Wilhelm Gerstenmeier

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SS-Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Gerstenmeier (January or October 17, 1908 – December 3, 1944) was a German member of the SS (member number 13300) during World War II.[1] He was convicted of atrocities committed at the Majdanek concentration camp in occupied Poland and hanged for war crimes on the grounds of the camp in 1944.[2]

Biography[edit]

Reconnaissance photograph of the Majdanek concentration camp (June 24, 1944) from the collections of the Majdanek Museum. In the upper half, functioning barracks

Gerstenmeier was born in Augsburg, Bavaria, a son of Karl Gerstenmeier and Elizabeth née Krippendorf. He was married with two children before the Nazi German invasion of Poland.[3] While in Poland, he served as Master Sergeant in the Schutzstaffel squadron of the Waffen-SS and in 1941 was assigned as assistant to SS-Obersturmführer Anton Thernes, commandant of the Majdanek concentration camp administration in charge of slave labour, starvation rationing and maintenance of the camp structures. Gerstenmeier rose to the rank of Obersturmführer at Majdanek (also known as KL Lublin).[4] He was a manager of the storage depot for property and valuables stolen from the victims at the killing centers in Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.[5] During the mere 34 months of operation, more than 79,000 people perished at the main camp alone (59,000 of them Polish Jews).[6][7]

Gerstenmeier was captured by the Soviets and arraigned before the courts on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the First Majdanek Trial, which lasted from November 27, 1944 to December 2, 1944. He was sentenced to death by hanging and executed on December 3, 1944 along with Anton Thernes and five other war criminals close to the camp's gas chambers and crematorium.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lukasz Najbarowski (September 29, 2011). "Wilhelm Gerstenmeier". SS membership card number and rank. Reich. Biographies. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  2. ^ "Angeklagte: Wilhelm Gerstenmeier" (PDF). Hakenkreuz und Galgen. Majdanek-Prozess. 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  3. ^ "Wilhelm Gerstenmeier". The SS & Polizei section. Axis History. Mar 13, 2010. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  4. ^ C. Peter Chen (2013). "Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust". Timeline. World War II Database. Retrieved 2013-04-21. Sources: The Arms of Krupp, Band of Brothers, Crusade in Europe, the Fall of Berlin, and the Last Lion, University of San Diego. 
  5. ^ Staff Writer (2006), "Lublin/Majdanek Concentration Camp: Overview", United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, ushmm.org .
  6. ^ Reszka, Paweł (2005-12-23). "Majdanek Victims Enumerated. Changes in the history textbooks?". Gazeta Wyborcza. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  7. ^ USHMM (May 11, 2012). "Soviet forces liberate Majdanek". Lublin/Majdanek: Chronology. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  8. ^ Marcus Wendel (Aug 8, 2007). "SS personnel serving at Majdanek". Camp personnel. Axis History. Retrieved 2013-04-14.