Rudolf Vrba participated in the trials of Nazis for war crimes and identified prominent Nazis who were in Auschwitz.

When Adolf Eichmann was placed on trial in Jerusalem as Head of the Gestapo section on Jewish affairs, he displayed little emotion—he had only been doing his job. When he was eventually executed, it was the only time capital punishment was administered in the state of Israel.

Vrba & Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann was executed by hanging on June 1, 1962. Rudolf Vrba could not appear as a witness at the trial of Eichmann as he wished, but he did have the satisfaction of contributing a written deposition that led to a guilty verdict in a Jerusalem courtroom on December 15, 1961.

The much-publicized Eichmann trial had prompted Vrba to co-write five newspaper articles about Auschwitz with the Fleet Street journalist Alan Bestic. In the aftermath of that globally-publicized trial, they worked tenaciously on Vrba’s memoir, resulting in the publication of I Cannot Forgive in 1963.

In 1964-65, Rudolf Vrba contributed testimonies for Nazi trials in Frankfurt and he provided evidence for a follow-up trial in 1969. The latter trial resulted in the conviction and incarceration of SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Hermann Krumey, a leading figure in the Waffen-SS within Adolf Eichmann’s operations in Hungary.

Vrba & Krumey (Eichmann’s assistant)

Hermann Krumey

Hermann Krumey

Hermann Krumey, one of the two foremost aides of Adolf Eichmann in Hungary, was born north of Bratislava, in a town renamed Šumperk, in the Olonouc region. After Krumey was arrested in 1960, Rudolf Vrba agreed to testify against his fellow Slovakian in 1965, and again in 1969.

Krumey had joined an anti-Slav nationalist youth movement in his home town of Maehrisch‐Schonberg, in 1916, when it was still part of Moravia. After the establishment of the Czechoslovakian republic he became a druggist in Slovakia and used his spare time organizing pro‐Nazi chapters among the German minority. For supporting Hitler’s Third Reich, Krumey was rewarded with the rank of SS lieutenant colonel by 1938 and posted to Lodz in 1939 as head of a “resettlement bureau” to assist in the settlement of Germans in the Lodz area (as Jews lost their homes and disappeared).

Krumey was convicted in Frankfurt for his role in the murder of 300,000 Jews (that was the figure cited in his trial). Previously, Krumey had also arranged transports of Croat and Polish Jewry. Even though Krumey was known to have “efficiently” overseen at least six transports of Jews from the Zamosc area to Auschwitz, the Jewish lawyer Rudolf Kasztner had signed an affidavit on his behalf on May 5, 1948 that successfully resulted in Krumey’s release from Allied custody. One reason that Kasztner was willing to help one of Eichmann’s top aides was that Krumey, as an Obersturmbanhfuhrer in the Waffen-SS, had helped Kasztner facilitate the rescue of Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel and twenty-seven others from their hiding places in or around Bratislava in February of 1945, enabling them to reach a safer refuge in Switzerland.

According to a New York Times report, Krumey wept with self-pity and claimed he had only done “minor administrative tasks” when he was placed on trial alongside Eichmann’s legal expert Otto Hunsche. Krumey claimed he only knew Jews were being deported to labour camps, etc. In his defence, Krumey said he had only worked for Eichmann from March-to-June of 1944. He claimed he had passed the remainder of the war in Vienna, “where I did what I could to alleviate the lot of the Jews in nearby internment camps.” The 1965 prosecution of Krumey and Otto Hunsche for “collective murder in an unspecified multitude of cases” was dubbed the Krumey-Hunsche trial.  Sentenced to five years hard labour, Krumey was soon released because he had already spent so much time in custody. When his defence team appealed the conviction, a federal court examined the case and instead Krumey was re-sentenced to life imprisonment in August of 1969. Rudolf Vrba served as a prosecution witness.

Krumey died in 1981 shortly after being released from prison due to illness.

Vrba & Boger

Wilhem Boger was infamous for his crimes of murder by torture at Auschwitz while under the command of the camp’s Gestapo chief Maximilian Grabner. After eyewitness accounts of Boger’s methods of torture were presented in court, along with testimony from Rudolf Vrba, Boger was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in at least five individual cases, as well as collective murder in at least 109 cases and aiding in collective murder. He died on April 3, 1977, aged 70 in prison.

The Boger swing

The Boger swing

Known as the Tiger of Auschwitz, Wilhelm Boger invented the “Boger swing,” his own dreadful instrument of torture. When a former named Breiden saw a replica of the machine in the Frankfurt courtroom, he burst into tears and shouted at Boger, “Murderer!” As reported by Boger’s secretary, Frau Braun: “It was a meter-long iron bar suspended by chains hung from the ceiling … A prisoner would be brought in for “questioning,” stripped naked and bent over the bar, wrists manacled to ankles. A guard at one side would shove him—or her—off across the chamber in a long, slow arc, while Boger would ask “questions,” at first quietly, then barking them out, and at the last bellowing.

“At each return, another guard armed with a crowbar would smash the victim across the buttocks. As the swinging went on and on, and the wailing victim fainted, he pr she was revived only to faint howling again, the blows continued—until only a mass of bleeding pulp hung before their eyes. Most perished from the ordeal–some sooner, some later. In the end a sack of  bones and flayed flesh and fat was swept along the shambles of that concrete floor to be dragged away.” Another witness named Maryla Rosenthal had worked in adjoining room. “After an hour or more,” she recalled, “the victims would be carried out on a stretcher. They no longer looked human. I could not recognize them.” After torture, if they survived, many prisoners were taken into the yard outside Block 11 where there was a wall of black cork used for thousands of summary executions. Boger frequently liked to pull the trigger.

On November 30, 1964, at the District Court of Frankfurt am Main courthouse, Rudolf Vrba was formerly asked by Judge Hans Hofmeyer to comment on the behaviour and notorious practices of Deputy Chief Friedrich Wilhelm Boger. He replied:

Wilhelm Boger

Wilhelm Boger tortured prisoners in Block Eleven.

“Boger was a well-known figure in the camp. We all knew him. You could see him every day. He worked, if you can call it that, at Block 11 and was hanging around the camp on his bicycle during free time. So him, I knew quite well. What I knew about it, about Boger–Boger worked in Block 11. We knew that those who went into in Block 11, very seldom came out. I also knew about the prisoners who did get out and what Boger had done to them.

“So the name Boger in the concentration camp Auschwitz – there were already different individuals, but this was a very special character that stands out because of his brutality. Of course I had the man in view, also on the occasion of the preparation for escape. I had been preparing to escape for a long time and I often had to change the plans. And he was actually the enemy who was there to prevent the escapes. And the danger was, as we knew that often people on the spur of the moment went from the camp to Block 11, were brought in and tortured there to say if they know anything about an escape.

“And if there were 25 who didn’t know anything, it didn’t matter. The hearse drove away from Block 11 every evening, which was rarely empty. And those who survived, I knew about them, I had to be careful there and tell as few people as possible about the preparations for the escape. For there was always a possibility that one might fall into his hands by accident. And what happened next was impossible to know. Because the tortures that were used were like that, clever and even strong men sometimes collapsed, or very often collapsed and gave him certain information, sometimes completely incorrect information given just to stop the torment. So that was Boger’s reputation.”

When asked by the presiding judge if he had any direct conversation with the most renowned torturer in Auschwitz, Vrba replied, “Thank God, no.”

