Cogs In The Killing Machine

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Without the assistance of others, the holocaust could never have occurred the way the did.  Below is small collection of individuals who was involved, one way or another in the persecution and extermination of men, women and children that the Nazis treated deemed a threat to the well being of the German nation.


Heinrich Himmler 

Heinrich Himmler was born on 7 October 1900 in Munich.  At the outset of the First World War, Himmler was too young to enlist and had to wait until his 17th birthday before being able to enrol into the 11th Bavarian Infantry as an officer cadet, but before he could see action, the war ended.  Afterwards, he studied in the Munich Technical College where he gained a diploma in agriculture. With the political upheaval in Bavaria, Himmler joined a right-wing paramilitary movement known as the Sturmabtellung (Storm Detachment) or SA. It was his activities within the SA that he came to the notice of Hitler, who made him business manager for the NSDAP (National Socialistsozialistische Deutsch Arbeiterpartei) in Bavaria.  In 1923, Himmler took part in the abortive Beer-Hall Putsch in Munich.  Though the party and the SA was banned, Himmler continued to be active in the movement as secretary to Gregor Strasser.  In 1925, he was appointed to be the Gauleiter for the lower area of Bavaria and the upper area a year later.  From 1925 to 1930, acted as the party's propaganda leader.  He married Margarete Boden in 1928, and they set up a small chicken farm near Munich, which became a failed enterprise.  By now, Himmler was dabbling in homeopathy. After Hitler's release from prison, the party was reformed and in 1929, Hitler appointed Himmler head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) which was still subordinate to Ernst Roehm's SA.  Himmler set about enlarging the membership and focused on making it an elite organisation within the Nazi movement.  Himmler instructed Reinhardt Heydrich to establish a secret security apparatus within the SS (Sicherheitsdienst or SD).  The SD soon had a large database of information on the party's hierarchy and civilians known to be hostile to the party.  

  After Hitler became Germany's Chancellor at the end of January 1933, Himmler was named as Munich's chief of police in Munich and as such, began to build the country's first concentration camp at Dachau to hold enemies of the state, real or imaginary On 20 April, 1934, he inherited Herman Goering's secret state police (the Prussian Gestapo). In June 1934, Himmler's SS, under Hitler's orders, swooped down on Ernst Roehm and other high ranking SA leaders.  False reports had been shown to Hitler that Roehm was planning a counter-revolution, this affair became known as the Night of the Long Knives.  As a reward for his loyalties, Hitler made the SS, under Himmler an independent organisation, answerable only to Hitler himself.  Himmler's powerbase increased still further in 1936, when Hitler gave him control over Germany's police forces. By now, Germany was awash with concentration camps where inmates were being brutalized.

When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Hitler made Himmler Reichskommissar fur die Festigung deutschen Volkstum (Reich Commissar for the Consolidation of German Nationhood).  After the German war machine ploughed victorious into neighbouring countries, Himmler expanded his concentration camp system into these occupied regions, as well as establishing ghettos where local Jews would be held prior to being shipped off to newly established death camps, such as Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz.  At the beginning of the war against Poland, and later the USSR, he had instructed Heydrich to establish Einsatzkommandos (special commandos) which would follow the Wehrmacht into those countries to be seized.  These commandos were tasked to identify and liquidate anyone deemed a threat to German occupation, i.e., the intelligentsia, Jews, Communists etc.  

Himmler also created an fully armed version of the SS (Waffen-SS) who would be used as elite German force of ideologues, who would fight alongside the Wehrmacht, and who would be used to combat partisan activities. 

On 25 August, 1943, Himmler was made Minister of the Interior alongside all his other offices.  This position gave him control over civil servants and the country's courts.  By the time of the July Plot (an attempt on Hitler's life on 20 July, 1944), Himmler had become the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany.  A day after the plot, he was given over command of Germany's Volkssturm (People's Army, similar to Britain's Home Guard, which was mainly made up of old men and members of the Hitler Youth). 

