Documents on the deputy commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz,
Hans AumeierSource: PRO file WO.208/4661
LD. 1135 Stubaf Hans AUMEIER
PW was brought to this Centre for interrogation in connection with his activities as Schutzhaftlager- fuehrer (penal camp leader) in AUSCHWITZ between Jun 42 and May 43, and his service with the SS-Bau (constructional) Brigade and Organisation TODT of the 3. SS Panzer Corps in the area ORANIENBAUM-LENINGRAD.
PW is not prepared to admit the full extent of his own guilt in the mass executions carried out at Auschwitz during his tenure of Office, and blames these outrages on his superiors, especially HIMMLER and the Camp Commandant in AUSCHWITZ. Nevertheless, AUMEIER was willing to carry out himself and pass on to his subordinates orders for killings and other atrocities. In appearance he does not conform to the standards set by the Third Reich leaders for the Master Race. Undersized, ugly, and unintelligent, AUMEIER has resigned himself to being brought to account as a member of the AUSCHWITZ staff for the bestialities perpetrated there and to take the punishment due to him. PW has admitted to other prisoners that the information he has so far given of his activities represents only part of his story, and he is of the view that "if the Allies want to know any more let them find out."
II. PERSONAL HISTORY
PW AUMEIER was born in AMBERG in 1906, the son of a rifle-factory worker. He attended elementary school for 4 years and grammar school (Realschule) for 3 years. He worked as a fitter in a rifle factory in AMBERG from 1921 to 1925 and afterwards in another factory in MUNICH for a few months. He was then out of work and took temporary employment in various German towns, i.e. BERLIN, BREMEN, COLOGNE etc. In 1928 he returned to MUNICH and a ob which he soon lost, after which he was out of work until 1931. Soon afterwards he was employed as a driver by the Nazi Party (see para III, below). 11e married in 1931 and has one daughter, aged 14.
III. PARTY- AND SS-MEMBERSHIP
PW joined the Nazi Party in 1930 (Party No,: 164755) and the ordinary SS in Jul 1930. He was promoted as follows: -
His decorations include the 'Austria-Medal', the 'Sudeten-Medal', the 'Kriegsverdienstkreuz (War Service Cross) 2. class and 1, class', as well as the medals for 10 and 15 years Party membership.
His service in concentration camps was as follows: -
IV. PW's SERVICE IN DACHAU (15 Jan 34 - Apr 36)
He was posted to an SS Death's Head unit (Totenkopfsturmbann) at DACHAU in order to receive his 3 months' training and stayed on as instructor in the section for recruits. When he was promoted Untersturmfuehrer on 20 Apr 34 he was given command of this section in which capacity he served until Apr 36 when he was posted to the Totenkopfsturmbann OSTFRIESLAND and afterwards to the Sturmbann ELBE.
He maintains that, during his whole service at DACHAU, he had no contact whatever with the prisoners and that, therefore, he never committed any acts of murder or ill-treatment, but that he was employed solely on the training of new personnel outside the prisoner& compound.
V. PW's SERVICE IN AUSCHWITZ
PW was posted to AUSCHWITZ on 16 Feb 42 as chief of Dept. III, Schutzhaftlagerfuehrer (penal camp leader). Also subordinate to PW were Dept. III (a) (working parties) and the postal censorship. During PW's time at AUSCHWITZ, the Commandant was Obersturmbannfuehrer HOEHS. [sic. Rudolf Höss].
(b) Gas chamber executions
PW states that during his period at AUSCHWITZ between 15,000 and 18,000 people were done to death in the gas chambers. He denies responsibility, alleging that gassings were carried out by a special task-force under the command of Untersturmfuehrer HAESSLER who, together with the members of the task-force, was directly responsible to the Camp Commandant. PW also alleges that the force was supervised by Untersturmfuehrer GRABNER who received his orders directly from Obersturmbannfuehrer HILDEBRAND of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich security Department of HIMMLER and KALTENBRUNNER).
Contrary to PW's statements these gas chamber executions were not carried out by members of the task-force alone, but also by camp guards, i.e. Blockfuehrer and Kommandofuehrer who came under AUMEIER's direct command. PW says he witnessed these gassings on several occasions, sometimes together with the Camp Commandant, sometimes alone.
