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July 5, 2015

The little-known, sad story of Franz Hössler

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherglory @ 4:17 pm

Update July 6, 2015:

The latest death toll for Bergen-Belsen is 72,000. You can read the true facts about Bergen-Belsen in this news article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3056202/Holocaust-survivors-paying-sombre-tribute-commemorate-liberation-Bergen-Belsen-concentration-camp-70-years-ago.html

However, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum says that only 50,000 people died at Bergen-Belsen.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005224-title=Bergen-Belsen-accessdate=April

Survivors of Bergen-Belsen camp

Survivors of Bergen-Belsen camp attend ceremony

Continue reading my original blog post

Ever since I saw the British movie about Bergen-Belsen at the Memorial Site, many years ago, I have been concerned about the sad story of Franz Hössler.

Franz Hoessler standing in front of a wagon load of dead bodies at Bergen-Belsen

Franz Hoessler standing in front of a wagon load of dead bodies at Bergen-Belsen (click to enlarge)

In the movie, Hössler was forced to stand in front of a wagon load of bodies that were the bodies of prisoners who had died of typhus or other diseases after the Bergen-Belsen camp had been voluntarily turned over to the British.  The movie showed that he was being deliberately humiliated by being forced to tell lies about his duties in the camp.

Franz Hoessler looks very unhappy in his mug shot after he was arrested by the British

Franz Hoessler looks very unhappy in his mug shot after he was arrested by the British

I wrote about Hössler in this previous blog post:  https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/franz-hoessler-the-commander-of-the-womens-camp-at-auschwitz-birkenau/

Hössler was convicted of “Crimes Against Humanity,” in the Belsen Trial, conducted by the British, after the camp had been voluntarily turned over to them. Hössler had voluntarily stayed behind to help the British.

British soldiers force SS men to load diseased bodies onto a truck with their bare hands

British soldiers force SS men to load diseased bodies onto a truck with their bare hands at Bergen-Belsen

I’m sure that Hössler didn’t know that he would be arrested and charged with “Crimes Against Humanity” when he foolishly stayed behind to help the British, so I am going to give the definition of this crime for the benefit of his descendants, if he has any.

“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

murder; extermination; enslavement; deportation or forcible transfer of population; imprisonment; torture; rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds; enforced disappearance of persons; the crime of apartheid; other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

Which of these crimes did Hössler committ at Dachau, Auschwitz, or Bergen-Belsen? Let’s go to Wikipedia to find the answer:

Franz Hößler, also Franz Hössler was a Nazi German SS-Obersturmführer and Schutzhaftlagerführer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dora-Mittelbau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during World War II. Wikipedia

Born: February 4, 1906, Marktoberdorf, Germany
Franz Hößler, also Franz Hössler

Captured by the Allies at the end of the war, Hößler was charged with crimes against humanity in the First Bergen-Belsen Trial, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He was executed by hanging at Hameln Prison in 1945.[…]

After the establishment of the Dachau concentration camp in July 1933, he became the first member of the guard staff and worked later as a cook. He served at Dachau until after the outbreak of World War II.[6][7]

[…]

On 8 April 1945, Hößler arrived with his transport at Bergen-Belsen and became deputy camp commander under Josef Kramer.[15] There he directly shot prisoners until the liberation of the camp, crimes for which he would be eventually arrested andtried. On 15 April 1945, Hößler was found hiding among the prisoners in camouflaged clothing and was detained with the remaining SS staff by a unit of the British Army. The SS detainees were then forced to bury thousands of corpses lying around on the camp grounds in mass graves.[16]

[…]

Hößler and 44 other camp staff were tried in the Belsen Trial by a British military court at Lüneburg. The trial lasted several weeks from September to November 1945. During the trial Anita Lasker testified that he took part in selections for the gas chamber.[17] On 17 November 1945 Hößler was sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out by British hangman Albert Pierrepoint on 13 December 1945 at Hameln prison.[6]

Note that Wikipedia says this:  On 15 April 1945, Hößler was found hiding among the prisoners in camouflaged clothing and was detained with the remaining SS staff by a unit of the British Army.

So Hössler volunteered to stay behind at Bergen-Belsen, to help the British, but then he hid in camouflaged clothing and was detained by the British, along with the remaining SS staff.

Notice that Hössler had kept his uniform and he put it on after he was “detained by the British” and forced to speak in a movie that they made, to show the horror of the Belsen camp and the war crimes committed by the Germans.

The barracks at Bergen-Belsen were burned down by the British to stop the epidemic of typhus

The barracks at Bergen-Belsen were burned down by the British to stop the epidemic of typhus which had killed thousands of prisoners

Here’s the rest of the story, according to this page on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Lasker-Wallfisch

During the Belsen Trial which took place from September to November 1945 Anita testified against among others the camp commandant Josef Kramer, camp doctor Fritz Klein and deputy camp commandant Franz Hössler who were all sentenced to death and hanged that year.[3]

To what could Anita Lasker-Wallfisch have testified at the Belsen trial? Did she testify that Franz Hössler had failed to bow low enough to her when he voluntarily stayed behind to help the prisoners at Bergen-Belsen during a typhus epidemic?

I would really like to know which “crime against humanity” was committed by Hössler. Did he deliberately infect prisoners with typhus?

The “Ballerina of Auschwitz” is still alive and still kicking

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:41 am

I previously blogged about Edith Eger, the “Ballerina of Auschwitz” in this blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/holocaust-survivor-edith-eger-was-pulled-from-a-pile-of-corpses-by-an-american-g-i/

Today, I read in this news article that Edith is still alive and still kicking — literally.

Edith Eva Eger

Edith Eva Eger at age 16, doing a split in a bathing suit

This quote is from the news article, cited above:

Meet Edith Eva Eger, the “Ballerina of Auschwitz,” and hear her inspirational story firsthand at a July 14 event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

A black-and-white photo shows the 16-year-old ballerina at her prime, mere months before her world would be destroyed.

She is dressed in a bathing suit, smiling while performing a gymnastic split. Eger says the portrait was taken by her first teenage crush: a Jewish boy named Imre. He, like so many others, would not survive the Holocaust.

“I had my 17th birthday in Auschwitz,” Eger said.

I also wrote about Edith in this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/holocaust-survivor-turned-cartwheels-at-auschwitz/