Personal details of SS men from KL Auschwitz garrison accessible to the public
Personal details of SS men from the SS garrison of German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz are available in the database prepared by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in cooperation with the Auschwitz Museum at truthaboutcamps.eu/zalogass.
The project was presented on January 30th during the conference in Cracow, the participants of which included among others the President of the IPN Jarosław Szarek as well as Director of the Auschwitz Museum Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
Apart from SS men’s names, the database includes such personal details as: date and place of birth, service number, date of arriving and leaving KL Auschwitz, education, nationality. Photographs of some SS officers are also included in the database and in the case of those SS men who were tried postwar – also judicial documents.
“Presented database constitutes the outcome of multi-generation research started immediately after the war by comities prosecuting criminals and then among the academic community as well as at the Auschwitz Museum. Before their escape from the camp, the Germans had been burning and transporting camp administration documents outside its premises. The majority of documents were destroyed”, said Director of the Auschwitz Museum Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
“It is a paradox that at present we are in possession of much more extensive prisoner documentation in comparison with the documentation of SS garrison itself. For this reason, works on this database required among others different queries conducted abroad. I hope that this database, presented to the public, will help us in our further research on the history of SS garrison of the Auschwitz camp”, added Director Cywiński.
“It is a historical day. With this project we are inaugurating the realization of a big project. We are beginning from KL Auschwitz, but we are also planning to expand this list with other German Nazi concentration camps”, said the President of the IPN Jarosław Szarek.
According to the President of the IPN, this database may be one of the tools which may help in preventing such false expressions as “Polish concentration camps”. This database constitutes the answer to such opinions. As we can hear about Polish concentration camps, in this database, the garrison of the SS officers will be presented. We are showing it on the Internet on an unprecedented scale”, he added.
The database was created within the framework of the investigation of crimes committed by the Germans in the Auschwitz camp, resumed in 2011 by Cracow IPN Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation. The list of KL Auschwitz garrison prepared by Prof. Aleksander Lasik, sociologist and historian from Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz specializing in the history of the Third Reich, constituted the basis for its creation.
Basing on various estimations it has been possible to determine that in 1941, SS garrison in KL Auschwitz consisted of ca. 700 members, in June 1942 – ca. 2 thousand, in April 1944 – ca. 3 thousand, while in August 1944 – ca. 3.3 thousand SS men and SS female overseers. In mid-January 1945, the highest number was reached in connection with final evacuation of KL Auschwitz – 4480 SS men and 71 SS female overseers. Throughout the entire period of the functioning of KL Auschwitz, ca. 8100-8200 SS men as well as ca. 200 SS female overseers passed through the camp as garrison members.
Database accessible for the public includes not only the information about SS men serving in German Nazi concentration and extermination camp as guards and the employees of 6 camp administration departments. It also includes persons employed in separated and outside organizational units of the SS subordinated to the commandant of the Auschwitz camp, such as SS Hygiene Institute (SS-Hygiene Institut der Waffen-SS und Polizei) in Rajsko or SS Central Construction Management (SS-Zentralbauleitung der Waffen SS und Polizei Auschwitz O/S).
The database does not include personal details of Wehrmacht soldiers used in some external kommandos and sub-camps as auxiliary guards, guards form the 8th company (8. ukrainische Kompanie), consisting mainly of Ukrainians. There are no personal details of SS female overseers and female radio operators in the service of SS as well as German Red Cross sisters, not belonging to the SS.
Lately, Auschwitz Museum has also appealed to German and Austrian public opinion for documents, photographs, private letters or any other materials connected with SS garrison of the Auschwitz camp.
“We have so far been relying mainly on the accounts and memoirs of former prisoners, preserved in camp documentation and post-war trial documents. It still constitutes the foundation of our knowledge. However, we do not possess many sources which would allow us to understand the motivation of perpetrators in a better and deeper way, as very little private material created by the members of KL Auschwitz garrison has been preserved in the archives”, said Director of the Auschwitz Museum Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.
“I am deeply convinced that common effort is the only way to fuller understanding of mechanisms of systemic hatred. It is natural that the perspective of a victim may not be fully used for its analysis. We are now in need of new sources for obtaining fuller image of the history of Auschwitz and the Shoah”, he emphasized.