SS and Nazi war criminals deaths in custody.

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Ship of Fools
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SS and Nazi war criminals deaths in custody.

Post by Ship of Fools » 23 May 2007 20:26

Every so often I read of an SS or Nazi war criminal committing suicide either in custody or to avoid arrest or dying in custody (pre trial) but as my memory is not as good as it once was I thought it might be interesting to compile a list that can be added to when I or others who are interested come across new examples.

The big names are of course
Hermann Goering - suicide
Robert Ley - suicide
also Hitler and Goebbels and later after many years Hess.
Heinrich Himmler 1945 suicide in custody

Others somewhat well known

Richard Baer - heart attack I think - an Auschwitz commandant
Karl Jaeger 1959 suicide - Einsatzkommando
Hermann Hoefle 1962 suicide - Aktion Reinhart
Odilo Globocnik Aktion Reinhart suicide 1945 (maybe not in custody)

Kurt Bolender - Sobibor and euthanesia - suicide 1965
Dr. Lohnauer - Hartheim - suicide and murder of wife and children 1945 (not in custody)
Franz Ziereis commandant Mauthausen - shot by Americans 1945

Irmfried Eberl - treblinka and euthanasia - suicide in custody 1948
Edward Wirths - Doctor Auschwitz - suicide in British custody 1945
Dr Clauberg - Doctor Auschwitz = mysterious death in custody in 1959
Professor August Hirt - doctor associated with Auschwitz, suicide 1945 (not in custody)

Richard Gluecks - WVHA - suicide 1945, not in custody?
Emil Haussman - Einsatzgruppen - suicide 1945 or 6, in custody

Friedrich Hartjenstein - Commandant Auschwitz, heart attack in prison awaiting trial 1954

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 23 May 2007 21:36

For suicides, also see:

National Socialism, Mental Instability, and Suicide
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=11481

nickterry
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Post by nickterry » 23 May 2007 22:02

Suicides before Capture
1. Gauleiter Alfred Meyer, deputy to Rosenberg in the Eastern Ministry, 11.4.45
2. Industrialist Albert Voegler, 14.4.45
3. Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model, Heeresgruppe B, 21.4.45
4. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Ernst-Robert Grawitz, 24.4.45
5, 6. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, 30.4.45
7, 8. Joseph Goebbels and Magda Goebbels, 1.5.45
9. General Hans Krebs, Chief of the General Staff, 1.5.45
10. General Wilhelm Burgdorf, Chief Adjutant, 1.5.45
11. SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Ludwig Stumpfegger, Hitler's doctor, 2.5.45
12. Ambassador Walter Hewel, 2.5.45
13. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Wilhelm Rediess, HSSPF Norwegen, shot himself, 8.5.45
14. Gauleiter Josef Terboven, Reichskommissar Norwegen, blew himself up 8.5.45
15. Gauleiter Hugo Jury, suicide, 8.5.45
16. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Friedrich-Wilhelm Krueger, former HSSPF Ost, 9.5.45
17. SS-Gruppenfuehrer Richard Gluecks, Amtsgruppe D, WVHA, 10.5.45
18. Philip Bouhler, 19.5.45
19. Prof. August Hirt, Natzweiler experimenter, 2.6.45
20. Dr. Lohnauer - Hartheim - suicide and murder of wife and children 1945 (not in custody)

- there are a great many more Wehrmacht suicides than the ones listed.

Deaths Upon Capture or In Custody, Not Suicides
1. SS-Standartenfuehrer Franz Ziereis, Kdt Mauthausen, DOW 24.5.45
2. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Maximilian von Herff, SS-Personalhauptamtchef, died in British captivity, 6.9.1945, difficult to see what they could have charged him with.

Suicides After Capture But Before Charge
1. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Hans-Adolf Pruetzmann, HSSPF Russland-Sued, 21.5.45
2. Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, day of capture, 23.5.45
3. Admiral Hans-Georg Friedeburg, Kriegsmarine commander, 23.5.45
4. Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim, Head of Luftwaffe, 24.5.45
5. SS-Gruppenfuehrer Odilo Globocnik, day of capture, 31.5.45
6. SS-Obersturmfuehrer Kurt Gerstein, 25.7.45
7. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Dr Eduard Wirths, Standortarzt Auschwitz, 20.9.45
8. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Leonardo Conti, 6.10.45
9. SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Theodor Dannecker, RSHA IV B 4, 10.12.45, a few days after capture
10. Reichsminister Herbert Backe, Minister of Agriculture, 6.4.47

Suicide While Awaiting Extradition
1. SS-Oberfuehrer Hans Loritz, fmr Sachsenhausen kdt, 2.46, awaiting extradition

