Monday, November 28, 2011

BUCHENWALD KZ 1937-1945 Part 2

THE CAMP LIFE 1937-1943


Police actions resulted in the following years  again for the rapid growth of the prison population. The biggest took place after the pogroms of 1938, when the Gestapo arrested and deported 26.000 Jews into the concentration camps of Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Dachau. During the war, were the "Aktion" as well as analog forms of mass arrests in most countries occupied by Germany took place, particularly those of different political persuasion. A few days after the outbreak of war the Gestapo in Germany, led  a police operation to arrest potential political opponents. After the sudden "Aktion" in Vienna in 1939, as well as the invasion of Poland and after the occupation of the Netherlands the security police arrested thousands of people that came into the camps.
The camp system in general was still in it's infancy, from Buchenwald a number of work details  went  to Flossenbürg, Neuengamme, Mauthausen and Lublin-Madanek. The largest transports came from the concentration camp Dachau near Munich, which was temporarily vacated in 1938 and 1939. In September 1938, the SS moved nearly 2.400 Jewish inmates of this camp to Buchenwald, followed by the outbreak of war over 2,000 prisoners of various nationalities arrived. Also, the first large transport of the "laborers " -2 000 prisoners- arrived in July 1941 from there.[The camp barracks in Dachau were needed to enlist and train SS-men due to the outbreak of war and was the main reason of the shift which was later reversed. Some of them sent to Mauthausen never returned.sic]
The prisoners came from all strata of society and in civilian life had a variety of activities which they had pursued. A statistic in September 1940 has over 200 different occupations in the camp. Including laborers  and employees represented the biggest share, but many businessmen  and 261 farmers were represented. For some reason, until April 1938 the political prisoners and Jehovah's Witnesses were exposed to the worst treatments. Their position was improved after the start and  arrest of so-called work-shy, which were considered by the SS as "racially inferior". These were again in mid-June 1938, after arrival of more than a thousand Jews, no longer on the lowest rung of the hierarchy, although they-as well as gypsies and homosexuals- were still non-privileged and could hardly establish themselves in any prison functions.
Political imprisonment was the result of investigations of denunciations and of the reports by NS-officials, which was  sometimes directed against competitors or unloved neighbors. If a conviction could be obtained by law  after an arrest by the Gestapo, a person was handed over to the appropriate courts of law.
Other political prisoners remained only a short time in prison Their detention was intended to put pressure as well as fear on certain segments of the population. [At primary school (1936) we received labels to be put behind radio dials with the warning that listening to a foreign station will result in four years  Protective Custody in a KZ  for sedition sic]. May 1938, at a public protest in Goldenstedt (Oldenburg) against the introduction of comprehensive schools and for the maintenance of Catholic denominational schools the Gestapo arrested the alleged spokesmen. Two of them were sent in June 1938 to  Buchenwald, and  ten of them to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. After two months they were released and were followed until March 1939 under constant police surveillance.
Order of Protective Custody for Frank Plath, reason: Urgent, suspected of subversive activity.
Most admissions during 1938/39 to Buchenwald were in connection  with the war preparations. The concentration camp was also used to discipline conscripts and regular soldiers. On the 20th April 1938 the Hamburg Gestapo sent  21 "Wehrpflichtsäumige" as political prisoners. Since May 1938, at Buchenwald, a small group of inmates under the description "From the Special Department of the Army",  consisted of "maladjusted" Soldiers of the Military Penal Units (special department) who were admitted for longer sentences in a concentration camp. Collectively categorized as  "Psycopath" which  means they were caught because of discipline violations, such as thefts, "recalcitrance" or homosexuality, in  some individual cases as convinced pacifists, or  Jehovah's Witnesses and ended up  in the Criminal Division or "Strafkompanie".[during the years 1939-1945 an estimated 13,300-30,000 German soldiers had been detained either due to refusal to obey an order and  had been kept mainly in sub camps that stretched over a length of 60 kilometer at Emsland,(source:Der Ort des Terrors book 2 pg 552).

