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The Holocaust History Project.
The Holocaust History Project.

The ‘Disappearance’ of SS-Hauptscharführer
Lorenz Hackenholt

A Report on the 1959-63 West German Police Search for
Lorenz Hackenholt, the Gas Chamber Expert of the Aktion
Reinhard Extermination Camps ©

Michael Tregenza


At the end of World War II, one of the most difficult tasks facing the victorious Allies was finding, and bringing to justice, thousands of war criminals, including those responsible for the Holocaust. Discovering the main criminals was relatively easier, since they had occupied positions of power and were, mostly, easy to find. Nonetheless, many - the most notable being Adolf Eichmann - escaped justice for years. The reasons they were able to do this are varied and controversial, but suffice it to say that among them were complicity by government and other agencies, shelter provided by family, friends and ex-colleagues and the sheer enormity of the task at hand.

Others, such as Josef Mengele, were only found after their death. Still others, such as Heinrich Müller, and Alois Brunner have never been found at all or have not been able to be captured.

At the same time, thousands of less well-known, but no less criminal players in the tragedy were able easily to hide. Since they were not known very well, they were able to melt into German or Austrian society with relative ease, emigrate to other countries, especially in South America, or merely vanish. In many cases, it was not known they had been involved in the Holocaust for many years after the end of the war, and for this reason, they had an often lengthy "head start" on their pursuers.

One such individual was Lorenz Hackenholt, an almost unknown SS-Hauptscharführer [Sgt-Major], who served at three of Aktion Reinhard death camps (Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor) and was responsible for designing and running the gas chambers at those camps. Including his previous work at the euthanasia camps, he was complicit in the deaths of at least 1.5 million Jews.


When the then West German government began to hold trials of the death camp participants in the late 1950s and early 1960s, they sought to track down as many of the former camp staff as they could find. One person eagerly sought was Lorenz Hackenholt.


In the article that follows, Michael Tregenza shows how daunting a task it could be and demonstrates some of the roadblocks that enabled people such as Hackenholt to escape discovery.


The ‘Disappearance’ of SS-Hauptscharführer
Lorenz Hackenholt

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On 1 December 1958, in a part of the prison complex in the market town of Ludwigsburg, Wurttemberg, West Germany, a special judicial investigation office was opened with the unwieldy title of Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Aufklärung national- sozialistischer Verbrechen (Central Office for State Justice Administration for the Elucidation of National Socialist War Crimes), abbreviated to ‘Z-Stelle’ (Central Office). The initial main task of this special office was to examine in detail the organization, operation, staff, and victims of the six Nazi extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, tracing original documents and photographs, and locating eyewitnesses, especially survivors, who could testify at resulting criminal proceedings for war crimes and crimes against humanity before West German courts. In addition, the Central Office was responsible for coordinating the various criminal investigations conducted by local State Prosecutors, special police war crimes units and the Kriminalpolizei.[1]

The first major investigation directed by the Central Office concerned the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka in eastern Poland in which about 1.5 million Polish and foreign Jews were murdered in gas chambers and their corpses cremated on open air pyres. The investigation, begun in the autumn of 1959 and which lasted until the mid-1960s, benefitted from the coperation of the Inspector-General of the Israeli police in Tel Aviv who, in his capacity as the head of Interpol in Israel, coordinated the search in that country for survivors and witnesses.[2]

High on the Central Office list of war criminals who had been active in the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps was Lorenz Hackenholt who, in 1942 as a 28-year-old SS-Scharführer had played a leading role in the construction of gas chambers in all three camps. Nothing had been heard of him since the latter days of the war when he had been

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stationed with an SS-unit in northern Italy. A copy of Hackenholt's SS file was obtained from the Berlin Document Center, the main repository for the personal files of all former members of the SS and Nazi Party, administered at that time by the US military authorities in West Berlin. [3] The file, which also contained his hand-written curriculum vitae dating from 1941, showed that Laurenzius (Lorenz) Marie Hackenholt was born on 25 June 1914 in Gelsenkirchen/Ruhr, the son of Theodor and Elizabeth Hackenholt, nee Wobriezek. After attending the local elementary school until the age of 14 he became an apprentice bricklayer and on passing the trade examination was employed on various building sites until 1933 when at the age of 19 he volunteered for the SS. Hackenholt's c.v. continues:

