The Sturmabteilung Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party's original paramilitary. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s, its primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties the Red Front Fighters League of the Communist Party of Germany, intimidating Romanis, trade unionists, Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. The SA were called the "Brownshirts" from the color of their uniform shirts, similar to Benito Mussolini's blackshirts; the SA developed pseudo-military titles for its members, with ranks that were adopted by several other Nazi Party groups, chief amongst them the Schutzstaffel, which originated as a branch of the SA before being separated. Brown-colored shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large number of them were cheaply available after World War I, having been ordered during the war for colonial troops posted to Germany's former African colonies.
The SA became disempowered after Adolf Hitler ordered the "blood purge" of 1934. This event became known as the Night of the Long Knives; the SA continued to exist, but was superseded by the SS, although it was not formally dissolved until after Nazi Germany's final capitulation to the Allies in 1945. The term Sturmabteilung predates the founding of the Nazi Party in 1919, it was applied to the specialized assault troops of Imperial Germany in World War I who used Hutier infiltration tactics. Instead of large mass assaults, the Sturmabteilung were organised into small squads of a few soldiers each; the first official German Stormtrooper unit was authorized on 2 March 1915. The German high command ordered the VIII Corps to form a detachment to test experimental weapons and develop tactics that could break the deadlock on the Western Front. On 2 October 1916, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff ordered all German armies in the west to form a battalion of stormtroops, they were first used during the 8th Army's siege of Riga, again at the Battle of Caporetto.
Wider use followed on the Western Front in the Spring Offensive in March 1918, where Allied lines were pushed back tens of kilometers. The DAP was formed in Munich in January 1919 and Adolf Hitler joined it in September of that year, his talents for speaking and propaganda were recognized, by early 1920 he had gained authority in the party, which changed its name to the NSDAP in February 1920, although "Socialist" was added by the party's executive committee, over Hitler's objections, to help the party appeal to left-wing workers. The precursor to the Sturmabteilung had acted informally and on an ad hoc basis for some time before this. Hitler, with an eye always to helping the party to grow through propaganda, convinced the leadership committee to invest in an advertisement in the Münchener Beobachter for a mass meeting in the Hofbräuhaus, to be held on 16 October 1919; some 70 people attended, a second such meeting was advertised for 13 November in the Eberl-Bräu beer hall. About 130 people attended.
The next year, on 24 February, he announced the party's Twenty-Five Point program at a mass meeting of some 2,000 people at the Hofbräuhaus. Protesters tried to shout Hitler down, but his former army companions, armed with rubber truncheons, ejected the dissenters; the basis for the SA had been formed. A permanent group of party members who would serve as the Saalschutzabteilung for the DAP gathered around Emil Maurice after the February 1920 incident at the Hofbräuhaus. There was little structure to this group; the group was called the Ordnertruppen around this time. More than a year on 3 August 1921, Hitler redefined the group as the "Gymnastic and Sports Division" of the party to avoid trouble with the government, it was by now well recognized as an appropriate necessary, function or organ of the party. The future SA developed by organizing and formalizing the groups of ex-soldiers and beer hall brawlers who were to protect gatherings of the Nazi Party from disruptions from Social Democrats and Communists and to disrupt meetings of the other political parties.
