committed suicide while under arrest.
In glancing over the death list of Buchenwald, Prince von Waldeck-Pyrmont had stumbled across the name of Krämer, which he recongnised because Krämer had at one time succesfully treated him in Buchenwald. The General investigated the case and found out that Koch had ordered both prisoners murdered because they had treated him for syphilis and he fesred that it might be discovered. In the course of the investigation, still more of Koch's orders to kill were revealed, as well as embezzlement of property stolen from Jews. By not returning over the property to the Nazi leadership and instead using it himself, Koch had violated Himmler's orders.
In addition Koch, others were charged: his wife, the camp doctor, Hoven, the earlier deputy commandant, and the supervisor of the cellblock, Sommer.
In preparation for the trial, numerous witnesses out of the ranks of the SS and prisoners were deposed. The presiding judge, Dr. Morgen, was extraordinarily feared and disliked by al SS officers in Buchenwald. They breathed easier when Morgen moved back to Berlin because they feared that the investigation could also bring to light incriminating material about themselves. And indeed all of them had acted like Koch.
Koch was sentenced to death twice for incitement in two murders. Yet charges relating to killing prisoners unfit for work through injections and charges of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds into millions were dropped. In addition to Koch, only Hackmann was sentenced to death, all the others were acquitted.
Hackmann was shot by the SS at the beginning of March, Koch was shot seven days before the liberation of Buchenwald.
During 1940 Koch was in Norway for a short time, but long enough to infect himself with syphilis there. Because he rightly did not trust the healing powers of the SS doctors, he had himself treated with Salvarsan by the prisoner orderly Walter Krämer. In order not to be known as a Salvarsan user, he had the medication ordered from the SS Health Supply Depot in Berlin under the name of the prisoner Rudi Hach. Koch was healthy again and a blood test repeated several times, showed his complete recovery, he gave a special gift of thanks to his saviour Krämer. Afraid Krämer might say something about this cure, Koch had Krämer and his assistance Peix, whom Koch feared as an accomplice, had them arrested and shot after few days by a mass murderer by the name of Blank. As an excuse Koch cited political discussion the two had allegedly carried on in the infirmary.

Basically a bureaucrat he had a checkered and varied carrier before he joined the NSDAP in 1931. He had several leading positions within the Motorized Units of the SS-Kraftwagenzuges of Reichsführer-SS Himmler in 1937. Later on he was Commandant of the SS-Sonderlager Hinzert which came under the Inspector of Concentration Camps, Richard Glücks, who wrote:"After he had been there,[at Hinzert sic] he is highly regarded and took over on the 01/19/42 from the former commander [Koch sic], the totally versaute [the expression is equal to a pig sty sic] (nasty) camp Buchenwald. Pister has done this with great energy, never tired of hard work and by his own past life made a model camp of Buchenwald." Coming from the perspective of the SS Leadership, especially that Buchenwald concentration camp was now functioning as a smoothly operating economic base, would be well awarded in those times. At war's end, he was Oberführer SS Pister, a rank between Colonel and General within officers standings.
Under Koch a regime of true arbitrariness prevailed, whereas  Pister attempted to organize the Nazi terror more correctly and bureaucratically. He was of course brutal and ruthless, but always within the framework of his orders, to which he adhered in a painstakingly exact manner. Toward the end of the NS regime at Buchenwald, Pister became basically cowardly, as at heart almost all Party Members were, and wavered in his measures. [This trait does not necessarily apply to officers of SS Fighting Units that stood their ground]. He tried to find a way to cover his rear in the hope that he could go over to the Americans together with the prisoners. A letter received from prisoners who had been prominent personalities in freedom (a Belgian labour minister, a former French justice minister, a Dutch officer, and an English officer) confused Pister so much that he no longer offered any serious resistance to the delay tactics of the prisoner leadership.
The SS feared that the camp would fall into the hands of advancing Allied forces in April 1945, and Pister ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of inmates to keep them from being liberated. The prisoners were forced to endure what were, in effect, death marches, and thousands perished en route to other camps such as Theresienstadt, Flossenbürg, and Dachau. Pister left Buchenwald before American troops arrived on April 11, but in June he and numerous members of his staff were discovered among other German prisoners of war at an Allied detention camp near Munich. Along with 30 others connected to Buchenwald, Pister was tried by American military authorities at the former Dachau concentration camp beginning in April 1947. He was found guilty in August and sentenced to death; however, he died on 28 September 1948 in the prison of Landsberg am Lech of acute heart muscle paralysis.