After joining the SS I was commandeered on 1 January 1934 to the Führerschule of SS- Abschnitt XVII and remained there until my discharge at the disbandment of the school. At that time I reported to the army as a volunteer and was called up to 12 Engineers' Battalion. After two years military service I was discharged. I then reported to 2. SS-Totenkopf Standarte (Death's Head Regiment). In November 1939 I was then commandeered to Berlin for 'special duty'. [4]

Certain important details omitted by Hackenholt from his c.v. were provided by one of his former SS-comrades, Werner Dubois, questioned in Schwelm by officers of Department 15 of the Northrhine-Westphalian Kriminalpolizei. Dubois had served before the war in the same SS-unit as Hackenholt. According to this witness, they both belonged to the 2. Totenkopf Brandenburg Division stationed at Oranienburg, north of Berlin, and when in March 1938 an SS vehicle depot was established at the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Dubois and Hackenholt were transferred to the camp staff as both SS-men were skilled motor mechanics and drivers with Class I-III driving licenses. At Sachsenhausen they also performed the more onerous task of concentration camp guards as well as serving as SS-drivers for the camp command and staff.

It was from the Sachsenhausen Kommandantur that the summons to 'special duty' had come in November 1939 when, together with two other members of the camp staff, Josef Oberhauser and Siegfried Graetschus (also employed in the vehicle depot) Hackenholt and Dubois were ordered to report to the Führer's private Chancellery at Voss Strasse 4 in Berlin. There, the four SS-NCOs from Sachsenhausen met six other SS-NCO who had also been commandeered from the concentration camp service. [5]

At Voss Strasse the 10 men were interviewed by SS-Standartenführer Viktor Brack, the head of Hauptamt II (Main Office II) of the Führer's Chancellery — an office which

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dealt with affairs of the Nazi Party and the State - and his deputy SA-Oberführer Werner Blankenburg, who informed them about a secret euthanasia operation then being prepared to rid the mental asylums and psychiatric wards of hospitals in the Reich of their mentally handicapped patients. Dubois recalled about this interview:

Photographs of extreme cases of mental illness were shown to us. We were told that ... the institutions from which the mentally ill were to be taken were needed as military hospitals. We were further told that gas chambers were to be built in which the victims would be gassed, after which they would be cremated. We, anyway, would have nothing to do with the killings, we would only have to cremate the corpses. [6]
A part of the duties of the SS drivers from Sachsenhausen would also be to collect the patients from the mental asylums and deliver them to the killing centres in a fleet of buses.

The SS-NCOs were then sworn to secrecy in perpetuity and told that they were now employed by the 'Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Anstaltspflege' (Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care), later referred to simply as 'die Stiftung' (The Foundation). This fake organization — it existed only as a letter-heading — was first to organize and carry out the killing of over 70,000 German mental patients in six specially adapted establishments in the Reich under the code designation 'T4', after the address of its headquarters in a secluded villa at Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Later, during 1942-43, the Foundation — which was merely a front organization to hide the direct involvement of the Führer's Chancellery in the killings — was also to manage the extermination of the Jews of Poland in death camps under the code name Aktion Reinhard. [7]

The SS-NCOs were further informed that they were to perform their duties in the euthanasia operation in civilian clothes only, but would be permitted to retain their pistols and SS paybooks. Civilian clothes were bought for them at the expense of the Führer's Chancellery, and after spending the night in a guest house on the Hallesches Ufer, the SS-NCOs were driven in a bus to Grafeneck castle in the Swabian Alps south of Stuttgart in Württemberg. The bus in which they travelled was driven by SS-Scharführer Lorenz Hackenholt.[8]

In the grounds of the old ducal castle — once the property of the Dukes of Württemberg, but since 1929 a mental asylum run by the Innere Mission (Internal Mission) of the Evangelical Church in Stuttgart — the first gas chamber was constructed in an old coach shed, and two portable crematorium furnaces bought from the Berlin firm of Heinrich Kori, installed in a wooden barrack hut close by. Within less than a year, this,

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the first Nazi extermination installation, was to dispose of over 10,000 mentally ill patients. They were killed by pure carbon monoxide (CO) gas released from cylinders into the hermetically-sealed coach shed. [9]

From the beginning of 1940 when Grafeneck became operational until the summer of 1941 when the gassings were stopped on Hitler's orders, Lorenz Hackenholt served in all six killing centres, both as a bus driver and as a so-called 'disinfector/burner' unloading the corpses from the gas chambers and cremating them. He also acted for a time as the driver for SS-Untersturmführer Dr. August Becker, the chemist employed by the Foundation to procure and deliver the gas cylinders to the killing centres.

