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Rabka Police School (Cont'd)

Appendices

Profile of SS-Untersturmfuher Wilhelm Rosenbaum[74]

Wilhelm Rosenbaum was born on April 27, 1915 in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. His father, Peter Rosenbaum, was a municipal worker at the central covered market at the Alexanderplatz. His mother died when Wilhelm was just one year old. The father re-married, which brought forth a stepbrother. Wilhelm Franz, born in 1910. He has been listed as missing since World War II. The second marriage was dissolved after three years.

In about 1917-18, his father married a third time. From this marriage comes another stepbrother, Kurt, born in 1919. He lives today in Freyburg.

Wilhelm had an unhappy childhood, experienced rejection, and had to stand on his own two feet at a relatively early age. He spent his childhood with father and stepmother in Berlin, in a 3-room apartment. Since this accommodation quickly proved insufficient, Wilhelm was found a place in a Catholic boarding school.

When he was six years old, he entered the “Volksschule”[75] (elementary school) until the age of 11 years. He then moved onto the “Realschule” (secondary school), where he dropped out after the third grade, at the age of 16 years. His school reports were poor. It was said, that this was due to bad, oppressing circumstances at home, holding back his development in every way.

His stepmother despised, beat, harassed and insulted him as well as his brother Franz. She looked upon them as “Polackenkinder” (Polish children); the women whom his father had married in the first and second marriages were “Hurenweiber” (whores). Wilhelm was addressed as “Tadrig”, Franz was addressed as “the big one”. Her favourite was her own child. The father was a weakling and did not dare to defend his two children, nor preserve the memory of his late wives from the stepmother. He was physically afraid of his third wife, and believed that she would eventually kill him. The stepmother died in 1955 in a state of psychological confusion.

The father put his two sons through military Prussian rules. He taught Wilhelm the piano and the violin; Franz had to learn the cello. Both boys were punished and whacked when mistakes occurred during practising. This is the way it also went for schoolwork, where the father acted as a private tutor. Whoever did not know his vowels or made spelling mistakes was beaten.

Eventually, Wilhelm could not stand this uncaring and unhappy childhood at home anymore. After his brother Franz had turned his back on his parents' house (following a suicide attempt in 1930), Wilhelm left his parents' house in October 1932; this was the end of his studies at the secondary school. After having lived for a short period in his own room in the city, he joined the SA sports school Prenden in November 1932. His apprenticship to NS had partly been accomplished, and was now in its final phase, where he would be groomed for higher office.

Wilhelm had already encountered a National Socialist leaning in the school. Some teachers at the secondary school were nationalists, German-nationals and against the republic. There was a particular group of teachers that was promoting co-operation within the Association for the Germanisation Abroad (VDA). Wilhelm also did his best to sell stickers and badges for the VDA. At the beginning of 1930, when he was 15 years old, he joined the NS Pupils League, comprising of approximately 25 pupils of the elementary school and led by a sympathetic teacher. They had a special “Wolfsangel” badge. As far as Wilhelm can remember, the NS Pupils League was particularly pushed and supported by the gym and vocal music teachers, who also propagated the VDA.

When Wilhelm joined the “Hitlerjugend” (Hitler youth),[76] in the autumn of 1930, he ended his membership and activities at the NS Ppupils League. From the period of his membership at the “Hitlerjugend”, he can remember that both he and his friends had to purchase uniforms and equipment on their own, which they did gradually with their hard-earned money. His parents did not mind him joining the National Socialist movement. They were, especially his father, German-Nationalist-minded.

The population in the Berlin suburbs where he lived was mainly communist; therefore, the National Socialists encountered firm rejection and the SA people did not have an easy task. (The German left-wing parties were all committed to a greater or lesser extent to a Marxist vision of things. This was, in comparison to National Socialism, a rational and well-articulated vision and that proved to be a weakness. Both Liberals and Marxists found it very difficult to arrive at an adequate analysis of the Nazi phenomenon).[77] Since there was an SA stormtrooper house close-by his parents' house, Wilhelm was able to observe confrontations that became violent. He felt, just like his brother Franz, that their political views were drawn towards the SA and National Socialism. On February 1, 1932, both brothers joined the Berlin SA Stormtroopers 2. This ended Wilhelm's membership of the “Hitlerjugend”. (The rise of National Socialism into a significant and eventually overwhelming mass movement occurred in the years between 1929 and 1933, and it was then that the seeds of the racial state were sown.)[78]

From November 28, 1932 until January 1, 1933, Wilhelm was active at the SA sports school at Prenden in Bernau. About 60-80 SA people had training in defence sports and pre-army practices.[79] Wilhelm was only called in for guarding, and as such, did not have anything to do with the defence sports.

Wilhelm actually wanted to join the “Reichswehr” (army of the Reich) and become a soldier. Following an interview, he was told that he was too weak and undeveloped; he was advised to re-apply in a year. On the February 6, 1933, Wilhelm went to Berlin-Doberritz for voluntary work. His work was comprised of agricultural labour, clearing hedges and gorses, etc. He was paid 0.25 RM a day.

On his 18th birthday, April 27, 1933, he was admitted to the NSDAP; his earlier request for admission had not been taken into consideration until then because of his age. He attended the “Reichsfurrerschule” (Führer school of the Reich) of the voluntary work service from May 9 until August 3, 1933. As this school was just in its developmental stages, he was only told to do excavations and similar jobs. Nethertheless, a certain training--of a military and political influence--took place.

Wilhelm applied for work with the German Work Front and was accepted on August 5, 1933; he dealt with the postal dispatch office and other menial tasks. From November 1, 1934, until September 1935, he served voluntarily with the “Reichswhr”, namely the 12th infantry-regiment Dessaue-Halberstadt. He has unpleasant memories of this period. The training was hard and the soldiers were often harassed and excessively put through the mill. He left the “Reichswehre” as a Lance Corporal.[80]

In October 1935, he was offered the opportunity to stay with the “Reichswehr” as a first-aid-man. He refused, as he was “fed-up” with the “Reichswehr”. His actual wish would have been to join the Guard Regiment in Berlin, which corresponded with the military splendour of his upbringing and longing. Nethertheless, his application was rejected.

With the assistance of the SA, Wilhelm found a job as clerk at the SS Head Office. Again he was given menial tasks, probably just within his capabilities. He remained there until the spring of 1936. On advice, he applied for, and was accepted by, the Head Office of the “Staatspolzei”, Berlin. He worked for Department 1 (Management and Law) as a police office clerk, where he registered reports of weaponry and confiscation issues. He had no decision-making authority.

Based upon his employment at the head Office of the security police, Wilhelm was taken on temporarily (on probation) by the SS on July 1, 1936, a critical time at the onset of Security Services amalgamations. At this time he recalls an SS Führer addressing him and his colleagues with the following words: “Listen, you have to join the SS; you cannot walk around in these SA uniforms anymore!”; as a result of which Wilhelm signed a preparatory application for admission to the SS.[81] Following the transfer, he had the SS rank of “Unterscharführer”; as he was already “Oberscharführer” with the SA, he was downgraded. He had to personally buy his SS uniform and to attend various meetings for training. His supervisory officer both from the police and the SS was “Obergruppenführer” Richard Heydrich. In July 1938, his SS status was confirmed. This appointment must have been beyond his wildest dreams.

Wilhelm had married Hedwig Bober in August, 1937; on June 22, 1938, their daughter Ellen was born. The marriage was not a success and they were divorced in 1940 by mutual consent.

With the outbreak of war against Poland, Rosenbaum, as a member of the SS, was transferred to the Inspector of the Security Police in Oppein.[82] He was issued a grey SS uniform of the “Oberschaführer” rank and joined the “Dr. Schafer” task force, which consisted of some 60-80 men.[83] This task force was commanded by SS Obersturmbannführer” Sens. This unit was to fight partisans and find “insurgents” and make them harmless. After a short stay in Oppein, the task force operated in Tschenstochau and then moved to Krakow. In Krakow, Rosenbaum was transferred to a Sipo-SD squad that had to shoot enemies of the Reich who had been condemned by court martial. The officer in charge was Sipo-SD SS Hauptsturmführer Hans Kruger.[84] Kruger, a ruthless and brutal man, obsessed with national socialist ideas, made an immediate impression on the 24-year-old Rosenbaum.