Map of Emslandlager 1933-1945
Dachau KZ had a "Strafkompanie" (Penal Company) that consisted of about 110 SS and SD men from the Sicherheitsdienst, brutally treated which apparently refused to execute Reichsjuden (German Jews)  and children in Russia that looked like you and me. Would anyone shoot Benjamin Netanyahu because he is a Jew, I doubt it!  As far as the SS and Himmler was concerned they had to look like the image of  "Der ewige Jude" (The eternal Jew) sic]

Add caption
Ausschließungsschein (Unfit of Military Service) for Walter Bartel. The certificate was issued while incarcerated in Buchenwald. The photo was taken in the photo department of the camp. Walter Bartel was an  illegal activist since 1943 and Head of the International Lagerkommitees.(Camp Committees)

After a rather subdued echo of the German population at the beginning of the war the regime's popularity grew rapidly after the first military successes. However, there was a certain amount of resistance and the refusal of a minority to go along, although all opposition was a life-threatening risk. During the war, many resistance activities ended before special courts or before the People's Court. (Volksgerichtshof)
Many of the traditionally  political prisoners at the beginning of the war were assigned to the  new category of "Militarily Unworthy", the number rose to over 700 in the camp. The term goes back  to the defense legislation, when individuals with prison sentences of nine months (or more) were termed as "unfit for the Armed Forces" and excluded from military service. Externally visible for the SS  as the defense unworthy "Action prisoners" they had their inmate number, which was usually placed below the angle across the corner was now  sewn on a transverse position.
During 1941 thirty-three "Rot-Spanienkämpfer" were brought from the internment camps in southern France to Buchenwald. These were Germans or Austrians, who had fought in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War along with the Republican troops, and were subsequently held in France. Only one of them remained in Buchenwald. The others went after a short time into other camps.

The followers of the "International Association of Jehovah's Witnesses" refused to give the government out of religious conviction, the required" loyalty "and  military service. In many cases they continued the advertising  of their religious community and spread their writings despite the ban. Since 1935,  this resulted in ever increasingly higher detentions into concentration camps. Here they wear the purple triangle pattern. By late 1938 the number of "Bible Students" represented among the first prisoners arrived there, to about 477 people and was at its peak at that stage. This leveled off since 1940 at 259 to 300. Their detention usually began with 3 to 9 months in the delinquent company. Only in exceptional cases did  Jehovah's Witnesses consider it at all, to renounce their faith, which could bring a rapid release from the camp. Almost all endured the suffering, of the SS, especially in the early years.

Jacket of  "Bible Student" Paul Hirschberger with the stripe indicating repeated offender (second timer) he was first detained at KZ Lichtenburg and was from 1937-1945 a prisoner at KZ Buchenwald.

The first group of prisoners who had been taken in during the summer of 1937 came from the concentration  camps Sachsenhausen and additional ones due to the closure of  Sachsenburg and Lichtenburg, half of the so-called "professional criminals"-BV-(Berufs-Verbrecher) sometimes only for temporary detention. Among them were several people convicted of criminal offenses that had been again arrested by the police preventively, not infrequently immediately after serving prison sentences. In Buchenwald, these individuals  called  the "Greens" after the color of their angle in the camp, came to the forefront within the camp's order within the hierarchy right  from the beginning with enormous criminal intent, especially with their cliques from 1937-38 the situation imprinted itself in the atmosphere of camp life. Names such as Hubert and Otto Richter Osterloh are deep in-printed in the memoirs of other inmates for blackmail, brutal mistreatment at workplaces and in the barracks as well as with the first public execution in the camp, which they committed on the order of the SS. The SS pushed a large proportion of them from between October 1938 and April 1939 as construction units into the new camps at Mauthausen and Flossenburg, others were killed or dismissed. It was not until the mid 1941 that their number rose again, but never exceeded 2 percent.
The symbol "ASR" stands for "Work-Shy Reich" (Arbeits Scheue Reich) A similar  "Aktion" by the Gestapo had been scheduled by the beginning of April 1938 and from April to June had been carried out. Already on January 26th 1938, Himmler had ordered to prepare for the arrest of all able-bodied men who refused to work and it could be shown in two incidents, the jobs offered to them, they had left the employment without good reason, or indeed started work but after a short time for no apparent reason again abandoned it. They were considered "antisocial". As this practice already existed in  isolated cases, in some Federal States= (Gau) under the context of plan "Aktion" this should also now be extend to all  "beggars, vagrants and alcoholics" throughout the Reich and sent into a concentration camp and pressed to work. In the concentration camp Buchenwald, which was awarded with the "Aktion"-plan, the first arrested a comprehensive and surprising number of 4,000  new slave laborers for the construction of the camp arrived in the last week of April 1938.