It was Dr. Becker's file at the Berlin Document Center that gave the first indication of Hackenholt's character. In January 1941, a charge of assault and battery (tatlicher Beleidigung) was brought against both Becker and Hackenholt in Plauen by Albin Wunderlich, the owner of a bar in the town. The two SS-men had left the bar at 5 o'clock in the morning, considerably drunk and in the company of two prostitutes. In the street, the plaintiff continuously insulted Hackenholt and then attacked him - a foolhardy act as Hackenholt was a well-built man over two metres tall. In self-defence, Hackenholt struck the plaintiff and knocked out two of his teeth, whereupon the plaintiff called the police. All three men were taken to the police station where Becker and Hackenholt refused to divulge to the police the nature of their work or the reason for their presence in Plauen. The police referred the criminal charges to the SS who began disciplinary proceedings against the pair, which resulted in a delay in promotion for Becker. After much bureaucratic wrangling, however, the SS disciplinary proceedings against Becker and Hackenholt were dropped. [10]

After the termination of the T4 gassings, Hackenholt, together with a small group of SS-NCOs from the Foundation, was transferred in the autumn of 1941 to the authority of SS-Brigadeführer Odilo Globocnik, the SS-und Polizeiführer of the Lublin District in south-east Poland. But shortly after arriving in Lublin, Hackenholt was allowed home leave to marry his Berlin neighbor 29-year-old Ilse Zillmer at the Registry Office in Berlin-Schmargendorf. After the wedding and a brief honeymoon, Hackenholt returned to duty in Lublin. From there he was sent to Belzec, a remote and isolated village in the far south-eastern corner of Poland, on the railway line between Lublin and Lemberg (Lvov). On a sand hill four hundred metres south-east of the railway station an experimental extermination camp intended for the mass gassing of Jews was under construction. The first three zinc-lined gas chambers were located in a wooden shed constructed with double walls, the intevening space was filled with sand to render the

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shed airtight and sound-proof. [12] A few weeks later, SS-Scharführer Lorenz Hackenholt was to begin his career as the Aktion Reinhard gassing expert. Within the short space of time of only one month — mid-March-mid-April 1942 — over 50,000 Jews were killed in the primitive gassing shed by the exhaust fumes from a Soviet tank engine operated by Lorenz Hackenholt. Later in the year, he designed and supervised the construction of new and bigger gas chambers in Belzec as well at the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps.

Before their marriage, the Hackenholts had been registered with the Berlin police as living in separate apartments at Kurfürstendamm 112 in the Reich capital. As this was Lorenz Hackenholt's last known address, it seemed the logical place for the investigators at the Ludwigsburg Central Office to begin their search for the wanted war criminal.

On 5 November 1959, an official enquiry was sent by the examining magistrate in Ludwigsburg in charge of the Belzec Case to the office of the Police President of West Berlin at Tempelhofer Damm 1-7. The judge requested information as to whether either Hackenholt or his wife had returned to Berlin at any time since 1945, and whether they were presently registered with the Berlin police as residents of the city. Also requested were Hackenholt's personal particulars: marital status, profession, place of work, etc., and also, if possible, for several copies of the photograph in his driving license to be provided. The judge stressed to the Berlin police that the investigation should be carried out with the utmost confidentiality so that 'the wanted person should in no way be aware of the enquiries'. [13]

