FANDOM


The SS-men in the Totenkopfeinheiten, the death's head units, were, without exception, professional killers, who took pride in their personal style of torturing and killing the detainees.

I saw SS-men suddenly drawing out their pistols and instantly pulling the trigger and then go on as if nothing had happened, without even casting a glance at the fallen Häftling to see whether he died or was still struggling in the dust.

Others, on the contrary, enjoyed playing with their victims, deluding them, making them believe that their fortune had smiled upon them and they would be assigned to a place where work was not so hard; they pulled the trigger only when their victims began to express their gratitude, Some proffered instant assassination: a bullet in the nape of the neck, a phenol injection in the heart, or machine gun fire if he wanted to kill several at a time. Others on the countrary, rejoiced in prolonging to the utmost the agony of death. They ordered a group of Kapo's to kill Häftlings hitting them with the cudgels, or pushing their victimd out the barracks, throw, at the height of winter, buckets full of water over their naked bodies and let them freeze to death in the snow or set dogs on them to tear them up piece by piece.

Indeed, the SS-men Totenkopfeinheiten, the death's head units were, without exception, professional murderers. When taking action individually, they had their own way of humiliating, torturing and killing the detainees. Some were sadistically and savage, others were ruthless and ferocious or disdainful and villainous. But when they assembled together to kill, the differences between them were blurred. To be more precise features blended and the general characteristics of the SS-men in Totenkopfeinheiten, in the death's head units stood out at frightful dimensions: die Barbarei, barbarity.

The whole life in the concentration camps, every episode taken separately, every action of the SS taken separately or in their entirety was full of most appalling instances of barbarity. But, according to the survivor's testimonies, the barbarity of the SS was mostly evident when the Häftlings doomed to he gassed were selected and transported. Here is a such-like scene described in a document of the Nürenberg Tribunal: "The seriously ill from the surgery, their wounds dressed, and long rows of worn-out and broken down sick people and a few about to recover were loaded into lorries. They were all stark naked, and the sight of them was hard to bear. The lorries stopped at the block entrance and the miserable sick were simply thrown into lorries or loaded by the medical attendants (I saw such tragically transports quite often). Usually some 100 men were crowded into a small lorry. They all knew what was in store for them. Most of them were utterly listless, while others, particularly the patients from the surgery who had open bleeding wounds or terrifying scars were striking at random like mad. Around the lorries, the SS-men ran like wild pushing back the screaming crowd who tried to jump off".

Nyiszli Miklos, a Häftling from Oradea and Mengele's forensic doctor, who had seen with his own eyes countless of such transports to the crematory makes a shocking description: "Those selected could no longer scream, they no longer had the strength to get off the high platform of the lorry. The SS-guardians were shouting at them, calling them, but no one was moving. The drive lost his temper, got back to the wheel end started the engine. The front side of the platform was rising little by little and then suddenly emptied its content. The wretched dying, sick people fell on their heads, faces, and knees or tumbled down from the platform one over the other. Struggling on the ground, tortured by smarts of pain, they uttered inarticulate cries. The scene was terrible!

The Sonderkommando members stripped the victims of their rag witch they pilled up in the yard, and led the unfortunate to the cremation room. Were they lined them in front of Oberscharführer Mussfeld who turned his back to the ovens. He was on duty so he would shoot them in the nape of the neck. A rubber glove protected the hand holding the pistol. The people fell down, one after the other, making room for the following series. In a few minutes Mussfeld had 'put them to bed',umgelegt as he said in his jargon. In half an hour all that was left of them were their ashes."

How irrelevant, how vague the word Barbarei, barbarity when referring to such crimes!