Commandants Order No 46 Setting out 24 hour Running of Camp Buchenwald 7.5.1938
Desktop Tray gifted to Hermann Pister Camp Commandant 1942-1945 and carved from wood by inmate Bruno Apitz,German Political Prisoner 1937-45
Hermann Pister Camp Commandant 1942-1945

I)   Adjutant Division:

The commander monitored with the help of his staff all correspondence, inquiries from relatives of prisoners and the criminal regime in the camp. Koch had several adjutants in succession. Under him especially Hermann Hackmann had the reputation of a corrupt and dangerous SS-man who followed in Koch's foot steps. Twenty years old he began service in the concentration camp guard units of  Esterwegen. Since 1937, he was orderly officer in the concentration camp Buchenwald. Here Koch made ​​him his adjutant in1939 and a close confidant. Hackmann reached quickly  the rank of an SS officer in Buchenwald and was also involved in the embezzlement of funds and numerous murders. In 1941 he was transferred to the political department of the inspection of the Oranienburg concentration camp and later as a first officer with Koch in charge in the Lublin-Majdanek concentration camp. Together with Koch a special  SS-court sentenced him for continued theft of Reich property on two accounts to death.
The Adjutant  was chief of the headquarters company, which included the SS block and commando leader, overseer of the barracks and work detail at the rank of SS-Unterführer.(NCO) They constituted the daily presence of SS troops in the camp, were constantly present in the barracks and at work details, not only beat and mistreated inmates at random without reason, encouraged  block elders and Kapos to follow their example and thus influenced the daily lives of the prisoners misery significantly. From these individuals Koch recruited  block commands and  the execution squads. Also, the "Command 99", which killed about 8,000 members of the Red Army by Genickschuss (shot in the neck), were  members of the headquarters company. Commanders unscrupulous and corrupt  as block and commando leaders had under Koch  prospects of promotion and nothing to fear if they mistreated prisoners or "shot them during attempted escapes." This was one of the preferred methods of murder in Buchenwald.

II)  Political Division:

The branch of the Gestapo in the camp was called Political Department. In the manner of a police identification service, they took on all inmate personal data during admission into the camp and put them on inmate records that were presented when asked by the camp commander, or even submitting them to the Gestapo main offices when requested. By 1942, the SS men made this their personal responsibility with their usual method by delivering people with blows, kicks and insults [they did not speak German and could not answer sic.] and humiliated them in every possible way. Erroneous information in the recording resulted in very harsh punishments in the first years after the camp itself. Circumstances were more favorable for new prisoners coming into the camp only when the Gestapo realized in the face of sharply rising inmate numbers, to include detainee office workers of recoding personal data information.  From 1939 until the air raid in 1944  photos were taken of all incoming prisoners and included on their so called "Häftlimgs-Personal-Karte.
Even the release of prisoners ran through the political department. The convicts had to commit themselves not to undertake anything against the NS-state and to remain silent, especially about the camp. Sometimes they forced them to sign a declaration of willingness to cooperate with the Gestapo when asked. The Gestapo within the camp pursued particular political activities among the prisoners and established  a very successful spy network. Planned prison escapes and measures to prevent it took most of the time of the Political Department to prevent it in conjunction with the police. Searches and interrogations following the re-arrest of the fugitives were particularly high during1944/45, at times over 700 prisoners were considered to be suspect. After recapture and interrogation and cruel torture the prisoners were often hanged, in the basement of the crematorium.
The department undertook the recording of the dead and noted this in their personal files. The records of discharged and deceased prisoners were archived. When, after the air raid of 24 August 1944 the majority of records were burned and had to be partially reconstructed, it took sometimes 85 inmates during day and night shifts to achieve this.