The reply from the West Berlin Police Presidium 11 days later reported that there was no postwar police registration for Lorenz Hackenholt. There was, however, a registration card for a person who was probably his wife, a masseuse called Ilse Barbara Hackenholt, nee Zillmer, born on 19 November 1912 in Berlin-Charlottenberg. Until 22 December 1951 Frau Hackenholt had been registered as living at Munsterdamm 32 in Berlin-Steglitz, c/o Schimmelpfennig, but on that date she had moved to the village of Tiefenbach near Oberstdorf in the Allgäu, close to the Austrian border. She had registered there with the local Grenzpolizei (Border Police) on 3 January 1952. The Berlin police report also stated that on 22 August 1953 Frau Hackenholt had requested that a magistrates court in Berlin-Schöneberg declare her husband officially dead in order that she might claim a war widow's pension. [14]

Upon request from the Ludwigsburg Central Office, the Berlin magistrates court provided the following information about the 1953 court application:

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The declaration of death was applied for by the wife, Ilse Hackenholt, nee Zillmer, domiciled at Allee 68 in Heilbonn/Neckar. The date of death was given as 31.12.1945. As grounds, the wife stated that she had heard nothing from her husband since November or December 1944. He was at that time an SS-Oberscharführer on the Central Sector of the Eastern Front. The Field Post Number was not known. In the file there is also a deposition by Hackenholt's mother, the widow of Theodor Hackenholt of Goerrerstrasse 8 in Gelsenkirchen III, dated 28.9.1953. This states that she too was unable to give the Field Post Number, and was no longer in possession of any letters from her son. She too had received no news from her son after 1944.

In the file the date of marriage is given as 4.11.1941, Berlin-Schmargendorf Registry Office. The last address for the Hackenholts is at Martin Luthar Strasse 11 in Berlin-Schönenberg, c/o Gloth.

The application for the declaration of death was granted by order of the Berlin magistrates court on 1.4.1954, with effect from 31.12.1945. [15]

As indicated in the above report, Ilse Hackenholt in the meantime had moved from Tiefenbach in the Allgäu to Heilbronn in Württemberg where she had stayed for a while before returning again to Tiefenbach. The Central Office investigators therefore requested that the Heilbronn Kriminalpolizei determine the following:

  1. whether Frau Hackenholt had remarried;
  2. if affirmative, to determine the personal details of her present husband;
  3. if negative, whether perhaps she was living with a man to whom Hackenholt's personal details could apply.

Two photographs of Lorenz Hackenholt were enclosed with the enquiry, with the additional request that neither Frau Hackenholt nor her partner, if any, be made aware of the investigation. [16]

On 1 December 1959, the Heilbronn Kriminalpolizei reported that Ilse Hackenholt had arrived in the town from Stuttgart on 7 January 1953 and taken up residence at Allee 68. She had been employed as a masseuse at the Badschuch-Strack Clinic. On 22 May 1955, she had reported her departure for Tiefenbach, but between May 1954 and February 1955 she had returned returned for a few weeks at the request of her employer and resumed her job as a masseuse at the Clinic.

The report continues: During her employment in Heilbronn she led a completely withdrawn life. Male acquaintances did not exist. According to her story, her husband was 'missing'. At a time which can no longer be determined, she received a visit from a married couple from Berlin. It was taken that this was a visit from relatives. At that time it was also said that she had an

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indemnity of over 10,000 Deutschemarks. There could be a connection between the indemnity and the declaration of death of her husband. It is not known whether she has received the corresponding settlement. [17]

The report also stated that in Tiefenbach Frau Ilse Hackenholt lived in a small but solidly-built wooden chalet named 'Sonnenhuttle' with a Fräulein Margarete B. The two women shared the expenses and worked together in a sauna in Isny/Allgäu. The chalet was looked after by a destitute Hungarian woman.

At the request of the Ludwigsburg Central Office the local Grenzpolizei in Tiefenbach kept Ilse Hackenholt and the 'Sonnenhuttle' under surveillance and were instructed to particularly note all male visitors to the premises. The surveillance report was submitted to Ludwigsburg almost exactly a year later later, on 29 November 1960, via the Kriminal-polizei office in Kempten/Allgäu.

Frau Hackenholt was not questioned as the opportunity exists to interrogate a Colonel in the Ministry of Defence in Bonn, H., who knows Frau Hackenholt well and stays with her on visits to Tiefenbach. The friendship stems from their duty together in the former Wehrmacht. Colonel H. is Inspector of Training Affairs and, among other things, is also responsible for the Ordensburg (Senior Officers' Training College) at Sonthofen.

