Treblinka trials

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Two judicial trials directly concerning the Treblinka extermination camp have been held two decades after World War II, both of them in Düsseldorf, Germany. These Treblinka trials belong to similar war crime trials held during the early 1960s, such as the Jerusalem Adolf Eichmann trial (1961) and the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials (1963-1965), as a result of which the general public came to realize the extent of the crimes that some twenty years earlier had been perpetrated in occupied Poland by Nazi bureaucrats and their willing executioners. In the subsequent years, separate trials dealt with personnel of the Bełżec (1963-1965), Sobibor (1966), and Majdanek (1975-1981) extermination camps.[1]

The Hirtreiter trial[edit]

Although not focused on Treblinka from the beginning and not serving as an upbeat to the later Treblinka trials, the Hirtreiter trial is by some viewed as being part of these.[note 1] In 1946 Josef Hirtreiter was arrested in the course of investigations into the killing of disabled persons in the Hadamar euthanasia clinic. Even if he could not be shown to have been criminally involved at Hadamar, Hirtreiter did confess to having worked in a camp near the Polish village of Małkinia where Jews were killed in a gas chamber. Further investigations showed that Hirtreiter had been stationed at the Treblinka extermination camp, where he supervised the victims' disrobement prior to their gassing. He was charged with participation in the mass-murder of Jews, particularly the killing of more than 10 persons, including infants. On 3 March 1951 Hirtreiter was sentenced to life imprisonment.

First Treblinka trial[edit]

The first Treblinka trial began on 12 October 1964 and concerned eleven members of the SS camp personnel, or about a quarter of the total number of SS employed in the extermination of Jews brought to Treblinka. More than 100 witnesses were called, with incriminating evidence presented by Franciszek Ząbecki, a dispatcher employed by the Reichsbahn during the Holocaust train departures from across occupied Poland, proven by original German waybills he collected. The verdicts were pronounced on 3 September 1965:[2]

Defendant Photograph Rank Function Sentence Reality
Franz, KurtKurt Franz Kurt Hubert Franz.jpg SS-Untersturmführer Deputy commandant Life imprisonment Served 28 years, released, lived another 5 years
Horn, OttoOtto Horn SS-Unterscharführer Totenlager – Corpse detail Acquitted
Lambert, ErwinErwin Lambert Lambert, Erwin.jpg SS-Unterscharführer Built Large Gas Chambers 4 years imprisonment Time served. Died 1976
Matthes, HeinrichHeinrich Matthes Matthes, Heinrich.jpg SS-Scharführer Chief of Totenlager Life imprisonment
Mentz, WilliWilli Mentz SS-Unterscharführer Lazarett ("Infirmary," which actually meant shooting victims) Life imprisonment Released in 1978 and died 3 months later
Miete, AugustAugust Miete Miete, August.jpg SS-Unterscharführer Lazarett – "Angel of Death" Life imprisonment Possibly released in the mid 1980s.[3]
Münzberger, GustavGustav Münzberger SS-Unterscharführer Totenlager – Gas Chambers 12 years imprisonment Served 6 years, released on good behavior, lived another 6 years
Rum, AlbertAlbert Rum SS-Unterscharführer Totenlager – Gas Chambers 3 years imprisonment
Stadie, OttoOtto Stadie SS-Stabsscharführer Camp Administration 6 years imprisonment Released early due to poor health, lived about another decade
Suchomel, FranzFranz Suchomel Suchomel, Franz.jpg SS-Unterscharführer Gold and Valuables 7 years imprisonment Served 4 years, released, lived another 10 years
Küttner, KurtKurt Küttner Küttner, Kurt.jpg SS-Oberscharführer Lower camp of Treblinka II Died before trial

Second Treblinka trial[edit]

The second Treblinka trial also known as the Stangl trial,[1] was held from May 13 to December 22, 1970, five years after the first group trial for war crimes. In this trial, camp commandant Franz Stangl, expelled three years earlier from Brazil, finally stood accused. Stangl had previously assisted in killing handicapped people during Operation T4 (the Euthanasia Programme of the National Socialists), and, before moving on to Treblinka, had been the first commandant of Sobibor. Under his supervision, most of the Treblinka killings took place. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and died in prison on 28 June 1971, during the appeal case.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bauer, vol. 8; Hofmann

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sereny, Gitta (1974). Into That Darkness: from Mercy Killing to Mass Murder, a study of Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka. 
  2. ^ S.J. (2007), First Treblinka Trial H.E.A.R.T Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team.
  3. ^ Hans Peter Rullmann, Der Fall Demjanjuk: Unschuldiger oder Massenmörder? Verlag Helmut Wild, 1987; p. 166. (German)
  • Bauer, Fritz (ed.). Justiz und NS-Verbrechen: Sammlung deutscher Strafurteile wegen nationalsozialistischer Tötungsverbrechen 1945–1999 (Justice and Nazi Crimes: a Collection of German Verdicts on national socialist Killings) (in German). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 90-6042-000-4. 
  1. Erster Treblinka-Prozess (First Treblinka Trial): vol. 8, ISBN 90-6042-008-X.
  2. Zweiter Treblinka-Prozess (Second Treblinka Trial): vol. 22, ISBN 90-6042-022-5.
  3. Dritter Treblinka-Prozess (Third Treblinka Trial): vol. 34, ISBN 90-5356-720-8.
  • Hofmann, Christian. "Die Treblinka-Prozesse (The Treblinka Trials)". shoa.de (in German). Arbeitskreis Shoa.de e.V. 
  • Rückerl, Adalbert, ed. (1977). NS-Vernichtungslager im Spiegel deutscher Strafprozesse (Nazi Extermination Camps mirrored by German Criminal Trials). Munich. p. 81. 

External links[edit]

This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.