Vrba & Kuehnemann

Limited by geography, living far from Europe on the western edge of North America, Rudolf Vrba nonetheless remained well-connected to Holocaust experts, academics and otherwise, via correspondence. On occasion, he became a Nazi hunter in the manner of Simon Wiesenthal. For example, Vrba attended an opera performance in Essen, Germany (along with two fellow Auschwitz survivors from Toronto, Stanley Golvin and Dennis Urstein) in order to confirm that one of the soloists on stage was the former SS Unterscharführer officer Heinrich Johannes Kuehnemann (or Kühnemann). Vrba recognized the opera singer as the same man who had often supervised the arrivals of prisoners on the ramp while Vrba was forced to work in the special “cleaning commando” for the Kanada warehouse, between August of 1942 and March of 1943.

Legal proceedings to convict Kuehnemann were consequently convened by judge Dr. Batz at Seigen, 150 kilometres northwest of Frankfurt, during which the opera singer admitted to his previous role as the arrivals ramp supervisor but claimed he was only concerned with collecting luggage. Asked if he knew what happened to most of the arrivals after their luggage was taken, Kuehnemann said, “They went straight to the gas chambers.” To justify his innocence, however, Kuehnemann said, “I was responsible for picking out those who were not to go the gas chambers right away.”

Vrba and Wetzler had already assessed Kuehnemann’s role in mass murder in the Vrba-Wetzler Report: “He would mercilessly split families, sending some to quick death in the gas chambers and others to slow deaths in the quarries of Auschwitz.”

During the trial, Kuehnemann earned an ironic nickname – the “Angel of Auschwitz” – because he tried to convince the judge that he was kindly and innocent of wrongdoing – in fact, someone worthy of pity. “It was a difficult time,” he said. “I had to drink heavily to forget what I’d seen, and the extensive drinking has virtually destroyed my liver.”

Unfortunately for Kuehnemann, his SS underling Otto Graf had already identified him as the “Koenig, King of Kanada” years before. A prosecutor in Frankfurt had pondered taking action against Kuehnemann but had demurred. As the result of the Seigen trial, the chief prosecutor’s press spokesman, Jochen Schroers, had to explain why the prosecution office had somehow overlooked Kuehnemann even though Schroers admitted the prosecutors had heard rumours and that Kuehnemann’s past had been deemed “suspicious.”

It came to light that Kuehnemann and his SS underling Otto Graf had been arrested once before–during the war–by the Nazis. Each man had been sentenced to two years in jail for theft of jewels, including gold from teeth, but the pair were released by the Nazis after two weeks and returned to their jobs at Auschwitz.

Michel Mielnicki

Michel Mielnicki

Vrba’s efforts to bring Kuehnemann to trial were enhanced by the testimony of another Vancouverite, Michel Mielnicki, as outlined in his memoir, co-written with John Munro, Bialystock to Birkenau: The Holocaust Journey of Michael Meilnicki (Ronsdale 2000) wherein Mielnicki provides harrowing, first-hand accounts of Birkenau, Buna, Mittelbau-Dora and Bergen-Belsen.

Even though Vrba and Mielnicki lived close to one another, Mielnicki first learned that the ramp selection officer SS Unterscharfuehrer Heinrich-Johannes Kuehnemann had been identified by Vrba from a Simon Wiesenthal newsletter in 1989. Two years later, Mielnicki and his wife, June Frischer Mielnicki, also a Holocaust survivor, flew to Germany to corroborate evidence against Kuehnemann at a trial in Duisberg bolstered by Vrba’s initiative. Born in Wasilkow, a few kilometres from Bialystok in north-eastern Poland, in 1927, Mielnicki had been one of 1,500 Jews in a town of 5,000 people. Following the conquest of his area of Poland by Germany in 1941, he lived in the Bialystock Ghetto, then was sent onto the Pruzany Ghetto for fourteen months, before he was deported, at age 16, with his brother Aaron, his parents Esther and Chaim, and his sister Lenka, in a cattle car to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His mother died on the train and his father was beaten to death shortly after arriving at Auschwitz. Mielnicki witnessed both deaths.

At the concentration camp, Mielnicki’s sister was sent off with the other women. Aaron became ill and was sent to the so-called hospital. The siblings promised they would try to return to Bialystock if they were separated. Michel survived a death march, worked in the slave labour camp at Buna, then at Mittelbau-Dora in Germany and was finally liberated by the British Army from Bergen-Belsen in 1945. He had survived the death camps, he said, due to memories of his mother’s cooking that gave him “the saliva necessary to chew bread that was at least twenty-five percent sawdust.”

At the trial, Kuehnemann was identified by Mielnicki and other witnesses for his role in selecting inmates for the gas chambers. He was convicted after the defendant had argued unsuccessfully that he was unaware of any systematic process for murdering inmates at Auschwitz. Having been initially arrested in April of 1990 on charges of multiple murder, robbery and active participation in mass murder, Kuehnemann was finally put on trial by a German court at Duisburg, from 1991 to 1993—but drawn-out proceedings were suspended due to the poor health of the accused.

Kuehnemann was released from trial by the German court system and was never convicted.

Prior to reluctantly travelling to Germany. Mielnicki had worried that he might be murdered by “some old Nazi or some new neo-Nazi skinhead” if he testified in public, so the German prosecutor named Feld asked Mielnicki if there was any favour to be done in return. Mielnicki told this prosecutor he remained troubled because he never knew the fate of his brother Aaron during the Holocaust. About a year later, the German prosecutor called Mielnicki and told him he’d come across the contact information for a Ukrainian named Aleksei Mielnicki who had visited Auschwitz seeking documentation of his imprisonment there. Aleksei is not a Polish name and Mielnicki was unaware of other branches of his family beyond Poland, but as soon as Mielnicki made the phone call to Aleksei Mielnicki, he knew he had found his brother (who had simply adopted a different first name). Michel Mielnicki and his wife flew to Poland where he was re-united with his brother after a 50-year separation.

Vrba & Graf

Attempts to prosecute Nazis decades after the Holocaust were often unsuccessful. Such was the case when Vrba submitted written testimony for the prosecution of the aforementioned SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf. Rudolf Vrba’s activism had been fundamental for instigating the trial. He had formally sought the trial of Graf in a deposition written in London on March 5, 1963:

I have been prisoner No. 44070 in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau from the 29th of June, 1942, until the 7th of April, 1944. During this time I knew very well SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf from Vienna.

I worked in the so-called Aufraumungskomando (Kanada) from August 1942 until June 1943. This working group was in charge of SS Scharführer Wykleff; his adjutents were SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf and another SS-Unterscharführer called Hans, his surname I do not know.

All three were in charge of several hundred prisoners, whose job it was to open the luggage belonging to the victims brought to Auschwitz and to sort the contents of these luggages, to bundle them and to load them into wagons for despatch to various places in Germany. I was one of the prisoners forced to work on this task from August 1942 until June 1943. The luggage contained all kinds of foods, mainly men’s, women’s and childrens’ clothes, but also children’s prams, further money, jewels and other valuables of the victims, which we had to hand over to one of the three above named SS men. The sums involved were in terms of millions of dollars. During the time I worked in this group the luggage of about one million victims was handled.
All three above-mentioned SS men behaved with brutality to the prisoners under their command.

Prisoners who were found to use the food found in the luggage instead of handing it over to the SS men were brutally beaten with wooden clubs. In these beatings Otta Graf often actively participated. Also, those prisoners who did not work quickly enough were brutally beaten with wooden clubs by one of the three SS men, and sometimes by all three of them. The reason for slow work of the prisoners was often bad health, and many died after this treatment to be replaced with healthy ones. I myself have been beaten with wooden clubs by these men (particularly Wyckleff and Graf) and there are physical marks of this treatment on my body to this day.

