Poles publish Auschwitz staff database 

Poles publish Auschwitz staff database 

Child survivors at Auschwitz. Source: Wikimedia

Poland has published the first online database of the details of nearly 10,000 staff who ran Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

The state-run Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) said the SS KL Auschwitz Garrison list came from archives in Poland, Germany, Austria, the US and Russia, where archives remain largely inaccessible.

The IPN chairman, Jarosław Szarek, said the list contained 9,686 names was part of a larger project covering guards at camps that the Third Reich set up in occupied Poland during the Second World War.

The work of historian Aleksander Lasik, the institute and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, is based on more than 30 years of archival research.

“The world justice system has failed and I’m doing what a historian should do: expose the responsible individuals as war criminals,” Lasik announced.

Up to 200 former guards at the death camp could still be alive, he said.

Around a million of the victims were European Jews, up to 75,000 were Poles, some 21,000 were Roma and around 15,000 were Soviet prisoners of war.

The list of Auschwitz guards and commanders is available online in Polish, English and German with most entries including date and place of birth, nationality, education, military service and party affiliation with some photographs. Judicial documents are included if they were put on trial in Poland.

An entry for Rudolf Hoess, the camp’s commander from 1940-43, has a photocopy of the death sentence from a court in Krakow, Poland, in 1947.

War crimes investigator Efraim Zuroff said the list was “very important and the right thing to do” and could have “practical implications” for German criminal investigators.

The camp was built in 1940 in the southern city of Oświęcim in Poland. An estimated 232,000 of the victims were children.

The museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau recently urged Germans and Austrians to produce evidence that could shed light on the “motivations and mentality” of guards and other staff.

The museum’s director, Piotr Cywiński, said the museum was trying to “better understand the influence of populist mechanisms of hatred for human beings”.

Institute chairman Szarek said the study would help combat the misleading practice of referring to Auschwitz as a Polish-run camp.

He said the institute hoped to compile similar lists for other wartime camps in occupied Poland.

The list includes 350 verdicts against camp staff in war crimes trials after the war which are yet to be translated into English.

 

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