Bruno Müller in occupied Kraków
September 13, 1905|
Strasbourg, German Empire
|Died||March 1, 1960
|Years of service||until 1945|
Obersturmbannführer Bruno Müller or Brunon Müller-Altenau (Strasbourg, September 13, 1905 – March 1, 1960, Oldenburg) served as Senior Storm Unit Leader during the Nazi German invasion of Poland. In September 1939, he was put in charge of the Einsatzkommando 2/I attached to Einsatzgruppe I of the Security Police. They were deployed in Poland along with the 14th Army of the Wehrmacht. Little is written about Müller's life before that, although his wartime career is fairly well documented.
Müller was head of the Gestapo office (Geheimstaatspolizei) in Oldenburg from 1935 until World War II. During the invasion of Poland, he served as one of four captains of the mobile killing squads (Einsatzkommandos) within Einsatzgruppe I, led by SS-Standartenführer Bruno Streckenbach. In total, eight Einsatzgruppen (German: special-ops units) had been deployed in Poland. They were active until late 1940, and composed of the Gestapo, Kripo and SD functionaries involved in extermination actions including Operation Tannenberg as well as Intelligenzaktion against the Polish cultural elites. Müller was appointed commander of the Gestapo Division 4 Krakau in the new General Government district (Generalgouvernement) two months after the attack.
Müller personally conducted the operation Sonderaktion Krakau against the Polish professors in occupied Kraków. On November 6, 1939 at the Jagiellonian University (UJ) lecture room no. 56 of the Collegium Novum, he summoned all academics for a speech, where he announced their immediate arrest and internment. Among them were 105 professors and 33 lecturers from the Jagiellonian University, including its rector Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński, 34 professors and doctors from Academy of Mining and Metallurgy (AGH), 4 from College of Commerce (Wyższe Studium Handlowe) and 4 from Lublin and Wilno universities, as well as the President of Kraków, Dr Stanisław Klimecki who was apprehended at home. All of them, 184 persons in total, were transported to prison at Montelupich, and – some three days later – to detention center in Wrocław (German: Breslau). They were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the other side of Berlin two weeks later, and in March 1940 further to Dachau near Munich after a new 'selection'.
Following international protest involving prominent Italians including Benito Mussolini and the Vatican, surviving prisoners older than 40, were released on February 8, 1940. More academics were released later. However, over a dozen died in captivity, including Stanisław Estreicher, and several others right after their return, owing to emaciation.
Einsatzkommando 11b leadership
Müller briefly served as the RKF chief of staff in Silesia in late 1940, replaced by SS-Obersturmbannführer Fritz Arlt in preparation for the Action Saybusch in Żywiec. Soon later, following the German attack on the Soviet Union, Müller was selected as leader of the Einsatzkommando "11b" attached to the 11th Army of the Wehrmacht. He operated along with the entire Einsatzgruppe D (consisting of 600 men) in the territory of Crimea in southern Ukraine. From there, they went to Southern Bessarabia and the Caucasus. His Einsatzgruppe D mobile killing unit (term used by Holocaust historians), of which Einsatzkommando 11b was a part, became responsible for the murder of over 90,000 people, an average of 340 to 700 victims per day. Müller's activities in the region are not as well-documented as those of some other Nazi leaders. At the beginning of August 1941 he led the unit that massacred about 155 Jews, including women and children in the city of Bender in Moldova. Müller, who was a heavy drinker, insisted that to be trusted, every one of his men first had to burn "the bridges to respectable society" by committing murder at least once. One account tells of how he modeled the killing process by shooting a two-year-old child and the child's mother, then told his officers to follow his example.
In October 1941, four months after the commencement of Operation Barbarossa, Müller was replaced as leader of Einsatzkommando "11b" by SS-Obersturmbannführer Werner Braune, who was later named by Commander Otto Ohlendorf in his killing tally sent to Berlin. Müller served at Rouen, Prague and Kiel before the end of World War II. In 1947 he was apprehended by the Allies and put on trial as a war criminal in December 1947, for his role in the atrocities committed in Nordmark at the KZ Hassee–Kiel slave labor camp where 500 prisoners died between May 1944 and the end of the war. Müller was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor, but was released 5 years later due to amnesty laws. He died of natural causes in 1960 at the age of 54, after having worked as a salesman in West Germany for the remainder of his life.
