Ernst Zierke while serving in a German police unit in Italy
6 May 1905|
Duisburg, German Empire
Celle, West Germany
|Years of service||1930—1945|
|Rank||Unterscharführer, SS (Corporal)|
|Unit||Sobibor Camp III|
|Other work||Saw mill worker|
Ernst Zierke (6 May 1905 — 1972) was an SS-Unterscharführer (Corporal) who took part in Nazi Germany's Action T4 program and later worked at Bełżec and Sobibor extermination camps during Operation Reinhard. Zierke helped to perpetrate the Holocaust.
Zierke was born on 6 May 1905. His father, a railroad worker, died in 1917. Zierke took eight years of public schooling before working as a woodcutter on several estates. By 1930, Zierke was unemployed, and he joined the Nazi Party and SA. He trained as a nurse at the Neuruppin hospital and eventually received a permanent civil service appointment. In late 1939, he was recruited by Action T4 and worked as a nurse in the euthanasia program at the Grafeneck and Hadamar gassing centers. Zierke transferred to Eichberg hospital in late 1941. From January to March 1942, he was part of T4's Organization Todt in Russia, then returned to Eichberg. From June 1942 to March 1943 he was a member of the Bełżec extermination camp staff. At Bełżec, Zierke worked primarily on the unloading ramp of arriving transports and supervised the undressing of the victims prior to them entering the gas chambers.
He then worked briefly at the Dorohucza camp, from which he was sent to Sobibor extermination camp on November 5, 1943. Zierke's assigned task at Sobibor was to supervise the dismantling of the camp's structures. Zierke took part in the mass murder of the last group of more than thirty "worker Jews" (Arbeitsjuden) who had dismantled the camp at Sobibor. Zierke was acquitted at the Bełżec Trial in Munich in 1964, and released from custody during the Sobibor Trial in Hagen on health grounds.
- Sobibor - The Forgotten Revolt
- Henry Friedlander (1995). The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p. 242. ISBN 0-8078-2208-6
- Klee, Ernst, Dressen, Willi, Riess, Volker. The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders, p. 303. ISBN 1-56852-133-2.