Auschwitz trial

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This is about the trial held in Poland. See Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials for the German Auschwitz trials.
Auschwitz trial proceedings, Kraków, Poland

The Auschwitz trial began on November 24, 1947, in Kraków, when Polish authorities (the Supreme National Tribunal) tried 40 former staff of the Auschwitz concentration camps. The trials ended on December 22, 1947.[1]

The best-known defendants were Arthur Liebehenschel, former commandant; Maria Mandel, head of the Auschwitz women's camps; and SS-doctor Johann Kremer. 38 other SS officers — 34 men and four women — who had served as guards or doctors in the camps were also tried.

Verdict of the Supreme National Tribunal in the first Auschwitz trial[edit]

Excerpts from Explanation of Jury Decisions

Torturing of prisoners [of Auschwitz] already tormented to the extreme [by extrajudicial means], is the evidence of inhuman savagery perpetrated by those defendants who as a result of the trial were sentenced to death. The listed violent crimes committed by named defendants, who all took smaller or larger part in the mass murder of prisoners, also reveal that the accused were involved in the acts of killing for pleasure, and not pursuant to orders of their superiors. If it were not for their expressed desire to kill, they would have otherwise displayed elements of sympathy for the victims, or at least show indifference to their plight, but not torture them to death.

W uzasadnieniu wyroku Najwyższego Trybunału Narodowego

Znęcanie się nad i tak nadmiernie udręczonymi więźniami dowodzi wielkiego zezwierzęcenia tych oskarżonych, którzy w wyniku przewodu sądowego zostali skazani na karę śmierci. To znęcanie się ze strony tych oskarżonych, którzy wszyscy brali mniejszy lub większy udział w zabijaniu więźniów, wskazuje też na to, że ci oskarżeni brali udział w tych zabójstwach z potrzeby wewnętrznej zabijania, a nie w wykonaniu rozkazu przełożonych. Gdyby bowiem nie odczuwali potrzeby zabijania, to albo okazywaliby więźniom współczucie, albo też byliby dla nich obojętni, lecz nie znęcaliby się nad nimi.[2]

# Defendant Rank Function Sentence
1 Arthur Liebehenschel SS-Obersturmbannführer camp commandant death by hanging (carried out)
2 Hans Aumeier SS-Sturmbannführer Schutzhaftlagerführer death by hanging (carried out)
3 Maximilian Grabner SS-Untersturmführer camp Gestapo chief death by hanging (carried out)
4 Karl Möckel SS-Obersturmbannführer manager of camp administration death by hanging (carried out)
5 Maria Mandel SS-Oberaufseherin Birkenau female camp commandant death by hanging (carried out)
6 Franz Xaver Kraus SS-Sturmbannführer information officer death by hanging (carried out)
7 Ludwig Plagge SS-Oberscharführer Rapportführer death by hanging (carried out)
8 Fritz Buntrock SS-Unterscharführer Rapportführer death by hanging (carried out)
9 Wilhelm Gerhard Gehring SS-Hauptscharführer subcamp commandant death by hanging (carried out)
10 Otto Lätsch SS-Unterscharführer subcamp vice commandant death by hanging (carried out)
11 Heinrich Josten SS-Obersturmführer commander of the camp guard death by hanging (carried out)
12 Josef Kollmer SS-Obersturmführer commander of the camp guard death by hanging (carried out)
13 Eric Muhsfeldt SS-Oberscharführer Birkenau crematoria manager death by hanging (carried out)
14 Hermann Kirschner SS-Unterscharführer camp administration death by hanging (carried out)
15 Hans Schumacher SS-Unterscharführer manager of camp food supplies death by hanging (carried out)
16 August Bogusch SS-Scharführer camp administration death by hanging (carried out)
17 Therese Brandl SS-Aufseherin SS-Erstaufseherin death by hanging (carried out)
18 Paul Szczurek SS-Unterscharführer Blockführer death by hanging (carried out)
19 Paul Götze SS-Rottenführer Blockführer death by hanging (carried out)
20 Herbert Paul Ludwig SS-Oberscharführer Blockführer death by hanging (carried out)
21 Kurt Hugo Müller SS-Unterscharführer Blockführer death by hanging (carried out)
22 Johann Kremer SS-Obersturmführer camp doctor death by hanging (commuted to life imprisonment)
23 Arthur Breitwieser SS-Unterscharführer camp administration death by hanging (commuted to life imprisonment)
24 Detlef Nebbe SS-Sturmscharführer sergeant of the guard company life imprisonment
25 Karl Seufert SS-Hauptscharführer manager of prisoner block life imprisonment
26 Hans Koch SS-Unterscharführer camp desinfection life imprisonment
27 Luise Danz SS-Aufseherin female guard life imprisonment
28 Adolf Medefind SS-Unterscharführer guard life imprisonment
29 Anton Lechner SS-Rottenführer guard life imprisonment
30 Franz Romeikat SS-Unterscharführer camp administration 15 years imprisonment
31 Hans Hoffmann SS-Rottenführer camp Gestapo unit 15 years imprisonment
32 Hildegard Lächert SS-Aufseherin female guard 15 years imprisonment
33 Alice Orlowski SS-Aufseherin female guard 15 years imprisonment
34 Johannes Weber SS-Sturmmann camp kitchen 15 years imprisonment
35 Alexander Bülow SS-Sturmmann guard 15 years imprisonment
36 Eduard Lorenz SS-Unterscharführer guard 15 years imprisonment
37 Richard Schröder SS-Unterscharführer camp accounting 10 years imprisonment
38 Erich Dinges SS-Sturmmann driver 5 years imprisonment
39 Karl Jeschke SS-Oberscharführer guard 3 years imprisonment
40 Hans Münch SS-Untersturmführer doctor in SS Higene Institute acquitted
Rudolf Höss immediately before being hanged

