The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/08/28

The third (644-PS) 22 May 1933, relates to the death of
Louis Schloss, an inmate of Dachau. Attached to the letter
is a copy of a report of the autopsy conducted in the
Schloss case, signed by the examining physicians. The letter
of 22 May 1933, begins:

     "In the afternoon of 16 May 1933 the police station
     Dachau formed the State Prosecution that an inmate of
     the concentration camp Dachau, the merchant Louis
     Schloss, from Nurnberg widowed, born on 21 June 1889,
     has hanged him-self in, solitary confinement. At the
     request of the state prosecution, on the same day the
     legal inspection was performed with the assistance of
     the state court physician with the state Court Munich
     II. As it was proven that the corpse exhibited numerous
     whip marks and as the cause of death appeared doubtful,
     an autopsy was carried out on 17 May 1933., According
     to a preliminary certificate of the partici-
                                                  [Page 204]
     pating physicians, the autopsy did not prove death by
     hanging". (644-PS)

The preliminary opinion of the examining physician states:

     "Preliminary opinion:
     "I. The death through hanging could not be proven by
     "II. Extensive blood suffusions and whipmarks were
     found, particularly on the back, on the buttocks and on
     both arms, as well as on both legs, abdomen and thorax
     to a minor extent. In the region of the buttocks and
     shoulders extensive destruction of adipose tissue was
     found together with the blood suffusions. This is
     adequate to explain death through autointoxication and
     fat embolism." (644-PS)

The fourth (645-PS) 1 June 1933, relates to the death of
Sebastian Nefzger, another Dachau prisoner. The letter

     "On 27 May 1933, the following report was received by
     the Lower Court Dachau:
     "Concentration Camp Dachau, Political Division, 27 May
     1933, to the Lower Court Dachau. An inquest on the dead
     body of the prisoner Nefzger Sebastian merchant in
     Munich, Schommerstrasse 17/0, born: 10 January 1900 in
     Munich, religion: Catholic, marital status: married --
     showed that death through the action of third persons
     must be excluded. Death was indubitably caused by
     excessive bleeding-resulting from an opened artery of
     the left hand. Signed Dr. Nuernberg, Camp Physician.
     "Neither the Lower Court Dachau nor the State Attorney
     Munich II had up to that time been informed of
     Nefzger's death reported in the letter in spite of the
     fact that Nefzger had already died in the night of 25
     May 1933 to 26 May 1933. The Lower Court Dachau
     informed the State Attorney, Munich II of this letter.
     A coroner's inquest was ordered, which took place as
     late as 27 May 1933. Since the physician appointed by
     the Superior Court, doubted that death had occurred to
     excessive bleeding and in identified marks of strings
     on the victim's neck, a judicial autopsy was arranged
     by the State Attorney on 29 May 1933. The resulting
     opinion of the expert is so far: I) The autopsy
     discloses that excessive bleeding due to a cut on the
     left arm must be excluded as a cause of death: II) The
     cut on the left wrist reveals three incisions of the
     bone. Trial cuts are lacking. These findings are
     contrary to the assumption that the wound has been self-
     inflicted: III) It must be assumed that the cause of
     death was suffocation. As a cause for suffocation,
                                                  [Page 205]
     lation and throttling must be considered. The
     characteristics of the marks left by the strings do not
     agree with those otherwise observed in cases of death
     caused by hanging."

These four murders, committed within the short space of two
weeks in the Spring of 1933, each by different SS guards,
are but a few examples of SS activities in the camps eve as
early as 1933. Many similar examples from that period and
later periods could be produced.

Indeed, that sort of thing was officially encouraged.
Disciplinary Regulations for the Dachau Concentration Camp
were issued on 1 October 1933 by SS Fuehrer Eicke, who later
became commander of all the Death Head Units (778-PS). The
fourth paragraph of the introduction of those rules

     "Tolerance means weakness. In the light of this
     conception, punishment will be mercilessly handed out
     whenever the interests of the Fatherland warrant it.
     The fellow countryman who is decent but misled will
     never be affected by these regulations. But let it be a
     warning to the agitating politicians and intellectual
     provocators -- regardless of which kind -- be on guard
     not to be caught, for otherwise it will be your neck
     and you will be shut up according to your own methods."