By September 1921 the name Sturmabteilung was being used informally for the group. Hitler was the official head of the Nazi Party by this time; the Nazi Party held a large public meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus on 4 November 1921, which attracted many Communists and other enemies of the Nazis. After Hitler had spoken for some time, the meeting erupted into a mêlée in which a small company of SA thrashed the opposition; the Nazis called this event the Saalschlacht, it assumed legendary proportions in SA lore with the passage of time. Thereafter, the group was known as the Sturmabteilung; the leadership of the SA passed from Maurice to the young Hans Ulrich Klintzsch in this period. He had been a naval officer and a member of the Erhardy Brigade of Kapp Putsch fame, was, at the time of his assumption of SA command, a member of the notorious Organisation Consul; the Nazis under Hitler were taking advantage of the more professional management techniques
Arthur Hermann Florstedt, member of the NSDAP, was a German SS commander, war criminal and convicted war profiteer. He became the third commander of Majdanek concentration camp in October 1942. Florstedt was convicted of corruption and executed by the regime in April 1945. Florstedt joined the SS in 1933 achieving the rank of Standartenführer in 1938, he served at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 1940 till 1942. He was appointed the third chief of Majdanek extermination camp in October 1942 to replace SS-Sturmbannführer Max Koegel. Florstedt was investigated by SS Judge Georg Konrad Morgen and charged by the Schutzstaffel with embezzlement and arbitrary killing of prisoner witnesses. Florstedt was one of two Majdanek commandants put on trial by the SS in the course of the camp operation, he was charged with corruption. These valuables were processed at Majdanek, he was replaced by the interim commander Martin Gottfried Weiss. Florstedt was executed by the SS on 15 April 1945
Action 14f13 called "Sonderbehandlung 14f13" and Aktion 14f13, was a campaign by Nazi Germany to terminate Nazi concentration camp prisoners. Called invalid or prisoner euthanasia, the campaign culled the sick and those deemed no longer fit for work, from the rest of the prisoners in a selection process, after which they were killed; the Nazi campaign was in operation from 1941 to 1944 and covered other groups of concentration camp prisoners. In spring 1941, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler met with Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler, head of the Hitler Chancellery to discuss his desire to relieve concentration camps of excess ballast, sick prisoners and those no longer able to work. Bouhler was Hitler's agent for implementation of Aktion T4, the euthanasia program for the mentally ill and inmates of hospitals and nursing homes deemed unworthy of inclusion in Nazi society. Himmler and Bouhler transferred technology and techniques used by Aktion T4 personnel to concentration camps and to Einsatzgruppen and death camps, to efficiently kill unwanted prisoners and inconspicuously dispose of the bodies.
Aktion T4 was terminated by Hitler on August 24, 1941 but it was continued by many of the physicians, involved, until Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945. Bouhler instructed Oberdienstleiter Viktor Brack, the head of Hauptamt II of the Hitler's Chancellery to implement the new order. Brack was in charge of the various front operations of T4; the scheme operated under the Concentration Camps Inspector and the Reichsführer-SS under the name "Sonderbehandlung 14f13". The combination of numbers and letters was derived from the SS record-keeping system, 14 for the Concentration Camps Inspector, f for the German word deaths and 13 for the means of killing, in this case gassing in the T4 killing centers. "Sonderbehandlung" was the euphemistic term for killing. The operation began in April 1941, a panel of doctors began visiting concentration camps to select sick and incapacitated prisoners for "elimination"; this panel included those experienced from Aktion T4, such as professors Werner Heyde and Hermann Paul Nitsche and doctors Friedrich Mennecke, Curt Schmalenbach, Horst Schumann, Otto Hebold, Rudolf Lonauer, Robert Müller, Theodor Steinmeyer, Gerhard Wischer, Viktor Ratka and Hans Bodo Gorgaß.
To speed up the process, camp commandants made a preliminary selection list, as they had done in the T4 operation. This left just a few questions to be answered, such as personal information, date of admission to the camp, diagnosis of incurable disease, war injuries, criminal referral based on the criminal code of the Third Reich and any previous offenses. Names of ballastexistenzen were to be compiled and presented to the medical doctors for withdrawal from service, which included any prisoner, unable to work for a long time or was incapacitated and would not be able to return to work. Prisoners in the preliminary selection had to report to the medical panel but there was no proper medical examination. Based on personnel and medical records, the panel decided; the final assessment was made using the information in the reporting form and was limited to the decision as to whether or not the prisoner would be steered toward "special treatment" 14f13. The report form and results were sent for documentary registration at the T4 central office in Berlin.
Prisoners being considered for the preliminary selection were sometimes encouraged by the camp administration to come forward if they felt sick or unable to work. They were led to believe. Many prisoners believed the lie and volunteered but, after they were gassed at the killing centers, the victims' belongings were sent back to the camp warehouse for sorting. Prisoners learned the true reason for the selection and prisoners with serious illnesses stopped reporting to the infirmary; the first known selection took place in April 1941 at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. By the summer, at least 400 prisoners from Sachsenhausen had been retired. During the same period, 450 prisoners from Buchenwald and 575 prisoners from Auschwitz were gassed at the Sonnenstein Euthanasia Centre. Between September and November 1941, 3,000 prisoners from Dachau and several thousand people from Mauthausen and neighboring Gusen concentration camp, were gassed at Hartheim. Prisoners from the Flossenbürg, Neuengamme and Ravensbrück camps were selected and killed.