Personal card for a detainee.
This one is for a Russian civilian, by the Name of TUPIKIN,Nikolaj, is married and had a wife and one child has no previous convictions and was interned into Buchenwald 4.8.44. by the State Police-Düsseldorf, his triangle is marked as R meaning RED the reason given is, that he is a Russian civilian worker.[It is incomprehensible to me why this man was put into a Concentration Camp sic]

III)  Detention camp leadership

The Division III dictated the daily life of prisoners and forced absolute submission to the camp rules and orders of the commander. For the concentration camp Buchenwald the camp had no specially written order. Each day began and ended with  hour-long roll calls on the parade ground, which the entire camp had to attend until the total strength had been counted and confirmed. The officer in charge, the most powerful man next to the SS camp commander, dominated the camp. He also determined the prison functionaries, block inspections as ordered and dictated much of the extent of the daily terror. As in other camps, the SS also recruited among prisoners in Buchenwald staff representative that should enforce the daily routine and the camp regime.Jews remained until January 1939 excluded from all functions. The subsequent establishment of Jewish Blockälteste (block elders) followed purely for practical reasons of the SS. Other categories of prisoners, such as Sinti and Roma, Homosexuals and the majority of the "anti-socials" were shut out of important functions.
The protective custody leadership of the Buchenwald concentration camp were described as unpredictable, raw and  brutal in character, and in part as a notorious drinkers.

III)   E- Labour

By the beginning of the war had with slight differences in the winter months and short-changes during the delivery relapses,  an average about 90 per cent of inmates were working at the camp's  building sites. The work schedule and the list of "commands" were monitored by the orders of the Protection Camp Leader with the rank of Unterscharfürer (NCO's)
From 1942 the department was created as III-E, (Arbeitseinsatz) the labor leader was Phillip Grimm and after him Albert Schwarz. At Buchenwald, he (Grimm) led since 1940, the category of "unproductive Jews" and urged that these prisoners be deported. In his daily report to the SS Main Office in which he  says on 19/02/1941:INCAPACITATED PRISONERS: "K.L. Buchwald has currently about 500  fully handicapped and crippled prisoners here. There is an urgent need to deport them to Dachau because they represent only a colossal burden within the administration."And on 06.20.1941:INCAPACITATED PRISONERS :"With reference to the work report of 19 Feb 1941 I hereby ask once again  to treat this matter as urgent and proceed with the transfer to Dachau. The number has risen significantly since. There is an urgent need here to make an exchange between the two camps, because in all the messages there seemed to be a very high level of strength reports and only a certain percentage can be used at all or can be counted on. I would like once more stress to take into consideration to treat this as urgent and to arrange for the transfer of these prisoners to the Dachau concentration camp. Likewise, it should be even be considered to put all Jews into a single camp where this can be done (Gesox) correctly such as Mauthausen". During July 1941 the SS commenced the transportation of incapacitated prisoners to the Extermination Center at Sonnestein to be gassed. [Grimm was arrested after the war as part of the Dachau trials in the Buchenwald main process and indicted with 30 other defendants. Grimm was accused of abusing Allied prisoners and also created a list of names of prisoners unable to work for the purpose of having them killed. On 14 August 1947  he was convicted to death by hanging. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. Grimm was released on 12 February 1954 from the Landsberg prison for war criminals and died after an unremarkable life in April 1984 in Bayreuth sic].

Letter of preparation for transfer of sick and other inmates

It states: 1000 sick Jews to Bergen-Belsen, to include Jewish Doctors and Helpers 174 skilled workers for Daimler Benz to Frankfurt-Main  1000 Jews to KL Mittelbau to assist in completion work. Guards are provided by Buchenwald and it is( schnellstens) to be quickly carried out dated 20.1.1945 and signed by Albert Schwartz
V)  Administration

