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Chapter 9

Himmler Purges the Rabka Four… and their demise

R Himmler's own favourite, SS-Col Karl Otto Korch, first commandant of Majdanek, was one of those executed for converting Jewish property to his own use. Schoengarth therefore was glad to employ Menten as his homme d'affaires in the business of looting the Jews. However, the SS Special Investigators were examining and targeting the inner sanctum of Einsatzgruppen personnel with positive results.

In April, 1943, there was a big upheaval of security personnel in Krakow and Lvov districts. The Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, disciplined a number of Sipo-SD officers: Higher SS and Policefuehrer Fredrich Wilhelm Krueger (not our Krueger) was transferred to Berlin, Dr Schoengarth was transferred to Greece and later Holland; Hans Krueger moved to Paris; Rosenbaum, by the skin of his teeth, escaped charges, but not without serious condemnation from his superiors as to his actions in Rabka and implication in theft of Jewish property and black marketing activities. He was relieved from his duties at the Sipo-SD School to desk duties in Krakow. Pieter Menten was arrested and detained in the cellars of the Stycznia SS Headquarters where he remained in custody. Menten had overstayed his residence permit and was about to be expelled from Krakow. From his cell he wrote to Himmler pleading his case but any further indulgence was quickly dismissed and he was deported back to Holland on 31st January 1943, and allowed to take with him several box cars of objet d'art and other movables.

 

Rosenbaum Appeal and End-Game

Dr Schoengarth celebrated his transfer by holding a farewell party in Krakow which was attended by all the senior command of the Sipo-SD in Krakow district. It was at this party that Rosenbaum broke down and confessed and attempted to justify his actions, particularly to past executions, the shooting of the Jew Beck, and his involvement with others. Dr Kurt Neidling:

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‘I occupied a small flat in Dr Schoengarth's house in Krakow. One evening, maybe in the spring 1943, Dr Schoengarth held a party with many guests. The celebrations went on through the night and were very loud. I had stayed in my room and didn't join the party. When I got up the next morning at about 6 a.m., I met Rosenbaum in the hallway. He had been at the party and had consumed a lot of alcohol. He followed me to my room and sat down in a chair. He put his head on the table. Suddenly he started sobbing, his whole body shook. He looked at me helplessly and said, “I'm not guilty, I only carried out orders.”’[304]

A few months after this episode with Dr Neidling (probably engineered by him as a sympathetic favour), Rosenbaum was transferred to the KdS (admin) in Salzburg as Polizei Inspector (SS-aligned rank 2nd Lieutenant) and adjutant to Ober Inspector (SS-aligned rank of Captain) Wilhelm Teege, arranging conferences and making provisions for those attending. On 7 August 1943, he married his fianc?e Annemarie Bachus. Rosenbaum had come full circle, starting out with similar responsibilities of manager in the SD School Zakopane, 1939, to organiser and manager of conferences in Salzburg in mid-1943.

As a result of the massive clear-out of all personnel with past-related activities in Rabka, the SD School was totally cleansed and re-structured with new staff from outside and from the BdS in Krakow. There was a new emphasis on training. Rosenbaum had been replaced by a well seasoned desk-Nazi SS- Captain Fritz Herrmann, with SS-Captain Wilhelm Teege (recently transferred from Salzburg) as deputy for course construction. Courses continued for Civil servants of the government, Sipo-SD, and Polish police officers (Ukrainians had been dropped). Ethnic Germans and Poles continued to guard the premises. Oddly enough, the School driver, Bandura, was kept on and went about his business with the secrets of the School locked away in his head.[305]

Ober Inspector Wilhelm Teege arrived at the School in August 1943, a few weeks after the main deportation of Jews to KZ Plaszow. However, a small number (10-15) Jews were held back from this deportation to look after the animals on the School farm. Teege confirmed that there were ‘Jew hunts’ still going on in the area. All past deeds were ‘swept under the carpet’ of all that went before. It was a masterpiece of obliteration by deception.

