Monday, April 30, 2018

Dirlewanger to an SS Investigator on Poisoning of Jews

Author: Hans Metzner
In 1942, the SS Main Office "investigated" charges launched by the SD and the SS and Police court Cracow against Oskar Dirlewanger, the commander of the infamous SS penal unit Sonderkommando Dirlewanger, which included racial defilement, abuse of his own men, extortion, illegal hunting, illegal confiscations, illegal arrests and illegal killings in the Generalgouverment. 

During his interrogation of 1 September 1942, Dirlewanger explained to the SS court martial officer (Gerichtsoffizier) that the SD could not cope with the killing of the Jews caught violating Nazi regulations and that therefore in November 1941, the SS and Police Leader of the Lublin district Odilo Globocnik ordered they are to be handed over to Dirlewanger for execution. Initially, the Jews were just shot, but later they had to undress in a cellar under the pretense vaccination against typhus and were killed by injection of the poison strychnine. Their gold teeth were broken out to be used for the SS dental station and the clothes were provided to Russian POWs.

It is noteworthy that Dirlewanger tried within his sphere of influence and on a small scale what were to be basic elements of large scale Nazi mass extermination sites: disguise, poison and robbing of dead people.

"10. Poisoning of Jews

On the occasion of a comrade evening at Brigf. Globocnik around November 1941, the commander of the SD, SS-Sturmbannführer Müller, complained to the Brigadeführer that his officials were overburdened. According to another decree of the Generalgouverneur, Jews who were walking without an armband or who used the railway without permission or left the house without permission should be executed. Every day 50 Jews were brought to him and his officials were to write a record of each and would no longer be able to cope with their work. Then the Brigf. called me and in the presence of Sturmbannführer Müller, he ordered that the SD should transfer these Jews to me. I would know what to do with them. I confirmed that.

Initially, I had these Jews shot. But later, I was sorry that this ruined their clothes and that I could not use them to dress the POWs in a camp. Besides, I had noticed that the Jews carried a great deal of gold in their mouths, while for my SS men only Krupp steel was available for dental repairs. I wanted to remedy these mistakes by having the Jews injected with strychnine, which should result in immediate death.

I got the Jews into the basement and ordered them to undress. I told them they would be vaccinated against typhus. They were then injected with strychnine by the SS doctor and the teeth were broken out by SS-O'Scha Schur (sp?), the head of the SS and police hospital. The Jews died from the injection. They were buried the next day.

This helped the imprisoned Russians to work in the winter, and also provided the dental station at the SS and police hospital with gold. The clothes were picked up from me by SS-H'Stuf. Streibel, the camp leader of the prisoners' of war camp in Drawniki."
(interrogation of Dirlewanger of 1 September 1942, BArch R 58/7633, p.52-53, my translation; cf. Pauer-Studer, Velleman, "Weil ich nun mal ein Gereichtigkeitsfanatiker bin": Der Fall des SS-Richters Konrad Morgen, p. 109 on google books)

1 comment:

Nicholas Terry said...

Seeing the actual source on this incident makes the chronological context pop out strikingly - this was in response to the so-called 'Schiessbefehl' issued in October 1941 across the Government-General, decreeing the death penalty for Jews found outside their 'residential districts'.

It also chronologically coincides with the establishment of Belzec.