The Division IV came under the supervision of leader Mohr and others and were responsible for the provision to the SS-Facilities as well as that of the concentration camp with food, water, electricity, fuel, clothing, and equipment for the interior (like furniture) of the SS-Garrison and prison barracks. Under their control came the kitchens and magazines within the SS area and the warehouses. This very much shaped the overall conditions of the camp. Glaring shortfalls in food supplies, to a considerable extent due to deliberate neglect, characterized their activities. Especially during the period of the camp commandant Koch, but also later, was the administrative department accused of embezzlement of gold, property of prisoners and large "disappearance" involving food that was marked for prisoners use. (At this time there was already a marked shortage of food within Germany, and it was more done on a barter system than selling it on the "Black Market").[ I myself as a youngster traveled by train to relatives in the cities with a suitcase of preserved food stuff, as children's cases were NOT inspected by the Gestapo, should it happen I had from my parents a well rehearsed and convincing story to tell them!sic]
Since 1940, the tasks of the Division IV was also the acquisition of dental gold, which was after Himmler's decree of September 1940 removed at the Pathology Department from the gums of the bodies. During September 1943 the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office issued an order to all the commanders that it is forbidden to return the dental gold to members of the deceased and to reject any requests from the next of kin. According to Otto Barnewald, the dentist handed him (Mohr)
 about 180 grams of gold teeth per month, which he collected and shipped it on a half yearly basis, on 1 April and 1 October to the office of D IV. The control was led by the Reichsrechnungshof (Accounting Dept.of the Reich). With the increase in the number of deaths since 1944, the return of Gold was done on a monthly basis. The Buchenwald concentration camp supplied, for example, in March 1944, 383 grams  and in April 1944, 504 grams of gold.
PS.: [One of my uncles was a war correspondent during WWII on the Eastern Front (Minsk-Mogilev-Smolesk) and I have seen pictures of  Sonderkommando members(civilians)removing  gold pieces from ashes during their operation of sieving the remains of people that had been cremated. From memory this looked like a simple operation made up of a wooden tripod with the sieve hanging underneath in a swinging motion. I still can not accept other statements made that tooth gold was yanked out of millions of dead bodies that had been executed either gassed or shot. The thought alone that any human being would perform this is beyond believe and rather repugnant sic.]
Covering letter regarding the delivery of Tooth Gold removed from Buchenwald prisoners 31.1.1944
V)  Camp Doctors

Camp commander Koch is credited with the motto, "In this camp there are only Healthy or Dead." This is significant not only for dealing with the people in the camp, but also for the position the individual departments took in the entanglement with Headquarters. Accordingly, under Karl Koch  there was a constant change of the camp doctors, military doctors and medical SS-orderlies, SS camp Dentists and Pharmacists who were responsible for the medical care of members of the SS and that of the prisoners, and for general hygiene, soon asked for transfers.
The inmate's Hospital, also  called Revier, was built in the first few months after opening the camp as an "Ambulance" for treatment of minor common diseases. The subsequent expansion to the hospital with Operating Rooms and Sick Bays was not out of concern for the health of the inmates, but from the efforts of the SS, to be independent regardless of the availabilities at the Weimar Hospital and the Jena University Clinic.
On the basis of the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring (1933) the SS doctors undertook,  particularly in the prewar years, the judicial decisions on forced sterilization of prisoners and performed these on inmates as the evidence suggests.
The expansion of the hospital was accelerated in the early years by epidemics, however the acceptance of additional sick inmates was greatly hampered by lack of medication. Inmate doctors with practical experience were strictly forbidden to perform operations, so that prison nurses and orderlies carried out simple self-taught surgical procedures. This condition was maintained well after Koch's demise.
The overall supervision of hygiene and patient care was the responsibility of the medical officer, who took over the recording of deaths and acted also the official Registrar for Deaths(Amtsarzt). The last chief medical officer at Buchenwald was SS Captain Dr. Gerhard Schiedlausky (1943-1945) who was also responsible for the medical-hygienic conditions for the entire satellite camp system. Unfortunately the area of hygiene area was permanently neglected, so that the camp was in fact at no time free of diseases. Due to overcrowding of the camp after the end of 1938 the first typhus epidemic broke out, which led to a total week-long quarantine period. A year later, when the camp was again crowded, a dysentery epidemic claimed many deaths among the prisoners.
 [The first Ravensbrück trial was held from December 5, 1946 until February 3, 1947. Defendant  Dr. Gerhard Schiedlausky received the Death Sentence sic.]
Of all the camp physicians SS Captain Dr.WALDEMAR HOVEN was the longest serving in Buchenwald. That two prisoners wrote the dissertation upon which he received his MD doctorate shortly before his arrest in 1943 was significant for his career. He had lived during his youth in a number of countries, apart from Sweden as well as an extra in Hollywood and in Paris from 1930-1933 as a casual worker. In November 1933 he joined the SS, and  took until 1935 to complete his high school degree(Das Abitur) and shortly thereafter began to study medicine at the University of Freiburg. Prior to his call-up in October 1939, he sat for a  Notprüfung (Examination) with which he began as camp doctor at Buchenwald, he stayed until autumn 1943. He was involved in medical experiments resulting in a number of patient's death, and was easily corrupted by Commander Koch, apart from taking bribes from prisoners. Arrested in the autumn of 1943 by the SS in the corruption trial of Koch, his trial by the SS was suspended in March 1945, whereupon he again worked as a camp doctor at Buchenwald.[He was arrested by the authorities in 1943 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 rumored to be having an affair. He was convicted and sentenced to death, although he was released March 1945 due to shortages of doctors .Hoven was arrested at the end of World War II by the Allies and put on trial as a defendant at the Doctors' 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.sic.]