In early November, 1939, Rosenbaum was moved to the department of the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Police and Sipo-SD (BdS) in Krakow, whose leader was SS-Obergruppenführer Dr. Karl Eberhard Shongarth.[85] Under the direct leadership of Kruger (Schongarth's deputy), Rosenbaum and his squad were mobilised to force their way into Jewish homes to collect money and “contributions” from the Jews of Krakau.[86]

This was the first, but lasting, confrontation that Rosenbaum encountered with the “Jewish problem” after the invasion of Poland. So far, he was only influenced by the general anti-Jewish political agitation of the national socialists and had received an anti-Semitic education at home. He believed, based upon the brainwashing that he had received, that Judaism was ruling the entire world, explaining Hitler's war.

In December 1939, Rosenbaum was commissioned to take over the re-organisation of a school of the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Police (Sipo-SD) in Zakopane as “Wirtschaftsführer” (economic leader). The commandant of this school was the already-mentioned Hans Kruger.

In July 1940, while Rosenbaum was on holiday, the school was transferred from Zakopane to Bad Rabka. He received orders to terminate his leave and go directly to Bad Rabka to take over duties of SS Untersturmführer[87] and Police Secretary to the newly located school. He was now deputy to Hans Kruger. The Rosenbaum-Kruger administration was short lived. Transfers, promotions and sideways moves were numerous. Kruger was seconded to the office of Dr. Schongarth in Krakow; Rosenbaum took his place but without promotion.[88]

Rosenbaum was like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car when he was in the presence of Dr. Schongarth.[89] Rosenbaum idolised him and became literally absorbed by him, as he had been by Hans Kruger. Rosenbaum--not least because of his unlucky childhood--was longing for authority and a role model. Dr. Schongarth quickly turned into his Führer and father figure, to whom he submitted himself blindly and unconditionally. Therefore, he carried out his orders and directions automatically without giving it any thought; on top of that, he had the tendency to interpret every move, every remark and comment of Dr. Schongarth as an order. He made a diligent effort to receive a “good mark” and deserve credit with his Commander-in-Chief. His efforts to win favour from Dr. Schongarth lead to effeminate subservience. He read each wish from his superior's mouth, was hanging on every word, and served him blindly and zealously as soon as he came back to Bad Rabka.[90]

Rosenbaum did not always earn thanks and recognition. In spite of everything, he remained for Dr. Schongarth the “foolish kid” and “bootjack”.[91] Whenever Dr. Schongarth showed his dissatisfaction with him, e.g., criticising loudly that the served food was not enjoyable, the schnapps too warm etc., Rosenbaum was deeply hurt and depressed. When criticised, Rosenbaum always felt this to be an outrageous insult, had a self-pitying reaction, and immediately broke out in tears. The situation even reached the level of perversion in the sense that Rosenbaum considered being despised by Dr. Schongarth as an honour.[92]

After a bizarre incident, when Rosenbaum presented Dr. Schongarth with a brace of geese just to please him, there were terrible repercussions. Rosenbaum had mistakenly taken the geese from property belonging to the HSSPF. F.W. Kruger, who was informed of the incident. Rosenbaum received a tongue-lashing from Dr. Schongarth over the incident, sunk into further depths of depression, and cried on the shoulders of a comrade, SS Unterscharführer Kluck.[93]

All these humiliations did not result in Rosenbaum's breaking away from his inner fixations on Dr. Schongarth as a model and father figure. His idolatry would remain intact; until reasons led to their roads being separated. To outsiders, Rosenbaum, the small Untersturmführer, became someone respectable, as a personal confidant and indispensable aide and organiser. Dr. Schongarth, the benefactor, had made him a little god, and despised him at the same time.

In April 1941, Rosenbaum and his immediate staff were withdrawn from the school and seconded to Dr. Schongarth's office in Krakow. Rosenbaum was given the task of organising an officers club. He remained in Krakow until receiving orders in June 1941 to join the “Einsatzkommando” zbV of Dr. Schongarth,[94] with whom he remained, seeing service in Galicia, and returning to take charge of the Sipo-SD school in Rabka in the autumn of 1941.

It was between the autumn of 1941, and the spring of 1943 that Rosenbaum's murderous activities took place in Bad Rabka. In April 1943, there was an upheaval of Security personnel in Krakow. The Reichsführer SS, Himmler, disciplined a number of SS/Sipo-SD officers for theft of Jewish property. Schongarth was transferred to Greece, Hans Kruger to Paris, and Rosenbaum by the skin of his teeth escaped theft charges, but was moved sideways from Sipo-SD Führer of Sipo-SD school Rabka, to Krakow (BdS) Führer of Sipo-SD.

In August 1943, Rosenbaum married his then current woman friend from Bad Rabka, and shortly afterwards he was transferred to Salzburg. On January 2, 1945 he returned to Bad Rabka, to his former place of activity, as a participant in a Chief of Staff course. On February 3, 1945 this course had to be aborted due to the advance of the approaching front line. On April 20, 1945, he was promoted to “SS-Untersturmführer”.

When the war drew to a close in April 1945, Rosenbaum moved from Salzburg to Simmling, where he saw out the war. On the disbanding of the German military forces, Rosenbaum was employed as a transport manager for a farm co-operative in the eastern Zone, but after a few months he moved to Hamburg where he was employed as an insurance agent, private detective, and traveling salesman. In 1949, he settled to taking a sweet shop in Hamburg, and then moved into wholesale confectionery where he was very successful. The Rosenbaum business had a total annual turnover of approximately 1.3 million DM. His marriage was childless, but he adopted a nephew of his wife. In 1951, he travelled to Holland to seek out Pieter Menten, who owed him a share of the looted property from Galicia in the “Good Old Days”. Menten persuaded him to sit tight; he would get his share, but at the same time he also persuaded Rosenbaum, on a 50-50-share basis, to support a private prosecution for damages that Menten was taking against the West German government. Menten at that time was a free man, as his war crimes in the Stryj Valley and Lwow had not come to notice. Menten was suing the government for his arrest and detention by the SS prior to his expulsion from Krakow to the Netherlands in 1943. Menten won his case and received over $200,000 for his trouble. It is not known if Rosenbaum ever received a cent. Rosenbaum was arrested for War Crimes on the September 7, 1961. The trial dragged on until 1965, when he was given sixteen life sentences.[95]

Profile and End Game – Rosenbaum

Wilhelm Rosenbaum killed his victims based upon low motives, namely racial hatred and pure despotism to enjoy personal power. He regarded the Jews to be creatures of the lowest moral kind, “Untermenschen”.

Rosenbaum fully and uncritically adopted the opinion of the Sipo-SD and the conviction of his model Dr. Schongarth that the inferior race of Jews had to be exterminated. He believed he had to prove his suitability as Sipo-SD Führer of the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Police by co-operating with or without the actual order to deal with these “tasks”. This approach, and not the security considerations, persuaded him to carry out the killings. It was clear to Rosenbaum that Jews--as far as they were working in the school--had no legitimate claim to receive the same justified treatments as the German or Polish workers; he regarded them as “people material”, which he did not demolish out of a practical point of view when he needed them for work. They did not belong to the weak or unsuitable and therefore superfluous creatures, and were reminded with lashes of the whip and humiliations that the world in Bad Rabka was separated into the master race and inferior race.

Not only the surviving Jews, but also the Germans, recognised that Rosenbaum had been a “very small light” all his life and had to bear humiliations and disdain. His unimportant social position as well as his miserable human powers of expression were based upon his aggressive instinct, but he was powerful in Bad Rabka; the decision-maker about life and death, a “god”.

