Scrapbookpages Blog

December 12, 2011

the sad case of Martin Bartesch, the infamous Mauthausen war criminal

On March 7, 1946, charges of participating in a “common design” to violate the Laws and Usages of War under the 1929 Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention of 1907 were brought by an American Military Tribunal against 61 men, who had been on the staff at the infamous Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria.  Although Mauthausen was in the Soviet zone of occupation in Austria, America had jurisdiction over the war criminals in the Mauthausen camp by virtue of being the liberators of the camp on May 5, 1945.

Mauthausen war criminals listen as the indictment is read

Martin Bartesch, a vicious “Nazi war criminal” who had served as an SS guard at Mauthausen for three whole weeks, was not among the 61 men in the dock.  In October 1955, Bartesch emigrated to America, where he managed to escape justice until April 9, 1986 when his evil past was finally exposed by the Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. Justice Department.

This Associated Press news story from May 29, 1987 gives the details of this infamous case:

Chicagoan Stripped of Citizenship–Hid Past as Nazi Guard

May 29, 1987 | Associated Press

A 60-year-old janitor from Chicago who hid his past as a Nazi SS concentration camp guard during World War II flew to Austria and was stripped of his U.S. citizenship, the Justice Department announced today. Martin Bartesch, a native of Romania, was listed in a “death book” compiled by the operators of the Mauthausen camp as having shot to death a French Jew in 1943, said Neal Sher, head of the Office of Special Investigations, the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit.

Remember The Reader, a movie which was based on a book written by German writer Bernard Schink?  The book is about a fictional character named Hanna Schmidt, who was an ethnic German girl from Romania.  Hanna had moved to Berlin at the age of 16 to get a job; she eventually wound up as an SS guard in a labor camp at the age of 17.

Martin Bartesch was also an ethnic German from Romania who left the family farm at the age of 16, and went to Germany, where he volunteered to join the SS.

After the war, the fictional Hanna was put on trial as a war criminal because she had refused to allow Jewish prisoners to escape from a barn where they had been locked inside for the night on a death march out of Auschwitz.  She was accused of killing the women because she allowed them to burn to death after the church caught fire; her excuse was that she was just doing her job which was to prevent the women from escaping.

Martin Bartesch was a war criminal because he shot and killed a Jewish prisoner at Mauthausen who was trying to escape.  “Trying to escape?” Oh sure, that’s what they all say.  The photo below shows two Czech prisoners who were shot by guards at Mauthausen while trying to escape.

Two Czech prisoners who were shot at Mauthausen while attempting to escape

In the photo above, note the position of the bodies near a barbed wire fence. According to Holocaust survivors, this was a favorite way for the guards in the camps to kill the prisoners. Survivors of Mauthausen said that sometimes the guards would entice the prisoners to leave the work site by telling them to pick strawberries and then shoot them when they got near the fence. Or a guard would throw a prisoner’s cap near the fence and when the prisoner tried to retrieve it, he would be shot.  

The photo below shows a model of the quarry at Mauthausen; the SS barracks at Mauthausen are shown on the upper right hand side.  The Mauthausen concentration camp had an army garrison right next to it where 10,000 SS soldiers were stationed.  The red roofed buildings in the quarry were Messerschmitt airplane factories.

Model of Mauthausen quarry shows the SS barracks

There was also an SS training school at the garrison and at the age of 17, Martin Bartesch had been assigned to be a guard at Mauthausen for three weeks as part of his one month of training. After completing his training, Bartesch was assigned to a labor camp in Linz until 1945 when he was sent to fight on the Eastern front.

On March 29, 1946, the 61 staff members of Mauthausen were convicted by an American Military Tribunal as war criminals, but Martin Bartesch was never brought to justice; as a trainee, he has not been listed on the roster of SS guards at Mauthausen.

Mauthausen was not a death camp, like Auschwitz or Majdanek, where Jews were sent to be gassed upon arrival. Up until 1942, Jews were brought to Mauthausen because they had committed a crime or because they were captured while fighting as insurgents in countries occupied by Germany. One of these Jewish criminals was Prisoner No. 14582, Max Ochsbron, born August 20, 1916 in Vienna, who had been arrested for forgery in German-occupied France.

The deaths of prisoners at Mauthausen were recorded in 7 “Death Books” which were confiscated in May 1945 by the American liberators. At the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, which started proceedings against 22 Nazi war criminals in November 1945, the set of seven death books with the title “Totenbuch – Mauthausen” on the cover of each one, was introduced by an American prosecutor as Document Number 493-PS, Exhibit Number USA-251. The death books covered the period from January of 1939 to April of 1945, according to the American prosecutor who said, “They give the name, the place of birth, the assigned cause of death, and time of death of each individual recorded. In addition each corpse is assigned a serial number, and adding up the total serial numbers for the 5-year period (sic) one arrives at the figure of 35,318.” The death books did not include the deaths in the sub-camps.

In one of the Death Books, there was an entry for Max Ochsbron, which stated that he had died an “Unnatural Death” on October 28, 1943 at 9:55 a.m. after being shot while attempting to escape (Auf der Flucht erschossen). The name of the man who shot him was also recorded in the Death Book: Martin Bartesch.

Now flash forward to this Reuters news story from 1987:

Ex-Nazi Camp Guard Voices Regret Over Killing

June 14, 1987 | From Reuters
Former Nazi death camp guard Martin Bartesch was quoted Saturday as saying he regretted he had shot and killed a fleeing prisoner during World War II but felt no guilt about it. Bartesch, who came to Austria late last month after he was stripped of his U.S. citizenship, told the daily newspaper Kurier, “Naturally I’m unhappy about the incident. But I fired because I was acting under binding orders and I don’t feel guilty.”

