The Auschwitz trial began on November 24, 1947, in Kraków, when Polish authorities (the Supreme National Tribunal) tried forty former staff of the Auschwitz concentration camps. The trials ended on December 22, 1947.
The best-known defendants were Arthur Liebehenschel, former commandant; Maria Mandel, head of the Auschwitz women's camps; and SS-doctor Johann Kremer. Thirty-eight other SS officers — thirty-four men and four women — who had served as guards or doctors in the camps were also tried.
Verdict of the Supreme National Tribunal in the first Auschwitz trial
Torturing of prisoners [of Auschwitz] already tormented to the extreme [by extrajudicial means], is the evidence of inhuman savagery perpetrated by those defendants who as a result of the trial were sentenced to death. The listed violent crimes committed by named defendants, who all took smaller or larger part in the mass murder of prisoners, also reveal that the accused were involved in the acts of killing for pleasure, and not pursuant to orders of their superiors. If it were not for their expressed desire to kill, they would have otherwise displayed elements of sympathy for the victims, or at least show indifference to their plight, but not torture them to death.
Znęcanie się nad i tak nadmiernie udręczonymi więźniami dowodzi wielkiego zezwierzęcenia tych oskarżonych, którzy w wyniku przewodu sądowego zostali skazani na karę śmierci. To znęcanie się ze strony tych oskarżonych, którzy wszyscy brali mniejszy lub większy udział w zabijaniu więźniów, wskazuje też na to, że ci oskarżeni brali udział w tych zabójstwach z potrzeby wewnętrznej zabijania, a nie w wykonaniu rozkazu przełożonych. Gdyby bowiem nie odczuwali potrzeby zabijania, to albo okazywaliby więźniom współczucie, albo też byliby dla nich obojętni, lecz nie znęcaliby się nad nimi.
|1||Arthur Liebehenschel||SS-Obersturmbannführer||camp commandant||death by hanging (carried out)|
|2||Hans Aumeier||SS-Sturmbannführer||Schutzhaftlagerführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|3||Maximilian Grabner||SS-Untersturmführer||camp Gestapo chief||death by hanging (carried out)|
|4||Karl Möckel||SS-Obersturmbannführer||manager of camp administration||death by hanging (carried out)|
|5||Maria Mandl||SS-Oberaufseherin||Birkenau female camp commandant||death by hanging (carried out)|
|6||Franz Xaver Kraus||SS-Sturmbannführer||information officer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|7||Ludwig Plagge||SS-Oberscharführer||Rapportführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|8||Fritz Buntrock||SS-Unterscharführer||Rapportführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|9||Wilhelm Gerhard Gehring||SS-Hauptscharführer||subcamp commandant||death by hanging (carried out)|
|10||Otto Lätsch||SS-Unterscharführer||subcamp vice commandant||death by hanging (carried out)|
|11||Heinrich Josten||SS-Obersturmführer||commander of the camp guard||death by hanging (carried out)|
|12||Josef Kollmer||SS-Obersturmführer||commander of the camp guard||death by hanging (carried out)|
|13||Erich Muhsfeldt||SS-Oberscharführer||Birkenau crematoria manager||death by hanging (carried out)|
|14||Hermann Kirschner||SS-Unterscharführer||camp administration||death by hanging (carried out)|
|15||Hans Schumacher||SS-Unterscharführer||manager of camp food supplies||death by hanging (carried out)|
|16||August Bogusch||SS-Scharführer||camp administration||death by hanging (carried out)|
|17||Therese Brandl||SS-Aufseherin||SS-Erstaufseherin||death by hanging (carried out)|
|18||Paul Szczurek||SS-Unterscharführer||Blockführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|19||Paul Götze||SS-Rottenführer||Blockführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|20||Herbert Paul Ludwig||SS-Oberscharführer||Blockführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|21||Kurt Hugo Müller||SS-Unterscharführer||Blockführer||death by hanging (carried out)|
|22||Johann Kremer||SS-Obersturmführer||camp doctor||death by hanging (commuted to life imprisonment)|
|23||Arthur Breitwieser||SS-Unterscharführer||camp administration||death by hanging (commuted to life imprisonment)|
|24||Detlef Nebbe||SS-Sturmscharführer||sergeant of the guard company||life imprisonment|
|25||Karl Seufert||SS-Hauptscharführer||manager of prisoner block||life imprisonment|
|26||Hans Koch||SS-Unterscharführer||camp desinfection||life imprisonment|