The products of this overwhelming lust for power were the barbaric tortures to which he subjected his victims; the climax of this voluntary power lust was the selections and executions. This also was as important for Rosenbaum as covering himself for his killings by the general orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Police. The feeling of the subaltern and anxious Rosenbaum to carry out the will of the leadership and receive the favour of Dr. Schongarth constituted the “green light” to act. Within the wide framework that Dr. Schongarth's order gave him, he could enjoy and exercise his own power.

The killing of Jews also represents the horrifying execution and other surrounding circumstances of murder--in all the cases, the victims were locked up for a while before the execution and left there without food or water, waiting death; the executions took place in a disgraceful way as the victims were forced to undress, or they were undressed and then were shot naked. This did not apply to the four members of the Rosenbaum family, who were dispatched around the corner of the school building fully clothed; the way the execution and other described modalities meet the sign of atrocity.

For the rest, there are circumstances in separate cases adding horrifying signs to the facts, such as the shooting of entire families where one member of the family had to experience the liquidation of the other ones; the killing of children before the eyes of their mother; the insult and blasphemy of victims at the sight of the grave. In all probability that the Rabka Jews had accepted the notion of what was awaiting them when they were called to the school.

It was certain that the “The Final Solution” embarked on by the Nazis was overpowering as far as the shooting of the Jewish men and women picked up by the General Government was concerned. Since the Barbarossa Campaign, it was the rule to punish with death those people who tried to escape and sabotage in order to frighten the others.

The overview of this whole miserable episode is that moral values were turned around such that it was a holy duty--although difficult to fulfil--to wipe the “Jewish race” off the earth. The normal feelings of morality and right were turned into “one's baser instincts” and into cowardice; instead of compassion for the victims, the complaint was made as to the weight of the historical task.[96]

Profile: SS Hauptsturmführer Hans Kruger[97]

Kruger had joined the SA in 1929, at the age of twenty. While growing up in his town of Poznan, he had seen the German-Polish “cultural struggle” firsthand; together with his parents, the Poles had expelled him in 1918. Kruger rose rapidly in the SA ranks. Instead of working in agriculture, for which he was specifically trained, he took over as leader of a SA “stormtroop unit”. Shortly after the Nazis seized power in January 1933, Kruger was soon active in “combating adversaries”, and was appointed head of the Political Section in the Oranienburg concentration camp. After the Rohm Purge in June 1934, and the subsequent disarming of the SA, he was also demoted, ending up as a section head in a labour office.

Kruger did not return to the Nazi apparatus until 1939, after screening by the HHE, and before joining the Sipo-SD as Gestapo official in his native Poznan, and then Krakow. Here, too, his Nazi fanaticism and brutal ruthlessness did not go unnoticed, and the Krakow KdS named him director of the Sipo Academy in the town of Zakopane. There he trained Ukrainians and others as future Sipo personnel; men whom he would later command in Stanislawow.[98] Particular emphasis was placed on training the “V” Agents who had been working for the Nazi state in adjoining foreign lands.

During Kruger's era in the Stanislowow district, from July 1941 until late 1942, the greatest mass murder anywhere in the General Government would be perpetrated. He was the first Sipo-SD-Führer to organise mass murders in the region while it was under Hungarian occupation. In the autumn of 1941, seizing the initiative before other Sipo-SD leaders, he proceeded to execute Jews in legally unclear situations, e.g., Jews or half-Jews apprehended without the obligatory armband. Elsewhere at that time such offences were still being penalised by fines. Kruger had other ideas, as we shall see.

Kruger's actions continued up until late 1942, when the Reich Auditor's Office (RAO) raided the Sipo-SD Stanislowow offices and seized a considerable amount of stolen property. The Political Secretary, who was responsible for the office, shot himself.[99]

Kruger himself ultimately brought about his own transfer and demotion by disclosing his murderous deeds to a Polish noblewoman under arrest. He was later charged with betraying secret information and transferred to Paris where he saw out the war.[100]

At the conclusion of the war, Kruger was detained by the Dutch authorities, and suspected of war crimes, but no evidence was forthcoming. He was released in 1948, and returned to his native Germany where he worked as a salesman until 1950, when he started his own company. He attempted to be reinstated into the Civil Service but this was denied, probably due to his past in the SD. Kruger made further attempts to gain respectability and acceptance in the “New Germany”, by applying to join the State Internal Security Agency (Verfassungsschutz) in North Rhine-Westphalia, but was unsuccessful.

Instead of burying himself in obscurity, where he would have been safer from subsequent investigation, Hans Kruger turned to politics and became the district managing director of the Free People's Party (FVP) in Munster, later switchng to the German Party (DP). From 1949 to 1956, he was state chairman of the Association of Former Germans from Berlin and Brandenburg, (Landsmannschaft Berlin-Mark Brandenburg), where he served as spokesman, a high-powered appointment that was his undoing. In 1954, Kruger was a candidate for the NRW state assembly, campaigning on behalf of the League of Eastern Expellees and Victims of Justice (Bund der Heimatvertrieben und Entrechteten), but again was unsuccessful.

Hans Kruger had also been on the periphery of the “ODESSA” (“Organisation Der Ehlemaligen SS - Angehorigen”--Organisation of Former Members of the SS/Sipo-SD). Better known through the writers of spy thrillers, Kruger was a supporter of this organisation, but preferred to stay within the New Germany. Up until his death he was a regular contributor to the Kammeraden of the Death's head insignia, attending anniversary meetings in the beer halls of Munich.

In 1959, Hans Kruger was eventually tracked down and arrested for alleged war crimes. No doubt his high profile over the preceding years had contributed to his demise. The State Prosecutor of Dortmund finally issued a formal indictment in October 1965. The subsequent trial lasted two years, during which he had not lost any of his antisemitism, which he displayed openly to the court. He was convicted, and later sentenced on May 6, 1968, to life imprisonment.

In 1976, Kruger, whilst in prison, was to receive unexpected visitors--detectives investigating the Menten case, which was at a crucial stage, requested to interview him regarding his association with Schongarth, Rosenbaum and Menten, concerning their activities in Galicia during the war. Kruger refused to see the detectives and stated that he had no interest in meeting them until the question of the “Breda Three” had been resolved.[101] The detectives came away empty-handed. In 1986, Hans Kruger was released from prison and retired to the Bavarian town of Wasserburg am Inn, where he died in 1988.[102]

Profile: SS-Brigaderführer Dr. Karl Eberhard Schongarth

Despite his appalling war record as the organiser of mass murder, Dr. Schongarth was indicted after the war on a single charge of murdering an Allied Air force pilot who had been shot down over Holland. He was sentenced to death and hanged by British Military Court at Enschede on February 11, 1946.

A former professor of law at the Leibnitz University and then the Standartenführe SS of the Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo), an arm of the Gestapo,[103] Dr. Schongarth was an organiser of mass slaughter. After the tragedy of Germany in World War I, he had joined Hitler's NSDAP as an officer in the Geheime Statspolizei, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and later, the Gestapo. He had married a schoolteacher two years his senior and regularly attended the Evangelist Church before Himmler assigned him to the General Government as Befehslshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD (Commander of the Sipo-SD).

To most people, the Sipo-SD was the power behind the throne and a despised and hated section of the Security Services.[104] They stood out and were referred to as the “black power”. In occupied Poland and Ukraine it had become an unyielding octopus, with its tentacles reaching out to the innermost parts of the occupied territories. The Sipo-SD home office in Berlin was an integral part of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office), usually known by its acronym RSHA.

Very few of the Sipo-SD in Galicia ever wore black uniforms, but Sipo-SD membership was signified by black accents: a black tie, black insignia patches, and a black rhombus on the left sleeve, with the silver letters “SD.” With a few alterations, uniforms were regular Wehrmacht: field mouse grey, the same as that of the Waffen SS. The shirt was yellowish, indicating Nazi Party affiliation. The telltale mark of the Sipo-SD was the high-brimmed cap bearing the death's-head insignia. The ranks of the Sipo-SD were the same as those of the SS, except that the Sipo-SD-men did not wear the SS-rune insignia, but rather the death's head or the letters “SD”.[105]

The Sipo-SD was able to always keep ahead of their military partners, as their transfers and general movement within the Reich were far less frequent. The turnover of troops and administrative officers of other sections of the military was more rapid. If at all possible, this was prevented within the SD, and for that reason the same leaders stayed in the same location. As a result, the SD was well ahead of everyone else in the knowledge of material and information about individuals. Within the confines of Barbarossa, it was the only stable arm of the military in Galicia, which was commanded by Dr. Schongarth.