So many inmates were killed "while trying to escape," to use
the pat official phrase, that by 1936 the Minister of
Justice was moved to appeal to Himmler to regulate the use
of firearms by the Death Head Units. A memorandum 9 March
1936, prepared by Minister of Justice Guertner, reads as

     "On the 2d of this month, using the Hoppe case as an
     illustration, I discussed the question of use of arms
     by the guard personnel of the concentration camp with
     the Reichsfuehrer SS. I suggested to Himmler that he
     issue an order on the use of arms for the officials
     subordinated to him. I referred in this respect to the
     example of the decree on the use of arms by the armed
     forces of 17 January of this year. Himmler has promised
     me that such a decree will be issued and will grant us
     participation in the preliminary work." (781-PS)

The memorandum bears the pencil notation, "Initiative with
Himmler". Subsequent events showed how Himmler carried out
this initiative.

b) Administration of concentration camps through SS
agencies. Furnishing guard personnel was not the only
function of the SS with relation to the camps. The entire
internal manage of the camps, including the use of
prisoners, their housing,

                                                  [Page 206]
clothing, sanitary conditions, the determination of their
right to live and the disposal of their remains, was
controlled by the SS. Such management was first vested in
the leader of the SS Death Head Units, who also had the
title of Inspector of the Concentration Camp. This official
was originally a part of the SS Main Office (SS Hauptamt),
represented on the chart by the second box from the left
(Chart Number 3).

During the course of the war, in March 1942, control of
concentration camps was transferred to another of the
departments of the SS Supreme Command, the SS Economic and
Administration Main Office (commonly known as WVHA). That
department is indicated on the chart by the third box from
the left (Chart Number 3).

That change was announced in a letter to Himmler 30 April
1942 from SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen SS
Pohl, the Chief of WVHA (R-129). In that letter Pohl
reported on the measures he had taken to carry out Himmler's
order of 3 March 1942 to transform the camps into large
scale economic enterprises, and inclosed an order to all
concentration camp commanders which provided that no longer
was there to be any limit on working hours in the camps. (R-

(c) SS control of concentration camps and the slave labor
program. This shift of control to WVHA coincided with the
change in the basic purposes of the concentration camps.
Political and security reasons, which previously had been
the grounds for confinement, were abandoned and the camps
were made to serve the Nazi slave labor program.

To satisfy the increased demands for manpower it was not
enough to work the inmates of the camp harder. More inmates
had to be obtained. Through its police arm, the SS was
prepared to satisfy this demand. On 17 December 1942 an
order was issued to all commanders of the Security Police
and SD directing that at least 35,000 prisoners qualified
for work be sent immediately to the concentration camps
(1063-D-PS). Thirty-five thousand prisoners was, of course,
merely the beginning. The SS dragnet was capable of catching
many more slaves. A directive to all the departments of the
SS Supreme Command signed by Himmler at his field
headquarters on 5 August 1943, ordered the collection of
men, women, and children for work in coal mines (744-PS).
This directive implements an order signed by Keitel
directing the use of all males captured in guerilla fighting
in the East for forced labor (744-PS). The Himmler
directive, it will be noted, is addressed to every main
office in the SS Supreme Command:

                                                  [Page 207]
     "Subject: Manpower for coal mining industry. Reference:
     Letter of the command staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS --
     journal No. Ia/1909/43 secret.                   Secret
      1.  Chief of the personal staff of Reichsfuehrer SS.
      2.  SS Main Office.
      3.  Reich security main office (RSHA).
      4.  Race and resettlement main office-SS.
      5.  Main office, ordinary police.
      6.  SS economic administrative main office.
      7.  SS personal main office.
      8.  Main office SS court.
      9.  SS Supreme Command -- Headquarters of the Waffen SS.
     10. Staff Headquarters of the Reichscommissar for the con-
         solidation of Germanism.
     11. Main office center for Racial Germans (Volksdeutsche
     12. Office of SS Obergruppenfuehrer Heissmeyer.
     13. Chief of the guerilla-fighting units.
     14. Higher SS and Police Leader Ostland.
     15. Higher SS and Police Leader Russia-Center.
     16. Higher SS and Police Leader Russia-South.
     17. Higher SS and Police Leader Northeast.
     18. Higher SS and Police Leader East.
     19. Higher SS and Police Leader Alpine territory.
     20. Higher SS and Police Leader-Serbia.
     21. Commissioner of the Reichsfuehrer SS for Croatia.
     "To figure 4 of the above-mentioned order, I order,
     that all young female prisoners, capable of work, are
     to be sent to Germany for work, through the agency of
     Reich Commissioner Sauckel.
     "Children, old women, and men are to be collected and
     employed in the women's and children's camps,
     established by me, on estates as well as on the border
     of the evacuated area." (744-PS)

In April 1944 the SS was called on to produce even more
laborers, this time 100,000 to be drawn from Hungarian Jews,
as shown by the minutes of Speer's discussion with Himmler
on 6 April 1944 and 7 April 1944. (R-124)

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