Hitler’s regime known as the Third Reich was the most ghastly in history. As the saying goes, “it takes a village” and Hitler certainly had help from these heinous individuals to carry out his evil administration.
Goering was a rugged officer in WW I; he was wounded in the first war and became addicted to morphine for the remainder of his life. In WW II, he was promoted to commander of the Luftwaffe under Hitler. But this bad boy is best known as the founder of the Gestapo. When France fell to Nazi rule, Goering stole Jewish art worth millions, and grew his own personal wealth from it. Goering personally ordered the bombing of Britain’s civilians, known as The Blitz, and he was on the holocaust planning team. He was the highest ranking officer in the Nuremberg trials; he was sentenced to hang but instead committed suicide by taking a cyanide pill the night before his scheduled execution.
This family photo is so lovely of the Goebbels family, but it might have been one of many pieces of propaganda, since Dr. Goebbels was the Reich Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi regime. He detested Jews, and gave many speeches enunciating his hatred of the Jewish people. The speeches were very effective in convincing many Germans that they too should hate all Jews. Devoted to the end, Goebbels stayed in Berlin with Hitler, and killed himself, his wife and all his children at the end of the war.
This leading lady was so savagely cruel to her prisoners that she was lovingly called the “Bitch of Buchenwald”. Koch was extremely inhumane to fellow humans. Prisoner accounts talk about Koch walking naked through the concentration camps with a whip in hand, and if any man looked at her, they’d be whipped then shot where they stood. And although no evidence was ever found, there is a sickening rumor that Koch selectively executed prisoners with interesting tattoos so that she could later make lampshades out of their skins. Disgusting! She was imprisoned after the war, and hanged herself in her prison cell in 1967.
Heinrich Himmler is well known as the mass-murderer architect of the holocaust. Himmler was hell-bent on racial purity and was the mastermind behind the program to breed a master race with pure Nordic (Aryan) appearance. Himmler was obsessed with the occult from a very early age and used it to look for ancient proof of Aryan and Nordic racial superiority. After the war, Himmler fled to southern Germany and was hunted by the Allies. He was detained by Soviets and later taken to a British camp in Germany. During the routine medical examination, Himmler took a cyanide pill to commit suicide.
Stangl was the commander of the horrific Treblinka extermination camp, and was promoted by Himmler as director of the Euthanasia Program at Schloss Hartheim. Stangl relished his new job, and quickly grew fond of killing Jews and mentally and physically disabled people. Stangl thought of them as cargo rather than people. He escaped to Brazil after the war but was arrested in Brazil in 1967. Although admitting to the murders, he argued that he was simply doing his duty and therefore had a clear conscience. He died in prison while serving a life sentence.
Like many of his fellow officers, Dirlewanger was a WW1 veteran. In WWII, he led an SS brigade that committed vicious crimes. He and his soldiers tortured, raped and murdered countless civilians, including children. He forced female hostages to take strychnine poison and as entertainment for all, let his troops watch the women die in agony. While lying injured in a French hospital, Dirlewanger was captured and handed over to Poland, where he was beaten, tortured and imprisoned. He died from injuries inflicted over several days by Polish guards.
Mengele started his Nazi career as a selection supervisor at Auschwitz, sorting out new arrivals from the prisoner transport trains into groups of who would live and who would die. Mengele soon began performing his gruesome experiments on camp inmates. He once gassed an entire hospital wing of 750 women simply to get rid of a lice infestation. He was fascinated with heredity of genetic traits, and used identical twins for his macabre research. He would take one twin’s eyeballs and attach them to the back of the other twin’s head. He had many experiments attempting to change eye color to a more suitable Aryan blue by injecting chemicals into prisoners’ eyeballs. He also experimented with amputation of limbs, and all of these gruesome experiments earned him the title “Angel of Death”. Astonishingly, he survived the war, and lived for years in South America under the name Wolfgang Gerhard, despite massive manhunts by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Mengele died in 1979 after suffering a stroke while swimming and drowned.
Blobel was commander during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and was responsible for the Kiev Babi Yar massacre where nearly 60,000 people were executed. At the Nuremberg trials, he was sentenced to death and hanged in 1951 at Landsberg Prison.
Eichmann was an efficiency expert and responsible for the mass deportation of Jews from their countries into concentration camps. He actually learned Hebrew and became an expert in Jewish culture to manipulate and coerce their people to leave their homeland for a better life in the camps. At the end of the war, he was trying to exterminate Hungarian Jews but was stopped. Eichmann fled Germany for South America and was captured by the Mossad in Argentina, taken back to Israel and hanged after a very public trial in 1962. Eichmann’s execution remains the only Nazi execution carried out in Israel.
Notorious Nazi war criminal Kramer was known as “The Beast of Belsen” for his role as Bergen-Belsen prison commandant. He terrorized prisoners without remorse and is directly responsible for thousands of deaths. Like many of his fellow officers, he showed no remorse during the trials, simply saying he was just following orders. Kramer was hanged in Hameln prison.
Jeckeln led one of the largest death squads in the Nazi-occupied Soviet Union. His squad, called Einsatzgruppen, ordered the deaths of over 100,000 Jews, Slavs, Roma, and other undesirable people. He developed his own methods to kill large numbers of people. Known as the “Jeckeln System”, victims were stripped of clothes and valuables, and forced to lie face down in a pit, often on top of dead bodies. Each person was then shot once in the back of the head. Anyone not killed outright was buried alive. Even the most seasoned Nazi killers viewed this as terribly cruel. After the war, Jeckeln was hanged by the Russians in 1946.
Heydrich’s first claim to fame came when he chaired the 1942 Wannsee Conference, convened to discuss the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German occupied territory. He is often proclaimed as the father of genocide and the mastermind of the holocaust. In 1942, Czech agents carried out an attempted assassination in Prague and Heydrich died a week later from his injuries. The genocide moved forward without him, and was named Operation Reinhard in his honor.
Prominent Austrian and SS leader Globocnik led the disbursement of the Warsaw Ghetto, the largest Jewish community in Europe of half a million Jews. Shortly after his capture by Allied Forces, he committed suicide via cyanide capsule.