Dr. Schongarth was characterised by an outstanding, fast intellectual grasp, willpower, and an impressive appearance. He was a bulky figure, imposing respect and obedience; he was energetic, very lively, a regular drinker, and not without a sense of humour. He enjoyed “beating up” his men without any reason and using drastic expressions. These outbursts were not always meant seriously, but more often accompanied by a “winking of an eye”.

Dr. Schongarth's high position within HHE security hierarchy of the General Government and his political approach led his Chief of the RSHA, Heydrich, to have him present at Wannsee where the “Final Solution” of the “Jewish Question” was discussed.

At this conference of the SD-SS and Civil chiefs in January 1942, he had been an annoying advocate of bureaucratic terminology. Einsatzgruppen were to carry out actionen (actions), either through Aussiedlung (resettlement), Sauberung (cleansing), Sonderbehandlung (special treatment), Asschaltung (elimination), or Exekutivmassnahme (executive measure). These terms were used to create the illusion of normal practices, not genocide.[106] Dr Schongarth was a fanatic enemy of the Jews, believed their genocide to be necessary, and wanted to harden his Sipo SD Führers with the necessary steel “hardness”. The sample execution in Lwow,[107] which I will refer to later, served this purpose.[108]

A long-standing friend and confidant of Dr. Schongarth would later testify convincingly (in the trial of Rosenbaum) that the normally vital, earthy and calm Dr. Schongarth became stiff and fanatic when he (the friend) once directed the conversation towards the “Jewish question” and asked what was actually “going on” on that score. Dr Schongarth sat nervously on the couch and answered briefly with a grim and energetic determination “it has to be done”.[109]

Besides, Dr. Schongarth did not lack any toughness and brutality as to the annihilation of people whose right for living conflicted with the national socialist doctrine. He thus participated in the genocide of the Polish intelligentsia, as he had the Polish Professors murdered in Lwow.

Although Dr. Schongarth became enmeshed in a serious war with his superiors--especially with his Higher SS and Police Führer (HSSPP) F.W. Kruger, and with the “Reichsführer” (RFSS) Himmler, who eventually took care of Dr. Schongarth's degradation and transfer to Greece and finally to Holland where he was the Commander of the SIPO and SD, and deputy to Obergruppenführer Rauter--Hitler considered him to be full of loyalty and zeal for his ideas.

Schongarth's demise had been sealed when on August 10, 1943, RFSS SS Himmler issued his directive concerning the fate of English and American captured airman: “It is not the task of the police to interfere in clashes between German and English and American fliers who have bailed out.”[110] This order was transmitted on the same day by SS Obersturmbannführer Brand of Himmler's personal staff, to all Senior Executives SS and Police Officers with the following directions: “I am sending you the enclosed order with the request that the Chief of the Regular Police and of the Security Police be informed. They are to make this instruction known to their subordinate officers verbally.”[111] The whole question of POWs was taken out of control of the army and placed in the hands of Himmler and the SS.[112]

Dr. Eberhard Schongarth died as he had lived, by the “sword”. His death was by the sword of justice, enacted in the British-zone city of Burgsteinfurt (Germany) where he was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of the unknown airman.[113] The sentence was confirmed by the British Military Court penal establishment at Hameln, where he was executed by hanging.[114] On November 21, 1944, the crew of an Allied bomber had bailed out near Enschede in Holland. One of the crew dropped in the grounds of a villa outside the town, which was the local HQ of the German Security Services (SS/SD).[115] The airman (estimated age 26 years), who was apparently unhurt, was taken by the SS to the cellar of the villa, where he was kept under guard while arrangements were made for his disposal. These arrangements consisted of the removal of his flying kit, and the substitution of a civilian light-coloured shirt, a pair of dark trousers, and a pair of socks.

In this dress he was put into a security vehicle, his hands handcuffed behind his back, and taken some distance in the grounds of the SS HQ to a spot within the compound where a grave had already been prepared. The airman was marched from the car by an escort of two SS men, one of whom dropped back and shot the airman in the back of the neck. He was buried and the grave was carefully camouflaged.

To this day, the airman's identity has not been established. It was assumed that he was British or American, most probably American, as the trousers he was wearing were of a dark shade of khaki, and the fact that when he was informed in the car, in English, that he was to be executed, he made an indistinct reply in which the word “America” was uttered.[116]

The murder of this airman came to light immediately after the war, as the result of testimony from two Dutch political prisoners who were employed at the SS/SD HQ. They witnessed the airman falling to the ground, saw the airman in the cellar of the HQ, and witnessed the airman's transfer from the cellar to the grave where he was shot. The Dutch witnesses also confirmed the presence of Schongarth and several other SD/SS who were present at the time.[117] On his arrest, Schongarth denied complicity in the murder throughout. It was clear from the evidence of the co-accused that Schongarth was implicated and had in fact given the order to execute the airman. It was also established that Schongarth was attending a conference at the SS/SD HQ, which turned into a drinking party with reminiscences of “days gone by” in Krakow and Lwow during the Barbarossa campaign.

During the Schongarth trial, the persona of Pieter Menten surfaced.[118] In a letter to his wife written by Schongarth before his execution, there was a request that Pieter Menten be informed and reminded that he (Schongarth) had done him many favours in the past. There was a request from Schongarth that Menten now repay this debt by looking to the welfare of Mrs. Schongarth and their children.[119]

The Army investigators were anxious to identify the subject Peter (Pieter) Menten, as to his possible implication in war crimes. Enquiries were made, with the result that he was traced and identified as a man of Dutch nationality, engaged in art dealing and residing in Aardenhout, Holland. It was established that Pieter Menten had been arrested for “collaboration” and sentenced to 8 months imprisonment (the time in custody) and then released. There were no other charges pending. The report also confirmed that Menten had previously resided in Eastern Poland where he had a large forest estate, and that he had resided in Krakow where he had become friendly with Dr. Schongarth. This purported personal friendship continued during Schongarth's service in Holland. Otherwise there was nothing to report.[120] However, shortly after liberation, Dutch investigators acted on other information and arrested Menten. When they searched his house, the investigators found incriminating evidence of collaboration with the Nazis, together with a photograph showing Menten in the uniform of an SS Unterscharführer. This was enough to detain him in custody. Now the investigators were anxious to interview Schongarth.

After being sentenced, Schongarth was returned to Holland to assist in other enquiries that were gathering pace at that time, particularly in respect to Pieter Menten who was also languishing in jail. A Dutch war crimes investigator interviewed Schongarth in the Dutch prison.[121] Immediately Schongarth was shown a photograph that had been found in Menten's house. Schongarth looked at the photograph and said: “That is Pieter Menten! How is he?” During the course of the next few hours Schongarth openly talked about Menten and the activities of zbV in Krakow and Lwow. When asked by the investigator (Izendorn) if what he had told him was the truth, Schongarth replied, “you know, I have only three weeks to live. That's the whole truth”. Izendorn then requested that Schongarth sign the back of the “Menten photograph” and the officers' notes, which he did.[122]

It is of note that Schongarth was charged and executed for the one single act of murdering the airman on November 21, 1944. For all his other crimes committed in Galicia, which are too numerous to account, and include the ordering of the execution of 260 Dutch hostages after an unsuccessful attempt had been made on the life of his immediate chief, SS Gruppenführer Hans Albin Rauter that same year,[123] justice was seen to be done.[124]

Reference has been made in this paper of the uncompromising stance that Schongarth took when it came to the execution of the Jews in Lwow by officers under his command--that any SS officer would be shot for failing to carry out an order of execution, and that he would back any officer who shot his comrade for this failure. It is interesting to note, and in some way corroborates this attitude, that when the grave of the airman was exhumed, three other corpses were found in graves nearby. All these three corpses had ropes around their necks, as opposed to that of the airman, who had a bullet wound in the head. The three corpses were identified as SS/SD officers; one of them named as SS Hauptsturmführer Peter Bell.[125] We may assume, with some certainty, that these corpses had been the subject of an SS hanging party, but for what offences, it has not been ascertained.