You can read more about the Martin Bartesch case and the OSI here.  This quote is from the article:

It is important to remember that, although the victims of the OSI are called “war criminals” by the OSI and some of the media, they are only charged with the technical violation of omitting to put certain information on their entry papers when they came to America. They are not charged with any crime. The OSI is only charging people with a civil immigration offense and the result of losing the suit is only considered by the Courts as a “civil” result and not a “criminal punishment.” It may seem illogical that being stripped of your citizenship, being seperated from your family, having your Social Security payments taken away, and being deported is not considered “punishment” while having to pay a $100 fine for speeding is. However, this is the position of the OSI and, unfortunately, it has been supported by the Courts.


  1. Mr. Bartesch,
    Of course, I know the answer. And so does every reader of this blog, friend or foe. I have had some heated debates in this blog with maker of “the movies” Michael Dorsey and writer of “the books” Michael Hirsch.
    After failing to prove their point, they just called everyone the “holocaust deniers”, “cockroaches”, “vermin”, etc. Don’t they know the truth? Oh yes, they do! But, they just keep lying and in order to make money.
    There are no ” inconsistencies in the big Shoa dogma”, there are only lies.

    Comment by Gasan — December 13, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  2. By the way.
    How come Max Ochsbron ended up in Mauthausen and not transported directly to the gas chambers of Auschwitz? That is not, what we are being told. Weren’t all jews, especially felons, supposed to be exterminated? Am I missing my guess again? What kind of forgery was it anyway? Counterfeiting? At that time, besides of money, some folks did counterfeit food rationing coupons. That was a serious offense. But, Max Ochsbron was sent to the camp? How the holocaust historian would explain this?

    Comment by Gasan — December 12, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    • Gasan, thanks for your viewpoints and rhetorical question – I know it’s rhetorical as I can tell you know the answer, that you can see through all the rather obvious inconsistencies in the big Shoa dogma. And, yes my father was a minor, 16 at the time. Think about that! He was the real victim in this story.

      Comment by Heinz Bartesch — December 12, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  3. Mr. Bartesch,
    Thank you for telling us the story of your father. It is my understanding, that he was not even of legal age at the time of that incident, correct? And your are right: the truth will set us free.

    Comment by Gasan — December 12, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

  4. This article is for the most part factually correct with a few exceptions. My father, Martin Bartesch emigrated in October of ’55, not in ’47 as stated above. He bought his young family, my sister and I were 9 and 3 respectively, to Chicago with help from the Lutheran Church under the Refugee Act of 1955 which made it LEGAL for SS soldiers to emigrate as long as they had been cleared of war crimes, which my father had.

    As the Geneva and Hague Convention ruled and the Nuremberg counsel upheld, being a perimeter guard at a prisoner of war camp was not a war crime, even if one had shot an escaping prisoner. My father listed his service in the SS on his immigration application as he had nothing to hide. It wasn’t until the creation of the OSI via the Holtzman Amendment that it made his entry “illegal” which makes the law expose facto and in itself, illegal and unconstitutional!

    Also, the prisoners claim that the guards shot prisoners as sport is nothing but propaganda, their effort to seek revenge. When I visited Mauthausen while my father was still alive after he had been forced to leave the US, he showed me exactly where he had been stationed and where Max Ochsbron tried to climb the fence. He had no option but to shoot, just as the US Soldiers would have had if and when (as they did) shoot Japanese interned at Manzanita, and other concentration camps on US soil.

    The Office of Special Investigation has become the most despicable government agency (and there are many), a self-serving agency marred in accusations of all kinds of judicial crimes, including “creating” false evidence (as in the Demjanjuk case) and for trying individuals (as in Artukovic case) for crimes that were never committed! It is clear that all these cases have nothing to do with justice and are nothing but political show-trials intended to keep the Holocaust in mainstream media and promote alleged Nazi crimes so we can deflect the real war crimes being committed today by US, Israeli and other western governments. That’s the real tragedy of these cases.

    Heinz Bartesch 12/12/11

    Comment by Heinz Bartesch — December 12, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    • Thanks a million for your comment. I have made the correction on the date that your father came to America. The rest of my blog post was written facetiously. I am on your side. I put a link to another blog which tells the true story. I know that the statements of the survivors were nothing but propaganda. It is hard to get through to people today because they have been so brainwashed by Holocaust education in the schools. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m just kidding when I write facetiously about these matters. It is my way of trying to get through to people.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 12, 2011 @ 11:16 am

      • Believe me, I do appreciate your efforts in telling the truth behind the story. It’s like pushing the boulder up the mountain side but it needs to be done. As a good revisionist friend of mine once told me; “each one, teach one” and as I tell most, keep the faith but remain vigilant, the truth can set us free.

        Comment by Heinz Bartesch — December 12, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  5. The OSI (Office of Special Investigations) of the US Justice Department has been exposed in two books I recommend to anyone interested in understanding the eternal dragnet for Nazi war criminals in America. What is the shelf life of a Nazi war criminal? Why have no Communists ever been hounded by the press, stripped of US citizenship and deported? You’ll find those answers in these books.

    1. Religion and Politics: Bishop Valerian Trifa and His Times by Gerald Bobango, East European Monographs, Boulder, 1981.
    2. Soviet Evidence in North American Courts by S. Paul Zumbakis, Americans for Due Process, Chicago, l986.

    Expect increasing numbers of “second generation Holocaust survivors” to figure out a lucrative way to extend the hunt for war criminals in America long after the last Nazi in hiding here has died and gone to Valhalla.

    Comment by who+dares+wings — December 12, 2011 @ 9:06 am

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