After November, another 1,000 prisoners from Buchenwald, 850 from Ravensbrück and 214 from Groß-Rosen, were gassed at Sonnenstein Castle and Bernburg. From March to April 1942, some 1,600 women were gassed at Bernburg; the "medical reviews" are described in an excerpt from letters written by Dr. Friedrich Mennecke. Elephant Hotel First there were 40 forms to finish filling out from a 1st portion Aryan, on which my two other colleagues had worked yesterday. Of these 40, I worked on about 15.... Came the "examination" of the pat. in other words, an introduction to the particulars & comparison with the notations in the files. We were not yet finished with these by noon because both my colleagues only worked in theory yesterday, so that I "post-examined" the ones who Schmalenbach (& I myself, this mornin
Neuengamme concentration camp
The Neuengamme concentration camp was a network of Nazi German concentration camps in Northern Germany that consisted of the main camp and its over 85 satellite camps. Established in 1938 near the village of Neuengamme in the Bergedorf district of Hamburg, the Neuengamme camp became the largest concentration camp in Northwest Germany. Over 100,000 prisoners came through its subcamps, 24 of which were for women; the verified death toll is 42,900: 14,000 in the main camp, 12,800 in the subcamps, 16,100 in the death marches and bombings during the final weeks of World War II. Following Germany’s defeat in 1945, the British Army used the site as an internment camp for SS and other Nazi officials. In 1948, the British transferred the land to the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which summarily demolished the camp’s wooden barracks and built in its stead a prison cell block, converting the former concentration camp site into two state prisons operated by the Hamburg authorities from 1950 to 2004. Following protests by various groups of survivors and allies, the site now serves as a memorial.
It is situated 15 km southeast of the centre of Hamburg. In 1937, Hitler declared five cities to be converted into Führer cities in the new Nazi regime, one of, Hamburg; the banks of the Elbe river of Hamburg, considered Germany’s “Gateway to the World” for its large port, was to be redone in the clinker brick style characteristic of German Brick Expressionism. To supply the bricks, the SS-owned company Deutsche Erd-und Steinwerke purchases a defunct brick factory and 500,000 m² of land in Neuengamme in September 1938; the SS establishes the Neuengamme concentration camp on December 13, 1938, as a subcamp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and transports 100 prisoners from Sachsenhausen to begin constructing a camp and operate the brickworks. In January 1940, Heinrich Himmler visits the site and deems Neuengamme brick production below standard. In April 1940, the SS and the city of Hamburg sign a contract for the construction of a larger, more modern brick factory, an expanded connecting waterway, a direct supply of bricks and prisoners for construction work in the city.
On June 4, the Neuengamme concentration camp becomes an independent camp, transports begin to arrive from all over Germany and soon the rest of Europe. As the death rate climbs between 1940 and 1942, a crematorium is constructed in the camp. In the same year, the civilian corporations Messap and Jastram open armament plants on the camp site and use concentration camp prisoners as their workforces. After the war turned in Stalingrad, Nazis imprison millions of Soviets in the concentration camp system and Soviet POWs become the largest prisoner group in the Neuengamme camp and receive brutal treatment by SS guards; the first satellite camp of Drütte is established in Salzgitter, in less than a year close to 80 subcamps are constructed. By the end of 1942, the death rate had risen to 10% per month. In 1943, the satellite camp on the Channel Island of Alderney is established. In July 1944, a special section of the camp is set up for prominent French prisoners, comprising political opponents and resistors against the German occupation of France.
