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Belzec - The perpetrators

Monument in Belzec. "In memory of the victims of the Nazi terror, killed in the years 1942-1943"

       This webpage is about the men who, loyally and unquestioningly carried out the murder of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. They constantly displayed initiative in trying to improve the extermination process. Source and pertinent material on the daily lives of these men in Belzec, on their personal feelings about the tasks that they carried out, and their relationship to their innocent victims is almost nonexistent.

       The prisoners used to nickname the various men in SS uniform, and these names were indicative of their reputations and activities in the camp. These nicknames were also a type of code to be used as a warning when a particular SS man appeared in a certain area of the camp. (Arad, p.180-181)

SS- and Police Chief  of Lublin and supervisor of camps of Aktion Reinhard 


Globocnik SS - und Polizeiführer für den Distrikt Lublin - SS- and Police Chief for the district of Lublin and supervisor of the death camps of Aktion Reinhard. Born in Trieste in 1904. Globocnik was arrested by British troops at the Möslacher Alm, Carinthia / Austria on 31 May 1945. He committed suicide by poisoning himself at about 11:30 a.m. the same day outside the small prison.

 Commander of Belzec

 Commander of Belzec

 SS-Sturmbannführer - SS Major Christian Wirth SS-Obersturmführer - SS 1st Lieutenant Gottlieb Hering,

Commander of Belzec from December 1941 to August 1942, was the first commandant appointed to Belzec. His cruelty was put to use when he assumed command of Belzec and later was appointed inspector of the Aktion Reinhard death camps. He was the inspector of the death camps and, in this capacity, the actual commander, but he also developed the system of the extermination machine in these extermination camps. He was transferred to Trieste in September 1943 to take command of the SS-Einsatzkommando R l.
Born on 24/11/1885 and killed on 26/05/1944 by partisans in Trieste, Italy.

Commander of Belcez from August 1942 to December 1942. In August 1942 he replaced Wirth, because of Wirth's appointment as chief inspector of all Aktion Reinhard camps. After the liquidation of Belzec in spring 1943, he became commander of the forced labour camp Poniatowa. On 4 November 1943 all Jewish inmates of the camp were shot in the course of Aktion Erntefest. In 1944 he was ordered to Italy, where he replaced Wirth as chief of Kommando R 1 in Trieste after Wirth's death. Born on 02/06/1887 and died on 09/10/1945 as a result of an illness in Katherinen Hospital in Stetten, Germany.

Some lower ranking perpetrators

 Kurt Hubert Franz 17/01/1914-04/07/1998

       Not a member of NSDAP or affiliated organizations. Belonged to the Waffen-SS. Born in Düsseldorf. Extended elementary school from 1920 - 1928 in Düsseldorf. Since 1929 he was trained as a cook, at first in the restaurant "Hirschquelle", then in "Hotel Wittelsbacher Hof" in Düsseldorf without final examination. Soldier during 1935 - 1937. In October 1937 he joined the Waffen-SS (3. SS-Totenkopfstandarte Thüringen). End of 1939 summoned to the Führer's Chancellery and detailed for service as cook in the euthanasia institutes at Grafeneck, Hartheim, Sonnenstein and Brandenburg. As member of the 6th battalion he served at the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1941 (SS Clothing Department, perhaps cook). On 30 January 1940 he was promoted SS-Unterscharführer, in 1941 (?) SS-Scharführer. During Spring 1942 ordered to the Generalgouvernement.

       Kommandant of Treblinka, from 27 August 1943 - November 1943.
In spring 1942 (as SS-Scharführer) to Belzec. On 20 April promoted SS-Oberscharführer. He worked as cook, and trained the Ukrainian guards there. In August/September 1942 he was ordered to Treblinka where he took over the Ukrainian guard squads and rose to be deputy camp commandant. Commandant of Treblinka, from 27 August 1943 until November 1943. Promoted SS-Untersturmführer on 21 June 1943.

       Franz was the dominant personality in Treblinka when it came to the day-to-day running of the camp, and especially with regard to the prisoners. To the prisoners Franz was the cruellest and most frightening among the SS personnel in the camp. His physical appearance was extremely deceiving: he was nice-looking; he had a round, almost baby- face; and he was younger than most of the other SS men. He was therefore nicknamed "Lalke" ("doll" in Yiddish) by the prisoners. However, he was a murderer and a sadist who made the prisoners' lives a nightmare.