As was stated at the BELSEN trial (of accused who had formerly been employed at AUSCHWITZ) not only the medical officers at the Camp, but also certain members of the guard selected prisoners for the executions. PW AUMEIER denies this and maintains that this was the responsibility of the doctors, who on the arrival of new batches of prisoners, immediately picked out all those who were unable to perform heavy work. These unfortunates were taken at once by lorry to the gas-chambers and crematorium which were about 2 miles away from the camp. One arrival They were taken into a hut where they had to undress after which they were driven into the gas-chambers. They were told that they were to be disinfected, and, in fact, the word 'disinfection' was written on the a outside of the gas-chamber. Then the doors were closed and a member of the execution squad poured the gas into the chamber through a small opening at the top or side. The gas was Cyklon B which, PW states, led to death within half to one minute. On the following day the corpses were taken by lift to the actual crematorium and burnt, but not until other prisoners had been forced to remove gold teeth from the bodies, During the second half of PW's service at AUSCHWITZ, thee bodies of females had their hair cut off, but PW states that he does not know the reason for this. The gold of the teeth was collected by the camp dentist, and, as far as PW knows, sent to BERLIN.
(c) Ill-treatment of prisoners
The camp guards inside the compounds were under the direct command of PW AUMEIER, and it was these SS-men who were responsible for the ill-treatment meted out daring AUMEIER's period at the camp. AUMEIER admits that he gave detailed orders for the flogging of prisoners (which was carried out by specially selected 'privileged' prisoners) and that he and his men frequently used to hit prisoners in the face, but maintains that they only used their hands and fists. PW himself was present during most of these floggings. A great many prisoners were killed at AUSCHWITZ by members of the guard commanded by AUMEIER, quite apart from the mass-executions in gas-chambers. Although AUMEIER tries to shift responsibility for everything that happened on the Commandant, he admits that he interpreted the Commandant' s orders and passed them on to the men under his command. In many eases he took part in the carrying out of these orders. AUMEIER was the senior officer on the Commandant staff and the latter's Second in Command. During the Commandant's occasional absences, PW deputised for him, and on these occasions the mass-executions, the ill-treatment and wanton killings of prisoners at AUSCHWITZ were continued by PW AUMEIER in sole charge.
(d) Prisoners' living conditions and epidemics
PW admits that it was his responsibility to maintain order and discipline amongst the prisoners and to see to the cleanliness inside the compounds as well as to the prisoners' living quarters, their feedings, work, etc., etc. Thousands of prisoners died in AUSCHWITZ due to the appalling conditions, in which epidemics could not be avoided. Despite their inadequate rations, prisoners were forced to carry out heavy physical work, and, on many occasions, were done to death during work by the guards.
PW states that, as the result of epidemics, approximately 3,000 prisoners died at AUSCHWITZ from 'natural causes', but is not prepared to admit the number of people killed by his guards.
(e) Additional persons available as witnesses or accused
A number off SS-personnel at present held by PWIS (Norway) held positions at AUSCHWITZ under PW's command and have made written declarations which incriminate him for his activities there.
VI. PW's SERVICE WITH BAU (CONSTRUCTION BRIGADE 3 SS PANZER CORPS
In May 43 PW was posted to the Senior SS and Police Chief 'Ostland' Obergruppenfuehrer JECKELN, and was attached to the SS Construction Brigade of 5 SS Panzer Corps. This Brigade was building fortifications in the area ORANIENBAUM-LENINGRAD, and has under its command the OT (Organisation TODT) Oberbauleitung A, which belonged to the OT Einsatzgruppe 'Russland-Nord', commanded by Oberbaudirektor GIMPLE.
AUMEIER himself was in charge of the Jews from RUSSIA and LITHUANIA who were employed by this notorious unit. AUMEIER had about 7,000 Jews under his command who were quartered in several camps specially built by the OT in Northern RUSSIA and Northern ESTONIA. In this task PW was assisted by a Bn of Estonian Police, He denies that atrocities were committed against these Jews who were Russian and Lithuanian nationals and says they were treated well in every respect. As a result of the Red Army's advance LW had to evacuate his prisoners several times until thou were finally transported back to DANZIG-STUTTHOF concentration camp.
posted Monday, December 2, 2002