In the documents available at the archive of the Central Office in Ludwigsburg there is no further mention of this long-standing relationship between Frau Ilse Hackenholt and the senior Ministry of Defence official; nor is there any indication that he was questioned about Lorenz Hackenholt.

The Grenzpolizei report continued that Ilse Hackenholt lived with two women, one of whom, Fräulein von Z., was the actual owner who paid the local taxes and rates on the property. Frau Hackenholt also had a second residence at Wilhelmstrasse 10 in Jsny, Wangen district, in Allgäu, Württemberg. Her two female companions were described as a Susanne von Z., a secretary, who has resided in Tiefenbach since 1952; and a certain Ilona S. from Budapest in Hungary who had lived in the village since 1956, after the Hungarian Uprising. He husband had been a General. The report continues:

Frau Hackenholt was privately employed at the Wilhelmsbad Spa in Jsny/Allgäu until October 1960. She was a good worker and well liked. Frau Hackenholt came to Tiefenbach with Fräulein von Z. after the war. They knew each other from the former Wehrmacht. They use an old Volkswagen car. The women are respected in the village and do not appear to be disagreeable. Close contact with the rest of the inhabitants does not exist, therefore nothing would be gained by questioning them. Frau Hackenholt has never been a burden on the community, and neither have the other women. It could not be ascertained whether Frau Hackenholt receives a war widow's pension.

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The main purpose of the surveillance — to note all male visitors to the 'Sonnenhuttle', however, proved disappointing. No visits by unidentified males were observed. Apart from Colonel H. from the Ministry of Defence, only Frau Hackenholt's brother, Heinz Erich R., an engineer from Berlin-Zehlendorf, came every year with his family to spend the summer holidays in Tiefenbach, staying at the 'Edelweiss' guest house. Apart from this, only the wife of a local Border Police officer occasionally visited the 'Sonnenhuttle' to watch television but had never discussed the subjects of interest to the Ludwigsburg or police investigators. Other contact with local villagers was rare. The report concludes:

It has already been mentioned that Frau Hackenholt works elsewhere and was often absent from Tiefenbach for long periods of time. About this, people say that she was often travelling. Above all, a visit to Italy which Frau Hackenholt made with her friends in the autumn was talked about. The thought occurs, how could these women have afforded it? In this connection, it was explained that Frau Hackenholt charges fees as a private masseuse. Nothing could be learned about this income of hers. [18]

The information in the surveillance report was provided primarily by the village mayor and a Grenzpolizei officer who lived in the local municipal building which had a good view of the 'Sonnenhuttle' chalet. Both officials stated with certainty that they had never observed visits by strangers, and that Frau Hackenholt was a pleasant member of the village community. [19]

There were no further leads in the search for former SS-Scharführer Lorenz Hackenholt until the following spring. On 1 March 1961, two officers from Sonderkommission III/a (SK III/a), the war crimes investigation unit of the Munich Kriminalpolizei assigned to the case, travelled to Berlin to interrogate one of his former SS-comrades. In Berlin-Tegel prison they questioned Erich Bauer who was serving the eleventh year of a life sentence imposed by a Berlin court in 1950 for crimes committed at the Sobibor extermination camp. In 1942-43, SS-Oberscharführer Bauer had been Hackenholt's counterpart, in charge of the Sobibor gas chambers in which over 250,000 Jews had been murdered.

On oath, Bauer swore that he knew that Hackenholt had definitely survived the war. They had met and talked at Zuchering near Ingolstadt in Bavaria in 1946. At that time, according to Bauer, Hackenholt was living under the name of Jansen, Jensen, Johannsen, or something similar, an identity he had allegedly taken from a dead soldier towards the end of the war. It was Bauer's impression that under this alias Hackenholt had obtained work as a delivery van driver, and when pressed for further details he said he believed the vehicle Hackenholt was driving was a Faun van. Bauer also mentioned that during the

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last days of the war Hackenholt had been living in the Trieste area in northern Italy with a women Bauer knew only as 'Monika'. She could still be sheltering him. [20]

