By Darren MillerWritten for William Davies Middle SchoolMays Landing NJ
Deaths HeadUnits• http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2010/12/27/1898181/nazi-imagery-continues-to-haunt-silver-star-ufc-and-mmaSoldiers of the SS-Totenkopfverbaende (Deaths Head),their objective was maintaining theconcentration camps in NaziGermany during World War II.They were named for the skull-and-cross-bones symbol worn on the rightcollar of their uniforms.On 29 March 1936, concentrationcamp guards and administrationunits were officially designated asthe SS-Death Head Unit.The SS-TK had a reputation of beingharsh masters, meting out toughpunishments on those who did notshow loyalty to the Nazi ideals.The daily life of prisoners lay in thebrutal and merciless hands of thecamp commandants and these SSDeaths-Head Units.
Theodor Eicke• http://galleria.thule-italia.com/hoyer.htmlIn 1934 Heinrich Himmler orderedTheodor Eicke, a fervent anti-Semitic, to organize and manage thefirst concentration camp which hadbeen established at Dachau,Germany.One of his recommendations wasthat guards should be warned thatthey would be punished if theyshowed prisoners any signs ofhumanity.Eicke was appointed Inspector ofConcentration Camps and head ofDeaths Head Units until theoutbreak of World War II.Eicke laid down exact instructionson corporal punishment, beatings,solitary confinement and shooting ofoffenders who were considered asagitators, mutineers or disobedientelements who refused to obeyinstructions regarding workingdetails.
Concentration campsIn 1937, there were only four concentration camps in Germany; by1944, there were approximately 30 main camps and hundreds of sub camps.They were located throughout the Germany and German-occupiedEurope.The initial goal of the concentration camp prisoners were to makethem forced laborers to produce construction materials, and eventually to dothe manual labor to build and maintain the Europe dominated ThirdReich(Germany).Not just Jewish people were sent to the camps. This included:Homosexuals, Habitual criminals, Gypsies, Pacifists, the disabled andCommunists amongst others.
Waffen SS• http://spartacus.schoolnet.uk/GERwaffen.htmMost of the initial enlisted soldierswere SS-Death Head soldiers (SSconcentration camp guards), and assuch is popularly referred to as the"Deaths Head Division". Theyparticipated in several known warcrimes.They eventually took over the camps.The members had to be ready andwilling tools, prepared to carry outtasks of any nature, howeverdistasteful.The Waffen SS troops were taught adistorted view of the past, one basedon racial struggle andLebensraum(living space). The pastprovided a sense of continuity andshowed the recruit that the Jews andSlavs had always been the enemies ofGermany.
Hierarchy of camp titlesEach camp was commanded by a Kommandant, sometimes referredto as Lagerkommandant.The prison barracks within the camp were supervised by aRapportführer who was responsible for daily roll call and the camp dailyschedule.The individual prisoner barracks were overseen by junior SS-soldierscalled Blockführer who, in turn had one to two squads of SS soldiersresponsible for overseeing the prisoners.The camp perimeter and watch towers were overseen by a separateformation called the Guard Battalion, or the Wachbattalion.Within extermination camps, the Blockführer was the person whowould physically gas victims in the camp gas chambers.
RussianPrisonershttp://www.gendercide.org/case_soviet.htmlThe Concentration camps established speciallyfor the Russians were called Russenlager.In the case of the Soviet POWs, most of thecamps were simply open areas fenced off withbarbed wire and watchtowers with nohousing. These meager conditions forced thecrowded prisoners to live in holes they haddug for themselves, which were exposed to theelements. Beatings and other abuse by theguards were common, and prisoners weremalnourished, often consuming only a fewhundred calories per day.A contraption was installed at the infirmarydisguised as a height measuring stand. A Naziguard pretending to be a doctor would ask theSoviet POWs(prisoners of war) to stand atthe contraption for measurement and througha hole in the stand another guard fired in theback of the head instantly killing the prisoner.Loud music was played in the next roomwhere other POWs waited, to mask the soundof the gunshot.