The extend of the "Operation Work-Shy Reich" expanded in a second wave of arrests, referred to as the "June Action". Under the2,378 men who arrived between 14th and 19th June 1938 in Buchenwald were 1,236 Jews. Thus was the "June action" the first mass arrest of Jews in Germany and Austria in direct connection with the 1938 enacted antisemitic Verteibungspolitik (Expulsion Policy). At the same time it became the pretext for the introduction of hundreds of Sinti and Roma to be sent into concentration camps. After 1938 there was no "action" of this magnitude anymore. The number of "ASR" prisoners declined consistently since 1943 and played only a minor role in a completely different climate in the running of the camp.
Homosexuality as a norm was a violation and has been prosecuted for decades within the Law according to paragraph 175 and 176. For the Regime, the "genetically sound reproduction," was the goal of human sexuality,  they said this presented not only a breach of norm, but a fundamental threat to the biologically standardized "national community". Within the SS, homosexuality was therefore a capital crime and was perused with the utmost brutality. Himmler gave guidelines on 18 February 1937 in a speech to the SS-group leader which outlined his thoughts.
There's been a tightening of Section 175 in 1935  which led to an increasing number of arrests and convictions. The detention of homosexuals  into the  Buchenwald concentration camp were mainly  due to one or several previous dealings with minors. Few in numbers, they remained in the camp isolated from society, rejected and alienated . They spent most of their time in prison in Punishment Detachments.[Only the active partner was sent to Buchenwald, catamites, the passive partners in sodomy  were sent to Dachau sic.]  .
Already in 1937 under the auspices of "Protective Custody" the first transports had already included individual Sinti. Hundreds of them were rounded up during the mass arrests in June 1938 and taken to Buchenwald, the SS categorized this group as"ASR-prisoners". Many broke down during the daily drill and forced labor. Even after their imprisonment  in June 1938, they were exposed in groups of public floggings and other abuses. Buchenwald also maintained a card index system as matter of record for their "Racial Hygiene Research Unit" which was made available to the Reich Health Office of the Gestapo to complete their "Ziegeunerkartei" (Gypsies Index).
In a census in the spring of 1939 there were only just over one hundred Sinti and Roma in the camp. Immediately after the war began in 1939 the SS moved 600 Roma from the Dachau concentration camp to Buchenwald. Even before the war began the Criminal Investigation Branch  had all those arrested living in Burgenland, where they had resided for generations. In the official language this was described as a "preventive" measure to combat the "Gypsy plague", these mass arrests led to the almost complete destruction of the entire group. One in three of them died in the winter of 1939/40 in Buchenwald. In 1940, the SS began to transfer the others to the Mauthausen concentration camp, where they succumbed to hard labor in the quarries.
After the last transports to Mauthausen in 1941only a few Gypsies and Roma remained in Buchenwald. One of them, the Sinti from Magdeburg, Otto Schmidt, had been taken already as a twenty year old because of his origin into "preventive detention". He survived the ordeal during the construction years and escaped the transport to Mauthausen. In the summer of 1942 he was chosen by camp doctor Hoven for a series of  typhus experiments, the first trials were conducted in Block 46. Otto Schmidt was one of the "checks", which means he was infected with typhus, to study only the "normal course" the disease would take.. Pending the conclusion of the experiment, which ran from 15 October to 20 November, four of the "control" prisoners died. Otto Schmidt was killed immediately after this. "The control group consisted of 20 inmates, 17 of whom were killed by Dr.  Hoven with a lethal injection in the hospital.

Preliminary Report of the Typhus Trial Station KZ Buchenwald dated 10.11.1942.  Otto Schmidt "with abortive radically deteriorating course of illness."