It was about this time that attention was directed to the mass graves in the woods behind the School. The ‘Blobel Commando 1005’ were digging up mass graves and destroying the evidence in nearby KZ Plaszow and thoughts were now

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turned to solving the mass graves in Rabka, where it is thought over 2,000 bodies lay beneath the soil.[306] In any event 1005 bypassed the Rabka Sipo-SD School to more pressing appointments. For what reasons the Rabka graves were not exhumed is not known.[307]

In mid-1944, due to the heavy bombing in Berlin, all in-training courses from the city were transferred to Bad Rabka. The courses and curriculum at the now re- vamped Sipo-SD School were geared to Police Officers and Civil Servants who had been selected and earmarked for promotion. The courses were of 6-months duration and, by all accounts (as 1939), were very selective but with a high rate of failure. Candidates were tested every few weeks and those failing to pass the tests were removed. On June 1944 intake of 68 students: 24 left after the first test, 20 left after the second test, of the 24 students left who took the final exam, 3 failed. Running parallel to this course was a course of 62 Policefuehrers, all recruited from the elite of the civil service.[308]

At this time (June 1944), the war was still being heavily contested on all fronts. The Jewish Question had all but subsided, but the furnaces of Auschwitz were still filled with the Jews from Hungary, Lodz and elsewhere. The curriculum at the School had not quite reverted to civil proportions. There was a continued high emphasis on firearms training on Rosenbaum's shooting range, and it is interesting to note that, of these past students who were interviewed for the Rosenbaum trial, the majority had no idea that shootings had taken place there, or that there had been a significant Jewish presence at the School, or in the camps nearby.[309] For the teaching staff that was more established, it was known but never spoken of.[310] Other subjects covered general war conditions and regulations and their world view.[311] The School continued to function until January 1945 as an SD educational establishment, devoid of Jews and devoid of murder.[312]

Another curious twist in all this was, on 2 January 1945, whilst organising conferences in Salzburg Rosenbaum was selected for an Ober-Inspector's course to be held at his old School. He returned to Bad Rabka, to his former place of activity, as a participant in a Chief of Staff course on 3 January 1945, but due to the advancing Russians the course had to be abandoned on 17 January.[313]

Now operating under emergency orders from Berlin, the whole class of candidates led by Wilhelm Teege were directed to Krakow to assist the Volkssturm, Ordnungspolizei, Waffen SS, and Air force Officers to prepare for a counter attack against the advancing Russians. The overall commander of this ‘Verbindungsfuehrer’(intermediary) group was SS-Major General Dr Bierkamp.

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Parts of their duties were the rounding up of German deserters and stringing them up on lamp-posts and planting a notice on them: ‘I hang here because I left my unit without permission.’ In another twist to events, Rosenbaum was to meet in Krakow, the Jew Henryk Ettinger, who had previously serviced the School vehicles in Rabka and had been on the deportation list to KZ Plaszow. Rosenbaum survived further investigation and was ordered back to Salzburg, where on 20 April, 1945, he was promoted to SS-2nd Lieutenant.[314]

When the war drew to a close in April, 1945, Rosenbaum moved from Salzburg to Simmling where he saw out the war. On the disbandment 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 moved to Hamburg where he was employed as an Insurance Agent, Private Detective and Travelling 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 adopted a nephew of his wife.[315]

Wilhelm Rosenbaum was almost hypnotised by Dr Schoengarth, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car. Of all the men who admired and feared Dr Schoengarth and obeyed him unquestioningly, all the evidence shows that Rosenbaum was the one most strongly under his spell.

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’ (Unworthy of life).

Rosenbaum fully and uncritically adopted the opinion of the Sipo-SD and the conviction of his model Dr Schoengarth that the inferior race of Jews had to be exterminated. He believed he had to prove his suitability as Sipo-SD-Fuehrer 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. This did not belong to the weak or unsuitable and therefore superfluous creatures were reminded with lashes of the whip and humiliations that the world in Bad Rabka was separated into the master race and inferior race.

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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 and whose unimportant social position as well as his miserable human powers of expression were based upon his aggressive instinct. It is ironic, perhaps, that he saw himself as powerful in Bad Rabka, the decision-maker about life and death, a veritable ‘god’.

The product of this overwhelming lust for power was the barbaric tortures to which he subjected his victims; the climax of this voluntary power lust was the selections and executions. This also counts as much as Rosenbaum was 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 Schoengarth constituted the ‘green light’ to act. Within the wide framework that Dr Schoengarth's order gave him, he could enjoy and exercise his OWN power.