Besides Hoven also most of the other SS camp doctors were involved in crimes against prisoners. This led Dr. Werner Kirchet to a sophisticated "intelligence test" and requested from the Hereditary Health Court permission for the Sterilization of prisoners that were deemed of "congenital feeble-mindedness". Of homosexuals, he extorted requests for "voluntary" castrations. After the assassination of the Legion Secretary vom Rath in Paris in 1938 Kirchert  forbade the treatment of Jewish prisoners in the infirmary and had even seriously ill prisoners even thrown out . Kirchert  became during 1940 chief physician at the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps and in 1943 chief physician of the Reich Security Main Office. [After the war Kirchert was in labor and detention camp at Eichstätt . Before a jury at the District Court in Munich on 11 June 1953 Kirchert was sent to four and a half years jail. Later he became executive director of the OWG Chemistry in Kiel . A prosecutor from the Würzburg Court initiated an investigation and  was discontinued in 1995 after his death sic]
Under Dr Erwin Ding-Schuler  the typhus experiments began in 1942 in Buchenwald. He was head of the Department of typhus fever and viral research at the Hygiene Institute of the Waffen-SS, which was located since 1943 in Buchenwald.[Erwin Ding-Schuler committed suicide on 11 August 1945.sic]
Dr Erich Wagner in the winter of 1939-40  a contagious eye disease spread to Sint-Roma patients which he treated with the injection, knowing that they would die.[He came in US captivity at the end of the war, but fled 1948. After that he lived under false name for 6 years.In 1957 he worked in his wifes private practice as doctor.He was once again arrested in 1958, and he committed suicide on March 22, 1959 while held in custody sic]
 Dr. Hans Müller later Standorarzt at  the Obersalzberg, began the removal, tanning and processing of tattooed skin from corpses of prisoner, after his transfer Dr.Hoven prohibited  this practice after Müller's departure in 1942,  which was performed at the Pathology Department to prduce "Gifts" for Koch's friends and associates.
Dr. Hans Eisele  was particularly ruthless against the Jews, the prisoners nicknamed (Spritzendoktor) "Needle Doctor" or "white death". Of him, one of the Buchenwald medical orderly Friedich Wilhelm remarked later, "Eisele was a"Jew hater "he started during the few months that he worked as a camp doctor at Buchenwald by Central Orders, the murder of tuberculosis patients by injection, which was closely associated with his name..
[At the Dachau main process , as part of the Dachau Doctors trials he was accused in the  participation of three executions, in which he had issued the death certificates as a camp doctors, and was sentenced to death. After commutation of the sentence to a life sentence Eisele was again put on trial on 11th April 1947 during the Buchenwald main process  together with twenty co-defendants and received the death penalty . However, the fundamental conviction against Eisele proved so questionable and uncertain that four of the eight military judges filed a petition, the sentence was converted by the reviewing authority to a ten-year sentence.
After a further penalty reductions Eisele was released on  26 February 1952 from the Landsberg prison for war criminals. During his imprisonment he wrote an extensive defense work entitled audiatur et altera pars, in which he denied all allegations and  represents himself as a convinced Christian, who had always acted only for the benefit of others. In contrast, numerous witnesses were from the ranks of the former concentration camp prisoners, sometimes even of former SS members.
After his release, he opened a medical practice unmolested in Munich. In 1958, during the course of the trial of Martin Sommer a guard in the concentration camp Buchenwald, new allegations against Eisele came to light and he fled to Egypt , where he made himself known under the pseudonym Carl Debouche in the Cairo suburb of Maadi
Under the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser since the mid-fifties, German and Austrian, mostly former NS-scientists had come into the country that were involved in military research facilities at the construction of fighter aircraft and medium-range missiles that Nasser needed for the expansion of Egypt's pr-eminence in the Middle East and specifically in the fight against Israel. Eisele  associated within these circles, after a German extradition request was rejected by Egypt, Mossad tried to assassinate Eisele with a package-bomb which killed the Egyptian parcel deliverer, Eisele was uninjured. He died on 3 May 1967 under unknown circumstances in his home in Maadi, and was buried in the small German cemetery in grave No. 99 sic]
Heinrich Himmler inspecting a Hospital Faclities of an SS-Division, probably of the "Totenkopf"at Meinigen 2.3.1940 from left to right; Himmler,Dr.Karl Genzken commanding doctor of concentration camps, Karl Wolf, von Egstein, Dr Erwin Ding, Dr.Werner Kirchert
Graves of honor for convicted war criminals
Landsberg am Lech Prison

