Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials
The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials, known in German as der Auschwitz-Prozess or der zweite Auschwitz-Prozess, (the "second Auschwitz trial") was a series of trials running from December 20, 1963 to August 19, 1965, charging 22 defendants under German penal law for their roles in the Holocaust as mid- to lower-level officials in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death and concentration camp complex.
Prior trial in Poland 
Most of the senior leaders of the camp, including Rudolf Höss, the longest-standing commandant of the camp, were turned over to Polish authorities in 1947, following their participation as witnesses in the Nuremberg Trial, at which time they were tried in Kraków and many sentenced to death. That earlier trial in Poland is usually known as the first Auschwitz Trial; Richard Baer, the last camp commandant died in detention while still under investigation as part of the trials.
Course of proceedings 
Defendants ranged from members of the SS to kapos, privileged prisoners responsible for low-level control of camp internees, and included some of those responsible for the process of "selection," or determination of who should be sent to the gas chambers directly from the "ramp" upon disembarking the trains that brought them from across Europe ("selection" generally entailed inclusion of all children held to be ineligible for work, generally under the age of 14, and any mothers unwilling to part with their "selected" children). In the course of the trial, approximately 360 witnesses were called, including around 210 survivors. Proceedings began in the "Bürgerhaus Gallus", in Frankfurt am Main, which was converted into a courthouse for that purpose, and remained there until their conclusion.
Hessian Generalstaatsanwalt (State Attorney General) Fritz Bauer, himself briefly interned in the concentration camp at Heuberg in 1933, led the prosecution. Bauer was perhaps at least as concerned with establishing the character of the camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau as he was with pursuing individual defendants, which may explain in part why only 22 of an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 SS members thought to have been involved in the administration and operation of the camp were charged. Bauer is said to have been opposed in the former purpose by the young Helmut Kohl, then a junior member of the Christian Democratic Union. In furtherance of that purpose Bauer sought and received support from the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. The following historians from the Institute served as expert witnesses for the prosecution; Helmut Krausnick, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Hans Buchheim, and Martin Broszat. Subsequently, the information the four historians gathered for the prosecution served as the basis for their 1968 book, Anatomy of the SS State, the first thorough survey of the SS based on SS records.
Information about the actions of those accused and their whereabouts had been in the possession of West German authorities since 1958, but action on their cases was delayed by jurisdictional disputes, among other considerations. The court's proceedings were largely public and served to bring many details of the Holocaust to the attention of the public in the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as abroad. Six defendants were given life sentences and several others received the maximum prison sentences possible for the charges brought against them.
|Name||Rank, Title, or Role||Sentence|
|Stefan Baretzki||Blockführer (block chief)||Life plus 8 years imprisonment|
|Emil Bednarek||Kapo||Life imprisonment|
|Wilhelm Boger||camp Gestapo||Life & 5 years imprisonment|
|Wilhelm Breitwieser||camp Häftlingsbekleidungskammer||Released|
|Perry Broad||camp Gestapo||4 years imprisonment|
|Victor Capesius||pharmacist||9 years imprisonment|
|Klaus Dylewski||camp Gestapo||5 years imprisonment|
|Willi Frank||Head of SS dental station||7 years imprisonment|
|Emil Hantl||Sanitätsdienstgrad (medical orderly)||3½ years imprisonment|
|Karl-Friedrich Höcker||adjutant||7 years imprisonment|
|Franz-Johann Hofmann||Head of protective custody camp||Life imprisonment|
|Oswald Kaduk||Rapportführer (SS NCO)||Life imprisonment|
|Josef Klehr||medical orderly||Life & 15 years imprisonment|
|Dr. Franz Lucas||SS Obersturmführer||3 years, 3 months imprisonment|
|Robert Mulka||adjutant||14 years imprisonment|
|Gerhard Neubert||HKB Monovitz||Released|
|Hans Nierzwicki||HKB Auschwitz 1||Released|
|Willi Schatz||SS dentist||Acquitted & released|
|Herbert Scherpe||SS Oberscharführer||4½ years imprisonment|
|Bruno Schlage||SS Oberscharführer||6 years imprisonment|
|Johann Schobert||Political Division||Acquitted & released|
|Hans Stark||camp Gestapo||10 years imprisonment|
In 1977 an additional trial was held in Frankfurt against two former members of the SS for killings in the satellite camp of Lagischa (Polish: Lagisza) and on the "evacuation" (i.e. death march) from Golleschau to Wodzisław Śląski (German: Loslau).
- Essay (in German) from the Fritz Bauer Institute
- Part One of World Socialist Web Site coverage
- Part Two of World Socialist Web Site coverage
- Part Three of World Socialist Web Site coverage
- Summary of Sentences from Jewish Virtual Library
- Fritz-Bauer-Institut (Frankfurt) / Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (Hrsg): Der Auschwitz-Prozeß. Tonbandmitschnitte, Protokolle, Dokumente. DVD/ROM. Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89853-501-0 (also via D. Czech: Kalendarium)
- Verdict on Auschwitz, The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial 1963-65 at DEFA Film Library, 2006.
Further reading 
- G. Álvarez, Mónica. "Guardianas Nazis. El lado femenino del mal". Madrid: Grupo Edaf, 2012. ISBN: 978-84-414-3240-6
- Devin O. Pendas,The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963–65: Genocide, History and the Limits of the Law (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
- Rebecca Wittmann, Beyond Justice: the Auschwitz Trial (Harvard University Press, 2005)
- review of "The Investigation" by Peter Weiss (1965)
- Fritz Bauer Institute
- Book review comparing Wittmann's and Pendas's monographs about the trial
- Sonderkommando page in French