In March 1943 one of the prisoners, a German Jew aged about 50 years being ill fell asleep in an unobserved corner and did not appear to the frequent counting of the prisoners, then the signal was given. Consequently, a search was made and soon the prisoner has been found sleeping. He was beaten by SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf and SS Scharführer Wykleff with wooden clubs until he could not get up to his feet. Later SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf disappeared for a discussion with SS Scharführer Wykleff and when he came back he announced that this prisoner, by sleeping during working hours, had committed a serious offence and would be executed.

The prisoner laying still on the earth begged Otto Graf to excuse him and tried to explain that he had committed the offence (i.e. sleeping during working hours) only due to his ill health. Thereupon SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf took his revolver and shot him dead. This murder appeared in a distance of less than 3 m [metres] from the place where I was standing and I can remember all details.

Later I have been designated to another working place and so was SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf. I have seen him several times to march on the head of the “Sonderkomando” to the crematorium and the gas chambers at occasions of arrival of transports of Jews. Therefore, there can be no doubt whatsoever, that SS-Unterscharführer Otto Graf actively participated in the gassing (Vergasung) of thousands of women, children and old folk deported to Auschwitz.

The last time I have seen Otto Graf on Wednesday, April 5th, 1944, two days before my escape from Auschwitz. It was about 2 p.m. when Otto Graf came out from the crematorium in Birkenau and here I met him on the Lagerstrasse in Birkenau. He has by this time not seen me for several months for recognized me immediately and was very jovial with me. He asked me if I had enough cigarettes, he could give me some Greek cigarettes. On this day a transport of Greek Jews from Saloniki was gassed and these brought with them great amounts of cigarettes.

I swear by God Almighty that all I have said is truth and only the truth.

Sgn,: Dr. Rudolf Vrba

Graf was consequently charged with a specific murder of a Jewish prisoner on the railway platform in the spring of 1943 and another specific murder of a Polish woman in the summer of 1944; as well as supplying Zyklon B to the gas chambers and placing it into the supposed Red Cross ambulance that was commonly used for the transport of the deadly compound for each “special transport” of human beings sent to the gas chambers.

Not arrested until 1971, Graf had been living openly in Vienna as a house painter. As outlined in his affidavit, Vrba had witnessed Graf commit murder in Auschwitz—but justice was denied. Faced with thirty criminal charges, Graf was found guilty on only one charge and that lone conviction exceeded the statute of limitations. Even though the jury affirmed that both defendants had committed manslaughter and both men had been accused of leading a countless number of victims to the gas chambers, the former Auschwitz sergeants Otto Graf and Franz Wunsch were acquitted in Vienna on June 27, 1972

Vrba & Fries

Jacob Fries

Jakob Fries, “one of the most brutal men ever spawned by Auschwitz.”

Arriving at the original Auschwitz “mother camp” at 9 p.m. on June 30, 1942, Rudolf Vrba was optimistic when he saw the signage atop the gate, in large brass lettering, Arbeit Macht Frei — Work Brings Freedom. He was strong. He was young. He could work.

According to Otto Friedrich, it was Rudolf Hoess, the former commandant of the “protective custody camp” at Sachsenhausen, who had devised that famous sign for Auschwitz. “He [Hoess] seems not to have intended it as a mockery,” Friedrich wrote in 1981, “nor even to have intended it literally — a false promise that those who worked to exhaustion would eventually be released — but rather as a kind of mystical declaration that self-sacrifice in the form of endless labour does in itself bring a kind of spiritual freedom.” Friedrich based his analysis on Hoess’ writing on the eve of his hanging when Hoess wrote, “All my life I have thoroughly enjoyed working. I have done plenty of hard work, physical work, under the severest conditions, in the coal mines, in oil refineries, and in brickyards… Work in prison [is] a means of training for those prisoners who are fundamentally unstable and who need to learn the meaning of endurance and perseverance.”

Vrba was also impressed by the statuesque SS men in their faultless, green uniforms. As the gates swung open, and a red-and-white pole was lifted as if they were crossing a border, he was not averse to marching forward, in rows of five, assuming Auschwitz would be preferable to the wooden shacks and squalor at Majdanek. As well, the original Auschwitz camp had trees and bushes. Vrba’s wooden shoes made an unfamiliar but welcome sound on the cement road. It wasn’t until he realized the camp was surrounded by a double row of high voltage, electrified fencing that he became apprehensive. Then he saw SS Oberscharführer Jakob Fries and he became fearful.

“Standing watching us was an SS Oberscharführer–roughly sergeant major–one of the tallest men I had ever seen, a craggy human mountain. well over six feet tall, resting both hands on a huge club that nearly reached his chin. It was not, however, merely the physical bulk of the man or his broad gangster’s face, his unblinking eyes or the detached indifference with which he watched us, which set him apart, those all these made an impact. It was the aura around him, an aura of evil, of death, something which told me instinctively that in that massive frame there was not one ounce of pity or decency or good. This time, my first impressions were accurate. Here was Jakob Fries, one of the most brutal men ever spawned by Auschwitz, mother of so many murderers. For me, in fact, Fries was Auschwitz and always will be.”

When the Kanada compound was transferred from the neat and organized, red-brick buildings of Auschwitz I to the more chaotic atmosphere of Auschwitz II (Birkenau , built atop soggy marshland, Vrba was also transferred on January 15, 1943. But the unforgiveably brutish character and actions of the avid smoker with a very low voice, Jacob Fries, would never be forgotten. SS Oberscharführer Max Schmidt said: “This man was a giant. We were all afraid of him.” And Schlupper said similarly: “When he was at the gate, everyone was afraid.”

Eventually, on January 30, 1952, at the Nuremberg-Fürth Regional Court, Fries would be sentenced to 14 years in prison for violent crimes committed against German political prisoners in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Only eight years later he was released early from prison on September, 29, 1960, on a conditional discharge, by Adenauer’s Ministry of Justice. He was re-arrested on June 12, 1961 for alleged crimes at Auschwitz, but was allowed to remain outside of prison bail, pending his trial. Bizarrely, the public prosecutor opted to drop the charges against Fries, widely considered one of the most notoriously evil Nazis in Auschwitz, because he had already served part of his sentence for lesser crimes committed at Sachsenhausen.

On July 16, 1964, Fries testified as a prosecution witness in the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial. He died in his hometown in Albertshofen on October 20, 1964.

How Jakob Fries Failed to Murder Rudolf Vrba

At the end of August in 1942, on a Wednesday – a day when Vrba and other slave labourers on the deadly Buna work details were anticipating a piece of salami with their rations – Rudolf Vrba managed to circumvent a death sentence from the notoriously brutal Jakob Fries.

Forced to stand in rows outside for most of the night, surrounded by kapos, blinking in the glare of a revolving searchlight, Vrba waited with thousands of others (“zebra stripes stretching as far as I could see in every direction”) as Jacob Fries oversaw his own bizarre, medical test to hastily determine which of the prisoners had contracted spotted typhus.

To divide the camp in two sections—those who he believed had typhus and those he believed had not—Fries demanded each prisoner must run for about twenty yards and then run back. Some whose bodies were obviously bloated were not even allowed undertake the test. Fries simply sent them directly to a growing group of prisoners on the left who were slated to be executed. In this way he intended to rid the camp of a severe outbreak of typhus.