|27||Luise Danz||SS-Aufseherin||female guard||life imprisonment|
|28||Adolf Medefind||SS-Unterscharführer||guard||life imprisonment|
|29||Anton Lechner||SS-Rottenführer||guard||life imprisonment|
|30||Franz Romeikat||SS-Unterscharführer||camp administration||15 years imprisonment|
|31||Hans Hoffmann||SS-Rottenführer||camp Gestapo unit||15 years imprisonment|
|32||Hildegard Lächert||SS-Aufseherin||female guard||15 years imprisonment|
|33||Alice Orlowski||SS-Aufseherin||female guard||15 years imprisonment|
|34||Johannes Weber||SS-Sturmmann||camp kitchen||15 years imprisonment|
|35||Alexander Bülow||SS-Sturmmann||guard||15 years imprisonment|
|36||Eduard Lorenz||SS-Unterscharführer||guard||15 years imprisonment|
|37||Richard Schröder||SS-Unterscharführer||camp accounting||10 years imprisonment|
|38||Erich Dinges||SS-Sturmmann||driver||5 years imprisonment|
|39||Karl Jeschke||SS-Oberscharführer||guard||3 years imprisonment|
|40||Hans Münch||SS-Untersturmführer||doctor in SS Higene Institute||acquitted|
Rudolf Höss, sentenced in another trial, was executed on April 16, 1947 in front of the crematorium at Auschwitz I. The trial of camp commandant Höss which took place at the Supreme National Tribunal in Warsaw throughout March 1947 was the actual first ever Auschwitz trial, followed by the trials in Kraków several months later.
The Supreme National Tribunal presiding in Kraków issued 23 death sentences, and 17 imprisonments ranging from life sentences to 3 years. All executions were carried out on January 28, 1948 at the Kraków Montelupich Prison, "one of the most terrible Nazi prisons in occupied Poland" used by Gestapo throughout World War II. Maria Mandel and Therese Brandl were the first to be executed. One person was acquitted; Sergeant Major Hans Münch, who refused to participate in the selection process and made futile, though confirmed requests for more food to the inmates. Liebehenschel, Mandel and Kremer were condemned to death, as were Hans Aumeier, August Bogusch, Therese Brandl, Arthur Breitwiser, Fritz Buntrock, Wilhelm Gehring, Paul Götze, Maximilian Grabner, Heinrich Josten, Hermann Kirschner, Josef Kollmer, Franz Kraus, Herbert Ludwig, Karl Möckel, Kurt Mueller, Eric Muhsfeldt, Ludwig Plagge, Hans Schumacher and Paul Szczurek (Arthur Breitwieser and Johann Kremer had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment). Luise Danz, Hans Koch, Anton Lechner, Adolf Medefind, Detlef Nebbe, and Karl Seufert received life sentences. Alexander Bülow, Hans Hoffmann, Hildegard Lächert, Eduard Lorenz, Alice Orlowski, Franz Romeikat, and Johannes Weber were sentenced to 15 years. Richard Schroeder received 10 years, Erich Dinges five years, and Karl Jeschke three years. Hans Münch was acquitted.
- Belzec Trial before the 1st Munich District Court in the mid-1960s, eight SS-men of the Belzec extermination camp tried, seven acquitted
- Chełmno Trials of the Chełmno extermination camp personnel, held in Poland and in Germany. The cases were decided almost twenty years apart
- Dachau Trials held within the walls of the former Dachau concentration camp, 1945–1948
- Majdanek Trials, the longest Nazi war crimes trial in history, spanning over 30 years
- Nuremberg Trials of the 23 most important leaders of the Third Reich, 1945–1946
- Sobibor Trial held in Hagen, Germany in 1965, concerning the Sobibor extermination camp
Notes and references
- Hermann Langbein (2013). "Auschwitz Trials (Cracow)". Auschwitz-Birkenau. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. Bibliography: Naumann, Auschwitz (Eng., 1966); H. Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozess: eine Documentation, 2 vols. (1965); Brand, in: Yad Vashem Bulletin, 15 (1964), 43–117.
- Paweł Brojek (Nov 24, 2012), Pierwszy proces oświęcimski (The First Auschwitz Trial). Archived 2013-10-22 at the Wayback Machine Portal Prawy.pl. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- Adam Bajcar, Poland: A Guidebook, translated by S. Tarnowski, Interpress Publishers, Warsaw 1972.
- "Swedish Television Interview with Hans Münch". Svenska Kommitten Mot Antisemitism (Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism); SS-Untersturmfuehrer Hans Muench (in) "Foernekandet av Foerintelsen. Nynazistisk historiefoerfalskning efter Auschwitz" by Stephane Bruchfeld. The Nizkor Project. 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-12.