The killings of Jews also represent the horrifying execution and other surrounding circumstances of murder: In all the cases, the victims were locked 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 Rosenbaum family four, 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 mothers, the insult and blasphemy of victims at the sight of the grave. It is 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 were overpowering as far as the shooting of the picked up Jewish men and women, in the Generalgouvernement, were concerned. Since the Barbarossa Campaign, it was the rule to punish with death those people that tried to escape and sabotage in order to frighten the others: Rosenbaum cited in his defence, in respect of the shooting cases, the following instances where it was considered appropriate for Jews to be killed:

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  1. That a dreadful state of affairs regarding gangs in the East had taken an unbearable cost and threatened to become a serious danger where Jews were considered running around as potential opponents and supporters of the so-called gangs combat.[316]
  2. That civilians that were found without any identification (ID) on the country roads and did not belong to the next village, were to be shot.[317]
  3. The Court in Nuremberg also had stated that several thousands of partisans were shot and hanged in public and that the death by hanging was particularly off-putting; above that, many elements walking around without any ID were put to an end.[318]
  4. Several examples were given of Jews, so-called supporters and aids in combat gangs, who were shot in co-operation with the local commander's office, military police station and Einsatzgruppen.[319]

As to the hanging action, Rosenbaum claimed ‘justification in war’ and based his defence on three documents. He had claimed that the execution of the picked-up Jews in the Generalgouvenement was encouraged and executed from a military point of view regarding the tight security situation in the area—namely because of the increasing partisan activity, gang developments, communist activities supported by the Jews. He believed that this situation was put very clearly in the three documents:

  1. Document of the ‘Oberfeld’ Commander's Office (Oberfeld- Kommandantur) of Lublin dated 19th December 1941 with orders to shoot unidentified suspects.
  2. Document of the Commander's Office in Warsaw dated 20.11.1941, stating that 26 Russian POW's were picked up and shot during the period from 15th October until 1st November 1941.
  3. Document of the ‘Oberfeld’ Commander's Office (Oberfeld- Kommandantur) of Warsaw dated 22nd June 1943, stating that escaped Jews formed an integral part of all the communist gangs and that gang attacks in the countryside were mainly related to communist elements.

The Appeal Court denied these defences stating that even existing anti-Jewish decrees in those days—whose validity need not be disclosed—did not allow Rosenbaum to kill Jews; that Rosenbaum was condemned as sole offender of murder and not as an assistant; that he had acted without any general order or

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authority. Rosenbaum is entirely responsible under criminal law for the committed crimes. The Appeal Court determined:

Rosenbaum was a ruler over life and death in the School; he ordered—and not the far-off Dr Schoengarth—what needed to be done. The accused decided which victims were unfit for work and which picked up Jews were to be liquidated, whether and which investigations regarding working suitability of the workers and ‘law offences’ of the picked-up Jews were to be determined. He determined how the killings were to take place from a local, temporal or other point of view and which measure needed to be taken to wipe away the traces of these crimes.

Eventually, certain dependability on the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Police was based upon the fact—as noted by Rosenbaum himself—that the far- off Dr Schoengarth gave instructions to the accused. After that, the accused is an offender in all cases for which he has been charged. He is the sole offender.

The Court could not determine whether other SS-people and Ukrainians who took part in the killings were accomplices to the crimes; according to the circumstances, only complicity is a possibility.

A complicity of the superior and the accused, especially the Brigadier General Dr Schoengarth, cannot be determined. It is doubtful whether the conferral of a general order by Dr Schoengarth could be the basis for complicity in specified cases; this need not be decided upon because if it is imagined that such a directive had existed in certain cases, it relates to an insinuation in favour of the accused which does not allow to determine the complicity of Dr Schoengarth in a positive way.[320]

The Appeal Court doubted whether Rosenbaum would have endangered his life by not executing the orders of Dr Schoengarth. I am not sure about this and the contrary may well have been a consideration. We already know of Schoengarth's attitude to his SD for refusing to carry out his execution orders. It is even more surprising as Hans Krueger gave evidence at the trial and it is mainly from his deposition that we learned initially of the Schoengarth ‘kill or be killed’ policy. I think the point is, that Rosenbaum acted on his own responsibility and this was recognised by the court.

