Tuesday, January 3, 2012

BUCHENWALD KZ 1937-1945 Part 6

BUCHENWALD KZ 1937-1945 Part 6

In Buchenwald, the prison population increased tenfold from 8,400 in April 1942 to 84 505 prisoners by the end of September 1944. The basis for this mass of people being drawn into the death factories of the camp was no longer the only,  probably not even the  primarily formal process of protective custody, which contributed to the mass influx of detainees.  Since the war began it was a permanent simplification of Custody Protection, which now focused more on the discretion of individual agencies or the Gestapo commanders of the Security Police and SD when it came to the occupied countries. Therefore, one can not see nor question of a combined effort of an increasing use of actual force to round up reluctant workers in the East.
First, they simplified the reporting and liability provisions for Soviet forced labor, their introduction into the concentration camp took place entirely outside the protective custody directives. Later on other groups of prisoners,  the original provisions were gradually abolished for them. That did not mean that the SS had given up the terror within concentration camps as a powerful weapon and abandoned it  in favor of their economic ambitions. On the contrary,  Himmler had already made provisions a year after the war began for the introduction of the camp differentiations by grades, and these grades would depend on the degree of tyranny  from camp to camp [....]  Accordingly, "All minor accused and who necessarily could improve their behavior within protective custody" (Camp Grade I)to be transferred into the camps like Dachau, Sachenhausen and Auschwitz. "For those medium, but still capable of re-education and improvement in protective custody" (Camp Grade2) to be considered for camps of Buchenwald, Neuengamme, Auschwitz II, and Flossenbürg. "All those with serious convictions [....] barely educable within protective custody "(Camp Grade 3) should perish in the Mauthausen facilities.
These classifications  retained multiple corrections from September 1942, even under the changed conditions of validity, which were in favor of labor input and a lesser role for the occupants, rather than the implementation of various camp levels due to different treatment within the various camps. So it was in Buchenwald that from 1943 virtually all the three camp grades, namely bearing stage I and II in the main camp and in a number of sub-camps were applied, while the conditions in the Tunneling Commandos "Laura" and "Dora"and in the quarry of Buchenwald with Jewish inmates the corresponding camp level III which meant destruction through forced labor was inevitable.
During the period up to 1942 there was a massive admission of prisoners primarily due to political events like the anti-Jewish pogrom in 1938 or the beginning of the war. From 1943, started the Deportations by  trains from the Soviet Union and Poland, and later from South-Central and Western Europe, and from camps that had to be abandoned before the approaching fronts. Nearly all who came along the way to Buchenwald, received the red triangle, combined with the first letter of the country of origin.Jews had an additional  yellow patch. Thus, with the continued establishment of camps from 1942 within Germany these became within a short time, a melting pot of people from all walks of life by Germany's occupied European nations. Although from the period of 1942 to 1943  the established groups of prisoners, also from 1942, was essentially characterized by two groups of prisoners: The forced laborers from the Soviet Union or of Polish back ground and political prisoners from occupied Europe. It was not until mid-1944 when a third major group of Hungarian and Polish Jewish prisoners arrived.

List of Transports received during the period from 26.8.1943 to the 25 September 1943: Out of 998 Russians, 43 are sick, it states that it included 199 Russian women, which left again on 1.9. 43. and one women died. Out of 925 French Prisoners 63 were dead upon arrival, 12 needed attention in the Infirmary, 75 had scabies, and 49 required a doctors attention. Out of 1362 Russians, 63 had scabies, 146 needed doctors attention, about 60 were cripples and did wear prostheses. A total of 278 Russian women departed on 22.9.43.

Young people were up to the age of twenty years in the course of 1944 the largest age group.  The Reich Security Main Office was now issuing  instructions that minors, which failed as workers should not be interned , and limited in March 1943 for the umpteenth time, the age of admission for "German Reich Individuals"(Reichsdeutsche) to 18 years, those from Poland and the Eastern workers(Ostarbeiter) to 16 years. This part of instructions the SS used to it's fullest, and just juvenile Poles and Russians were deported in 1943 and increased in the concentration camps. More than a third of the inmates of the Buchenwald concentration camp, mostly Russians, Poles and Jews were minors, up to  December 1944 the average age of this third was twenty years.
On October 7, 1944 Camp Commander Pister advised the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office that the use nor an increase of juvenile inmates at the time was not advisable. Two days earlier he had sent an extermination transport with 200 children and young people, exclusively  Sinti and Roma to Auschwitz.