When Himmler realised all was over, and that Germany would lose the war, he approached Count Folke Bernadotte of Wisborg, to act as an intermediary between himself and the Western Allies.  He was willing to surrender the forces under his command, and free Jews from the concentration camps.  Himmler believed that the Allie would be able to come to terms with him, thereby keeping himself in power in a post-Hitler Germany.  Of course the Allies rejected such endeavours, and had his proposals broadcast on the BBC.  Hitler, on hearing on Himmler's betrayal flew into a rage, and stripped him from office, and ordered his arrest and execution, which could not be carried out.  After Hitler committed suicide in his bunker, and the German armed forces surrendered in May, 1945, Himmler, immediately shaved off his moustache, and placed a patch over one of his eyes and took the identity of a discharged Gestapo agent, by the name of Heinrich Hitzinger, in an attempt to try to avoid capture. 

He was arrested near Bremen,  by British soldiers because of his Gestapo papers, and taken to a nearby POW camp.  At this stage, he still hadn't been recognised, but for some reason, Himmler chose to reveal his true identity. 

But during a detailed medical examination, by a doctor at Luneberg, he bit into a cyanide capsule that he had hidden in his mouth, and died immediately.  

Reinhard Heydrich
Heydrich, Reinhard Tristran Eugen and The SD (Security Service). In June 1931, Reinhard Heydrich, a former naval communications officer who had been dismissed after a court martial found him guilty of having an affair with a young girl joined Himmler Black Order as a Sturmfurher and was tasked with organising an SS intelligence service to keep tabs on political opponents (known as Ic of the SS-Amt) The service was later renamed the Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuhrer-SS (Security Service of the Reichsfuhrer-SS), or the SD. In June 1932, Heydrich, now promoted to SS-Sturmbannfuhrer established his headquarters in Munich. After Hitler won power in January 1933, Heydrich set new sites and dramatically expanded the SD throughout the Reich. As soon as Himmler took over the Gestapo (security police), Heydrich, now a Brigadefuhrer set about reorganising it and placed handpicked SD men to learn all about the activities of the political police and gain valuable experience. In 1939, the SD was almost completely absorbed into the security police itself. Soon the SDs remit expanded to incorporate social, economic and religious matters. Detailed studies of communism and Judaism were made as well as a detailed list of so-called subversives. Other groups were added, such as religious sects and freemasons. During the early days of the war, Wehrmacht troops, whom detested the security policemen, shot a few that they had conveniently mistaken for resistance fighters. For their own protection, many of the SD men were instructed to wear the grey SS uniform, which had the SD symbol sewn onto the collar and sleeve and which had police shoulder straps. In 1940, Heydrich was elected to the presidency of the International Criminal Police Commission, in which he sought to establish a German system of espionage within other countries. He earned promotion again in 1941 when he was given the rank of Obergruppenfuehrer-SS. Soon his ghettos and concentration camps spread throughout occupied Europe.
On September 1941, Hitler made him Deputy Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia. On 20 January 1942, he informed other leading ministers of the Final Solution at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin. Heydrich had been chosen to administer the systematic destruction of Europes Jews as well as other undesirables.

In Czechoslovakia, Heydrich ruled with an iron fist that cost many Czech patriots their lives. On 27 May, 1942, three men from the Czech resistance were parachuted back into their country with assassination as their goal and Heydrich as their target. They attacked two days later, and Heydrich died of his wounds caused by the bomb that had been thrown at his staff car. At his funeral Hitler referred to him as a man with iron heart. The German reprisals were brutal and barbaric. An entire village (Lidice) in Czechoslovakia was destroyed. All the males 16 and over were shot and the children that the Germans believed could be Germanised were sent to families within the Reich as the remainder of the children and women were sent to their deaths within the Nazi concentration camp system. Heydrich was a sadist with a greet desire for power. Some of Hydrichs opponents within the Reich believed that he had Jewish blood running through his veins but could not, or feared not, to prove it.


Kurt Max Franz Daluege

Kurt Daluege (1897–1946) After World War I, Daluege joined a right wing paramilitary group known as 'Rossbach', and became an early member of the Nazi Party. He established the SA in Berlin and became a member of the SS. In1933 he became a member of the Reichstag and in 1936 was appointed as Chief of the Security Police within the Central Office of the SD. He was promoted to SS-Oberstgruppenführer (Colonel General) and was made 'Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia' after the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich. He was heavily involved in the murder and imprisonment of the citizens of the Czech town of Lidice as well as the town's destruction. He was extradited to Czechoslovakia after the war to stand trial for crimes committed against the Czech people. He was executed on the 24th October 1946.