The investigators now discovered that Bauer was not alone in claiming that he had met Hackenholt after the war. While interrogating another former SS-guard from the Sobibor camp, Fritz Rehwald, they learned that the wanted war criminal had approached him for help sometime after the war. But Rehwald could not recall exactly where or when the meeting had taken place, only that Hackenholt was apparently running a motor accessory shop at Neuburg-an-der-Donau. This was of particular significance to the investigators: Neuburg is only 15 kilometers from Ingolstadt. [21]

Having obtained such seemingly conclusive evidence of Hackenholt's survival after the war, one can only wonder why the investigators then waited over four months before searching Ilse Hackenholt's private premises in Tiefenbach, her business premises in Leutkirch, and the Hackenholt family home in Gelsenkirchen. However, at 07:00 on the morning of 8 July 1961, the Hackenholt house at Goerrerstrasse 8 was entered by two officers from SK III/a accompanied by two officers from the Bundeskriminalamt in Wiesbaden, the headquarters of the West German Kriminalpolizei. The search warrant had been issued the previous day by a local magistrate in Gelsenkirchen on the grounds that 'there was a strong suspicion that Hackenholt had, or still has contact with his mother, and to find any correspondence or other evidence of his present whereabouts'. [22]

A great deal of correspondence was indeed found, but none of it from the missing Lorenz Hackenholt. The letters were mainly requests to and replies from the Russian Half Moon Organization, the Russian equivalent of the Red Cross, concerning Hackenholt's possible fate. All the enquiries had been written by his sister Anna who, when asked about this lengthy correspondence — obviously an exceedingly big effort on her part to discover what had happened to her brother — replied that she only wanted to be convinced of his death. All the other women present, six female members of the Hackenholt family - his mother and five sisters, and a tenant who was a war widow — concurred with this reply, but had no answer to the question why neither the mother nor the wife had ever made any effort to find the missing male member of the family.

When asked on what grounds they were so certain that no correspondence had been received from Lorenz since a certain date before the end of the war, they made no reply and only attempted to convince the police officers that in spite of this apparent lack of correspondence, the relationship between Hackenholt and his wife, and indeed the rest of the family had been good. When pressed further, and asked why — if as was now believed — and, the women merely shrugged their shoulders.

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Hackenholt's mother, Frau Elizabeth Hackenholt, was asked to explain why she had endorsed her daughter-in-law's application for Lorenz to be declared officially dead in 1953. Her reply was noted in the subsequent police report on the search:

On caution, the subject admitted that in the proceedings for the official declaration of death — and in view of the latest news — she had probably made a false statement about the latest news she had received from her son. She stated that her daughter-in-law, Ilse Hackenholt, in connection with the declaration of death, had written her a letter requesting her to sign a suitable affirmation, which she did without reading it.

It was especially noticed that neither the subject nor her daughters reacted when it was implied that their son and brother could still be alive and living under a false name. When they were told this, they again shrugged their shoulders. [23]

The four police officers also particularly noticed the apparent indifference of these women to this official intrusion into their privacy. There were none of the indignant outbursts they usually encountered from citizens whose homes were being systematically searched. Hackenholt's sister Antonia explained why, as quoted in the police report:

One evening about 14 days earlier a police officer had come and asked if their mother still lived there. To their questions as to why he had come, he said it had been a telephoned enquiry from Munich. From this, it became clear to them all that it could only be about their missing son and brother, Lorenz. For this reason they were neither surprised by the police showing up, nor the questioning. [24]

But why had the local policeman visited the house in the first place? The Citizens' Registration Bureau (Einwohnermeldeamt) in Gelsenkirchen could have answered the question about whether of not Frau Elizabeth Hackenholt was still living there. In fact, the Munich police could have telephoned the Bureau themselves.

The search lasted a little over three hours and the officers left at 10:10, having found no trace of correspondence to or from Lorenz Hackenholt, nor any photographs of him, or further hints or clues to his possible whereabouts. In Tiefenbach on the same day, 8 July 1961, another house search was carried out at the 'Sonnenhuttle' chalet by two plain clothes officers of the Grenzpolizei on a warrant issued on the same grounds as the one in Gelsenkirchen. The warrant had been issued by the magistrates court in Sonthofen on 23 June.[25] One wonders why the police then waited two weeks before discharging their duty.