Rudolf Höss, sentenced in another trial, was executed on April 16, 1947 in front of the crematorium at Auschwitz I. The trial of camp commandant Höss which took place at the Supreme National Tribunal in Warsaw throughout March 1947 was the actual first ever Auschwitz trial, followed by the trials in Kraków several months later.[2]

Summary[edit]

The Supreme National Tribunal presiding in Kraków issued 23 death sentences, and 17 imprisonments ranging from life sentences to 3 years. All executions were carried out on January 28, 1948 at the Kraków Montelupich Prison, "one of the most terrible Nazi prisons in occupied Poland" used by Gestapo throughout World War II.[2][3] Maria Mandel and Therese Brandl were the first to be executed. One person was acquitted; Sergeant Major Hans Münch, who refused to participate in the selection process and made futile, though confirmed requests for more food to the inmates.[4]

Hans Aumeier on trial at the Supreme National Tribunal, Kraków, Poland, 1947.

Liebehenschel, Mandel and Kremer were condemned to death, as were Hans Aumeier, August Bogusch, Therese Brandl, Arthur Breitwiser, Fritz Buntrock, Wilhelm Gehring, Paul Götze, Maximilian Grabner, Heinrich Josten, Hermann Kirschner, Josef Kollmer, Franz Kraus, Herbert Ludwig, Karl Möckel, Kurt Mueller, Eric Muhsfeldt, Ludwig Plagge, Hans Schumacher and Paul Szczurek (Arthur Breitwieser and Johann Kremer had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment). Luise Danz, Hans Koch, Anton Lechner, Adolf Medefind, Detlef Nebbe, and Karl Seufert received life sentences. Alexander Bülow, Hans Hoffmann, Hildegard Lächert, Eduard Lorenz, Alice Orlowski, Franz Romeikat, and Johannes Weber were sentenced to 15 years. Richard Schroeder received 10 years, Erich Dinges five years, and Karl Jeschke three years. Hans Münch was acquitted.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Hermann Langbein (2013). "Auschwitz Trials (Cracow)". Auschwitz-Birkenau. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2013-04-24. Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. Bibliography: Naumann, Auschwitz (Eng., 1966); H. Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozess: eine Documentation, 2 vols. (1965); Brand, in: Yad Vashem Bulletin, 15 (1964), 43–117. 
  2. ^ a b c Paweł Brojek (Nov 24, 2012), Pierwszy proces oświęcimski (The First Auschwitz Trial). Portal Prawy.pl. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Adam Bajcar, Poland: A Guidebook, translated by S. Tarnowski, Interpress Publishers, Warsaw 1972.
  4. ^ "Swedish Television Interview with Hans Münch". Svenska Kommitten Mot Antisemitism (Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism); SS-Untersturmfuehrer Hans Muench (in) "Foernekandet av Foerintelsen. Nynazistisk historiefoerfalskning efter Auschwitz" by Stephane Bruchfeld. The Nizkor Project. 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  • The Jewish Virtual Library: Auschwitz Trial
  • Cyprian T., Sawicki J., Siedem wyroków Najwyższego Trybunału Narodowego, Poznań, 1962
  • G. Álvarez, Mónica. "Guardianas Nazis. El lado femenino del mal". Madrid: Grupo Edaf, 2012. ISBN 978-84-414-3240-6