From the beginning of 1937 to spring 1938, the Gestapo exclusively interned Jewish prisoners into the Dachau concentration camp. Most had been imprisoned for political reasons. Also those known as "Mischlinge" (of mixed marriage)
In 1938, when the Nazi regime accelerated the economic exclusion and expulsion of the Jewish population through terror, they began the mass deportation of German and Austrian Jews to Buchenwald which reached its climax at that stage. From early April to December 1938 the Police and Gestapo arrested 13.687 Jews. With their arrest, they were often forced  to deliberately  abandon their property in exchange for permission to emigrate of their choice. Alone in 1938 a total of 10,012 Jews were released under theses conditions out of the camp. Overall, by the end of 1941 approximately 17.000 Jews staying in the camp more than 11.600 were set free. Despite the often short period of detention, by the year 1940 they had had the highest number of deaths.
The SS at Buchenwald introduced the prisoner category "Jew" as a sub-group of all other categories in late April 1938 after the first arrests of "Operation Work-Shy Reich". The first Jews arriving at this time, as well as the 1.256 ASR Jewish prisoners of the "June Aktion", became a favorite target of SS terror. This terror continued also against the 2,395 Austrian and German Jews  which arrived in the last weeks of September 1938 from the Dachau concentration camp. The majority were held in Austria and German as political prisoners. But with these transports were also 113 so-called "Race Defiler", and 51 Emigrants and 26 Deportation Detainees.[A Christian male marrying a Jewish girl was not considered a Race Defiler, but she had to be sterilized as only children by the MOTHER can claim to be Jews, by law, not by a Jewish father sic.]
The category "Race Defiler" were Jews who had violated the existing  Nuremberg laws banning sexual relations with non-Jewish women. Most of them had been sentenced for a brief period before they came into a concentration camp already with a jail sentence. Sometimes, these were, as the arrest and conviction of Ferdinand Faybush shows the criminalization of communities and relationships that had existed long before the Nuremberg Laws. Faybush already lived in a consensual relationship with his partner and they had a son who was since the adoption of the 1936 Nuremberg Laws already 12 years old. After a denunciation in 1936 before a Grand Criminal Court of Hildesheim, on a "Racial Shame" charge, he was sentenced to a jail term. After his release from  imprisonment  in November 1938, the Gestapo brought him to Buchenwald, where he, like the other prisoners in category "Race Defiler", immediately came to the punishment battalion where he remained until his murder in the killing center at Sonnenstein (Pirma).

First letter of Faybusch from Buchenwald dated 26.11.1938

The only group which was singled out  by the SS camp administration were Jewish prisoners when it came to separate living and work assignments, they set out and treated them  as a group for special harassment, collective punishment and toughest  forced labor. Jews were also the first to be affected, if the living conditions radically deteriorated during overcrowding of the camp. Not infrequently, the SS deliberately introduced into the Jewish barracks perceived  emergencies. Some SS doctors closed several times the medical treatment for Jews or referred them  during 1938/39  to the "Jewish Hospital" which was the most primitive one in in every respect in this area.
The Jewish Revier was formed in December 1938 when the SS moved the inpatient hospital for the treatment of Jews to the prisoner roll call square into the barrack Number 2. Officially it was staffed with four nurses and four to six Jewish inmates as pallbearers (Leichenträger). In the first quarter of 1939 the Annual Report of the detainee hospital is characterized as a block, "to give exclusive treatment for  the Jews in these hospital facilities.

Hospital Facilities at Buchenwald 1945
Among camp commandant Koch, where open hatred of Jews was a career advancement, there were in particular many blocks or detachment commanders who stood out by mistreatment of Jews. Some wrote into the otherwise rather laconically brief reports of criminal "crap Jews," "dirty Jews" and "stink Jews". One of the SS popular chicane  was  the(Scheißentragen) "shit carrying ", the transportation from tanks with fecal from the latrines and from the sewage treatment plant into the nursery. Prisoners of the command "4711" (named after the Eau de Cologne), especially the Jewish intellectuals and artists were assigned to this type of treatment. They had to scoop out with empty jam buckets  the latrines or with their bare hands.
 After Germany and Austria conducted the pogroms, there were by the  middle of November1938, about 13,000 Jewish prisoners in the camp. Many had been  released up to and  until mid-1939. For the rest of the camp inmates with the start of the war it was a deadly trap. This was also true of the 1.035 stateless Jews from Vienna and hundreds of Polish, Dutch, German and Czech Jews who were admitted during the early war years. From 1940 to 1942, there were just 114 releases of Jewish prisoners. 1942 the SS murdered about one-third of the remaining Jews in the "euthanasia" killing center of Bernberg and deported most of the others to Auschwitz

Jews taken into "Protective Custody" during assembly at KZ Buchenwald November 1938.
The first foreign prisoners, integrated demonstratively by  the SS as the "German Reich Subjects", were the Austrians in the Dachau transport from September 1938. Mostly of Jewish origin, they had been systematically arrested in the first weeks after Austria's Annexation. Among them were many celebrities from the arts, politics, literature, science, and many from the Jewish Community (Jüdische Kultusgemeinde), the writers Jura Soyfer, the famous comedian Paul Morgan and Fritz Grünbaum,  the Social Democratic Politician and writer Benedikt Kautsky. The young talented Jura Soyfer died in Buchenwald.
In early October 1938,  inmates from the police stations of Vienna arrived at  Buchenwald, including a number of former senior civil servants. Even a year later, at the outbreak of war, transports coming from Dachau included  many Austrians. In the course of 1939, the number of Austrians through releases and deaths declined significantly. After the war began the last big  transport from Vienna arrived with stateless Jews, most of whom died within a short time.