Footnotes

  1. In December 1941, during the evacuation of the Riga ghetto, the 81-year-old historian Simon Dubnow was shot. The story is told that Dubnow's last words were an admonition to his fellow Jews: "Write and record!" It was a phrase written on walls and scraps of paper in a last desperate act of defiance when the victims saw their immediate demise. These "last gasps" can be found (and were witnessed by the author) in many locations, including the Sipo- SD School at Rabka, Poland, Fort IX, Kovno, Lithuania and in the last transport bringing the Jewish workers of the "death brigade" from Be³¿ec to Sobibór, where they were all shot on arrival.
  2. Back

  3. Much of the source documentation referred to within this paper (the trial of Wilhelm Rosenbaum) may be seen in the following: Der Leitende Oberstaatsanwalt bei dem Landgericht – Hamburg 141 Js 856/61 (StA Hamburg 141 Js 856/61), which contain trial statements of the defendant and witnesses from the initial trial. The material consulted here is from Yad Vashem file TR10/1154, For Appeal Court Judgment Judgment, 15 August 1968, Hamburg District Court, Jury Court ({50} 21/67), in the case of Wilhelm Karl Johannes Rosenbaum, born 27 April 1915 indicted on 18 counts of murder (RAD). Back
  4. Polish intelligentsia, particularly those Poles who had taken part in the referendum held in Silesia after the First World War and voted against Germany. Strechenbach and his Einsatzgruppen then turned their attention to the Jews before moving on to the town of Jaroslav. (Bruno Strechenbach later served on the Russian front where he was captured. He was tried by the Russians after the war and sentenced to a period of imprisonment. On his release, well after the war, he was closely questioned on the Nazi leaders' orders for the implementation of the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question"). Nowy Targ was assigned to the Third Company of EG, commanded by Dr. E. Hasselberger. See Rabka and District Memorial Book, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC. Back
  5. Ibid. Back
  6. Ibid. The Leader of the Judenrat in Zakopane, Dr.Statter, was truly one of the most respected leaders of any Jewish Community. The final document of the Zakopane Judenrat is dated August 14, 1942, notes the final action of the Judenrat. Back
  7. Rabka Memorial Book. Back
  8. Ibid. Back
  9. After the war, both Weissmann and Samish were tried for war crimes in the town of Frieburg, Germany. The trial lasted for 5 months. Many of the prosecution witnesses fainted in the course of giving detailed evidence of the murders and other crimes. Weissmann was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for having taken part in the murder of 111 Jews. Back
  10. The Mauer brothers were to serve with Hans Kruger in Stanilslawow. Back
  11. One of the training priorities was of the "V"-Agents. Back
  12. In the District of Neumarkt (Nowy Targ) Krakow. Shown on present day maps as Nowy Sachs. Back
  13. At the end of July and early August, 1941. Back
  14. Rosenbaum had obviously not endeared himself to Schongarth while in the Lwow expedition, and it would appear that the relationship between these two had not improved. Rosenbaum, in Schongarth's eyes was still a "bootjack" and "foolish kid". Back
  15. The Mauer brothers had previously done this job, but had left Bad Rabka to join Hans Kruger and never returned. Back
  16. Wiesenthal, S. The Murderers Amongst Us, London. Wiesenthal tracked down Proch in 1947 in Blomberg, a village near Salzburg. Proch was subsequently sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for his activities in the Rabka School.

    Oder, also Austrian, was arrested in Linz, residing in a large villa that he had requisitioned from a former Jewish owner. After his release by the Americans, Oder became a prosperous businessman in Linz. At that time (1947) Wilhelm Rosenbaum was at the top of the Wiesenthal wanted list. Back