These prisoners include John William, who had participated in the sabotaging and bombing of a military factory in Montluçon. William discovers his singing voice while cheering his fellow prisoners at Neuengamme and went on to a prominent career as a singer of popular and gospel music. By the end of 1944, the total number of prisoners grew to 49,000, with 12,000 in Neuengamme and 37,000 in the subcamps, including nearly 10,000 women in the various subcamps for women. On March 15, 1945, the transfer of Scandinavian prisoners from other German camps to Neuengamme begins, as part of the White Buses program. Neuengamme’s subcamps are emptied that month on death marches to the reception camps of Bergen-Belsen and Osnabrück, and, on April 8, an air raid on a prisoner train transport leads to the Celle massacre. Orders are issued for the evacuation of the main camp on April 19. Between 20 and 26 April, over 9000 prisoners are taken from Neuengamme and loaded on four ships: the passenger liners Deutschland and Cap Arcona, two large steamers, SS Thielbek and Athen.
The prisoners were in the ships' hold for several days with no water. Concluding that the ships contained Norway-bound fleeing Nazi officials rather than thousands of prisoners, the Royal Air Force Hawker Typhoons bomb the Thielbek, Cap Arcona and Deutschland on May 3. Intelligence that the ships carried concentration camp prisoners did not reach the squadrons in time to halt the attack. Survivors who jumped into the water are strafed by cannon fire from the RAF aircraft or shot by Nazi officials. Thousands of dead wash ashore just as the British Army occupy the area on land; the British force German civilians to dig mass graves for the dead. 7,100 prisoners and officials die in the raid. On 2 May 1945, the last of the prisoners leave the Neuengamme concentration camp; the first British soldiers arrive the next day and, seeing a barren and clean site, report the concentration camp as “empty”. In the first post-war months, the camp was used as a Soviet displaced persons camp, with German POWs held separately.
In June, British forces began to use the site as an internment camp for witnesses, SS members and Nazi officials, called Civil Internment Camp No. 6. The Civil Internment Camp No. 6 was cl
Landsberg Prison is a penal facility located in the town of Landsberg am Lech in the southwest of the German state of Bavaria, about 65 kilometres west of Munich and 35 kilometres south of Augsburg. It is best known as the prison where Adolf Hitler was held in 1924, after the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, where he dictated his memoirs Mein Kampf to Rudolf Hess; the prison was used by Allied power during the Occupation of Germany for holding Nazi War Criminals. In 1946 General Joseph T. McNarney, commander in chief, U. S. Forces of Occupation in Germany renamed Landsberg: War Criminal Prison Nr. 1. The Americans closed the war crimes facility in 1958. Control of the prison was handed over to the Federal Republic of Germany. Landsberg is now maintained by the Prison Service of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice. Landsberg prison, in the town's western outskirts, was completed in 1910; the facility was designed with an Art Nouveau frontage by Hugo Höfl. Within its wall, the four brick-built cell blocks were constructed in a cross-shape orientation.
This allowed guards to watch all wings from a central location. Landsberg, used for holding convicted criminals and those awaiting sentencing, was designated a Festungshaft prison. Festungshaft facilities were similar to a modern protective custody unit. Prisoners had reasonably comfortable cells, they were allowed to receive visitors. Anton Graf von Arco-Valley who shot Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner was given a Festungshaft sentence in February 1919. In 1924 Adolf Hitler spent 264 days incarcerated in Landsberg after being convicted of treason following the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich the previous year. During his imprisonment, Hitler dictated and wrote his book Mein Kampf with assistance from his deputy, Rudolf Hess. Numerous foreign political prisoners of the Nazis were deported to Germany and imprisoned in Landsberg. Between early 1944 and the end of the war, at least 210 prisoners died in Landsberg as a result of mistreatment or execution. During the occupation of Germany by the Allies after World War II, the US Army designated the prison as War Criminal Prison No. 1 to hold convicted Nazi war criminals.