       Ordered to Trieste, where he took part in killing partisans and Jews. Imprisoned by US Forces after the war. He escaped from prison and worked again as a cook. In 1959 he was imprisoned again. Sentenced to life imprisonment by the German Landgericht Düsseldorf on 3 September 1965. Died in an old people's home in Wuppertal on 4 July 1998.
Source: death-camps.org/belzec/perpetrators


 Lorenz Hackenholt 25/06/1914-31/12/1945

       Lorenz Hackenholt:
 Member of NSDAP and SS (1934). Driver at Sonnenstein. Also served at Grafeneck. Affiliation to squad or detachment unknown.

       One of Wirth's favourites, he helped to build and operate the gas chambers at Belzec. Assisted in building gas chambers at Sobibor. The plans for the new gas chamber at Treblinka were drawn up by Hackenholt who was then at Belzec, but he also assisted in laying the gas pipes for the Treblinka gas chambers. (Tregenza, p.5)

       Hackenholt as remembered by Suchomel: "At Treblinka, the Ukrainians at first had led their usual wild and drunken way of life at the camp, but were brought to heel by Wirth, Oberhauser and Hackenholt with an iron hand, that is, whips and punishments." (Tregenza, p.42)
Was promoted SS-Hauptscharführer in September 1943, no doubt due to his zealous work at the extermination camps.
At Belzec the gas chambers were referred to as the "Stiftung Hackenholt" (Hackenholt Foundation), above which there was a Star of David similar to Treblinka. (Klee, p.242)

       Served in Italy. Almost certainly survived the war in the Allgäu area around Memmingen-Kempten in the German-Austrian border region (Tregenza). Was spotted by his brother, driving a cart, but has never been brought to trial. No further details known.
Source: death-camps.org/belzec/perpetrators


Josef Oberhauser 20/09/1915-22/11/1979

       Josef Oberhauser:
Born in Munich. Day labourer at farms. 7 years elementary school. Member of SS (no. 288.121) since November 1935 (Totenkopfstandarte "Brandenburg"). SS-Rottenführer since 1936 and SS-Unterscharführer since 1938. 1939 member of "SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" and involved in the Poland campaign. Afterwards promoted SS-Oberscharführer.
In November 1939 to T4. At Bernburg as "burner" from autumn 1940 until autumn 1941. Also at Grafeneck, Brandenburg and Sonnenstein. Ordered to Lublin in November 1941.
From November until Christmas 1941 staff member of SS- and Polizeiführer Lublin, Globocnik. From Christmas 1941 constant companion of Wirth, liaison officer to Globocnik.

       From November 1941 until 1 August 1942 in Belzec as contact to the Lublin office without a special task but leader of guard platoon. On 1 August 1942 ordered to Wirth's office. He became chief of the Ukrainian guards in Lublin. Accompanied Wirth on his inspection tours of the three camps (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka).
Promoted SS-Untersturmführer on 20 April 1943 because of his "merits" in the course of Aktion Reinhard.

       In Autumn 1943 ordered to Italy where he was promoted SS-Obersturmführer on 30 January 1945. Captured by British troops in May 1945 in Bad Gastein (Austria).
Sentenced to 15 years in prison by Landgericht Magdeburg. Amnesty on 28 April 1956. Casual labourer and waiter in Munich. Sentenced to 4 years and 6 months by Landgericht München in 1965.
Source: death-camps.org/belzec/perpetrators

Ernst Zierke 06/05/1905-unknown

       Ernst Zierke:
Born in Krampe near Köslin. 8 years elementary school. Left school at the age of 13. Worked as woodcutter and blacksmith. NSDAP and SA member since 1930. From 1934 - January 1940 male nurse at Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Neuruppin.
Duty bound to T4 in January 1940. Male nurse and driver at Grafeneck, Hadamar, and Sonnenstein. In winter 1941 / 1942 ordered from the mental home in Eichberg to OT (Organisation Todt) in Russia, in the Wjasma area. Early 1942 back to Eichberg near Rüdesheim.

       In June 1942 ordered to Belzec. Served as a guard on the ramp and supervised the undressing barrack. Responsible for the camp forge. Also took part in the execution of the last group of Jewish workers. When Belzec closed down, he was transferred to Dorohucza labour camp near Trawniki, in March 1943. When that camp closed he stayed on with Jührs to supervise the dismantling of the buildings.

       In autumn 1943 ordered to Sobibor to complete the dismantling of the camp and to shoot the last remaining Jews.

       In December 1943 ordered to Italy, to fight against partisans and serve at San Sabba. After end of war arrested in a POW camp. Rearrested on 31 January 1963. Acquitted at the Belzec Trial in Munich (1964) and Sobibor Trial in Hagen (1965). Released for health reasons.
Source: death-camps.org/belzec/perpetrators