  17. RAD: Testimony of Michael Ettinger. Interviewed by author in Haifa, in 1992. Back
  18. Hans Kruger brought Hella Baumann from Zakopane to Rabka where she worked as his maid. She was awaiting orders to move with Kruger to Stanislawow, but was shot by the SS when the Rabka Jews were killed, much against Kruger's wishes. Hella Baumann was a close friend of Sarah Schon. Interviews with author: Mark Goldfinger (London, January 1998) and Sarah Schon, nee Goldfinger (Israel, October 1997). Back
  19. StA H 41 Js 856/62: Testimony of Dr. Kurt Neiding, Wiesbaden, 24 January 1962, 765-776. There are eight mass graves in the Nowy Targ cemetery, which the Polish authorities subsequently surrounded with a wire fence. Only a small tablet tells the story of the atrocities that took place there. The local Jewish Council, set up after the war, was to have built an adequate monument, but the Poles murdered its chairman and other Jews. Back
  20. Rabka and District Memorial Book. After the war, the surviving Jews made every effort to recover these tombstones, but only a comparative few were recovered. These were used to cover the mass graves in the execution area in the woods behind school. There are as many as a hundred broken stones still at the school where the inscriptions can bee seen. The author photographed a number of these stones in 1996. Back
  21. RAD: D1-V (evidence in general). There were specially designed courses for those doing emergency service, i.e., Waffen-SS. SS UnterscharFührer Wilhelm Oder was in charge of this course. Although Oder was on Rosenbaum's staff, he was directly answerable to Dr Schongarth (BdS) Krakow. He was at the Rabka School from autumn 1941 until March 1943, when Rosenbaum was removed. Oder did much of the killing as an example to his student conscripts. Oder was an expert in the "shot in the neck" technique. He would show his students how to do this, using his pistol, a Walther PPK, calibre 765, shooting Jews at a distance of 10-20 centimetres. Also used were a various assortment of machine pistols. SS HauptsturmFührer Walter Proch was also one of the main instructors at school, and like Oder, trained the conscripts in the art of killing and torture. He personally shot many individual Jews in school. He also shot a Jew in the street of Rabka because he had a beard. Proch shot many people single-handedly during operations. (Rosenbaum Appeal Dcocuments (RAD): statement of Rosenbaum and the Jews Aszer Blatt and Grossbarth). Blatt was a witness to the following: SS HauptsturmFührer Walter Proch 1942-3 Gestapo officer at the Rabka School, shot 6 people for no apparent reason; in 1942, from the transport of Jews from Nowy Sachs, he shot 6 Jews while they were washing, and a further 2 for no apparent reason; on the same day he shot up to 50 Jews in the Rabka "action". Blatt personally saw Proch hang a Jewish family who were U.S. citizens in the woods at school. Rosenbaum corroborates this, but states it was not Proch but the GPK from Zakopane--Rosenbaum offered many excuses and alternatives to allegations in order to divert blame and responsibility. This was not unusual and was known as the "defensive lie" by the courts. Back
  22. StA H/ Js 856/61:Testimony of Dr. Kurt Neiding. Back
  23. Rabka and District Memorial Book. Back
  24. Ibid. Back
  25. A part of the Jewish workers in school were transported at the end of 1942/spring 1943, and in September 1943 were sent to Plaszow Concentration camp. The labour camp of Bad Rabka was then closed down. Back
  26. RAD: The observations are based upon the statements of (non Jews) Dr. Bath, Hans Kruger, Meta Kuck, Elfiede Bohnert, Dr. Hann, Draheim, Oder, Dr. Neidling, and Alfred Kuck. Back
  27. Ibid. Back
  28. Ibid. The behaviour of Rosenbaum towards friends and subordinates are described in statements of: (non Jews) Alfred Kuck, Ilse Raemisch, Dittmar, Draheim, Muller, Czakainski and Bohnert. Back
  29. RAD: witnesses; Derschowitz, Kolber, Alexander Lustig, Dattner, Ettinger, Farber, Form, Lonker and Susskind. Rosenbaum wore an SS ring (scull and crossbones) from which two spikes protruded as if they were large teeth, or perhaps the eye-sockets. Back
  30. RAD: witnesses, Schon, Ettinger and Goldfinger. Abuses committed by Rosenbaum on his Jewish workers, Sara Schon and Ada Rawicz. As domestics they used the current NS newspaper "Der Sturmer" to clean the windows. Rosenbaum threatened to shoot them unless it was replaced. Both women were brutally beaten. The Jew Dattner, who replaced someone who was ill, was beaten and knocked down the stairs. Rosenbaum hit him with a rod covered with nails. Rosenbaum threw a chair out of a window onto the head of Paul Beck's son, who was standing in front of the building. The Jew Ettinger was threatened with shooting and brutally beaten for not cleaning a coach. Ettinger was again threatened by Rosenbaum with shooting for extinguishing a small fire during an SS drunken evening; Hans Kruger saved him. The Jewess Sally Huppert (nee Sally Peller) was beaten and abused for not wearing her armband. The Jewess Schon was chased by Rosenbaum, who was holding his pistol and about to shoot her. She had removed a work of art to prevent it from being damaged during a drunken shooting spree in the villa. Rosenbaum beat up a small Jewish boy named Staschek for no apparent reason; he was working on the central heating system and Rosenbaum didn't like the mess. Rosenbaum beat up a local cafe owner (a Volksdeutsche) because the bill was too high (accused admission to the court). In addition, statements from a number of witnesses corroborate Rosenbaum's attitude and actions towards his Jews. Back
  31. Many witnesses to the activities and actions in the Rabka School had lived all their lives in the Rabka District or had moved there during the First World War. Based upon the evidence of the Jew Kestenbaum, who kept the notes of his father about the killing of the Rabka inhabitants, three big actions took place against the local Jews. We are able to determine confidently on what dates these actions took place. Further corroboration comes from other witnesses. Back
  32. Enquiries by the author in 1997, at the Auschwitz Museum have failed to corroborate this. Back
  33. Rabka and District Memorial Book, for the town of Makov Podhalanski Back
  34. "Soviet Government Statements on Nazi Atrocities", Hutchinson-London 1946, pp. 19-20. (Report signed by Molotov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Moscow, 6.1.42) Back
  35. Ibid. Back
  36. Ibid. Although the Soviet statements must be treated with care, I have no reason to challenge their statements with respect to the shooting of children. There is independent evidence that corroborates similar actions perpetrated in the occupied areas and training methods as recorded in the Rabka SD-Sipo School. Back
  37. The conscripted students used the new shooting range that Rosenbaum had built in the school. Several witnesses declared that Rosenbaum hacked hands and feet off Jewish children, then ordered the children tied to trees and proceeded to shoot these atrociously tortured human targets himself. See Hans Knoop, The Menten Affair (Robson Books, London 1979), p. 46. Back
  38. The author has seen this cellar and bunker. According to Mark Goldfinger, up until three years ago, writing in Yiddish could still be seen. This was verified to the author by the present secretary of the school. Back
  39. RAD: statements of the Jews Derschowitz, Kolber, Dattner, and Goodrich. In Police jargon "clink" means cell, or jail detention. Back
  40. Ibid. Back
  41. Ibid. Statements of the Jews Form, Goodrich, Derschowitz, Kolba, Mendel, Lustig, Kestenbaum, Gold, Frolich, Farber, Susskind, Statter, Steiner, Kalfus, Grossbard, Lonker, and Zwi Schiffeldrin. Back
  42. Interview of Mark Goldfinger and Sarah Schon by the author, June 1997, Israel and London. A few days after the murder of Mrs Kranz, Sarah Schon identified her grandmother's dress that had arrived in the laundry room for processing. She recognised the dress as the one worn by her grandmother on the Sabbath days. Back
  43. Rosenbaum made it his policy to obtain Schongarth's approval for all his actions. Back
  44. RAD: the Jews Grun and Regina Weiss. Back
  45. Several Jews were able to escape unnoticed with the help of the Jewish Employment Office by marking up cards marked "dead", which were destroyed by the German authorities. Back
  46. Mishana Dolne was nearer to Rabka but was under the jurisdiction of the Nowy Sachs Gestapo. Where Rosenbaum chose his execution place of the Rabka School, Hamann chose the village of Mishana Dolne for his executions. He demanded that the Judenrat collect an exorbitant amount of money to stop the deportations. When the Judenrat could not pay, Hamann gathered over 800 Jews in the square and murdered them. Hamann, after the war, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the Mishana Dolne murders Back
  47. RAD: On this transport from Nowy Sachs were the Jews Statter, Derschowitz, Henry Frolich, Joseph Grossbard, Alexander Lustig, Mendel Lustig, Kolber, Appel, Farber, Stammberger, Steiner, Lonker, Sammy Frolich (brother of Henry), Zwickler, Einhorn, Wenger, Wolkowitz, Kauffer, Buxbaum, Gutwirt, Kalman, Tiefenbrunner, Wildfeuer, Wildstein, and Schermer. Back
  48. Ibid. Back
  49. Rabka Memorial Book. Burying Jews alive was also practiced in Jordanow. Back
  50. Ibid. Back
  51. Ibid. In July 1942, the SS/SD found it easier to kill Jews on the spot, rather than take them on transports. The SS/SD commanded by Weissmann's deputy, Richard Samish, rounded up 39 Jews and took them to the local abattoir and murdered them. Many others were either taken to Nowy Targ, or to the local prison, where they were shot. This action was on the direct orders of the Commander of Police, in Krakow, Scherner. Back