I escaped from Auschwitz“At last it was my turn,” Vrba writes [in I Escaped From Auschwitz]. “Fries looked at my legs, which were slightly swollen, but not too bad. He barked, ‘Run!’

“Never in my life had I felt less like running. I had been up for twenty-four hours and slaving at Buna for eight of them. For another four hours, I had been either marching or suffocating in an overcrowded cattle truck, and I had eaten nothing since soup had been dished out in Buna at noon.

“Yet somehow, I knew that I was about to run for my life. I took a deep breath and went pounding, flat-footed, down this ghastly course, turned and pounded back to the hulking Overscharfuhrer with the huge club.

“He jerked his thumb to the left, where about forty others had already taken their places of those who had been marched away. I was panting, and I was frightened, though I did not know why.

“Another man was running now. It was Josef. He stumbled twice, nearly fell, and Fries sent him to join our group, and as he walked, still panting, to my side, I suddenly noticed that all the others around us were trembling, not from cold, but from fever. From spotted typhus.

“Quickly, I told him what I had seen. He thought for a moment and said, ‘Christ, it must be some sort of test. That’s why he was looking at our legs—because it always shows there first. That’s why he made us run. He wanted to see if they worked!’

“We had not been able to run properly because we were starved and exhausted, but Jakob Fries had diagnosed spotted typhus. With the flick of his thumb, he had sentenced us both to death—and thousands of others, too.

“We looked at the other group, the group with clean bills of health. It was about twenty yards away, but there were enough kapos around to stop us from getting a quarter of the way if we made a break for it, and all the time, our group was growing.

“‘Listen, Josef,’ I whispered. ‘There are about eighty here now. When they’ve collected a hundred, they’ll march us off. We’ve got to get away, even if they shoot us.’

“‘Wait a while,’ he said. ‘We may get a chance to sneak away yet. Wait till we’re just about to go.’

“Reluctantly, I took his advice, for I was too exhausted to argue, and I am happy to say that I lived to acknowledge that he was right. I lived, in fact, because he was right.

“Suddenly, a kapo appeared out of the gloom, a man Josef knew well. He stared at us for a moment, then hit the pair of us a couple of hard whacks over the shoulders.

“‘You bloody bastards!’ he roared. “What the hell are you doing here! Don’t you know you are supposed to be with that bunch over there? Can’t you obey even the simplest order?’ He pitched us out of the trembling crowd and, cursing loudly, drove us to the other group. Only when we had lost ourselves among a hundred others did he stop abusing us.

“Then he whispered, ‘You’re lucky, boys. Another few minutes, and you’d have been on your way to the ovens. Look over there.’

“We turned just in time to see the typhus victims we had just left, slouching away to the crematorium.”

[Reprinted by permission of R. Vrba. The editors of I Escaped from Auschwitz added a footnote that Vrba was offered a job as an industrial chemist in the remains of the Buna complex post-war and he declined; subsequently in 1961 he participated in a semi-successful class action lawsuit on behalf of former Buna slave labourers, suing I.G. Farben for back wages. Although the West German Court and I.G. Farben refused the lawsuit’s demand to pay compensation to the relatives and dependents of the approximately 90% of Buna labourers who died or were murdered while erecting the gigantic industrial site, Vrba and other survivors eventually received 2,500 marks each.

 

Vrba & Koenig

Ernst-August Konig, gypsy killer

Ernst-August Koenig, “Angel of Auschwitz”

Rudolf Vrba first raised the matter of Ernst-August Koenig’s complicity in genocide with prosecutors during the Frankfurt trial of a man who had a very similar name – Hans Koenig. During that trial, other Auschwitz survivors confirmed Hans Koenig had indeed “killed untold numbers of Gypsies but he wasn’t the more infamous “Kanada Koenig of the SS” – Ernst-August Koenig.

Ernst-August Koenig, 71, a retired forester, was subsequently put on trial for 44 months in Siegen, Germany, a town east of Bonn, where he was finally found guilty of killing three Roma (“gypsies”) with his own hands, including one woman who he bludgeoned to death with a club, and also of aiding in the gassing of some 3,258 Roma after some 160 witnesses had given testimony. This was the first trial to sentence a Nazi explicitly for killing Roma. A quarter of a million Roma or Gypsies were murdered during the Holocaust but previous trials against Nazis accused of killing Roma, conducted in the 1950s, had been abandoned for various reasons. The judge in this trial, Dirk Batz, responded to allegations against Ernst-August Koenig made by the German Sinti and Romany Council representing two ethnic groups of Roma in Germany, dismissing claims from defense attorneys that it was too late to prosecute Koenig for the gassing Gypsies and Jews between 1943 and 1944.

Three Canadian Holocaust survivors, including Vrba, had been summoned as witnesses and confirmed Koenig had “killed untold numbers of Gypsies.”

Ernst Koenig (or König) was an SS-Unterscharführer transferred from KL Sachsenhausen to KL Auschwitz I in mid-June of 1942. From late May of 1943 he was in KL Auschwitz II – Birkenaun. Ernst-August Koenig was consequently sentenced to life imprisonment in January of 1991 and imprisoned in Bochum, West Germany, between Essen and Dortmund. He hanged himself in his jail cell on September 19, 1991.

Claiming he never hurt anyone, Ernst-August Koenig had referred to himself as an “angel of Auschwitz” during the trial. One of the prosecution witnesses was none other than the aforementioned opera singer from Essen, Heinrich Johannes Kuehnemann, who falsely informed the court that he had simply served as a mere guard at Auschwitz and therefore had nothing to do with murders. Even after the judge had forewarned him that it would not be necessary to testify, Kuehnemann had brazenly taken the stand. The supremely confident Kuehnemann had not counted on the fact that Rudolf Vrba would be present in the courtroom to recognize him.

Vrba & Mengele

Josef Mengele

Dr. Josef Mengele

Rudolf Vrba and Josef Mengele never spoke but Vrba observed Mengele at close range at the arrivals ramp at Auschwitz for hundreds of hours. As one of the most demonic personalities at Auschwitz, SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Mengele became arguably the most notorious member of the SS in World War II.

The SS took its abbreviated name from a small unit that was first established in 1923 to protect Adolf Hitler–a security detail or organization called Die Schutzstaffeln der NSDAP, roughly translated as Protection Eschelon. Expanded into various “security” branches in 1925, it coalesced into the Schutzstaffel – SS. Its driving force, Heinrich Himmler, was appointed commander (Reichsführer) in 1929 after he had convinced Adolf Hitler that Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung – SA) were too undisciplined. Ten years later, Himmler called the shots for 50,000 followers.

After the SS chiefly orchestrated the “Night of the Long Knives,” they became integral for the creation of a network of concentration camps for alleged political prisoners and Jews, functioning in tandem with the oppressive judicial and penitentiary systems. Increasingly important for intimidation, the SS evolved three primary formations: sentry units (SS-Totenkopfverbände or “Death’s Head Battalions” for the concentration camps), dispositional troops (“armed SS” or Waffen-SS for military purposes) and the general SS (Allgemeine-SS) as reserves for the SS-Totenkopf and Waffen-SS. Injured Waffen-SS, declared unfit for service, were often transferred to concentration camps to control and intimidate prisoners. Hence, Mengele had arrived as a medical doctor at Auschwitz in May 1943, at his own request, having been wounded once at the front with the 5th SS Panzer Division Totenkopf. Mengele had first served as a medical officer for a Nazi paramilitary force in Russia. Heinrich Himmler spotted him and selected him to contribute to his Research Institute formally affiliated with the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology in Berlin.