Obersturmbannführer Müller stationing in occupied Kraków, was portrayed in the award-winning film Katyń made in 2007 by Andrzej Wajda, and played by the Berlin-based actor Joachim Paul Assböck (Assboeck). Assböck appeared also in such films as The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008); and more recently, In Darkness (2011) by Agnieszka Holland.
Notes and references
- "Anniversary of "Operation Sonderaktion Krakau"". Krakow Post. 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- Michał Rapta, Wojciech Tupta, Grzegorz Moskal (2009). "Brunon Müller". Mroczne sekrety willi "Tereska": 1939–1945. Historia Rabki. pp. 104–. ISBN 8360817332. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- Jan S. Prybyla (2010). "The lights go out in Poland". When Angels Wept: The Rebirth and Dismemberment of Poland and Her People in the Early Decades of the Twentieth Century. Wheatmark, Inc. pp. 133–. ISBN 1604943254. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- "SS-Obersturmbannführer Brunon Müller". Druga wojna światowa. Forum dws.org.pl. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- Redakcja. "Nie zapomnijcie naszej śmierci". II Wojna Światowa (in Polish). Polskie Radio S.A. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- Paweł Rozmus (November 2006). "Kto Ty jesteś ... czyli rozważania w rocznicę Soderaktion Krakau" (PDF). BIP No. 159. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Mateusz Łabuz. "Sonderaktion Krakau (with complete list of 184 detainees by name)". Uniwersytecka wojna (War on universities). Druga Wojna Swiatowa. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- "Więźniowie Sonderaktion Krakau" (PDF 275 KB). Alma Mater No. 118. Jagiellonian University. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- Mirosław Sikora (2008). "Zasady i praktyka przejęcia majątku polskiego przez III Rzeszę (Theory and practise of Poland's takeover by the Third Reich)" (PDF direct download: 1.64 MB). Bulletin PAMIĘĆ I SPRAWIEDLIWOŚĆ, No. 2 (13). Institute of National Remembrance, Poland. pp. 404 (66, and 84). Retrieved May 8, 2012. Note: Please save a copy to your own hard drive without opening it, and run a virus check through that copy first if you're concerned with security. Source is reliable.
- Franciszek Wasyl (November 1, 2011). "Krakowski etap "Sonderaktion Krakau". Wspomnienie Zygmunta Starachowicza" (in Polish). WordPress.com. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
- Von Uwe von Seltmann. "Jagd auf die Besten". Zweiter Weltkrieg (in German). Spiegel Online. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Banach, A.K., Dybiec, J. & Stopka, K. (2000). The History of the Jagiellonian University. Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press.
- Anna M. Cienciala (Spring 2002. Revised). "German occupation policies". The Coming of the War, and Eastern Europe in World War II. University of Kansas, History 557 Lecture Notes. Retrieved May 8, 2012. Check date values in:
- Dr Grzegorz Jasiński. "Polish cultural losses in the years 1939–1945". Polish Resistance. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Mirosław Sikora (20 September 2011). "Saybusch Aktion – jak Hitler budował raj dla swoich chłopów (How Adolph Hitler built paradise for his paesants)". OBEP Institute of National Remembrance, Katowice (in Polish). Redakcja Fronda.pl. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "Einsatzgruppe D. Organizational structure". The Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- Ken Lewis (September 16, 1998). "The Einsatzgruppen Case No. 9, Military Tribunal II, Einsatzgruppe D". Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. I, pp. 266, 267, 270, Nuremberg, 1947. The Nurenberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume IV, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 45–46. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "Bruno Müller". Biografie (in Italian). Olokaustos.org. Retrieved May 8, 2012. See: Working translation in Google Translate.
- "Bender history". Bender Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust. Information Portal to European Sites of Remembrance. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Thomas Kühne (2010). Belonging and Genocide: Hitler's Community, 1918–1945. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300121865.
- Alexander van Gurp. "Netherlands Forced Laborers – WW II". Arbeitserziehungslager (AEL). VDN Documentation Centre. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- Andrej Angrick (2003). Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord. Die Einsatzgruppe D in der südlichen Sowjetunion 1941–1943. Hamburg. ISBN 3-930908-91-3.
- "Actor, Film and TV Vidcaps". Aveleyman. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- "Joachim Paul Assböck". Acting credits. MovieWeb. Retrieved May 7, 2012.