  52. Ibid. Here, too, Richard Samish shot the parents of Ignacy Goldman. Ignacy and his sister were taken for labour in Nowy Targ. At the Frieberg trials, Samish was indicted for the shooting of a 6 year old girl--after a roundup he ordered the girl to pick a flower, as she bent over, he shot her. In the testimony of one witness, after the killings, the SS would return to their houses and play on the piano the works of Beethoven, Bach and other musical advocates of humanism. Back
  53. Ibid. Back
  54. Ibid. A witness to the destruction of the Jews of Nowy Targ who gave evidence at the Post War Frieberg Trial was Marian Dralich. Another witness and survivor who did not give evidence was David Grassgreen. Grassgreen survived the slaughter by his personal knowledge of a pathway from the cemetery, and escaped to the forest and then Slovakia. After the war Grassgreen returned to Poland and was killed by Poles. Back
  55. Ibid. Back
  56. Ibid. 16,000 Jews were deported from this region to Belzec. Back
  57. RAD: Testimony of the witness Gold. Back
  58. Among them were the Jews Form, Susskind, Goodrich, Kalfus, and others. Back
  59. Ibid. Statement of the Jew Form. Back
  60. Ibid. Back
  61. Ibid. Statements of Form, Goodrich, Derschowitz, Kolber, M, Lustig, Kestenbaum, Dattner, Ettinger, Zollmann, and Grossbard. Back
  62. German Reprisals, Polish Underground and Movement Study Trust, London, 1988, p. 17. 1, 25 October 1941. Order issued by the German Governor General H. Frank, dated 15 October 1941. "To apply in the General Government: Jews leaving the areas assigned to them will be punished by death, and so will anyone concealing a Jew." (SPP-3.18.1). Back
  63. Memorial Book for Rabka: statement of Frania Tiger. Back
  64. Ibid. Statement of Hirsch Schiffeldrin. Back
  65. Ibid. Statement of the Jew Goodrich. Note that it was common knowledge that the manufacture of soap from Jewish corpses was at the experimental stage. There were many rumours circulating from many directions regarding this. Information from two reliable witnesses was communicated to the Geneva office of the Jewish Agency (26.9.43) that Jewish corpses were being used for the manufacture of fertilisers and fats. This information was not exact in detail and was dismissed by the US and UK Governments as yet another unreliable Jewish story. A Senior SS Officer from Lublin gave a lecture at school and produced a bar of soap from his pocket--Jewish soap. (See testimony of Dr. Niedling, StA/H Js 856/61) Back
  66. RAD: statement of the Jew Form. Back
  67. Ibid. Statement of Friederich August Gluenke (who headed the course for Polish Kriminalbeamt): "Rosenbaum looked Jewish". Back
  68. Ibid. Statements of the Jews Goodrich, Bar-Sade, Ettinger, Zollmann, Zwi Schiffeldrin, Abraham Schiffeldrin, Alicja Nogala, Elfyd Trybowka, Schon, Blatt, Czarnowicki, Derschowitz, Steiner, Farber and Mendel Lustig. See also Wiesenthal, S., From the Murderers Amongst Us (London, 1967): "2 Candles for Sammy". Statement of the Jew Trybowka confirms that Paul Beck was given the orders by Rosenbaum to remove the Rosenbaum family from the register and be marked "dead". Back
  69. Rabka and District Memorial Book. Back
  70. No supporting corroboration from archival sources has materialised concerning the women and children murdered in school as described. Back
  71. Mark Goldfinger, born on November 30, 1930, now lives with his wife in Bournemouth. The author has interviewed him on a number of occasions regarding his life as an 11 year old in Rabka and later Plaszow Concentration Camp. Back
  72. Lucia Goldfinger (nee Feller/Schon), born in 1922, now lives in Israel. The author interviewed her in June 1997 at her apartment in Tel-Aviv. She was a major witness at the trial of Rosenbaum in Hamburg and was described by the Judge as a truthful and reliable witness. At the outbreak of war, Lucia was living with her father and elder brother in Krakow. Her father and brother had joined the Polish army. Lucia was taken on as a domestic to Hans Kruger at the SS School in Rabka. Rosenbaum was a deputy at the time. Lucia was fluent in German, which influenced her appointment at school. In 1952, she was one of the first witnesses to be traced and gave important evidence, which enabled the Police to track down Rosenbaum. Lucia was very close to the Rosenbaum family and had the responsibility of looking after the Rosenbaum children. In the summer of 1942, just before the final deportations of the Rabka Jews, she was warned by Rosenbaum's wife to escape. She fled with her mother and her younger brother Mark to Krakow. The Jew Ettinger, who smuggled them out, took the photograph of the 3 girls in the Rabka School. They were told to smile. Back
  73. The practice of throwing young children in to the air and shooting them was demonstrated by the instructors to impress to those present the value to be placed on the Jews. The pit and plank procedure, shooting in the back of the neck was, torturing and interrogation techniques, hitting children with the butt of the rifle, the "sardine method" (lining up children/adults one behind the other and shooting them with a single bullet) were all demonstrated. These training exercises were not the subject of any indictment at Rosenbaum's trial, as there was no direct evidence that he personally took part. Evidence of these murderous activities were witnessed by the Jews Ettinger and Form, and well known to Schon (Goldfinger) and Mark Goldfinger. Back
  74. Interview with the author, Israel, June 1997. Back
  75. I will refer to Rosenbaum as Wilhelm up until September 1, 1939. One of the plusses of going directlyto the High Court records was that I found material not generally kept in police prosecution files, i.e., psychological assessment reports obtained by Court Medical psychologists, namely Dr. Gercke of the Hamburg Court. Dr. Gercke must have spent many hours interviewing Rosenbaum prior to sentencing. Back
  76. For our purposes it is important to set out the school system, as this was essential when the HHE were considering appointments to the Sipo-SD. Greater Germany had 50,000 public schools and 2,000 high schools, only 100 of which were private. The Hitlerjugend (HJ) service was part of the education. The HJ appointed the "KassenFührer"--the trustee of the class. School attendance was compulsory from the 6th to the 14th year of age. Grades 1-4 were called "Grundschule", and grades 5-8 were called "Oberstufe der Volkschule", or briefly "Volkschule"(peoples' school). In 1941, a new type of school was created: the "Hauptschule", also called "Pflichtausleseschule" (selection school), because it was intended for the most talented 30% among the 10 year olds after completion of the "Grandschule". The curriculum included English and courses preparatory to high-skilled industrial trades. Tuition was free. This type of school corresponded roughly to our junior high schools of today. Secondary schools--"Hohere Lehranstalten"--had 8 forms, corresponding roughly to the American high school plus junior college. English was a required subject through 8 years of study. There were two types of boys schools: (1) Gymnasium (8 years Latin, 4 years Greek--a rare type of school, and (2) Grundstandige Oberschule (Latin to the 5th year); from the 5th year it branched out into a language group (one additional foreign language) and a science group. Both types prepared for graduate study at University. Students of the 8th year had to pass a school-leaving examination (Reifeprufung), ordinarily when they were 18 years old, but at that time (in war) it was reduced to 17 years. Many of the Sipo-SD Commanders (Schongarth and Kruger) came via this system. For those of the Rosenbaum ilk, there were "Party Schools" where talented and "morally qualified" boys of 12 years of age were selected by the HJ for admission to the leader schools: Adolf-Hitler-Schulen. The minister of education ran "Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten", which prepared pupils for the civil service, and for our purposes, the Sipo-SD. The SS ran "Heimschulen"--community schools. Finally, there was the special "Führerschulen" administered by the NS, which trained its officials once a year at the Hohe Schule am Chiemsee. (Source: Nazi-Deutsch--Contemporary German usage on Government, Military and Economic Institutions. Heinz Paechter, New York, 1943). Back
  77. Hitler Youth (Hiterjugendgesetz)--Incorporation of Youth into Preparation and Conduct of War. The Führer Decree (12/1/1936) made membership in the HJ compulsory. Other decrees in connection with HJ: Jugenddienspflichtverordnung--4/25/1939: Institution of Wehrertuchtigungslager (army camps) 6/1942. See the Paechter reference in note 75. Back
  78. Feuchtwanger, E.J. The Rise of Hitler, Wiener Library (np), 1995. Back
  79. Ibid. Back
  80. There was a vast plan for training of all age groups in physical training and pre-military sports. There were three stages: (1) training boys 3-9 years, (2) boys and girls 10-18 years and (3) adult sport training, other than training in the army units. Back
  81. Early indications that he was not suited to the rigours of army life. Back
  82. RAD, 11 Back
  83. Names of towns are shown in the German translation, i.e., Opol--Opppein, Czestokowa--Tschenstochau. Hereafter German is used. Back
  84. Dr. Emanuel Schafer BdS (Sipo-SD) Krakow and later SS-ObersturmbannFührer Sipo-SD Serbia and Einsatzkommander. After the war he was sentenced by denazification court to 18 months imprisonment. The German court gave him a further 6 years and 6 months imprisonment. Back