The chalet was found to consist of very modest accommodation: one large living room, a bedroom, an attic which could be used as a bedroom, and a glass verandah. But the search, in the words of the official report, dated 16 July 1961, 'produced no result'.[26]

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At the conclusion of the search the officers informed Ilse Hackenholt that they had a second warrant to search the business premises at Landhausstrasse 27 in Leutkirch, where she also sometimes stayed. She made no objection but requested that the officers present there should also be in plain clothes as 'she believed that the sight of uniformed police officers would adversely affect her business'. [27]

Ilse Hackenholt was driven the 50 kilometers to Leutkirch in an unmarked police car, and her request was heeded — no uniformed police took part in the search. The concluding paragraph of the police report states:

Ilse Hackenholt, during a lengthy conversation, and after being cautioned to tell the truth, made the credible statement that she knew nothing about her husband Lorenz Hackenholt. She had, so she says, received the last letter from her husband in 1944 or 1945. She does not know exactly where this letter came from, but probably from the east. She had finally had her husband declared dead. Her marriage had not been very happy and her husband had written relatively seldom. She was astonished to hear that her husband could still be alive. Here she protested once again that if this were true she had nothing to do with it. Finally, she asked that she should be informed about where and when her husband had been traced as she had a legal right to know this.

It was established that Ilse Hackenholt was in receipt of a monthly back-pension of about 100 Deutschemarks and had been receiving this pension back-payment for several years. [28]

This search too produced no result.

* * * * *

During the course of the investigation into the whereabouts of Lorenz Hackenholt and the crimes committed in the Belzec extermination camp, nine former members of the camp SS garrison were traced and taken into custody. [29] While being interrogated about their individual roles in the extermination process they were also asked what they knew about Hackenholt's activities and responsibilities in Belzec. About these, they all agreed that at first he had been employed in the camp as a driver, and that the camp commandant, SS-Oberscharführer/Kriminalkommissar Christian Wirth, had made him responsible for procuring vehicles from the SS and Police depot in Lublin. Only later were suitable vehicles, mainly lorries, supplied to the camp via the Führer's Chancellery in Berlin. [30]

In the camp, Hackenholt soon acquired a reputation for being the type of person who, because of what his comrades called his 'outstanding ability to organize anything', could be relied upon for all kinds of jobs, especially of a technical or mechanical nature.

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Consequently, commandant Wirth placed Hackenholt in charge of the camp garage and vehicles, the procurement of spare parts and fuel, as well as technical equipment for the camp generally. [31] This included the installation and maintenance of an electricity generator near the garage. [32]

According to agreeing testimonies by his former SS-comrades, Hackenholt certainly had 'special technical knowledge and mechanical abilities' which he utilized with great inventiveness in the early days at the camp at the beginning of 1942. While the first primitive gas chambers were being built in the wooden shed, Hackenholt, together with Siegfried Graetschus, converted a big Post Office delivery van into a mobile gas chamber by connecting the engine exhaust pipe to the sealed rear compartment. The van was then used to kill the village idiots and cripples in nearby villages. It was an invention of which Hackenholt was very proud, and one which particularly endeared him to commandant Wirth. [33]

After the completion of the gassing shed, Wirth carried out various experiments in its three small gas chambers using different kinds of poison gas, including the exhaust fumes from the Post Office van whose exhaust pipe was connected to the main gas pipe under the gassing shed. Among the first Jewish victims were about 150 labourers who had been brought to the camp from nearby towns to finish the construction work. They were killed with Zyklon B, a hydrocyanic acid based pesticide supplied to all military units in the field. [35] Further experiments using CO gas from steel cylinders, [36] the same method used in the T4 killing centres in the Reich, were also carried out on Jews from the Durchgangsghettos (transit ghettos) at Izbica and Piaski on the road between Belzec and Lublin. These experimental victims, brought to the camp in several railway goods wagons, were very probably Jewish mental patients deported from the Reich. One SS-NCO commented about these experiments conducted by commandant Wirth:

Belzec was the laboratory ... he tried everything imaginable there. In Belzec, Wirth tested the basics of the extermination machinery right through with his men. [37]