Railway Wagon used for the Transportation of Prisoners. Note: This picture has been staged and taken after the Liberation in 1945. The Reichsbahn (German Rail) would not allow the Destinations to be painted onto any Wagon in the manner shown.

With the mass influx of Soviet and Polish slave laborers who had been arrested by the Gestapo because they had fled from their assigned place of work in the German industry or agriculture assignments, or had been unfavorably noticed in their operations and had violated orders, increased the number of inmates in 1942 considerably . From mid 1942 to early 1943 the Gestapo brought  from Thuringia, Hesse, Saxony and the Rhineland, some 4,500 Soviet forced laborers as new prisoners into the camp. By the SS, they were very badly treated, dramatically receiving reduced meals, for example, less than half of the bread ration, and were almost exclusively working in the "Command X", at the site that was meant for the new armaments factory near the camp, or in the quarry. Already in August 1942 the camp doctor advised the Political Department to reduce and limit the death rate of Soviet slave laborers  to a minimum. A short time later, the SS stopped the notification of the obligatory civil death certificates and the recording  for Soviet prisoners in the Death Books.
For "Eastern workers", such as forced laborers were referred to, from the territory of the Soviet Union,  the Reich Security Main Office ordered in February 1943, that a general release of prisoners has to be stopped. The chief of Section D in the Economic Administration informed the camp commanders  that to revoke the current regulations, Eastern workers that had been after a certain time in a concentration could be sent back to their old jobs must now  be held. Arrests by the Gestapo and the introduction of "corrective labor camps", but above all due to mass transport from the economic centers of the  Ukraine, these prisoners grew now up to mid-1943 to the second largest group of inmates, right after the political prisoners. In addition, there were in the associated Satellite Camps within the Buchenwald Administration at the end of 1944 over 4,000 women from the Soviet Union.

Patch Marking "OST", meaning East, had to be worn on the left upper  side of a garment for all Slave Laborers deported into Germany from the USSR.
Since May 1943 the Gestapo Offices or the commanders of the Security Police and SD in the occupied territories could decide on the spot, if and which Polish citizens should be sent  to a concentration encampment. The usual application for protective custody from the Reich Security Main Office was dropped, bringing the number of Poles in Buchenwald to a peak time high level. Moreover, the SS had thousands of political prisoners from concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek for "Labor Assignments"(Arbeitseinsatz) brought to Buchenwald. Early in 1944 there were 7500 Poles in the camp.
The majority of Polish prisoners were classified by  February 1944 in the same group of inmates as the Russians. They were like prisoners from the Soviet Union marked as members of an "inferior race" which were tolerated and acknowledged only to live as cheap workers and had no other rights. In order to distinguish them only as slave labor for the SS, captured Soviet and Polish prisoners who were incarcerated for political reasons, they classified them in early 1944 and lumped them together in the official camp statistics under "foreign civil workers"(Ausländische Zivilarbeiter). A total of 22 120 inmates from Poland and the Soviet Union belonged by the middle of April 1944 in this new category of prisoners. That was more than half the camp.
With the approaching of the Eastern Front ended the Transports from the Soviet Union, the SS still sent in August1944, following the suppression of the Warsaw uprising, thousands of Poles to Buchenwald. In the women's satellite camps at the end of 1944 there were almost 65 000 Polish women. As for the majority of the inmates there were no release out of the camp for Poles and more so there was no way to escape the concentration camp system alive. They could only hope for liberation by Allied Forces. Among the prisoners who had escaped from sub-camps which was a rather high proportion they were usually recaptured again on the run and killed on the spot without ceremony or strangled in the basement of the Buchenwald crematorium on wall hooks. Even prisoners which the SS hanged in September 1944 at the parade ground before the assembled camp was one Pole.
Letter to the Polish prisoner Marian Tasiemski from his mother dated 26.5.1944. All letters had to be written in the German language [Although it is in German and grammatically correct, it was most likely written by an ethnic German, the style and expression reflect this. sic]