Rudolf Vrba often observed Dr. Joseph Mengele on the arrivals ramp at Auschwitz, deciding who would live and who would die. In I Escaped from Auschwitz, he describes an occasion when even the SS were horrified by Mengele’s actions. In January of 1943 a train transport arrived in daylight carrying hundreds of inmates from Dutch Jewish mental hospitals. Nearly half of the transport was dead or dying, more than Vrba had ever seen. “What appalled me,” he recalled, “was the state of the living. Some were drooling, imbecilic, live people with dead minds.” The stench of disintegrating flesh was such that the SS whipped and clubbed the ramp crew in order to more easily expedite the unloading. “Moving among the insane was a contingent of uniformed nurses, mostly young girls, who had accompanied them. During the chaos, they continued ministering to their patients. Disgusted by the horrific overflow of insanity, the SS became frantic, for here was something they could not understand. Something that knew no order, no discipline, no obedience, No Fear of violence or death.” Amid the chaos the young nurses maintained their angelic poise as the cargo was transferred from the train into waiting lorries. Their heroism was beautiful, deeply unselfish, and even disturbing to the Nazis.

Vrba recalled:

The SS men were watching them, too, with the respect they seldom showed for anyone. I heard one say, “Don’t say Mengele’s going to send those kids off in the lorries. If he does that, he’s as crazy as any of those bloody sods.”

Another muttered, “You’re right. God knows we could use some decent medical help around here.”

“Now my eyes were on Mengele, chief doctor of Auschwitz, a man who until now has escaped justice. He was standing with some SS officers who seemed to be arguing with him. I saw him shake his head vigorously and hold both his hands up to end all further discussion. One of the SS officers shrugged and shouted, get the girls aboard it seems they’ve got to go too.”

The nurses climbed up after their patients. The lorry engines roared and off they swayed to the gas chambers. For once there had been no selection. For once it had not been necessary.

Only Vrba’s wife, Robin Vrba, could know whether her husband ever dreamed about Mengele decades later. Asked if he ever spoke of Mengele, she did not comment. Regardless, Mengele with his white gloves, telling countless thousands of bewildered Jews whether they must continue to the left or the right, was an unforgettable character. Mengele has been consistently demonized as a freakish medical monster, but in his book, Mengele: Unmasking the Angel of Death (W.W. Norton 2020), David G. Marwell makes a possibly more disturbing characterization. Marwell advises that the notion of Mengele as unhinged, driven by demons and indulging grotesque and sadistic impulses, should be replaced by something even more unsettling. Mengele was, in fact, in the scientific vanguard, enjoying the confidence and mentorship of the leaders in his field. The science he pursued in Auschwitz, to the extent that we can reconstruct it, was not anomalous but rather consistent with research carried out by others in what was considered to be the scientific establishment.

Raised as a Catholic in Bavaria, Joseph Mengele (1911-1979) was an unexceptional student in Bonn and Vienna. In 1933 he worked in Munich under the Scottish German anthropologist Theodor Mollison. Leading to a research job with the newly founded Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in 1934. Concerned with discovering methods to increase fertility to enhance the German race, he was chiefly concerned with conducting often gruesome experiments on twins. Hence, Mengele was often seen segregating the arrivals of Jews on the ramp, deciding who lived or who died, keeping a keen eye for the arrival of any twins.

Although he was not averse to plucking the eyes out of corpses to study eye pigmentation and injecting inmates with chemicals and other substances, ranging from petrol to chloroform, merely to gauge the bodies adverse responses, Mengele was unfortunately more sane than most people want to believe. He famously evaded capture. After four years in Bavaria as a farm stableman, Mengele sailed from Genoa to Argentina in July of 1949, remaining near Buenos Aires. He fled to Paraguay in 1959, then on to Brazil in 1960. Extradition camp attempts failed. He died of a stroke while swimming on the Brazilian coast in 1979 and was buried under a false name. He had adopted the identity of another former Nazi named Wolfgang Gerhardt. Disinterred as a corpse, dental records confirmed Mengele was dead. Gregory Peck famously portrayed him in the film Boys from Brazil.

Vrba & Wiegleb

Rudolf Vrba’s descriptions of his encounters with SS Sturmführer Richard Wiegleb (aka Wikleff), who was in charge of the first Kanada warehouse at Auschwitz, might be the most extensive descriptions of Wiegleb’s actions and character in print. In the Vrba-Wetzler Report, Vrba cites SS Sturmfuehrer Wiegleb thus:

“SS Sturmfuehrer Wikleff, commander of this detachment, was a brute who often beat the girls. These girls came daily from Birkenau to work. They told us unbelievable stories about conditions prevailing there. They were beaten and tortured. Mortality was higher among them than it was among men. “Selections” were made twice weekly, and there were new girls daily to replace those who had been “selected” or had died in some other way.

“On my first night shift I had occasion to see how transports coming to Auschwitz were treated. A transport consisting of Polish Jews arrived. They had traveled without water and about a hundred were dead on their arrival. When the doors of the cars were opened, the Jews, completely weakened by the long journey and privations, were driven out wailing. Quick beating by SS men sped up the unloading. Then the unfortunates were lined up in rows of five.

“Our task was to remove the corpses, those half dead, and parcels from the railroad cars. We placed the bodies at a collecting point. All those unable to stand on their feet were declared dead. Parcels were thrown into one stack. The cars had to be thoroughly cleaned so that no trace of the transport remained. A commission of the political division then selected ten percent of the men and five percent of the women, who were assigned to camp. The remainder was loaded on trucks and taken to the birchwood, where they were gassed. Corpses and those half dead were also loaded on trucks. These were burned in the birchwood without being gassed first. Small children were often thrown on the truck with the corpses.”

There is no record of when or how Wiegleb died.

Vrba & Klehr

Josef Klehr

Josef Klehr in court

Rudolf Vrba also provided testimony to help convict SS-Oberscharführer Josef Klehr,  (1904–1988), a supervisor in several Nazi concentration camps and head of the SS disinfection commando at Auschwitz concentration camp. “He was a medical corporal,” Vrba told the court. “He worked in the medical department. And I knew he did the ‘injections.’ That means I have a lot of friends like that who died because they went into the infirmary in the morning and looked quite well, so they were quite healthy, and in the evening I knew that they had gone to the morgue. And I knew the injections  were given by Klehr.”

In 1965, Klehr was originally convicted for murder in at least 475 cases, as well as assistance in joint murder for at least 2730 cases. He was sentenced him to life imprisonment with an additional 15 years. To optimize the speed of murder, he favoured phenol injections in the heart. The Polish war hero Witold Pilecki also helped to convict him. “Klehr used to murder with his needle with great zeal, mad eyes and sadistic smile,” Pilecki stated. “He put a stroke on the wall after the killing of each victim. In my times, he brought the list of those killed by him up to the number fourteen thousand and he boasted every day with great delight, like a hunter who told of the trophies of the chase.”

On January 25, 1988, Klehr’s sentence was suspended due to unfitness for custody. On June 10, he was ordered to serve the remainder on probation. After seven months of freedom, he died at age 83.

