Paul Otto Radomski

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Paul von Radomski with the rank of SS-Untersturmführer, 1943–44

SS-Sturmbannführer Paul Otto Radomski (21 September 1902 – 14 March 1945) was a Nazi SS officer and concentration camp commander. Radomski was an "Old Fighter" of the Nazi Party, and one of the early companions of the feared security chief Reinhard Heydrich in Hamburg.[1] He was the commander of the Syretsky camp (or Syrets camp). It was situated at the north-western edge of Kiev, in the place called Syrets, today a suburb of the city. The Syretsky concentration camp was created in spring of 1942.[2]

World War II career[edit]

Radomski served six months in prison in 1932 for political killing. He was considered brutal even by his fellow SS officers. The SS judge, Sturmbannführer Wehser called him a drunkard "primitive in all his thoughts".[1][3] As commander of the Syrets concentration camp near Kiev he led a terror regime, ordering severe punishments for the smallest infractions, a habit he carried over at Haidari concentration camp in Greece.[1]

Command of Haidari concentration camp[edit]

On November 28, 1943, Radomski was appointed commandant of Haidari concentration camp, near Athens, Greece. The previous German commandant, Sergeant Rudi Trepte, and his two Greek interpreters had been arrested by the Gestapo, for reasons as yet unknown.

Under Radomski, the camp inmates were put to labour in two four-hour shifts each day except Sundays. The inmates were divided into groups of 100 men, with a hecatontarch in charge of each. However, the labour was not intended for any productive purposes, but merely to break the prisoners' morale: they were made to dig holes and then refill them, build walls and then break them down.[4]

The first execution in the camp was carried out on 7 December, when Radomski personally executed a Greek Jewish reservist lieutenant of the Greek army, the Israeli Levi of Ioannina, in front of the prisoners because he "attempted to escape during his arrest". This execution was to serve not only as a warning to the others, but, according to post-war psychological research, to "put the inmates in constant fear of their lives".[1][5] In total, in the camp's one year of operations, about 1,800 people were executed, while another 300 died as a result of torture either at Haidari or in the Gestapo headquarters at Merlin street in central Athens. These numbers included 30 women, 104 invalids, and 230 students.[5]

Radomski was relieved of his post in February 1944, after he threatened to shoot his own adjutant while drunk, and was replaced by Lieutenant Karl Fischer.[1]

After the war track of Radomski was lost until 2005, when the Hamburg prosecutor announced that the Ukrainian authorities, investigating crimes in the concentration camp Syrez, had reported that Radomski had perished on 14 March 1945 in the vicinity of Székesfehérvár in Hungary.[6][7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Mazower, Mark (1995). Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44. United States: Yale University Press. pp. 227, 229–230. ISBN 0-300-08923-6. 
  2. ^ "The KZ in Syrets". 
  3. ^ Hagen Fleischer, Im Kreuzschatten der Mächte, Griechenland 1941–1944. Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 548.
  4. ^ (Greek) Haidari Municipality: Haidari as an SS camp - Major Paul von Radomski
  5. ^ a b (Greek) Haidari Municipality: The first execution at Haidari
  6. ^ http://memim.com/paul-otto-radomski.html
  7. ^ Wolodymyr Prystajko: Tschi buw „mattsch smerti“? Dokumenty swidtschat. Kyiv 2006, p. 101.