Fritz Katzmann

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Fritz Katzmann
Warzok, Katzmann, Himmler at Janowska, occupied Poland.jpg
Janowska concentration camp. Right to left: Heinrich Himmler and Fritz Katzmann. Left: camp commandant Friedrich Warzok
Born 6 May 1906
Darmstadt
Died 19 September 1957
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Rank SS-Gruppenführer Collar Rank.svg SS-Gruppenführer (Major General)
Unit 3rd SS Division Logo.svg SS-Totenkopfverbände
Commands held District of Galicia

SS-Gruppenführer Fritz Katzmann or Friedrich Katzmann (6 May 1906 – 19 September 1957) was a Nazi German Major General and Polizei leader who perpetrated genocide in Katowice, Radom, Lemberg (Lwów), Danzig (Gdańsk), and across the Nazi German District of Galicia during the Holocaust in occupied Poland.[1] Katzmann was responsible for many of the atrocities that were perpetrated after the attack on the Soviet positions in Operation Barbarossa. He personally directed the slaughter of between 55,000 and 65,000 Jews of Lemberg in 1941-1942 followed by mass deportations to death camps including Janowska (pictured). In 1943 Katzmann wrote a top secret report summarizing Operation Reinhard in Galicia. The so-called Katzmann Report is now considered one of the most important pieces of Germany's own evidence of the extermination process. He managed to escape prosecution after the Second World War.[2]

Life[edit]

Born in Darmstadt, Westphalia to a family of a coal miner, Katzmann was a carpenter before he lost his job and joined the SA in December 1927. He joined the NSDAP in September 1928 (# 98,528) and the SS on July 1, 1930 (# 3,065). He rapidly advanced his career. On August 20, 1931 he was commissioned as an SS 2nd Lieutenant and on December 1, 1932 promoted to SS Captain. He became SS Major on January 30, 1933, promoted to SS Colonel on August 17, 1934. He got married, moved to Berlin and became the SS Commander of the 75th Standard “Widukind” on April 4, 1934. Katzmann participated in the murders of the Night of the Long Knives.[1] He became the NSDAP member of the Reichstag and from March 21, 1938 served as Commander SS Section VI Breslau (Wrocław).[3]

World War II[edit]

Following the invasion of Poland, Katzmann led Selbstschutz executioners during murder operations in Wrocław,[3] and in Katowice,[1] and on November 30, 1939 became the Higher SS and Police Leader of occupied Radom. In the spring of 1940 he set up the Radom Ghetto for 32,000 Jews followed by wonton violence and plunder for personal gain.[1] He remained in Radom until Operation Barbarossa during which he was transferred to Lwów as the Higher SS and Police Leader (SSPF) Lemberg. He was promoted to SS Brig. General on 21 June 1941, and remained in Lwów until April 20, 1943.[3] Katzmann ordered the slaughter of 55,000–65,000 Jewish men, women and children in the same year. On his orders the Lwów Ghetto was formed in November 1941 resulting in relocation of some 80,000 Jews. He set up a kindergarten for ghetto children with cocoa and milk and secretly murdered them all in one outtrip.[1]

Katzmann became Higher SS and Police Leader of Distrikt Galizien in August 1941 and a month later was promoted to Brig. General of the Police. He organized transports from Lwów to Belzec extermination camp as soon as the gassing operations started. By the end of 1942, the ghetto population was reduced from 120,000–140,000 inmates to mere 40,000.[1] On January 5–7, 1943 additional 15,000 Jews were murdered along with members of the Judenrat. Katzmann was promoted to SS and Police Major General on January 30, 1943 and by midyear had produced a death toll of 143,000 more people in his district. On June 30, 1943 Katzmann delivered his leatherbound Katzmann Report to the SS and Police Chief in occupied Kraków. He declared in it: “Galicia is free of Jews!” He was transferred to Gdańsk on April 20, 1943 with the rank of Higher SS and Police Leader Danzig-West Prussia,[1] in time for the installation of gas chambers and crematoria at the Stutthof concentration camp.[4] Katzmann brought Ukrainian auxiliaries with him.[5]

In July 1944 Katzmann was made Major General of the Waffen-SS and tasked with the final liquidation of the Stutthof camp with all of its sub-camps, ahead of the Soviet advance. Gassing with Zyklon B began already in June. Until that point, Stutthof prisoners were considered important for German armaments production with Focke-Wulf workshop churning out airplane parts right at the main camp. Stutthof had 105 sub-camps located as far as Thorn (Toruń) and Elbing (Elbląg).[5] Katzmann completed his job when Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945 and vanished into thin air. He lived in Darmstadt as Bruno Albrecht. His wife and five children never heard from him. Katzmann revealed his identity to a hospital priest just before his death on September 19, 1957.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Claudia Koonz (November 2, 2005). "SS Man Katzmann’s "Solution of the Jewish Question in the District of Galicia"" (PDF). The Raul Hilberg Lecture (University of Vermont): 2, 11, 16–18. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Wendy Lower (2011). "Katzmann Report". The Diary of Samuel Golfard and the Holocaust in Galicia. Rowman Altamira. p. 101. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Waldemar „Scypion” Sadaj (January 27, 2010). "Fritz Friedrich Katzmann". SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS und Polizei. Allgemeine SS & Waffen-SS. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Holocaust Database (2015). "Stutthof - Sztutowo (Poland)". Forgotten camps: Stutthof Concentration Camp, Poland. JewishGen. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Holocaust Encyclopedia (20 June 2014). "Stutthof". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Thomas Sandkühler: Endlösung in Galizien. Der Judenmord in Ostpolen und die Rettungsinitiativen von Berthold Beitz 1941-1944, Bonn 1996, S. 426ff.

References[edit]

  • Ruth Bettina Birn: Die Höheren SS- und Polizeiführer. Himmlers Vertreter im Reich und in den besetzten Gebieten. Düsseldorf 1986. ISBN 3-7700-0710-7
  • Joseph Wulf: Das Dritte Reich und seine Vollstrecker. Wiesbaden 1989. ISBN 3-598-04603-0
  • Institut für Nationales Gedenken: Lösung der Judenfrage im Distrikt Galizien / Solving the Jewish Question in the District of Galicia. (dt., engl., poln. - der Katzmann-Report)
  • The Katzmann Report. Excerpt in English YadVashem.org