Suicide After Charge/While Awaiting Indictment
1. Reichsleiter Robert Ley, 25.10.45
2. General Franz Boehme, Commanding General Serbia in 1941, committed suicide, 29.5.47, just before the start of Case VII (Hostages); there was prima facie documentary evidence against his time in command proving the executions of more than 20,000 hostages; none of his fellow accussed in this trial or Case XII were sentenced to death.
SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Emil Haussmann, in EK 12, 31.7.47
3. Generaloberst Walter Blaskowitz, 5.2.48, allegations he was murdered by SS inmates

Death or Suicide After Conviction But Before Death Sentence
1. Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, 15.10.46
2. SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Fritz Hartjenstein, 20.10.54, heart attack while awaiting French death sentence for crimes at Natzweiler having already been sentenced to death by the British for hanging an RAF airman. Man, that guy was soooo dead.

Suicide In Allied Prison
1. Rudolf Hess, 17.8.87

Suicide in West Germany, no custody
1. Party Judge Walter Buch, 12.11.49, after being 'denazified'

Death or Suicide in West German Investigative Custody
1. SS-Obersturmführer Irmfried Eberl, 1st cdt Treblinka, 16.10.48, while awaiting trial on euthanasia charges only
2. Prof. Dr. Carl Clauberg, heart failure, 9.8.57
3. SS-Standartenführer Karl Jäger, EK 3, 22.6.59, suicide
4. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Richard Baer, Auschwitz I-Kdt, 17.6.63

Death or Suicide in Austrian Investigative Custody
1. SS-Sturmbannführer Hermann Höfle, SSPF Lublin staff, 20.8.62

Death or Suicide in West German prison
1. SS-Oberscharfuehrer Kurt Bolender, 10.10.66, suicide
2. Ilse Koch, 1.9.67, suicide
3. SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Franz Stangl, Kdt Treblinka, heart failure, 28.6.71

All in all I fancy my chances better being a Nazi war criminal in West German hands than a person of colour in those of the Metropolitan Police. :|

But let's not forget those that ran away....

SS personnel escaping down the ratline
1. Standartenführer Walter Rauff – RSHA II – Syria, Chile
2. Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann – RSHA IV B 4 - Argentina
3. Hauptsturmführer Alois Brunner – RSHA IV B 4 - Syria
4. Hauptsturmführer Eduard Roschmann – Kdt KL Riga –
5. Hauptsturmführer Franz Stangl – Kdt Treblinka - Brazil
6. Hauptsturmführer Dr Josef Mengele – doctor, KL Auschwitz – Argentina/Paraguay
7. Hauptsturmführer Dr Aribert Heim – doctor, KL Mauthausen – Uruguay, Spain
8. Hauptsturmführer Erich Priebke – Sipo in Rome; Argentina

SS personnel released from prison and living happily ever after
1. SS-Standartenführer Martin Sandberger, KdS Estland, released 1958, still alive
2. SS-Standartenführer Dr Walter Blume, Fhr SK 7a, released 1958, d, ?
3. SS-Sturmbannführfer Waldemar Klingelhöfer, Einsatzgruppe B, rel 1956, d. ca. 1980
4. SS-Brigadeführer Franz Six, RSHA and VKM, released 1952, d.1975
5. SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr Albert Filbert, EK 9, released 1973, d.1990

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Michael Miller
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Post by Michael Miller » 23 May 2007 23:34

nickterry wrote:
2. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Maximilian von Herff, SS-Personalhauptamtchef, died in British captivity, 6.9.1945, difficult to see what they could have charged him with.

That's true, considering all his duties- after a very late transfer from the Heer to the SS- were probably of a strictly administrative nature and that he most likely had no direct involvement in the "Final Solution". But just for the record, he was almost certainly "in the loop"/highly knowledgeable as to the full extent of the SS policy re: the Jews. Here's an excerpt from my biosketch of von Herff, which will appear in Volume II of "Leaders of the SS & German Police":

04.05.1943 - 16.05.1943 Inspection tour of the Generalgouvernement. On 12.05.1943, he visited various SS facilities, including KL-Lublin-Majdanek, SS-Arbeitslager (Sonderlager) Trawniki, and the SS garrison in Lublin. On 15.05.1943, he observed Jürgen Stroop's forces engaged in liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto. In an assessment of the SSPF in Lublin, Odilo Globocnik, prepared shortly after visiting that officer in Lublin, von Herff wrote:

“Little concerned about external appearance, fanatically obsessed with the task.... One of the best and most vigorous pioneers in the GG. Responsible, courageous, a man of action. His daredevil character often leads him to overstep the given limits and to forget the boundaries laid down within the Order [the SS], although not for reasons of personal ambition, but rather due to his obsession with the cause.” (Source: Bogdan Musial, The Origins of “Operation Reinhard”: The Decision-Making Process for the Mass Murder of the Jews in the Generalgouvernement, at http://www1.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Micr ... 203222.pdf ).
See also http://www.hdot.org/evidence/browning005.asp for details of letters from Globocnik to Herff in which promotions for "Aktion Reinhard(t)" functionaries are mentioned; I'm only assuming here, but it seems von Herff must have been informed as to the meaning of "Aktion Reinhard(t)" if Globus mentioned it at all.