Vrba & Bednarek

Emil Bednarek, Kapo

Emil Bednarek, Kapo

Rudolf Vrba confirmed for the courts that Emil Bednarek was a Block Senior in the punishment command, although the two men only came into contact a few times. Although not a Nazi, Bednarek was an infamous kapo who was reviled for severely beating inmates in his block, often for slight transgressions. Some died as a direct result. In 1960, two Polish Auschwitz survivors who, after being interrogated by the Frankfurt public prosecutor were on their way back to Poland, recognized Emil Bednarek at the Schirnding border station. In November of 1960, the duly informed Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office re-issued a previously issued arrest warrant. In the first Auschwitz trial, which began on December 20, 1963 in Frankfurt am Main, Bednarek was sentenced to life imprisonment in August 1965 for 14 counts of murder and deprivation of civil rights for life. During the trial, Bednarek was incriminated by many witnesses but he was released from custody, in Butzbach, in 1975, after an appeal for clemency was granted. Some Polish Auschwitz survivors supported the petition for clemency, pointing out that Bednarek had not objected to their silent, secret prayers.

Also Infamous from Auschwitz

ROBERT MULKA

Robert Malka

In March 1943, Mulka was promoted to adjutant to Auschwitz commandant Rudol Höß and deputy camp director.

Robert Mulka volunteered for the SS in 1941 after the Wehrmacht had refused to accept him as an officer because of a criminal record. In March 1943, he was promoted as an adjutant to Auschwitz commandant Rudol Höß and deputy camp director. Known as the Eichmann of Auschwitz, Mulka was sentenced to 14 years hard labour for complicity in the murder of 750 persons each on at least four separate occasions. There was some outrage when he was released early on January 14, 1966 due to illness. It was thought he should have been sent to the prison hospital, not released outright.

This link says he was responsible for the deaths of “several hundred thousand.”

HANS KOENIG or König

Hans Koenig

Hans Koenig, 94, sitting in the sun in the twilight of his life, before his trial. Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail.

Known as “a bruiser” because he liked hurting people, Hans Wilhelm Koenig or König (1912–c. 1991), a former steamship doctor, was a German Schutzstaffel Obersturmführer and a Lagerarzt (camp doctor) at the Auschwitz and Neuengamme concentration camps.

He married a Swedish woman named Dagmar Kalling in Oslo in 1938, the same year he completed a nine-month internship as a medical assistant at the University of Göttingen, in Germany. He became an assistant doctor in Hoxter, moved to Godelheim in 1941 and completed a doctorate from the University of Göttingen in 1943, having joined the Nazi Party and the Waffen-SS with the onset of war. He was not assigned to Auschwitz until 1944. He first worked at the so-called hospital at Auschwitz I, conducting electro-shock experiments in the name of therapy, until he was transferred to Birkenau to work alongside Mengele, observing Mengele’s experiments on twins. He selected prisoners for the gas chambers, conducted drug experiments on prisoners for I.G. Farben and Bayer and tested electro-shocks on female prisoners.

Under the pseudonym Ernest Peltz, Koenig  continued to practice medicine after the war until he was forced into hiding. He was never captured or prosecuted, according to Wikipedia. But according to the Daily Mail, Koenig was apprehended at age 94 in 2014. The Daily Mail reports he was arrested simultaneously with two other Nazis, aged 88 and 92, in the wake of the German trial of John Demjanjuk in 2011, during which it was determined that eyewitness accounts were not required to prosecute those who were known to have worked at a concentration camp. Demjanjuk was found guilty as an accessory to murder. The case against König seemingly was never prosecuted due to his advanced age and waning health. Whether he died in 1991, or more than twenty years later, he evidently never answered for his crimes.

*

“The ugliest murder in the history of crime cannot surpass the atrocities of National Socialism. What happened 47 years ago in Auschwitz puts everything else in the shadow and is beyond any human comprehension” — closing statement, Hans-Joachim Roseler, prosecutor general of the Cologne Office for the Prosecution of Nazi Crimes

*

LETTERS BETWEEN SIMON WIESENTHAL AND DR. ROBERT KRELL re: RUDOLF VRBA

A clickable selection of letters

May 4th 1989 from Robert Krell to Beate Klarsfeld re: Unterscharfuhrer Koenig on trial.

Telephone:  228-7299

ROBERT KRELL, M.D., F.R.C.P C Diplomat, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Health Sciences Center Hospital,
Dept. of Psychiatry, Univ. of British Columbia
May 4, 1989

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

Mrs. Beate Klarsfeld

Re:  Unterscharfuhrer Koenig

Dear Mrs. Klarsfeld,

In a conversation with Dr. Rudolf Vrba on May 4, 1989 I was informed that Koenig is on trial for the murder of Gypsies in Auschwitz.

Dr. Vrba escaped from Auschwitz and was one author of the Vrba-Wetzler report.  He testified in Toronto on April 14, 1989 on behalf of Gypsies represented by two lawyers. He was never inside the Gypsy camp but witnessed the murder of Jews by the SS man Koenig, as attested in the enclosed letter dated April 27, 1989.

I turn to you in the hope that you will publicize the Koenig situation and hire German lawyers (perhaps with the assistance of the World Jewish Congress) to try Koenig for the murder of Jews as well.

You may contact Dr. Vrba personally at home any day before 9:00 a.m. at 224-0392 or at work later in the day at 228-3852.

I copy this letter to Mr. Edgar Bronfman so that he is aware of the urgency of this matter and so that his organization, World Jewish Congress, will assist you where required.

Dr. Vrba makes it clear that Koenig is a very high-ranking and important murderer, that there remain witnesses (including himself), two in Toronto, and others to be contacted by Mrs. Lilli Kopecky in Israel.

Yours respectfully,

Robert Krell, M.D.

Cc:  Mr. Edgar Bronfman, President

World Jewish Congress

 

From Simon Wiesenthal to Robert Krell, June 19, 1989 regarding August Konig

DOKUMENTATIONSZENTRUM DES BUNDES
JODISCHER VERFOLGTER DES NAZI REGIMES

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A-1010 WIEN, SALZTORGASSE 6/IV/5 – TELEFON 639131, 639805
FAX; 5350397                                                BANKVERSINDUNG:
CREDITANSTALT BANKVEREIN WIEN
KONTO NR. 47-32608

CONFIDENTIAL

Dr. Robert Krell
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada
FAX:  (001604)266-7115)

WIEN, June 19, 1989

August Konig

Dear Dr. Krell:

Re:  The case of August Koenig, would you please inform Dr. Vrba that Konig’s defense lawyer asked the court to call up 8 survivors as witnesses.  Their names are:

  1. Gerschon Sommer, 79850 Moschaw Newe Miftach 51, Israel
  2. Meir Sommer, Kikar Weizmann, 11, 58324 Holon, Israel
  3. Henry Gage, 1824-28th Ave., San Francisco, USA
  4. David Zimmermann, 944 North Hayworth Ave. #2, Los Angeles, USA
  5. Simon Seidmann, 4735 Byron Rd., Baltimore, MD, USA
  6. Simon Celnik, 15323 78th Ave., Flushing, NY, USA
  7. Alexander Slade, 2 Montrose Court, Toorak, Victoria, 3142, Australia
  8. Pasach Nitemberg, Ruedingstr. 29, Tel Aviv, Israel

In addition, he asked for two SS-men to be called up, too:  Ewald Pandegrau, Am Alsbach 18, 4060 Viersen, West Germany.  Albert Zizmann, Marienstr. 31, Denkingen Kr. Tuttlingen, West Germany

The question to be put to them is whether they knew that Konig was in the Jaworschno/Neu Dachs camp from spring 1943 on until the end of April, 1944, without any interruptions (he supposedly did not leave the camp in that time).  Konig testified that he came to Auschwitz/the gypsy camp in May 1944.

