Johann Niemann

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Johann Niemann
Johann Niemann.jpg
Johann Niemann, as an Unterscharführer (Junior Sergeant)
Born(1913-08-04)4 August 1913
Völlen, Westoverledingen, German Empire
Died14 October 1943(1943-10-14) (aged 30)
Sobibór, German-occupied Poland
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchFlag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Years of service1934—1943
RankSS-Untersturmführer Collar Rank.svg Untersturmführer, SS (Second Lieutenant)
Unit3rd SS Division Logo.svg SS-Totenkopfverbände
Commands heldSobibór extermination camp

Johann Niemann (4 August 1913 – 14 October 1943) was a German SS-Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) and deputy commandant of Sobibór extermination camp. Niemann directly perpetrated the genocide of Jews and other peoples at Sobibór during the Operation Reinhard phase of The Holocaust.[1] Johann (Jonny) Niemann also served as a Leichenverbrenner (corpse cremator) at Grafeneck, Brandenburg, and Bernburg during the Aktion T-4 Euthanasia Program.

Niemann joined the Nazi Party in 1931 as member number 753,836 and the SS in 1934 as member number 270,600. He first served at Bełżec extermination camp, at the rank of SS-Oberscharführer (Staff Sergeant), where he commanded Camp II, the extermination area.[2] He then was transferred to Sobibór extermination camp. Niemann was deputy commander of Sobibór on various occasions in 1942 before being given the position permanently in early 1943. After Heinrich Himmler's visit to Sobibór on 12 February 1943, Niemann was promoted to SS-Untersturmführer.[3]

Karl Frenzel, also a commandant at Sobibór, recalled how Niemann handled a particular threat of prisoner revolt within the camp:[4][5]

A Polish Kapo told me that some Dutch Jews were organizing an escape, so I relayed it to Deputy Commandant Niemann. He ordered the seventy-two Jews to be executed.

On 14 October 1943, a prisoner uprising took place at the Sobibór camp. Niemann was the highest-ranking SS officer who was on duty that day, and so he was the first person targeted to be assassinated by the prisoners. Niemann was killed in the tailor's barracks with an axe to his head by Alexander Shubayev, a Jewish Red Army soldier imprisoned at Sobibór.[6]

The Times newspaper reported that 350 wartime photos of Sobibor and other places have recently been discovered. The photos were in albums belonging to deputy camp commandant Johann Niemann. The images allegedly include photos of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born guard at the camp who in 2011 was convicted by a Munich court of "being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at Sobibor".[7]


  1. ^ Sobibor - The Forgotten Revolt Archived 2008-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Yitzhak Arad (1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pg. 28.
  3. ^ Sobibor Interviews: Biographies of SS-men,; accessed 23 December 2014.
  4. ^ Thomas Blatt (1997). From the Ashes of Sobibor, pp. 235-242. Northwestern University Press.
  5. ^ Karl Frenzel interview Archived 2007-10-26 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Yitzhak Arad (1987), Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pg. 326. ISBN 0253342937.
  7. ^ "The Times" Jan 20 2020, page 29