~ Mike

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Post by itaiv40 » 24 May 2007 04:34

Here's Irmfried Eberl's suicide.
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Eddy Marz
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Post by Eddy Marz » 24 May 2007 08:46

And here's Globocnik's suicide at Paternion Castle, on 31 May 1945, barely 8 hours after his capture by the UK Queen's Own 4th Hussars. Among the many witnesses were UK Major Alexander Ramsay and Lieutenant W.K. Hedley (fluent german speaker), but also SS-Stubaf Georg Michalsen, SS-Stubaf Hermann Höfle, SS-Stubaf Ernst Lerch (later interviewed by Gitta Sereny and confirming), SS-Obschaf Hellesberger, and Dr. Friedrich Reiner... Apparently, Major Ramsay took several photographs of the incident (including a close-up of Globocnik's face - which I saw once but unfortunately can't remember where); this is the best known...

In the picture (from Gitta Sereny's private collection) Höfle is in the foreground, facing the photographer, Michalsen stands just behind him.

Globocnik was buried in an unknown spot by members of the Regimental Police under supervision of Captain G.P. Wheeler of the Queen's Own 4th Hussars.

Regards
Eddy Marz
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Eddy Marz
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Post by Eddy Marz » 24 May 2007 10:57

Just a detail from Nickterry's list :

SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Gerstein was not 'captured' but surrendered on his own free will to French 6th Army on 21 April 1945, in Wurtemberg, in the hope of testifying about AR. Although kept in semi-captivity for a few weeks, he was subsequently charged with "war crimes, mass murder, and conspiracy" by the ORCG (French equivalent of the War Crimes Commission), interrogated by French military Judge Matteï, and placed in the Cherche-Midi prison (Paris) HS section where he committed suicide on 25 July 1945, at 2:30 pm. Gerstein was not a criminal, but an Untersturmführer F (at the time of the facts), and head of the Health division for the Waffen-SS Hygiene Institute. Admittedly, he conveyed a cargo of Prussic acid (almost certainly Zyklon B) to Lublin and then to Belzec (where it was not used).

He was eventually cleared of all charges by Kurt Kiesinger (Minister-President of Bade-Wurtemberg) in 1965. The Protestant Youth's House at Berchum (near Hagen) was named after him the same year, although a few blind justice hardliners voiced regrets : "Es war doch ein SS führer..."

Regards
EM

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Post by Peter » 24 May 2007 11:13

17. SS-Gruppenfuehrer Richard Glücks, Amtsgruppe D, WVHA, 10.5.45


Is this the accepted fate of Glücks by concensus

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Post by steve248 » 25 May 2007 10:32

All SS officers were subject to "automatic arrest" by the Allies so just because von Herff was in custody does not mean charges were being considered or brought. Like all the army generals and senior army officers. Internment without trial was the name of the game, avoiding possible resurgence. That ring's a rather recent bell.

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Post by Phil Nix » 25 May 2007 10:41

Michael Miller wrote:nickterry wrote:
2. SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Maximilian von Herff, SS-Personalhauptamtchef, died in British captivity, 6.9.1945, difficult to see what they could have charged him with.

That's true, considering all his duties- after a very late transfer from the Heer to the SS- were probably of a strictly administrative nature and that he most likely had no direct involvement in the "Final Solution". But just for the record, he was almost certainly "in the loop"/highly knowledgeable as to the full extent of the SS policy re: the Jews. Here's an excerpt from my biosketch of von Herff, which will appear in Volume II of "Leaders of the SS & German Police":

04.05.1943 - 16.05.1943 Inspection tour of the Generalgouvernement. On 12.05.1943, he visited various SS facilities, including KL-Lublin-Majdanek, SS-Arbeitslager (Sonderlager) Trawniki, and the SS garrison in Lublin. On 15.05.1943, he observed Jürgen Stroop's forces engaged in liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto. In an assessment of the SSPF in Lublin, Odilo Globocnik, prepared shortly after visiting that officer in Lublin, von Herff wrote:

“Little concerned about external appearance, fanatically obsessed with the task.... One of the best and most vigorous pioneers in the GG. Responsible, courageous, a man of action. His daredevil character often leads him to overstep the given limits and to forget the boundaries laid down within the Order [the SS], although not for reasons of personal ambition, but rather due to his obsession with the cause.” (Source: Bogdan Musial, The Origins of “Operation Reinhard”: The Decision-Making Process for the Mass Murder of the Jews in the Generalgouvernement, at http://www1.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Micr ... 203222.pdf ).
See also http://www.hdot.org/evidence/browning005.asp for details of letters from Globocnik to Herff in which promotions for "Aktion Reinhard(t)" functionaries are mentioned; I'm only assuming here, but it seems von Herff must have been informed as to the meaning of "Aktion Reinhard(t)" if Globus mentioned it at all.