The overview of this whole miserable episode is that moral values were turned around as such that it was a holy duty—although difficult to fulfil—to wipe the

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‘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 with the victims, the complaint being made as to the weight of the historical task.

Rosenbaum was taught and indoctrinated by the SS and Sipo-SD, and this influenced his conduct, which was clearly expressed by Himmler in his Posnan speech on the 4th October, 1943.[321]

It is difficult to understand how this inadequate individual, Wilhelm Rosenbaum, came to go down in history as a cruel, sadistic murderer who had few equals.

 

Downfall of SS-Captain Hans Krueger[322]

Krueger's era in Stanislawow had now also come to an end. Already in the autumn of 1942, he had encountered problems when an audit of his office by the Reich Auditor's Office (RAO) had turned up certain surprising discoveries: An especially extreme case had been uncovered in the branch at Stanislasow in Galicia. Large amounts of confiscated money and jewels were retained there.

During a local inspection of the rooms of the responsible administrative official, Police Secretary B., officials of the Reich Auditor's Office discovered large amounts of cash, including gold coins, and all sorts of currency—even $6,000— as well as entire chests full of extremely valuable jewels. These were stored in all manner of boxes and containers, desks, etc. None of this had been listed or registered. In some containers, there was a slip with the original amount; but in most, there was no written record of any kind. It was no longer possible to determine how much had originally been there. The RAO had to limit it to establishing the exact contents of what was found there in order to prevent further valuables from disappearing. The cash alone amounted to 584,195,28 Zloty. Added to this were the jewels uncovered there; their precise value could not be determined, but is likely to be in the range of several hundred thousand Reichmarks. Several days after intervention by the RAO, the Political Sec. B., who had chief responsibility for these matters, shot himself.

Krueger himself ultimately brought about his own transfer and demotion by disclosing his murderous deeds to a Polish noblewoman under arrest. Following an intercession, the countess was released, and after she had made known what Krueger had confided to her, proceedings were initiated against him. He was formally charged with betraying secret information and was later transferred from his ‘kingdom’ in Stanislawow to Paris.

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At the conclusion of the war Hans Krueger was detained by the Dutch authorities 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 re-instated into the Civil Service but this was denied probably due to his past in the SD. Krueger 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 again he was unsuccessful.

Hans Krueger, instead of burying himself in obscurity where he would have been safer from subsequent investigation, turned to politics and became the district managing director of the Free People's Party (FVP) in Munster, later switching 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 which was his undoing. In 1954, Krueger attempted to be elected to 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.[323]

Hans Krueger 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, Krueger was a supporter of this organisation but preferred to stay within the New Germany. One of Krueger's Komrades, who did use this facility and escaped to Argentine via Spain, was Dr Walther Kutschmann, the alleged murderer of the Lvov professors. He was also the officer who had terminated Krueger's career over the Caroline Lanckoronska affair. Kutschmann, alias Pedro Ricardo Olmo, was eventually tracked down and arrested in the Argentine in November 1984, on extradition charges relating to murder of Jews in Brzezany, and the single murder of a Jewish girl in Drohobycz. 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.[324]

In 1959, Hans Krueger 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, known as the ‘Stanislawow trial’, opened in April 1967, when he was indicted with the murder of 120,000 Jews. The trial lasted two years, during which he had not lost any of his anti-Semitism which he

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displayed openly to the court. Facing him across the court were a few Jewish survivors, and Dr Carolina Lanckoronska. He was convicted, and later sentenced on the 6th May, 1968, to life imprisonment.[325]

Assistant professor Karolina Lanckoronska, arrested in 1943 by Hans Krueger, the Gestapo Chief at Stanislawow, learned from him that he took part in arresting the Lvov professors during the night on July 3 to 4, 1941. Lanckoronska was sure she would be executed together with his 250 victims: teachers, lawyers, judges, doctors, and with tens of thousands of Jews, known to have been victim of that massacre. Mrs Lanckoronska, due to the intervention of the Italian Royal Court, was at the last moment snatched out of Krueger's hands by the Lvov Gestapo. There she met Walther Kutschmann, Krueger's personal enemy, to whom she disclosed her knowledge about the execution of the Lvov professors. Kutschmann initiated in Berlin a trial against Krueger, at which the latter was sentenced for revealing official secrets. Mrs Lanckoronska was sent to the concentration camp at Ravensbrueck from which she was released thanks to the efforts of her friend Professor Burckhardt, President of the International Red Cross in Geneva.[326] A very interesting account of these events was published by Lanckoronska in the London issues of Orzel Bialy (The White Eagle), Nos. 46-48.