These are the latest developments in the Konig case.

Sincerely yours,

Simon Wiesenthal

 

Memorandum

Here follows a link to a superb, one-hour, b&w documentary, Memorandum, made by the Canadian filmmaker Donald Britain in 1965. In it, just before the halfway-mark, there is rare footage of three aforementioned Nazis — Boger, Klehr and Bednarak — as they reluctantly enter the rear of the Frankfurt courthouse in which Rudolf Vrba provided evidence against them.

Here is a National Film Board of Canada Film about the case of several of the Auschwitz guards. Also, in this film, Bernard Laufer, a glass cutter from Toronto, who survived 11 concentration camps including both Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen (where he was liberated), is accompanied by his son, Joe, for a brief and mostly reluctant return to Bergen-Belsen.

A few timeline notations for hasty viewing:

17:15 William Boger is cited for beating men’s testicles until they died.
22:00 Nazi war criminals arrive to court, shunning cameras.
22:50 Klehr appears.
22:53 Bednarek appears “who interrupted torture for prayer.”
22:59 Boger appears.
23:39 Discussion of Boger.
25:10 A former prisoner recalls his job of sprinking crematoria ashes onto icy roads as a boy.
30:00 Simon Weisenthal is interviewed in an outdoor cafe.
31.24 Wiesenthal says he knows three Ukrainian Nazis are in Saskatchewan.
40:44 We are introduced to Josef Rosensaft from New York, who claimed to have escaped from Auschwitz three times–but, in fact, escaped from custody only once within the Auschwitz complex system via one of its more than 40 sub-camps. There were 40 Auschwitz sub-camps, housing between 100 to 3,500 prisoners. Rosensaft was first deported to Auschwitz in 1943 but escaped from the transport via a regular passenger train, not a cattle car, by jumping into the Vistula River. When he was liberated from Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945, he weighed 76 lbs.
55:20 Birkenau footage

Eichmann at Trial

Eichmann at trial

A LIST OF NAZIS AT AUSCHWITZ

Commandants
1.SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch (Killed in Action)
2.SS Obersturmbannführer Fritz Hartjenstein (1944, when Vrba and Wetzler escaped. Died in jail, waiting for execution in France.)
3.SS Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Höss (Executed by the Poles)
4.SS Obersturmführer Arthur Liebehenschel (Executed by the Poles)

SS & Civilian Doctors
Dr Carl Clauberg (Died in a West German Prison)
Dr Arnold Dohmen (Died June 3, 1980 in Lage)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Friedrich – Karl Entress (Executed by the Allies)
Dr Kurt Gutzeit (Died October 28, 1957 in Bad Wildungen
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Willy Jobst (Executed by the Allies)
SS Obersturmführer Dr Bruno Kitt (Executed by the Allies)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Fritz Klein (Executed by the Allies)
SS Untersturmführer Dr Hans – Wilhelm König (Presumed dead in 1991)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Eduard Krebsbach (Executed by the Allies)
SS Untersturmführer Dr Johannes Kremer (Life Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Dr Franz Lucas (3yrs Imprisonment)
Female SS Oberaufseherin Dr Maria Mandel (Executed by the Poles)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Josef Mengele (Escaped Abroad – Died in a swimming accident)
SS Obersturmführer Dr Hans Munch (Acquitted)
SS Obersturmführer Dr Werner Rohde (Executed by the Allies)
SS Sturmbannführer Dr Horst Schumann (Escaped Abroad)
SS Obersturmführer Dr Horst Thilo (Committed Suicide)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Alfred Trzebinski (Executed by the Allies)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Helmuth Vetter (Executed by the Allies)
SS Hauptsturmführer Dr Eduard Wirths (Committed Suicide in Prison)
Dr Helmut Wirths (Fate Unknown)