HeinrichHimmler• http://elginhistory12.wikispaces.com/Heinrich+HimmlerAs facilitator and overseer of theconcentration camps at the start of the war,Himmler directed the killing of some sixmillion Jews and other victims.Himmler established the SS Race andSettlement Main Office, a racist and anti-Semitic(hostility toward or discriminationagainst Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racialgroup) organization.In the case of the Soviet POWs, he orderedthat most of the camps were simply open areasfenced off with barbed wire and watchtowerswith no housing.Under Himmlers leadership, the SS DeathHead Units were horrific towards the peoplein the camps.British forces captured Himmler in 1945.After admitting his identity and the doctorordered to search him, he bit down on acyanide capsule hidden in his mouth. Similarto Adolf Hitler, Heinrich committed suicide aswell.In October 1939 he told the SS that women,single or married, should, out of patrioticduty, get themselves pregnant by soldiers whowere about to go to war.
The Holocaust• http://www.ushmm.org/holocaust/The Holocaust was the systematic,bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution andmurder of approximately six million Jews bythe Nazi regime and its collaborators."Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning"sacrifice by fire."The Nazis, who came to power in Germany inJanuary 1933, believed that Germans wereracially superior and that the Jews, deemedinferior, were an alien threat to the so-calledGerman racial community.The Holocaust is best known for theconcentration camps that murdered manyJews.In 1933, the Jewish population of Europestood at over nine million. Most EuropeanJews lived in countries that Nazi Germanywould occupy or influence during World WarII. By the end of 1945, (Germanys defeat) theGermans and their collaborators killed nearlytwo out of every three European Jews as partof the Final Solution, the Nazi policy tomurder the Jews of Europe.
Rudolf Hösshttp://kandiisalwaysright.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/halocaust-joseff-hoess/The most notorious of all the SS- "Deaths Head“soldiers.He was Kommandant of the newly-builtAuschwitz Concentration Camps in early 1940until liberated by the Soviet Army on 27 January1945.He was known as counting corpses with the cooldedication of a trained bookkeeper, he went homeeach night to the loving embrace of his ownfamily. An affectionate husband who kissed hiswife morning and night, and tucked his childreninto bed.He watching millions of innocent human beingsdissolve in the gas chambers(used to murder hisvictims), burning in the crematoriums, and theirteeth melting into gold bars, Höss wrote poetryabout the beauty of Auschwitz.Höss stated during Post-War Nuremberg WarCrime trials: So when I set up the exterminationbuilding at Auschwitz, I used Zyklon B, whichwas a crystallized prussic acid which theydropped into the death chamber from a smallopening. It took from 3-15 minutes to kill thepeople in the death chamber, depending uponclimatic conditions. They knew when the peoplewere dead because their screaming stopped.
Nuremberg TrialsThe best known of the war crimes trials held after World War II was thetrial of major German war criminals held in Nuremberg, Germany.On November 29, 1945, the prosecution introduced an hour-long filmtitled "The Nazi Concentration Camps." When the lights came up where allassembled, they sat in silence.Herman Göring the highest official of the Nazi state tried at Nuremberg,testified openly and frankly about the persecution of German Jews from the rise ofthe Nazi party to power in 1933 until the outbreak of war in 1939.The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoess, testified freely about thegassing of more than a million Jews at the Auschwitz- killing center during thewar.The judges of the International Military Tribunal at Nurembergsentenced Göring and Hoess to death by hanging.
BibilographyType of source First ReferenceShapiro Library SS Exemplified Nazi Ruthlessness: [FINAL HOME EDITION] Tulsa World [Tulsa, Okla] 02 Mar 1997:G.5.Shapiro Library Buchanan, William. Houston Chronicle (pre-1997 Fulltext) [Houston, Tex] 25 Apr 1985: 13. ShapiroLibraryShapiro Library Six million died during Nazi genocide Express & Echo [Exeter (UK)] 28 JanBook 2008: 10. Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death Heads Division from 1933-1945 jr, Syndor, CharlesCopyright 1977 by Princeton University PressInternet http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/kramer.htmlInternet http://www.germandaggers.info/Eicke.htmInternet http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/himmler.htmlInternet http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/focus/warcrimetrials/Internet http://www.auschwitz.dk/hoess.htmInternet hhtp://www.gendercide.org/case soviet.htmlInternet http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/waffen-ss.htm