Admissions of prisoners from the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia into the Buchenwald concentration camp since it's German occupation hardly played a role over the years until mid-1943, when the first arrived in 1943 from Auschwitz. Then a further 510 political prisoners from Pilsen, and  on July 22, 1943 a Transport directly from the occupied Czech territories. In connection with the Resistance activities to1944 and  again the resurgent of opposition, it was after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich was suppressed in 1942 by a massive terror, that the number of imprisoned Czechs in Buchenwald from around 600 in mid-1943, increased to almost 5,000 in October 1944. From all concentration camps, Buchenwald was at the beginning of 1945, which held the highest number of Czech detainees.
Since the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia was considered by Germany as a connected area to the Reich, the SS placed particular attention to the allocation of different colored triangles. In addition to the red triangle which more than 80 percent of Czechs did wear as political prisoners, among them were a group of convicts with (green triangle), so-called anti-socials (black patch), individual Jehovah's Witnesses (purple triangle), emigrants (blue angle ) and homosexuals (pink triangle), and smaller groups of Czechs and Jews and Roma. From a total of about 7,800 Czechs, who were imprisoned during the war in Buchenwald 773 died.

Letter of Czech inmate Alois Kröl to his wife dated 9.1.1944. [as his name is spelled with an Umlaut "ö" he was most likely ethnic German sic]

http://vimeo.com/34547053 Hermann Frank (24 January 1898 – 22 May 1946) was a prominent Sudeten German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia prior to and during World War II and an SS-Obergruppenführer. He was executed by hanging after World War II for his role in organizing the massacres of the people of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky.

[Frank surrendered to the U.S. Army in Pilsen on 9 May 1945. He was extradited to the People’s Court in Prague and tried during March and April 1946. After being convicted of war crimes and the obliteration of Lidice, Frank was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 22 May 1946, using the Austro-Hungarian "pole method", in the courtyard of the Pankrac prison in Prague“Pole hanging”.
Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary used an unusual variant of short drop hanging.  There was no gallows as such, but rather a stout vertical wooden pole (or post) of about 2-3 meters height with a metal hook or eye bolt at the top to which a thin rope noose was attached.  There was either a ladder or steps up to a small platform at the back of the pole for the executioner to stand on.  The pinioned prisoner was placed with their back to the pole and then lifted up either manually by the hangman’s assistants, on a simple board platform or by a cloth sling running under their armpits so that the executioner could put the noose round their neck.  At the signal they were now jerked downwards by the assistants thus tightening the noose.  This jerk combined with the thinness of the cord typically caused a carotid reflex and led to rapid unconsciousness.  Late 19th century Austrian hangman, Josef Lang, considered this method to be far more humane than American style standard drop hanging and claimed that no criminal suffered for more than a minute with his method.  It is unclear when pole hanging ceased although it was definitely in use until after the end of World War II and was used on various war criminals.  A video of the hanging of Karl Hermann Frank which took place on the 22nd of May 1946 in Prague’s Pankrác Prison is currently available on YouTube.  He was lifted up to the top of the pole by a sling and then dropped about a meter, the hangman covering Frank’s face with his hand. This film clearly demonstrates how pole hanging worked and does not give the impression that Frank struggled after suspension.  There are also photos of the execution of Serbs by the Austrians during the war.  It is quite probable that Milada Horakova (female) who was convicted of treason by the communist regime in Czechoslovakia suffered this death when she was hanged on 27th of June 1950.  It has been reported that her executioner was ordered to “let the bitch suffocate”.
After the end of World War II, Albert Pierrepoint who hanged eight men at Karlou in Austria for war crimes, taught Austrian hangmen the British method and this was used for the last few executions there.  Austria’s last execution took place on the 24th of March 1950 when Johann Trnka was hanged for murder.  It is not known whether Czechoslovakia and Hungary continued to use pole hanging or a more conventional gallows for executions from the 1950’s. Czechoslovakia’s last execution was in 1989 and Hungary’s in 1988.,Hermann Frank was executed before 5,000 onlookers. He was buried in an anonymous pit at Prague's Ďáblice cemetery.sic]