It was guarded by personnel from the United States Army's Military Police. The first condemned prisoners arrived at Landsberg prison in December 1945; these war criminals had been sentenced to death for crimes against humanity at the Dachau Trials which had begun a month earlier. Between 1945 and 1946, the prison housed a total of 110 prisoners convicted at the Nuremberg trials, a further 1416 war criminals from the Dachau trials and 18 prisoners convicted in the Shanghai trials. In five and half years, Landsberg prison was the place of execution of nearly 300 condemned war criminals. 259 death sentences were conducted by 29 by firing squad. Executions were carried out expeditiously. In May 1946 twenty eight former SS guards from Dachau were hanged within a four-day period. Bodies that were not claimed were buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery next to the Spöttingen chapel. Former members of the Third Reich who were sent to the US Army's prison at Landsberg included: By 1948 the Bavarian Ministry of Justice's Association for the Welfare of Prisoners managed the needs of the prisoners held by the American military.
With the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949 and its abolition of the death penalty, calls from politicians, the churches and artists resulted in numerous petitions being made to close down War Criminal Prison No. 1. as part of a general effort to bring freedom for all Germans convicted of war crimes. In the last half of 1950 and the first half of 1951, thousands of Germans took part in demonstrations outside Landsberg prison to demand pardons for all the war criminals while the German media coverage was overwhelmingly on the side of the condemned, who were depicted as the innocent victims of American "lynch law". Though the protestors at Landsberg claimed to be motivated only by opposition to the death penalty and not to have any pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic feelings, their actions belied their words; when a group of Jewish protestors arrived at Landsberg demanding the execution of the 102 war criminals on 7 January 1951, the German protestors demanding amnesty began to chant the Nazi-era slogan "Juden raus!
Juden raus!" and proceed to beat up the Jewish protestors. The German historian Norbert Frei observed that most of the politicians who demanded freedom for condemned prisoners at Landsberg at various protest rallies outside the prison, such as Richard Jaeger of the CSU on became prominent advocates of restoring the death penalty, which suggested that what people like Jaeger objected to was not so much the death penalty, but rather the use of the death penalty against Nazi war criminals. Another politician who spoke at the protest rallies outside Landsberg prison was Gebhard Seelos of the Bavaria Party, who called the prisoners of Landsberg together with Heligoland -, being used as target practice by the RAF - to be "beacons of the German Volk in their struggle for justice and the reconciliation of nations". Seelos went on to compare the suffering of the condemned prisoners at Landsberg with that of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, argued that to execute the prisoners on death r
Alexander Bernhard Hans Piorkowski known as Alex Piorkowski was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era and commandant of Dachau concentration camp. Following the war, he was executed. Alexander Piorkowski was a trained mechanic, he joined the SA on 1 June 1929 and moved from there to the SS on 1 June 1933. On 1 November 1929, Piorkowski became a member of the Nazi Party, he first led the SS-Standarte in Bremen from 20 July 1935, in the following year, the SS-Standarte Allenstein. For health reasons, he retired from the service on 19 September 1936. From July 1937 to December 1937, Piorkowski was provisionally commandant of Lichtenburg concentration camp, after its conversion into a women's concentration camp, deputy to Lagerdirektor Günther Tamaschke until August 1938. From there he was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp in early August 1938, where he served as Schutzhaftlagerführer. From February 1940 to mid-September 1942, he was the commandant of Dachau concentration camp. Due to corruption charges, he was discharged from service on 31 August 1943.
After the Second World War, along with his adjutant Heinrich Detmers, had to answer to a U. S. military tribunal at the Dachau trials from 6 to 17 January 1947. The charges were crimes against humanity, deportation and ill-treatment of prisoners in the former concentration camp at Dachau. Piorkowski was sentenced to death, he made futile petitions for a pardon. Alexander Piorkowski was hanged in the Landsberg Prison for war criminals. Martin Gruner. Verurteilt in Dachau. Der Prozess gegen den KZ-Kommandanten Alex Piorkowski vor einem US-Militärgericht. Wißner-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89639-650-1 Ernst Klee. Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich: Wer war was vor und nach 1945. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 Stefan Hördler, Sigrid Jacobeit. Dokumentations- und Gedenkort KZ Lichtenburg – Konzeption einer neuen Dauerausstellung für Werkstattgebäude und Bunker. Lit-Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-643-10038-2 Johannes Tuchel. Konzentrationslager: Organisationsgeschichte und Funktion der Inspektion der Konzentrationslager 1934–1938..
H. Boldt, 1991, ISBN 3-7646-1902-3 Recommendations for military trials at www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org