Dr Karl Franz Friedrich Brandt

Born on 8 January, 1904 in an address in Mühlhausen, a city in the north-west of Thuringia, Germany, and hanged on the 2 June, 1948 after being found guilty of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Doctors Trial, which began on the 9 December, 1946.  Brandt had joined the NSDAP in February, 1932, and enrolled in the SA in February, 1933.  Brant had been the Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation, he was also given charge of the country's biological and chemical research institutions.   He held the rank of Major-general within Himmler's Waffen-SS, as well as one of Hitler's personal physicians.  He was also a member of Hitler's inner-circle.  In April 1945, Hitler dismissed Brandt from office after learning that he planned to surrender his family to the advancing Americans, and ordered a court martial take place.  The death sentence was imposed but he was saved when Heinrich Himmler intervened on his behalf.  Brandt had played a vital role within the state's T4 Euthanasia programme, and also sanctioned medical experiments to be undertaken on concentration camp inmates. 


Walter Funk 

Walter Funk (1890-1960) was a minister of economic within Hitler's Germany between 1937-1945.  Found guilty of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity and was sentenced to life imprisonment at Nuremberg on 1st October 1946.  He was freed in 1957 from Spandau prison in Berlin.


Hans Frank

Governor-General of Nazi controlled Poland, Hitler's personal lawyer who was also known as 'Frank II'.  He was responsible for thousands of Polish citizens being executed as well as helping to establish Nazi style ghettos thoughout occuppied Poland.  After the war he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg  and hanged on 16 Oct 1946


Ernst Kaltenbrunner

Kaltenbrunner (1993-1946) an Austrian National Socialist lawyer, and leader of the Austrian-SS, he was strong supporter of the anschluss with Germany in 1938.  After the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich, he became chief of the Reich Security Main Office in 1943. In 1944, he was given control of the Adwehr, Germany's main intelligence agency.  At the Nuremberg war crimes trials, he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was hanged on 16 October 1946.


Joseph Darnand
Founder of the French Milice, whose men had arrested several thousand of Frances Jews for deportation to the death camps in the east. Darnand was arrested after the war and stood trial for war crimes. Found guilty and was executed on 3 October 1945.

Julius Streicher
National Socialist politician. Widely known as an anti-Semite extremist. He founded the right wing, anti-Semite newspaper-Der Strumer. He preached death to all things Jewish even when the Jews were being exterminated in the death camps. After the war he was executed after being found guilty on count 4 (crimes against humanity).  His last words on the scaffold was Heil Hitler!

Father Yosef Tiso
Roman Catholic priest and former President of the Slovak Republic. Tried by a court in Bratislava, condemned to death and hanged. He had been the first Head of State allied to Germany, who sent his Jewish citizens to slave labour and death camps in German occupied Poland.

SS-Major Dieter Wisliceny
Responsible for the deportation of Jews from Slovakia, Greece and Hungry. Was executed in 1948

SS-General Oswald Pohl
Chief of the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office. Tried by an American tribunal in 1951. He organised the despatch to Germany of the personal possessions of Jews murdered in the death camps- including, clothing, gold teeth, wedding rings, jewellery, womens hair, etc. At his trial he told the court that everyone down to the lowest clerk knew what went on in the concentration camps.  He was sentenced to death and hanged.

Heinrich Schmitz:
Deputy Commander of the Gestapo in Lithuania. Brought to trial in Wiesbaden, West Germany in 1962. Committed suicide in his cell before sentence was passed.

Hans Stark:
Gestapo member. Found guilty on 41 separate occasions of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Hans was involved in the killing of over 200 camp inmates. He was sentenced to only 10 years imprisonment for his crimes.

Helmut Rauca
On 28 October 1941, Helmut helped to select more than 10,000 Kovno Jews for execution. After Germanys defeat, he fled to Canada. Charged in 1984 by a Toronto court with entering Canada under a false declaration and was extradited to West Germany.. Sent for trial in Frankfurt for the murder
of 11,500 Jews. Died in Hospital awaiting trial.


Victor Brack 

Brack was born in Haaren in 1904. After joining the NSDAP, he joined the SS, reaching the rank of colonel (SS-Standartenfuehrer).  He helped organise the building of the death camps within Poland, and was hanged in Landsberg Prison on 2 June, 1948, after being found guilty of crimes he had committed during the war.


Fritz Saukel 

Saukel (1894-1946) was the the Reich's plenipotentiary for labour mobilization (1942-1945).  He was hanged on 16 October 1946 after being found guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg.  








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