Guards
SS Hauptsturmführer Benno Adolf (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Unterscharführer Bruno Hugo Albrecht (7yrs Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Hans Aumeier (Executed by the Allies)
SS Hauptsturmführer Richard Baer (Escaped Abroad – Died in Prison)
SS Rottenführer Karl Bainski (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Karl Bara (3yrs Imprisonment)
SS Rottenführer Stefan Baretzki (Life & 8yrs Imprisonment)
SS Sturmmann Josef Baumstark (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterstumführer Emil Bednarek (Life Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Otto Blaschke (Fate Unknown)
SS Rottenführer Richard Böck (Acquitted)
SS Obersturmführer Franz Bodmann (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Hauptscharführer Wilhelm Boger (Life & 15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Scharführer August Bogusch (Executed by the Poles)
SS Unterscharführer Georg Bonigut (Fate Unknown)
Female SS Aufseherin Juana Bormann (Executed by the Allies)
SS Oberscharführer Hans Bott (5yrs Imprisonment)
Female SS Aufseherinen Therese Brandl (Executed by the Poles)
SS Unterscharführer Arthur Breitwieser (Life Imprisonment)
SS Rottenführer Pery Broad (4yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Karl Reinhard Broch (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Anton Brose (Fate Unknown)
SS Hauptscharführer Hermann Balthasar Buch (Died July 10, 1959 in Kronberg im Taunus)
SS Sturmmann Alexander Bulow (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Fritz Buntrock (Executed by the Poles)
SS Obersturmbahnführer Wilhelm Burger (5yrs & 8yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptscharführer Viktor Capesius (9yrs Imprisonment)
SS Sturmscharführer Lorenz Carstensen (Died in Prison)
Female SS Aufseherin Luise Danz (Life Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Hans Delmotte (Committed Suicide)
SS Hauptsturmführer Oskar Dienstbach (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Sturmmann Erich Dinges (5yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Andreas – Hans Draser (Fate Unknown)
Female SS Aufseherin Margot Dreschler (Executed by hanging, May/June 1945)
SS Oberscharführer Klaus Dylewski (5yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Josef Dziersan (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Josef Eckhardt (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Gerhard Effinger (Fate Unknown)
SS Scharführer Karl Egersdorf (Acquitted)
Female SS Aufseherin Herta Ehlert (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Oberscharführer Wilhelm Emmerich (WIA – Died in Hospital)
SS Hauptsturmführer Horst Paul Fischer (Died November 1, 1992 in Graz)
SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Josef Fischer (Fate Unknown)
SS Sturmmann Willi Florschütz (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Gustav Frank (Fate Unknown)
SS Hauptscharführer Willi Frank (7yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptscharführer Jakob Fries (Died October 20, 1974 in Albertshofen)
SS Hauptscharführer Wilhelm Gehring (Executed by the Poles)
SS Obersturmführer Gerhard Gerber (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Emanuel Glumbik (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Herbert Göbbert (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Johann Gorges (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Rottenführer Paul Gotze (Executed by the Poles)
Female SS Aufseherinen Irma Grese (Executed by the Allies)
SS Untersturmführer Maximilian Grabner (Executed by the Poles)
SS Rottenführer Ladislaw Gura (Acquitted)
SS Unterstumführer Ferdinand Hammer (Escaped Abroad)
SS Rottenführer Emil Hantl (3 ½yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptscharführer Friedrich Harder (Died February 3, 1944 in Auschwitz)
SS Obersturmbahnführer Fritz Hartjenstein (Died of a heart attack while awaiting execution)
SS Hauptsturmführer Erwin von Helmersen (Executed by the Poles)
SS Hauptsturmführer Erwin Heschl (Fate Unknown)
SS Rottenführer Karl Höcker (7yrs Imprisonment)
SS Oberscharführer Franz Johann Hoffmann (Life Imprisonment)
SS Rottenführer Hans Hofmann (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Horstmann (Died September 5, 1945 in Suderhastedt)
SS Obersturmführer Franz Hössler (Executed by the Allies)
SS Oberscharführer Josef Houstek (Life Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Wilhelm Hoyer (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Karl Jeschke (3yrs Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Heinrich Josten (Executed by the Poles)
SS Hauptsturmführer Julius Jung (KIA by Russians)
SS Unterscharführer Oswald Kaduk (25yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Johann Kamphus (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Hans – Walter Kapper (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Unterscharführer Edward Kelm (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Hermann Kirschner (Executed by the Poles)
SS Sturmscharführer Josef Klehr (Life & 15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Oberscharführer Kurt Knittel (Died January 27, 1988 in Karlsruhe)
SS Unterscharführer Hans Koch (Life Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Josef Kollmer (Executed by the Poles)
SS Unterscharführer Ernst König (Life Imprisonment)
SS Hauptsturmführer Josef Kramer (Executed by the Allies)
SS Obersturmführer Theodor Kratzer (Died 1997)
SS Sturmbannführer Franz Kraus (Executed by the Poles)
SS Hauptscharführer Eduard Kreibisch (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Bernhard Kristan (Fate Unknown)
SS Sturmbannführer Adolf Krömer (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Hauptsturmführer Georg Kudriawtzow (Fate Unknown)
SS Rottenführer Romuald Kunzelmann (Fate Unknown)
SS Untersturmführer Alois Kurz (Fate Unknown)
Female SS Aufseherin Hildegard Lachert (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Gerhard Lachmann (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Franz Laister (Fate Unknown)
Female SS Aufseherin Johanna Langefeldt (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Otto Latsch (Executed by the Poles)
SS Rottenführer Anton Lechner (Life Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Eduard Lorenz (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Oberscharführer Herbert Ludwig (Executed by the Poles)
SS Untersturmführer Georg Franz Mayer (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Adolf Medefind (Life Imprisonment)
SS Obersturmführer Max Meyr (Fate Unknown)
SS Obersturmbannführer Karl Mockel (Executed by the Poles)
SS Unterscharführer Otto Möll (Executed by the Allies)
SS Oberscharführer Erich Mühsfeldt (Executed by the Poles)
SS Hauptsturmführer Robert Mulka (14yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Kurt Müller (Executed by the Poles)
SS Hauptscharführer Detlef Nebbe (Life Imprisonment)
SS Oberscharführer Heinrich Oppelt (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Walter Otto (Acquitted)
SS Hauptscharführer Gerhard Palitzsch (Died near Budapest)
SS Obersturmführer Bruno Pfuetze (Died June 18, 1945 in Oslo)
SS Unterscharführer Hans Pichler (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Ludwig Plagge (Executed by the Poles)
SS Sturmbannführer Max Popiersch (Died of Typhus)
SS Hauptsturmführer Elimar Lüder Precht (Fate Unknown)
SS Rottenführer Heinrich Pyschny (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Walter Konrad Quakernack (Executed by the Poles)
SS Unterscharführer Karl Reichenbacher (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Franz Romeikat (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Rottenführer Johann Roth (Fate Unknown)
SS Hauptsturmführer Erich Sautter (Died October 7, 1991 in Reutlingen)
SS Hauptscharführer Willi – Rudolf Sawatzki (Acquitted)
SS Rottenführer Willi Schatz (Acquitted)
SS Oberscharführer Herbert Scherpe (4 ½yrs Imprisonment)
SS Oberscharführer Bruno Schlange (6yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptsturmführer Friedrich Schlüter (4 & ½yrs Imprisonment)
SS Untersturmführer Karl Schmidt (Died July 20, 1980 in Bad Bruckenau)
SS Unterscharführer Johann Schobert (Acquitted)
SS Unterscharführer Heinrich Schoppe (Fate Unknown)
SS Obersturmführer Vincenz Schöttl (Executed by the Allies)
SS Unterscharführer Richard Schröder (10yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Schulte (Acquitted at Chelmo trial)
SS Unterscharführer Heinz – Arthur Willi – Schulz (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Hans Schumacher (Executed by the Poles)
SS Untersturmführer Hans Schurz (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Schwarz (Executed by the French)
SS Obersturmführer Johann Schwarzhüber (Executed by the Allies)
SS Hauptsturmführer Siegfried Schwela (Died of Typhus)
SS Hauptsturmführer Fritz Seidler (KIA by Russians)
SS Unterscharführer Robert Seitz (Died September 17, 1977 in Karlsruhe)
SS Obersturmführer Max Sell (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Hauptscharführer Karl Seufert (Life Imprisonment)
SS Schütze Emil Simczek (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Willi Stark (10yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Karl – Fritz Steinberg (Died November 4, 1950 in Waldheim)
SS Unterscharführer Friedrich Stiewitz (Died – Not Prosecuted)
SS Unterscharführer Paul Szczurek (Executed by the Poles)
SS Unterscharführer Adolf Taube (Fate Unknown)
SS Sturmbannführer Karl Heinz – Joachim Tauber (4yrs Imprisonment)
SS Unterscharführer Adolf Theuer (Executed by the Czechs)
SS Sturmbannführer Kurt Erich – Willy Uhlenbroock (Not Prosecuted)
SS Sturmmann Rudolf Viehweger (Fate Unknown)
Female SS Oberaufseherinen Elisabeth Völkenrath (Executed by the Allies)
SS Oberscharführer Peter Voss (Died in 1976)
SS Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Wagner (KIA by Russians)
SS Hauptscharführer Bernhard Walter (Fate Unknown)
SS Sturmmann Johannes Weber (15yrs Imprisonment)
SS Hauptscharführer Peter Weingartner (Executed by the Allies)
SS Unterscharführer Gottfried Weise (Life Imprisonment)
SS Scharführer Richard Wiegleb (Fate Unknown)
SS Oberscharführer Josef – Alois Wietschök (Fate Unknown)
SS Untersturmführer Karl Wotke (Died August 23, 1969 in Rhodesia)
SS Untersturmführer Herbert Wuttke (Fate Unknown)
SS Rottenführer Paul Zielke (Fate Unknown)

Wachmann
SS Wachmann Vassily Pankov (Possibly Killed by the Russians)
SS Wachmann Ivan Scharujew (Fate Unknown)

Unknown SS
SS Schutze Höblinger (Fate Unknown)
SS Unterscharführer Rathmann (Fate Unknown)
SS Scharführer Taubert (Fate Unknown)
SS Scharführer Wiebeck (Fate Unknown)

SOURCE: This list has been updated in 2024 from a list originally provided by Schmauser, Axis History Forum

Wiener Holocaust Library Index

INDEX of Names: of Nazis (including collaborators and earlier ideologues) suspected, accused and/or convicted of war crimes; and of Nazi war crime trials (1955-2004)

This INDEX from the Wiener Holocaust Library at the University of London was compiled from names mentioned in articles and reports on war crime trials (WWII) which were largely held in West Germany, but some took place in the East, all between 1955 and 2004. Each of these trials was given the name of the principal individual(s) accused, or of the camp to which the trial referred. This INDEX of Names, in alphabetical sequence, names individuals (suspected or accused, whether they stood trial or not, including collaborators and ideologues). Articles upon which this list has been based are available directly only at the Wiener Library, the world’s oldest institution devoted to the study of the Holocaust.