Among the political prisoners from nearly 30 countries since early 1944, the French presented the highest share. Their deportation to Buchenwald was the result of terror, created by  the German occupation to keep down the French Resistance, which had started and increased after the German defeat at Stalingrad. Already on 10 April 1942, the German Commander(Militärbefehlshaber) responsible for France, referred to Hitler, "that  after each attack apart from shooting a number of suspected persons, as a further reprisal we have transferred 500 Communists and Jews over to the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German police for deportation to the East. "In the camp at Compiegne near Paris which should hold a sufficient number of persons at any time that have been arrested and it is a matter of  question if it has ever been considered "whether a transfer of these people from the camp at Compiegne for purposes of deportation can be used."
The camp Compegne north of Paris, was built during the French campaign as "Frontsalag", Base Camp for POW's (Frontkriegsgefangenen-Stammlager) 122. Since mid-1941 it served also as an internment camp for Jews, political prisoners, Russians and Americans. Jews and members of the resistance movement were brought from there to Auschwitz. Later on the camp was until its dissolution during August 1944 a detention camp under the control of the Commander of security Police and SD.
Approximately 50,000 people were deported to Auschwitz from Compiegne since 1943 and  also into other concentration camps. Although part of the German occupation in 1942 first conducted it's operation under the term "deportation communists", those that were deported to Buchenwald had been members of the entire political spectrum of the French   Resistance movement.
The doctor Charles Richet, a member of the Academie de Medicine in Paris, had been betrayed as head of the resistance group "Stephane Renault" in 1943, and arrested. After the  military jail in Fresnes, he came to the prison in Compiegn and from there to Buchenwald. He was an inmate doctor in the small camp (Kleines Lager).
Inmate Index File of French Doctor Charles Richet

Henry Krasucki, of Jewish origin, was arrested in Paris as head of the Communist youth organization in 1943 by the French police, interrogated and tortured. In 1943 he was deported to Auschwitz and sent to Buchenwald in January 1945.
Julian Cain, the General Administration of the French National Library, was arrested in February 1941 on suspicion of collaboration with the London government in exile. For three years he remained interned in the camp Romainville before being deported to Buchenwald in 1944.
Maurice Hewitt, a noted musician, had smuggled the Resistance members on behalf of the Allies, who had jumped with a parachute over France, to Spain. From Compiegne he came with a mass transport to Buchenwald. Here he founded together with Polish prisoners an illegal String Quartet
Pierre Durand, at the age of twenty during delivery of an order for the Resistance, was arrested, after interrogation and solitary confinement in May 1944 was deported to Buchenwald.
Marcel Bloch (later Dassault), the famous aircraft designer, came after detention by the Gestapo in 1944 to Buchenwald. Offers by the representatives of the Air Force(Luftwaffe) to work for the German aircraft industry, he refused.
Rene-Michel L'Hopital, adjutant of the First World War, and later adjutant to Marshal Foch, after the occupation of France in 1940 he founded the resistance group "Armee volontaire."  After the "Night and Fog Decree"(Nacht-und-Nebel-Erlaß) in early 1942 he was arrested, imprisoned for two years in the military prison Fresness and then into the special camp Hinzert brought via  Wittlich, Trier, and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to Buchenwald in 1944.

 The"Night and Fog Decree"(Nacth und Nebel) were referred to a secret order of the Chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) Wilhelm Keitel, dated 7th December 1941. This was in reaction of the ever increasing French Resistance and provided in general the Death Penalty for these activities. Those individuals that were not sentenced by the "Instant Tribunal"(Schnellverfahren) would disappear during "Night And Fog"(Nacht und Nebel)  which meant they were brought into German internal detention facilities, without their loved ones ever learned about their fate. Some of the "Night and Fog Prisoners" (NN prisoners) were tried by special courts in Germany, sentenced to death and executed. Others that had served their sentence or awaiting trial were handed over to the Gestapo by June 1943. During September 1944 the OKW ended all pending proceedings against suspects and handed 24000 NN-Prisoners (NN-Gefangene) to the Gestapo in June 1943. Most were brought into concentration camps.
 Between June 1943 and August 1944 ten transports mostly by train from Compiegne with more than 13,000 almost completely exhausted people, and mainly  French arrived. The SS also brought Transports with French prisoners from Toulouse, Paris, Belfort, Grenoble and from Auschwitz. The total number of those Nationals deported to Buchenwald is estimated at about 25000, in addition to these by the end of 1944 there were about 1000 French women in the women's camp. Many French people belonged to the first of foreigners  at "Dora" and "Laura" and had to work at the tunneling construction. They had suffered many sick, injured and thousands of deaths. As the most influential group among the political prisoners, they played a significant role in the inmates' resistance movement.

Group of French Inmates, front person:General Louis Audibert, 1945. This picture was probably taken April 1945, when the sick and weak were shifted from the Kleine Lager (Small Camp) and taken into empty SS-Garrisons

                                                           MASS DEPORTATION TO BE CONTINUED AS PART 7

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