  85. Our Sipo-SD Führer in Krakow just before he was to taken up duties in the Zakopan/Rabka Sipo-SD school. Hans Kruger - KD/KV, Pohl, D. "Hans Kruger and the murder of the Jews in the Stanislowow Region (Galicia)". (3) Urteil Landgericht [LG] Munster u.a., May 3-6, 1968, fol.82 (hereafter Kruger Verdict). Kruger is central to this enquiry, but on the outer rim of my conspiracy theory. He was the first Commandant of the Sipo Academy, Zakopane and then Rabka. He was deputy to Dr. Schongarth and of "Einsatzkommando" zbV. He was also the perpetrator of the infamous "Bloody Sunday" massacre in Stanislwow, shooting 10-12,000 Jews in one day in the cemetery of the town. Back
  86. There is a subtle difference between the SS (as we have come to know them) and Sipo-SD. The SD's genesis in 1934, which I have termed the Himmler-Heydrich-Executive, was formulated by Heydrich to incorporate the following: (1) the Gestapo (political police--Special Branch) and Kripo (CID--police criminal investigators), which were combined to form Sipo; and (2) The SS, or Security Police (Sicherheitsdienst). Adding (1) and (2) together gives us the Sipo-SD. It was possible for Rosenbaum to transfer from the SS to Sipo-SD, but not the other way around. Back
  87. RAD, 12. Back
  88. The rank structure of SS and Sipo-SD were the same. Back
  89. RAD, 12 Back
  90. Ibid. Statement of Dr. Gercke, psychiatric expert witness for the prosecution. "I remember Rosenbaum as a young, witty UnterFührer. He was the type of young inexperienced UnterFührer who froze with respect before a superior". Back
  91. Ibid. Statement of Dr. Helmut Gercke, RAD. Back
  92. Ibid. Back
  93. Ibid. Rosenbaum confided with Dr. Gercke that when Dr. Schongarth was in a good mood he would call him "Brussel Sprout". Back
  94. Ibid. Back
  95. Ibid. Back
  96. My observations as to the personality of Dr. Schongarth and his relationship with Rosenbaum are drawn from non-Jewish prosecution witness statements (translated by Yael Birnbaum, Tel-Aviv, 1997)), by Hans Kruger, Dr.Beck, Dr.Bath, Dr. Neidling, Muller, Dr. Seinsche, Fisher, Schindler, Koenig, Kuck, Dr. Scheder, Richard Weissmann, Hamann, Grotjahn and Dr. Gercke. Back
  97. RAD. Kruger Verdict. Back
  98. DP--documentation. RAD. Kruger Verdict (KV). Back
  99. Stanislwow--in present day maps is shown as Ivano-Frankivsk. Back
  100. Ibid. Back
  101. Ibid. "Hauptamt SS-Gericht an Kruger", December 10, 1943, BDC. SSO Hans Kruger, recollections of Karolina Lanckorronska, in Albert, Kazn Professor Lwowskich, pp. 234-251, especially 241-242. Back
  102. "Breda Three"--the remaining life-term Nazi war criminals in Dutch jails. For years the "Breda Three" had been a "cause-celebre" in West Germany. Back
  103. Ibid., with acknowledgements to Dieter Pohl. Back
  104. In most Holocaust literature there is an overuse of the word "Gestapo," (Geheime Staatspolizei), which existed only in Prussia; in popular parlance however, it is applied to all police institutions created since 1933. Paechter, The Secret State Police. In a sense there was no Gestapo in Galicia. It was an arm of the Sipo-SD, which was all-powerful. The organisation of the Sipo-SD in Galicia, of both the BdS and KdS, replicated the five departments of the RSHA (Berlin). The departments were: personnel, administration, intelligence, Secret State Police, and Criminal Police. Department IV, the SSP, was considered as the Jew-killing agency that planned and operated the various actions against the Jews. Also, it supervised the camps and ghettos within its domain. Back
  105. No one liked the Sipo-SD; the Wehrmacht commanders cursed at it, and the civilian government officials wrote poison pen letters to Berlin about it. Yet the SD was all-powerful-- it is not known that anyone ever prevailed against it in the General Govenment, or elsewhere. Schongarth is a good example of recruiting Sipo-SD personnel from the outside world of academia. Back
  106. Ezergailis Andrew, The Holocaust in Latvia, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1996, 146. Back
  107. The Nazis had coined new terms and use of old words in a sense which is different from, or contrary to their original meaning. (One of the most interesting publications I found during the course of my research was a small book: Ungar, F. The Sprit and Structure of Nazi Language, New York, 1944, 127). Back
  108. At the beginning of the Russian campaign in June 1941, Dr. Schongarth and his crew moved into Lwow. Dr. Schongarth conducted a seminar for his SS Führers on the procedure to be adopted when executing Jews and the like. On the outskirts of the town, a grave was dug as prescribed by regulations. A number of Jews were brought to the graveside and ordered to undress and kneel at the graveside looking into the void. Dr. Schongarth personally shot each Jew in the back of the neck with his pistol. This propelled the victim into the grave. (This was not a method favoured by other SS Commanders). A further batch of Jews was then brought forward and the exact procedure was repeated, this time by his SS Führers, including Rosenbaum and Menten. Kruger was present but was not expected to participate, as Kruger was the "expert" and had perfected this method. It would become part of the curriculum at the Rabka School. Menten would incorporate this method in the coming weeks when seeking revenge for times past in the small villages in the Stryj valley. Rosenbaum would savour his lesson for murder "actions" back in the Rabka School. Back
  109. In the initial procedure of executions a military stance was maintained. The executioner faced the victim one-to-one. However, as the numbers of victims increased, instead of small batches of victims, it progressed to hundreds, and even thousands, and machine pistols were preferred. The method adopted was the commander's own responsibility. There are many reports that after such executions, the Judenrat were invoiced for the costs, particularly for the bullets used. Back
  110. Statement of Dr. Kurt Nieding, SS-HauptsturmFührer. (RAP). A lawyer by training and personal friend of Dr. Schongarth, he was transferred to the BdS, Krakow in July 1942. Back
  111. Ibid. A similar order by Hitler, dated October 18, 1942, referred to the slaughter of Commandos to the last man after capture. (498-PS) Back
  112. IMT (HMSO) - R-110, "Opening Speeches", 32. Back
  113. Ibid. 058-PS Back
  114. In June 1944, there were a number of conferences attended by Ribbentrop, Goering, Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, Keitel and Jodl, which had been initiated by Goebbels, and endorsed by Hitler. These proposed to legalise the lynching of captured allied bomber crews in the occupied zones. This was not only the basis for the indictment against Schongarth, but was also the damming evidence that was used against Ribbentrop at Nurenberg. See Michael Bloch, Ribbentrop, Bantam Press, London, 1992, 402. Back
  115. Public Record Office, War Office Document 235/631, dated March 5, 1946, ref. BAOR/15418/124/130/JAG. Back
  116. Ibid. Situated at the Villa "Hooge Boekel", Enschede. Back
  117. Ibid. Back
  118. Schongarth was sentenced to death but claimed total denial of complicity. Schongarth had taken refuge in The Hague and was transferred to Germany for his trial. He was returned to Holland for interrogation as to his activities there, before final sentence was carried out. The other SD/SS arrested and tried by the British Military Court were: Erwin Knop (death)--claimed superior orders; Wilhelm Hadler (death)--claimed superior orders carried out in the presence of the superior; Herbert Fritz Wille Gernoth (death)--claimed superior orders, disobedience would have been fatal; Erich Liebing (15 yrs imprisonment)--claimed he did not know that the victim was a POW until too late; Fritz Boehm (10 yrs imprisonment)--protested to the uttermost of his power; Frederick Beeck (death)--claimed superior orders. Back
  119. This was to be a recurring factor in the War Crimes Trials of the "Rabka Four". Each would support the other in some way or other. In my opinion, Menten was the most dangerous and devious, and his actions would result in the destruction of many careers in the process. Back
  120. Corroboration of fact re the agreement of the "Rabka Four". See PRO, WO/235 - Report from War Crimes Section (Gr. Capt. Legal Staff, requesting information as to the identity of this man Menten, dated 14.6.1946, to the War Crimes Investigation Unit, ref. BAOR/15228/2/c.7.JAG Back
  121. Ibid., reply to request for information vide report dated 17.10.46, ref. BAOR/WC/CMisc C.19. Back
  122. The investigation was being lead by Peter van Izendorn of the BS (Forces of the Interior). Izendorn's interview with Schongarth was not corroborated, which was to prove decisive in due course. Back
  123. Statement of evidence from Pieter van Izendorn in the Menten Trial Documentation. In an "off-the-cuff" remark, Izendorn asked Schongarth when he knew that Germany was losing the war. Schongarth replied. "March 1945. At the beginning of March Hitler had told him that secret weapons were coming." Back
  124. Rijks Institute for War Documentation. On the 6th March 1944, the Dutch Resistance mounted an attack on Rauter's chauffeur-driven BMW staff car in the village of Woeste Hoeve (between Arnhem and Apeldoorn) in an attempted assassination of Rauter (Kommissar-General fur das Sicherheitsdienst in den Niederlanden). Back
  125. Ibid. Back
  126. Ibid. Post-mortem report of the bodies found. Back

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