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Murder in Hinzert

Ausgehobene Grube
Ausgehobene Grube, in der Tote des SS-Sonderlagers/KZ Hinzert verscharrt worden waren

Prisoners were shot or murdered with deadly injections both individually and in groups at the SS Special Camp / Hinzert Concentration Camp. Many other prisoners died from the most brutal mistreatment. Trial records and bills of indictment against members of the SS guard detail contain myriad statements from witnesses on crimes of unimaginable brutality and cruelty to prisoners in the camp. SS guards, for example, tortured the Jewish prisoners Hanau and Baer and drowned them afterwards in a trough. Seven Flemings that fell sick with dysentery died in the spring of 1943 as a result of mistreatment and the refusal to give them medical care.

Murder of Soviet Prisoners of War in 1941

The Trier Gestapo ‘picked up’ 70 of 300 Soviet prisoners of war who were working in the commando at the Baumholder troop exercise area and took them to a ‘special hearing’. The reason for this was the so-called ‘Commissar Order’. This order from Hitler foresaw the murder of political officers (‘commissars’) who were responsible for the Communist training of soldiers, after they had been taken prisoner.

 

Two lorries brought 70 prisoners of war to the SS Special Camp / Hinzert Concentration Camp just after dusk. The uninformed prisoners were told that they had to undergo a medical examination and be vaccinated before heading out to a job. Individually they were led to the quarantine barracks, where they were in fact injected with deadly potassium cyanide. The murdered prisoners were then hastily buried in pre-prepared mass graves that lay hidden in the forest.

Murder of Luxembourg Citizens after the 1942 Strike

After the German Wehrmacht occupied Luxembourg on 10 May 1940, the Head of Civil Administration, Provincial Leader (Gauleiter) Simon pursued rigorous political aims. The goal was to incorporate the Grand Duchy into the German Reich.

The acme of his political efforts was the introduction, at the end of August 1942, of compulsory service in the German Wehrmacht for all Luxembourgers born between 1920 and 1926.  The general strike that was called as a result griped all of Luxembourg and included workers, officials, students and school children.  One day later the Germans called a state of emergency and implemented a summary court martial.  It sat primarily at night in the court building in the city of Esch and in Luxembourg, which was presided over by Fritz Hartmann, the head of the Trier State Police Branch Office and Head of the Task Commando of the Security Police and the SD in Luxembourg.  The summary court martial issued twenty death sentences to arbitrarily selected strike participants and the executions were carried out from 2 to 5 September 1942 close to the Hinzert Concentration Camp.

 

Murder of Luxembourg Resistance Fighters

The German occupying forces arrested approximately 350 Luxembourgers during various raids and round ups in the fall of 1943 and had them deported to the SS Special Camp / Hinzert Concentration Camp. In the subsequent hearings the Gestapo assumed that there would be 50 death sentences in the coming trials on the basis of the practises of the Special Court hitherto. The Gestapo accused those arrested of being ‘gang leaders’ of the Luxembourg Resistance. The arrested people were charged with having helped other Luxembourgers who had avoided their compulsory obligation to serve in the Wehrmacht, and having provided aid to allied pilots. On account of this report, the Head of Civil Administration, Gustav Simon, called a meeting in Coblence at the end of January 1944, which also was attended by the Head of the Task Commando of the Security Police  and the SD in Luxembourg, Walter Runge. At the meeting they decided that issuing 50 death sentences would not be politically advantageous at the current time.  The investigation was therefore not to be handled by the State Prosecutors Office and the number of death sentences was to be reduced to 25.  The agreement was presented to the Main Office of Reich Security (Reichsicherheitshauptamt), which decided that the 25 Luxembourgers were to be shot immediately. As a warning to the growing resistance of the Luxembourg people, SS Major (Hauptsturmführer) Runge selected 23 people from the prisoners on 25 February 1914 and these prisoners were then shot at the SS Special Camp / Hinzert Concentration Camp without a court sentence. Two other prisoners who were supposed to be shot were not in the camp at the time of the action and survived.

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