 

The Hans Krueger Case is Re-opened

After the war, Mrs Lanckoronska, living abroad, read in a newspaper about the trial against Krueger held in Muenster. He was charged with murdering thousands of Jews in Stanislawow. She went there as a witness and accused him with the murder of the Lvov professors. The court, however, concluded that there was no evidence proving his participation in the murder of the professors and implied that this may have been only boasts and attempts to intimidate the arrested woman. For his crimes committed in Stanislawow Krueger was nonetheless sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Consistent with the West German law, a person receiving capital punishment cannot be called to account for other even most serious crimes. This made it impossible to judge Krueger for the murder of the professors. On the request of Wladyslaw Zelenski, the prosecutor interrogated Krueger but he denied taking part in the Lvov crimes. The prosecutor suspended additional investigations implying that further details were of concern only to historians. All attempts of Mrs Lanckoronska, Mrs Krukowska, Wladyslaw Zelenski (Tadeusz Boy- Zelenski's nephew) and others failed to advance the case and to bring to justice the perpetrators of the bloody July night. Wladyslaw Zelenski published several

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articles in the London Wiadomosci (News) about the Lvov crime. He rectified in Die Welt the erroneous information suggesting that the murder of the professors was committed on racial grounds, because those killed were supposed to be Jews. Zelenski stated that there was no one who could be considered Jew in a religious sense among the 22 professors shot on July 4. Only Henryk Korowicz, killed on 11th July, was of Jewish descent, but he had a Polish name and was certainly not arrested by the Gestapo as a Jew but as a Polish scholar, just as the other 22, including Ruziewicz and Bartel.

Many Poles asked themselves who supplied the Germans with the ‘88 list’ containing the professors' names. This is of little substance to the case, because the names and addresses could have been copied from the pages of a pre-war telephone book. But Walther Kutschmann had told Mrs Lanckoronska that Ukrainians prepared the list for the Gestapo. Luckily there were only 25 names on it, although the University itself had 158 members of the Faculty; among Lvov Institutions of Higher Learning, there was also the large Institute of Technology, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Foreign Trade.

Taking into consideration that Gestapo searched during that July night also for persons who recently died, for instance for the ophthalmologist Professor Adam Bednarski and the dermatologist Professor Roman Leszczynski, we may assume that the list was prepared already earlier in Krakow. Since Lvov was then separated for 22 months by the German-Soviet border by the Krakow authorities who did not know about those details, it seems most probable that the Krakow Gestapo asked—prior to the German-Soviet war—the Ukrainian students or graduates from Lvov academic institutions to supply a list of names and addresses of professors known to them; hence the relatively short list. In my view the following were instrumental in the arrest and murder of the Lvov Professors: Hans Krueger, Walther Kutschmann, Kurt Stawizki, police officer, non-commissioned officers Hacke and Kohler and the Dutch collaborator Pieter Menten.

In 1976, Krueger, 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 Dr Schoengarth, Rosenbaum and particularly Menten, concerning their activities in Galicia during the war. Krueger 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.[327] The detectives came away empty handed.

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(Breda was the site of one of the first panopticon prison establishments. This prison housed the only German war criminals ever to be imprisoned in the Netherlands for their war crimes during the Second World War. They were known as the ‘Breda Four (and later three)’. They were Willy Paul Franz Lages who was released in 1966 due to serious illness, Joseph Johann Kot?lla who died in prison in 1979, Ferdinand Hugo aus der F?nten and Franz Fischer who were both released in 1989.)

In 1986, Hans Krueger was released from prison and retired to the Bavarian town of Wasserburg am Inn, where he died in 1988.[328]

 

gal033.jpg
Figure 33: Countess Karolina Lanckoronska

 

A Brief Biographical Note

Countess Karolina Maria Adelajda Franciszka Ksawera Malgorzata Edina Lanckoronska (born August 11, 1898, Gars am Kamp, Lower Austria—Died August 25, 2002, Rome, Italy).

