US vs. Josias Erbprinz zu Waldeck-Pyrmont
Sentences of war criminals from Buchenwald camp
There were no closing remarks in the trial of 31 accused war criminals in the Buchenwald case. Testimony in the Buchenwald case ended on August 11, 1947 and both the prosecution and the defense waived their right to make a closing statement.
All 31 of the accused in the Buchenwald case were convicted. This was no surprise because in the three previous trials of concentration camp staff members, the conviction rate had been 100%. Although the prosecutor had asked for the death penalty for each of the accused in the Buchenwald case, only 22 of the 31 were sentenced to be hanged.
The camp Commandant, Hermann Pister, was found guilty of participating in the "common plan" to violate the Laws and Usages of War because Soviet Communist Commissars had been executed at Buchenwald on the orders of Adolf Hitler while he was the Commandant. Although the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention and were not following its rules, the Tribunal ruled that the Germans, down to the last man, were responsible for treating the Russians according to the rules of the Convention.
Josef Kestal, a prisoner in the camp who is shown in the photo below, was sentenced to death for his part in the executions.
Josef Kestel points out where prisoners were executed at Buchenwald
Josias Erbprinz zu Waldeck-Pyrmont, an SS general and a member of German royalty, was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the "common plan" to violate the Laws and Usages of War. He was sent to Landsberg am Lech prison near Munich, but was released in 1950 for reasons of ill health.
The prison at Landsberg am Lech, called War Crimes Prison No. 1 by the Allies, is shown in the photo below.
Prison at Landsberg am Lech
Hubert Krautwurst, who is shown in the photo below, was one of the 22 who were given the death penalty; he had been only seventeen when he became a member of the concentration camp staff. He was convicted of killing prisoners who were working on a gardening detail.
Hubert Krautwurst Dr. Edwin Katzen-Ellenbogen
Dr. Edwin Katzen-Ellenbogen on the witness stand, August 5, 1947
Dr. Edwin Katzen-Ellenbogen, shown in the photograph above, commanded a great deal of attention in the courtroom because he was a former American citizen, 65 years old, very arrogant and able to hold his own against the American prosecutor, as he testified in a deep baritone voice. A prisoner at Buchenwald, he had originally been on the prosecution witness list, and had helped with interrogations of other prisoners; then he wound up among the accused.
Dr. Edwin Katzen-Ellenbogen, who had degrees in both medicine and psychology, had cleverly asked to be sentenced to death, knowing that the Tribunal would deny him his last wish; he was given life in prison instead.
Dr. Walter Wendt
Dr. Walter Wendt, shown in the photo above, was a medical doctor and a prisoner in the camp; he was a Kapo (Captain) in charge of other prisoners.
Arthur Dietzsch, shown in the photo above, was a prisoner who was the chief Kapo of Block 46, where medical experiments to find a vaccine for typhus were done. At the trial, he made a statement in which he claimed that he was an active opponent of the Nazi regime; he claimed that he had never harmed anyone, but had saved the lives of many prisoners at the risk of his own life.
Here is the list of the accused and their sentences:
Hermann Pister - Death Sentence - Died in prison Sept. 28, 1948
Hans Merbach - Death Sentence - Executed January 14, 1949
Dr. Hans Eisele - Death Sentence - Pardoned in 1952
Hermann Helbig - Death Sentence - Executed November 19, 1948
Hans Wolf - Death Sentence - Executed November 19, 1948
Hubert Krautwurst - Death Sentence - Executed November 26, 1948
Emil Pleissner - Death Sentence - Executed November 26, 1948
Max Schobert - Death Sentence - Executed November 19, 1948
Hermann Grossmann - Death Sentence - Executed November 19, 1948
Friedrich Wilhelm - Death Sentence - Executed November 26, 1948
Richard Köhler - Death Sentence - Executed November 26, 1948
Josef Kestel - Death Sentence - Executed November 19, 1948
Hans - Theodor Schmidt - Death Sentence - Executed June 7, 1951
Gustav Heigel - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Helmut Roscher - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Phillip Grimm - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Albert Schwartz - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Hermann Hackmann - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Quido Reimer - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Anton Bergmeier - Death Sentence - Commuted to Life
Otto Barnewald - Death Sentence Commuted to Life
Peter Merker - Death Sentence - Commuted to 20 Years
Franz Zinecker - Life in prison
Werner Greunuss - Life in prison - Commuted to 20 Years
Josias Erbprinz zu Waldeck-Pyrmont - Life in prison - Commuted to 20 Years
Dr. Edwin Katzen-Ellenbogen - Life in prison - Commuted to 15 Years
Ilse Koch - Life in prison - Commuted to 4 Years
Arthur Dietzsch - 15 Years in prison
Wolfgang Otto - 15 Years in prison
Dr. Walter Wendt - 15 Years in prison - Commuted to 5 Years
August Bender - 10 Years in prison - Commuted to 3 Years
This page was last updated on September 16, 2009