After the war began, the share of foreign prisoners in Buchenwald increased  sharply first, and then remained level almost constant until 1941. More than half of the total 4,514 Poles, which were sent  until the end of 1941 to Buchenwald, had been immediately detained after the occupation of their country in September 1939. With the arrival of the first Poles in late September, they appeared as a category of prisoners in the camp statistics.
 Approximately 2,100 Poles who arrived in transports on 15/16 October 1939 came solely from those territories that prior to the Versailles Treaty until 1919 belonged to Germany, namely Posen, West Prussia and from the Upper Silesian industrial region. Many of them died during the first few months, others went with a transport in early March 1940 to the concentration camp at Mauthausen.The 474  Poles that arrived on the 16th August 1940 included 35 priests and came  from the notorious detention center in Fort VII in Poznan, and  had been arrested in the newly formed "Reichsgau Wartheland". The first SS-Transport on the 22 August 1940 of 622 Poles came from the so-called General Government into the camp. Many Poles were also arrested by the Gestapo in Germany for breach of working contracts or breach and  resistance as legislated  for forced Polish  laborers in Germany. Some of them, the Gestapo brought into  the camp only to murder.

New arrivals removing their own garments with subsequent hair cuts and disinfection at Buchenwald 1939

1940 German troops invaded and occupied the Netherlands. On 21/22 July 1940 the commander of the Security Police and SD, gave orders to deliver from  the Occupied Netherlands the first 232 Dutch hostages to Buchenwald, including 14 women who were taken to Ravensbrück concentration camp. By October 1940, a further 124 Dutch were added. These were mostly government officials, who were arrested as hostages (Geiseln) and reprisal for the internment of Germans living in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia sic) and taken into a detention camp. The Dutch, despite special conditions,  were housed separately and could receive packages and did not have to work-it was also in this group that stayed until mid-November 1941 in Buchenwald, that had reported deaths.
The Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands, Arthur Seyß-Inquart, issued on 22nd October 1940 the first drastic anti-Jewish regulation, its contents was based in many respects similar to the Nuremberg race laws. Encouraged by the reckless actions of the German occupation force, on the 9th Februar1941 hordes of NSB (National Socialist Movement) raided  the Jewish neighborhoods of Amsterdam. In a defensive measure a member of the Order Police was killed. One of the highest ranking SS and Police Leaders, SS Brigade Führer  Reuter, had in retaliation  400 Jewish men aged 20-35 years  arrested in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The public announcement of their Deportation into a German concentration camp sparked  a wave of strikes in which tens of thousands of Dutch workers participated in several parts of the country, especially in the surroundings of Amsterdam.
[During the initial German phase of occupation the highest percentage of "converted" NS-Members of any invaded country was in Holland sic.]

Arrest of Jewish inhabitants in Amsterdam 22.2.1941 in retaliation of the general strikes and and deportation to Buchenwald.
Of those arrested a total of 389 Dutch Jews arrived on 28 February 1941 in the Buchenwald concentration camp. They were admitted to the barracks 16 and 17. Three days later the SS drove them as construction workers and forced labor. Despite their initially good constitution among the prisoners transported, were a group of dock workers and port employees  but the low food intake, the cold and wet, their physical condition deteriorated rapidly. Suitable footwear for quarry work was not provided, feet began to swell and had open wounds which made walking difficult and needed medical attention. The other ailments were mainly pneumonia and diarrhea.

Picture shows Jews from Amsterdam upon their arrival at Mauthausen 26th June 1941.