Karolina Lanckoronska was the daughter of Count Karol Lanckoronski, a Polish nobleman from a Galician family, and his third wife, Princess Margaret von Lichnovsky, daughter of Karl Max, Prince Lichnowsky. Karolina was reared and attended university in Vienna (capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of which much of Galicia was then part), living at her family's palace, the Palais Lanckoronski.

After Poland regained independence in 1918, Lanckoronska taught at Lvov University. Following the invasion of Lvov by the Soviet Red Army and later the rest of Poland by Nazi Germany in September 1939, she witnessed at first hand the terror and atrocities committed by the Soviets and Nazis, which she later described in her War Memoirs.

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Lanckoronska was active in the Polish resistance and was arrested, interrogated, tortured, tried and sentenced to death at Stanislawow prison. During her stay there, the local Gestapo chief, Hans Krueger, confessed to her that he had murdered 23 Lvov University professors, a war crime that she made it her mission to publicize.

Thanks to her family connections, Lanckoronska was not executed but was instead sent to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp for women. She somehow survived and, immediately after release in 1945, wrote her war memoirs. After the war, she left Poland and lived in Fribourg, Switzerland, and later, until her death, in Rome.

A patriot all her life, Lanckoronska bequeathed her family's enormous art collection to her beloved Poland only after her homeland became free from communism and Soviet occupation. The Lanckoronski Collection may now for the most part be seen in Warsaw's Royal Castle and Krakow's Wawel Castle. Countess Karolina Lanckoronska died aged 104.[329]

 

Pieter Menten is Protected by the Reichsfuehrer-SS[330]

As the Germans conquered Poland, all Jewish property was seized in operations enabling Menten to serve both Hitler and himself. He became Treuhander (administrator) for Jewish antiques and art-collections under SS Brigadiergeneral Schoengarth.

Just before the Wehrmacht invaded the USSR on 22 June 1941, Menten enabled Stieglitz to escape to Hungary from which he reached Palestine, returning many years later to help Menten stave off prosecution. Like all friendships that are based on greed and betrayal, there were to be serious repercussions, not only in respect of the ‘Rabka Four’, but for the general criminal factions that had spread throughout the Generalgouvnement.

In 1943, when the ‘Rabka Four’ were dispersed to other regions, Pieter Menten was escorted out of the Generalgouvernement with some pomp, heavily loaded with stolen property of the murdered Lvov professors and elsewhere. With the authorisation of the Reichsfuehrer SS and connivance of Dr Schoengarth, a special train was placed at his disposal for his journey out of Poland to Holland at the most critical time in the war. On arrival in Holland, Menten resided in the wealthy Aerdenhout where he maintained a low profile as an art dealer.

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However, the Dutch Underground's attention was now focused on Menten and they recorded visits by Schoengarth to his residence.

Shortly after the liberation Menten was high on the agenda as a Nazi collaborator and as a result was arrested and held in custody for trial. The trial concluded in 1949 and Menten was sentenced to an eight-month term for having worked in uniform as a Nazi interpreter. In 1951 the Dutch government refused a Polish request for Menten's extradition to Poland to face war crimes charges. Menten lived an untroubled life until, on the 22 May 1976, Holland's most popular newspaper, De Telegraf, described a remarkable venture planned by the art- auctioneers Sotherby-Mak van Way:

Pieter Nicolaas Menten, one of the richest men in Holland was selling his Amsterdam apartment. He had to dispose of 425 pictures and other objects d'art for which there was no room in his country house at Blaricum, already crammed with other treasures.[331] Menten was quoted as saying that his fortune had first been acquired in pre-war Poland; he had been ruined by the Nazi occupation, but he had restored his finances, and his art collection. What Menten failed to mention was his service in the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence) pre-war, and his wartime service as an SS Sonderfuehrer, and that he was personally responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of Jews and communists in the villages of the Stryj valley. He also failed to mention that his coveted art collection was the proceeds of theft from the residences of the Murdered Professors of Lvov and elsewhere in the Galician District. Following investigations by Hans Knoop, the editor of the Dutch magazine Accent, in collaboration with Chaviv Kanaan from Israel, Menten was brought to trial after being extradited from Switzeland, where he had fled with his wife on 14th November 1976.

 

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