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Auschwitz Guards' Identities Revealed

Discussion in 'Concentration, Death Camps and Crimes Against Huma' started by GRW, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Some astounding research.
    "The names of almost 10,000 Nazi SS commanders and guards who helped in the extermination of more than a million Jews at Auschwitz have been posted online for the first time.
    The huge searchable database, which includes hundreds of photographs, has been uploaded by Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (INR) in an attempt to dispel false claims that many of the guards were Polish.
    The list of 9,686 names are predominantly German and their pre-war occupations are listed as farmers, butchers, teachers, cobblers and all manner of jobs.
    Hitler's forces invaded Poland in 1939 and the following year he ordered the construction of Auschwitz-Birkenau in the Polish countryside.
    It was originally used to house Polish political prisoners but was later handed over to the infamous SS and between 1942 and 1945 around 1.1 million Jews died there, either in the gas chambers or through starvation or beatings.
    INR chief Jaroslaw Szarek told the BBC the online archive was 'a tool to fight lies' and he added: 'We're not expressing an opinion, we're presenting the cold, hard facts.' "
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4177300/Faces-Nazi-guards-killed-million-Jews-online.html#ixzz4XOkfC1v8
     
  2. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Chilling to look at the evil.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Hard to look at, Gordon. Into my bookmarks for later perusal, even though it's in Polish.
     
  4. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    What I find most chilling is, when one ignores the uniforms, how "normal" they appear. They are not the sneering, Hollywood type-cast villains that many people imagine. This is not a comment regarding moral equivalence, but rather an observation of the nature of Evil and a reminder as to why we should "never forget". We ought to remember the victims. However, the real reason we should never forget is to avoid complacency and arrogance, replacing them with vigilance and humility so we never let it happen again.
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yes, sometimes "ordinary" can be more horrific than yer standard bogeyman.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Hannah Arendt coined the phrase "the banality of evil". Here it is on display.
     
  7. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Very chilling. Seemingly regular folks corrupted by hate. I will never truly understand.
     
  8. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The term "banality of evil" comes to mind.

    I had a history teacher in high school discuss the Holocaust with his class one day. He started by talking about he camp guards and asked who in the class though they would be capable of acting in that capacity. Obviously no one put up their hand. He argued that if we were given the same upbringing and historical context, the overwhelming majority of us would have "done our duty" and acted as camp guards.

    A great book to help wrap your head around such things is a book called Ordinary Men by Christopher R. Browning. It doesn't excuse anyone from guilt, but it does make it clear that resistance to evil institutional machinery is incredibly difficult.
     
  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    I agree Otto. That book certainly gives a unique perspective into how "regular" men and women can cross into that realm.
     
  10. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Active Member

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    Not sure how these guards were selected\chosen but perhaps another question for the class would have been, if told to do it would you have refused given that doing so would probably mean death? Maybe a question we should all ask ourselves, self preservation is a strong driver.
     
  11. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    It has been well documented that those that refused to carry out the orders for execution were not given the penalty of death. Of course, I don't have a case by case basis, some were disciplined but many were redistributed.
     
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  12. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    ordinary men who neither chose nor changed their destiny. i am neither sorry for them, nor do i hold them in contempt.
     
  13. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I've not heard it phrased just that way, but it's a quite astute way to state it. Had they been mandated to do other tasks, like build fortifications for Organisation Todt, they would have done that instead. This is not an argument to erase or minimize their complicity, but I suspect the majority of these people did their "duty" in a mindless fashion, rather than a bloodthirsty zeal for evil.
     
  14. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    One of them:

    Name: Alfred MATTLENER
    Date of Birth: 17-11-1893
    Occupation: barber
    Affiliation: DAF, NSV
    Military service in Wehrmacht: Gefreiter, 30.01.1944 - 27.06.1944
    Service in Waffen-SS: SS-Sturmmann, 27.06.1944 -

    Sentence: three years in prison for membership in a criminal organization, one year credited for time served, confiscation of property, deprivation of public rights for four years.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Somehow, that sentiment makes it worse.
     
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  16. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    BRYLKE Franz
    crime: renounced his Polish citizenship, as Bürgermeister of Lisów County acted to the detriment of Poland and Polish citizens, treated them contemptuously and disdainfully.
    voluntary membership in a criminal organization (Schutzstaffel) since 1942, service in Auschwitz as guard at the main gate, later Oberscharführer at the carpenter's shop - May 1942 to 18 January 1945.
    sentence: 15 years in prison (in this 5 years for membership), 16 months credited for time served, confiscation of property, deprivation of public rights for 10 years.
    mitigating circumstances: low intelligence, weak character, non-political motives of his actions, correct behaviour in Auschwitz.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    DICKEL Ludwig Erich
    crime: voluntary membership in a criminal organization (Schutzstaffel) since 1932, service in Auschwitz Birkenau (as a cost estimator of construction works) - 4.12.1944 to 30.12.1945.
    sentence: 10 years in prison, 12 months credited for time served, confiscation of property, deprivation of public rights for 8 years, the case eventually reached the Supreme Court of Poland.
    aggravating circumstances: as a highly intelligent and well educated person was fully aware of criminal goals and criminal nature of the organization he served.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Not to say that they are not guilty of the crimes and deserve their punishment but R. browning and "Reserve Police battalion 101" was in my view a good book to show how "normal" people behave in these situations: 1/3 turn into sadists, 1/3 do their "duty" and 1/3 try to do "nothíng". Still they all stayed there to "finish" the job.
     
  19. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Name: BRODWOLF Johannes Andreas
    Date of Birth: 12-05-1897
    Education Background: 8 Klassen der Volksschule
    Occupation: metalworker
    Affiliation: DAF
    Service in Waffen-SS: SS-Rottenführer, 01.07.1944 -
    crime: membership in a criminal organization (Schutzstaffel), a guard in Auschwitz since July 1944.
    sentence: 3 years in prison , 16 months credited for time served, confiscation of property, deprivation of public rights for 6 years.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Agreed.
    Evil committed in the calm day-to-day banality of routine always feels like the lowest form to me.

    As to sympathy for admittedly often quite normal people becoming part of that banal system of death: it's an understandable response, but was dealt with very thoroughly at Nuremberg to an extent that 'I was only obeying orders' even became 'The Nuremberg Defence'. Effectively it is no longer considered a full defence because of chaps like these. It may mitigate, but never excuse.
    As KJ says: In the history of Holocaust functionaries, despite much belief to the contrary, men who did not have the stomach for the whole appalling business from mass shootings to camp work weren't routinely sent to punishment battalions or incarcerated themselves; they were on the whole shifted to other more conventional services or less 'direct' involvement with minimal fuss and routine/light punishment. The regime knew full well the sensitivity of the area, and always had half an eye on the future. (Fiction, but I think Harris's 'Fatherland' understood the intention to eventually sweep the whole business under the carpet once 'the solution' was achieved.)
    Consider Himmler's squeamishness on visiting a camp. He knew this was not ordinary work...

    It obviously varied within the system, a number of senior officers being more prepared to resort to direct threats of violence to make subordinates conform (IIRC, a few that were forced at gunpoint were acquitted - long time since I read anything on this stuff, got too grim/depressing), but while I suspect you can mitigate for a variety of reasons, from 'peer pressure' all the way up to the general level of fear in totalitarian regimes, on the whole working in the state's murder system was a choice. A choice that stained your hands, probably forever.
     
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