~ Mike
It has always struck me as strange that Herff would be on the side of the political adherents in the SS leadership against Juttner's militaristic group, considering Herff's military background Here is my view of him for what it is worth
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nickterry
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Post by nickterry » 25 May 2007 17:05

steve248 wrote:All SS officers were subject to "automatic arrest" by the Allies so just because von Herff was in custody does not mean charges were being considered or brought. Like all the army generals and senior army officers. Internment without trial was the name of the game, avoiding possible resurgence. That ring's a rather recent bell.
True. Herff was of course placed in the senior-officer camp and was bugged along with the rest of them by CSDIC as I'm sure you know all too well Steve. :wink:
It has always struck me as strange that Herff would be on the side of the political adherents in the SS leadership against Juttner's militaristic group, considering Herff's military background


Hi Phil,

you should read the chapter in Gerald Fleming's Hitler and the Final Solution concerning the Herff-Franke-Gricksch visit to Auschwitz 'on inspection'. Herff made an unscheduled evaluation of Rudolf Hoess which is in the latter's personnel file. The overall trip to Poland encompassed the entire Generalgouvernement (as recorded in the ARC reproduction of the other F-G report), and Herff is mentioned as turning up at the headquarters of SSPF Warschau during the suppression of the ghetto uprising, this recorded in the Stroop report.

The last item alone would have gotten him interrogated extensively had he lived longer; though it is likely he would have escaped outright prosecution because there was no general SS trial and he did not fit into any of the WVHA-RuSHA-Ministries boxes (Cases IV, VIII, XI) that were constructed.

Incidentally, Herff let it be known while in British captivity that Juettner was engaged in black-marketeering of cognac.

:P

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Post by marino46 » 26 May 2007 17:09

Eddy Marz wrote:Höfle is in the foreground, facing the photographer, Michalsen stands just behind him.
And also Ernst Lerch on the right...

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Post by Eddy Marz » 26 May 2007 17:43

Thanks marino46
Eddy

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Post by Ship of Fools » 27 May 2007 16:54

Another one, which I dont see above
Wolfgang Kügler, head of the Liepaja SD, committed suicide in a West German jail on December 2, 1959
Obviously involved in the liepaja Aktion in Latvia

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Post by Johnny Blaze » 31 May 2007 19:26

Hermann Pister - last commandant of KL Buchenwald: sentenced to death on 12 August 1948, death from heart failure on 28 September 1948 in American custody

Otto Rasch - commander of Einsatzgruppe C, death on 1 November 1948 in American custody, was about to be one of main defendants in Einsatzgruppen trial

Edmund Pohlmann - kapo in KL Lublin, sentenced to death by Polish court on 29n November 1944, suicide on 2 December 1944 in Polish custody

Karl Westphal - WVHA official, suicide in American custody before beginning of Pohl Trial

Percy Treite - SS doctor in KL Ravensbruck, sentenced to death on 3 February 1947, suicide in British custody on 8 April 1947

Carmen Mory - SS doctor in KL Ravensbruck, sentenced to death on 3 February 1947,
suicide in British custody on 12 April 1947

Franz von Bodmann - SS doctor in KL Lublin, KL Neuengamme, KL Auschwitz - suicide on 25 May 1945 before capture

Otto Heidl - SS doctor in KL Stutthof, suicide on 11 October 1955 in West German custody before beginning of his trial

Werner Heyde - doctor who was heavily participating in Aktion T-4, suicide on 13 February 1964 in West German custody before beginning of his trial

Heinz Thilo - SS doctor in KL Auschwitz and KL Gross-Rosen - suicide on 20 November 1947 before capture

Adolf Winkelmann - SS doctor in Ravensbruck, death from heart failure on 1 February 1947 in British custody during Ravensbruck Trial

Stefan Baretzki - SS guard in KL Auschwitz, sentenced to life on 19 August 1965 during Auschwitz Frankfurt Trial, suicide on 21 June 1988 in West German prison hospital

Hans Bothmann - last commandant of Kulmhof death camp, suicide on 4 April 1946 in British captivity before trial

Arthur Roedl - commandant of KL Gross-Rosen, suicide on April 1945 before capture

Gustav Wagner - deputy commandant of Sobibor death camp, suicide on 1980 in Brazil before extradiction to West Germany

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