Anniversaries cast long shadows: June 7, 2001 was the fiftieth anniversary of the last execution on German soil.
The preparations for this anniversary were shifting into high gear at the Spöttingen cemetery directly adjacent to the prison of the city of Landsberg. In the workshops of the Landsberg prison, craftsmen were refurbishing cross-shaped grave markers and giving them new copper roofs. The administration of the prison knows what moral debt they owe to the war criminals who were executed by the Americans between November 1945 and June 1951.
The graves of the war criminals are decorated identically - the rest of the graves in the cemetery are ignored. The story that was told is that a confused old woman once procured some 125 flower pots and has kept refilling them with flowers.

Since 1923, the cemetery has been the property of the State of Bavaria. It houses not only war criminals, but also murderers and other prisoners from the Landsberg prison as well as displaced persons from the former DP camp in Landsberg. There is not a single word on any of the grave markers that refers to the historical context. Together with the other graves of war criminals, that of the SS-officer Oswald Pohl, who was the head of the SS fiscal administration, was decorated at the expense of the state of Bavaria.
One might think that what was wrong then - the heinous actions of the war criminals - cannot be right now. But many in the Landsberg area believe that the true wrong that was committed was the war criminal trials which led to the executions. A few years ago this opinion was printed up on a flier and distributed to all households in the area.
The Bavarian justice system maintains graves of honor for people such as the SS-Standartenführer Wolfram Sievers who headed the office for Ahnenerbe (preservation of ancestry) and oversaw human genetic experiments, and for SS-Sturmbannführer Martin Gottfried Weiss, who was the Kommandant of the concentration camps Neuengamme, Dachau, and Majdanek. The State of Bavaria even maintains an honorable memorial for the epitome of inhumanity, the SS-Hauptscharführer Otto Moll because the state pays for the upkeep of his grave with public funds. The Polish State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau recently wrote about Otto Moll: "This is just a quick note to confirm your suspicion - SS-Hauptscharführer Otto Moll, head of the crematoria department of Birkenau, was sentenced to death during the trial of [ concentration camp ] Dachau staff and executed in Landsberg in 1946."
Despite Moll' s extreme cruelty and perversity, the parties responsible for the maintenance of his grave do not feel it necessary to distance themselves from him.
What is being maintained with this cemetery is the false belief on the part of some Germans that the justice of the American victors was really an injustice and that the only wrong that people like Otto Moll did was that they fought on the losing side. In view of this belief, one wonders about the much-touted German-American friendship.

Herbert Stolpmann 
20th November 2011,

                      TO BE WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED AS PART 2   DECEMBER 2011

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