August Hirt

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August Hirt
Born (1898-04-28)28 April 1898
Mannheim, Baden
Died 2 June 1945(1945-06-02) (aged 47)
Schluchsee, Baden-Württemberg
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Rank Hauptsturmführer
Memorial of the 86 Jewish victims murdered in 1943 at Struthof by August Hirt. Located at Institut of Anatomie of Strasbourg.

August Hirt (April 28, 1898 – June 2, 1945) was an SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) who served as a chairman at the Reich University in Strasbourg during World War II.

Working with the Ahnenerbe division, Wolfram Sievers, Bruno Beger and Hirt together collected human corpses[1][2] from among the Dachau inmates in order to create an anatomical specimen collection specifically of Jews. In 1943, Hirt had 79 Jewish men, 30 Jewish women, 2 Poles, and 4 "Asians" selected among the inmates at Auschwitz. These people were sent to Natzweiler-Struthof on July 30, 1943. Here they were gassed, by Josef Kramer, on August 17 and August 19, 1943. Their bodies were returned to Hirt at the anatomical laboratory of the Reich University in Strasbourg for preparation as an anthropological display, where they were re-discovered after the liberation.

Some speculate that the Asian victims were in fact Soviets, and there is mention that Hirt used this opportunity to test the effects of mescaline as a poison.[citation needed]

In the book, “Die Namen der Nummern“ (The Names of the Numbers), Hans-Joachim Lang describes this mass murder. He also recounts in detail the story of how he was able to determine the identities of 86 victims, 60 years after they were murdered.

Hirt committed suicide before he could be tried for war crimes. Some of his records prepared for the trial are in possession of the US National Archives, including "Photocopies of certificates of proof of ancestry, in connection with research on prisoners in the Konzentrationslager Natzweiler, ...Feb. 9-Nov. 3, 1942. Partial copies of slips for the admittance of prisoners into the Konzentrationslager Natzweiler, medical examinations on prisoners, and a death certificate, Dec. 9, 1942-Aug. 9, 1944. Feb. 9, 1942-Aug. 9, 1944".[3]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Courand, Raymond (2005). Un camp de la mort en France: Struthof Natzweiler (in French). Strasbourg: Ed. Hirlé. ISBN 2-914729-27-8. 
  • Lang, Hans-Joachim (2004). Die Namen der Nummern; Wie Es Gelang, Die 86 Opfer eines NS-Verbrechens zu identifizieren (in German). Hoffmann und Campe. ISBN 3-455-09464-3. 
  • Pressac, Jean-Claude (1985). The Struthof album : study of the gassing at Natzweiler-Struthof of 86 Jews whose bodies were to constitute a collection of skeletons. Serge Klarsfeld. 

Documentary film[edit]

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