 A rather unflattering commentary was added when this photo which was published in the "Das Schwarze Korps" (SS-Publication "The Black Corps". Part of the German caption reads:"Teil einer Seite zeigt die Amsrterdamer Juden nach dem Eintreffen in Mauthausen: Nutzbringend verwandt. Die Bilder dieser Seite sind wieder Ergebnis einer jahrelangen intensiven Sammlung, noch Aufnahmen aus einem Wachs-und Abnormitätenkabinett, es sind auch nicht Bilder, aufbewahrt von der nun schon Jahre zurückliegenden Flurbereinigung des deutschen Volkes von jüdischen Verbrechern. Die Bilder zeigen ausscließlich ehemalige holländische"Arbeiterführer", die auf Grund erheblicher Verbrechen nun, und diesmal unfreiwillig in puncto Arbeit, tatsächlich nutzbringend verwertet werden. Sie mögen sich vor nicht zu langer Zeit ihr "Zukunftgeschäft" gewiß anders gedacht haben".

With transports from the concentration camp Dachau at the end September 1939  came about 700  hostages from Czechoslovakia  after the occupation and the establishment of the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia" those arrested were mainly Czech officials, scholars, clerics and politicians that came to Buchenwald, who were termed as "protectorate prisoners." While the Jews had to share with them from the beginning in the camp life of Jewish prisoners, the other was temporarily held in a special position. They did not work, they were not their heads shaved, and they had a number of other perks. Beginning in January 1940 with a ban on receiving parcels, these privileges were abolished by the SS more and more and  disappeared completely in 1942.

Post Card from Buchenwald to his daughter of Gottfried Hendrych a Czechoslovakian Political Prisoner 1939-45. Note: All messages had to be written in German and had the usual restrictions.
A special position among the foreign detainees was applied to the prisoners of war who were delivered by the Wehrmacht to the SS. These transports were solely to:either executions in order to take measures for the suppression of resistance within POW camps and/or the release of prisoners as laborers for the SS. On the18th April 1940, the Gestapo-Kassel, sent a contingent of 56  Military Priests from the Polish military officer prison camp Rothenburg/Fulda to Buchenwald. With the entry into the camp, they lost their status as prisoners of war. In early July 1942, 51 of them were brought by order of the Reich Security Main Office, to the Dachau concentration camp.
In 1941 the SS demanded as a labor force thousands of Soviet prisoners of war who were handed over by the Wehrmacht in the fall of 1941. 2,000 of them came on October 18 from the POW camp Stalag XD (Wietzendorf / Wehrkeis Hamburg) to Buchenwald. They were in such a miserable condition that more than 600 of them died from starvation and disease within a year. The SS enclosed barracks 1, 7 and 13 of the Western series with barbed wire and  built an enclosed prison camp. Prisoner of war camp Lager elder was a German BV-prisoner. Formally, the POWs were initially placed under the administrative nature of the Wehrmacht POW code. From 1942 they were used for the heaviest work.

picture Kurt Franz
                                     (This is a  photograph from a Soviet propaganda motion picture)

Kurt Franz  as an NCO (he gained officer rank later on) administers punishment in Buchenwald, he either has shot the prisoner on the ground or is in the process of doing so, as he seems to either removing his pistol or putting it back into its holster
He joined the SS-Totenkopfverbände in 1937. First he received training with the Third Death Head Regiment Thuringia at Weimar, and then served as cook and guard at the Buchenwald concentration camp, where he attained the rank of Unterscharführer (Corporal).Franz was transferred to Treblinka. He had a baby-like face, and for this he was nicknamed "Lalke" ("doll" in Yiddish)Franz was known for his unusual amount of cruelty and sadism, he made his rounds of the camp, often riding a horse, and he would take his St. Bernard dog, Barry, along with him. Barry was trained to follow Franz's command, and Franz's command was usually to bite the genitalia or buttocks of the prisoners and frequently bit his victims in the buttocks, in the abdomen and often, in the case of male inmates, in the genitals, sometimes partially biting them off.Following the war, Kurt Franz first worked as a laborer on bridges until 1949, at which point he returned to his former occupation as a cook and worked in Düsseldorf for 10 years until his arrest on 2 December 1959. A search of his home found a photo album of the Treblinka horrors with the title, "Beautiful Years".
At the Treblinka Trials in 1965, Franz denied having ever killed a person, having ever set his dog on a Jew, and claimed to have only beaten a prisoner once. On September 3rd, he was found guilty of collective murder of at least 300,000 people, 35 counts of murder involving at least 139 people, and for attempted murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 1993 for health reasons. Kurt Franz died in Wuppertal in 1998.
PS: There is no death penalty in Germany, nor could he be tried as a war criminal, those laws were made up by the Allied War Crimes Tribunals after 1945 and have no precedent in German Jurisprudence.


Herbert Stolpmann
November 30th 2011

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