Finally, and to some extent influenced by Hackenholt's gassing van, the engine exhaust fumes from a Soviet tank were decided upon as the most suitable and economic means for the mass murder of Jews. Former SS-NCO Hans Girtzig, who served in Belzec with Hackenholt, told officers from SK III/a about this gassing installation in the camp:

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Hackenholt had installed the engine, this was explained to us at a duty conference ... I know for certain that in the beginning Wirth and Hackenholt, and later Hackenholt alone, that is, with the help of Ukrainians, operated the gassing engine. [38]

It was unanimously agreed by all nine former members of the Belzec SS-garrison that Hackenholt's main area of responsibility from then on had been at the gassing installation, an area closed to all members of the camp staff except for the select few who had business there, chosen by commandant Wirth. Wirth's SS-driver, Werner Dubois, has stated about Hackenholt's gassing team: Hackenholt, with the work force assigned to him, operated the gassing engine ... as assistants, Ukrainians and Jews were at his disposal. As I recall, there were one or two Ukrainians and one or two Jews. I take it that the actual work was carried out by the Ukrainians and Jews, and Hackenholt only carried out their supervision. [40]

Former SS-NCO Karl Schluch, assigned by Wirth to gas chamber duty, elaborated on Hackenholt's duties in the extermination process at Belzec:

After the Jews had entered the gas chambers the doors were shut tight by Hackenholt himself, or by one of the Ukrainians assigned to him. Then Hackenholt started the engine ... I cannot say for certain who looked through the peepholes ... it could have been Hackenholt. [41]

It often happened that a number of Jews on the incoming transports were unable to proceed through the extermination procedure unaided, either through infirmity, old age or sickness. They were left lying on the ground next to the railway siding in the camp until everyone else had been gassed. SS-NCO Schluch has also described what happened to these victims:

A Jewish work brigade carried them on stretchers to a special grave close to the eastern boundary of the camp. There they were laid face down either at the edge of the grave, or in the grave itself with their faces on the corpses already lying there. In these early days at Belzec they were shot in the back of the head by Hackenholt. [42]

Another former Belzec SS-NCO, Karl Schluch, also testified that Hackenholt not only shot Jews who were already destined for death, but also shot Jews of the work brigades. [43]

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On the days when no transports of Jews arrived at the camp Hackenholt was assigned to various duties, which included the management of the valuables of the victims and driving a lorry to Lublin to fetch building materials for the camp which was continually being altered and expanded. One of the more gruesome tasks in which he participated in Belzec has been described by SS-NCO Franz Suchomel, assigned to the Treblinka extermination camp where he later met Hackenholt:

A grave overflowed and the cesspool seeped out in front of the SS dining hall. It stank in front of the dining hall, in front of the barracks. Wirth, together with Oberhauser (Wirth's aide and bodyguard 1942-44 - MT), Hackenholt and Franz had to clear up the mess and put the corpses back into the grave. Franz and Hackenholt at first refused, but Wirth beat them across the face with his whip. [44]

After a one month break in the gassing operation at Belzec in the spring of 1942, the original gassing shed was torn down and a bigger, solid installation of brick and concrete was constructed which contained six chambers, three on either side of a central corridor. [45] Two Soviet tank engines, each one serving three chambers, were installed in a machine room at the rear of the building. [46] According to SS-NCO Dubois, 'To my knowledge, the plans for the solid gassing building came from Hackenholt. The construction of the building itself was carried out by 'work Jews'. [47] Hackenholt supervised the work personally and when the installation was completed a sign was placed on the wall next to the entrance Stiftung Hackenholt (Hackenholt Foundation) in honour of its creator. Once again he supervised the running and maintenance of the gassing engines, assisted as before by Ukrainian guards and Jewish prisoners.

In September 1942, Hackenholt and a small Kommando of German and Ukrainian guards was transferred to the Treblinka camp by Wirth, who in the meantime had been appointed Inspector of the SS-Sonderkommandos operating in the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. Wirth's post as commandant at Belzec was taken by Kriminalinspektor Gottlieb Hering, who had served with Wirth in the Stuttgart Kriminalpolizei for over 20 years. [48]

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Treblinka had only been in operation for a few weeks, but already the camp was in chaos. Thousands of decomposing corpses littered the camp and long lines of railway wagons filled with Jews waited on sidings for their turn to enter the camp. The commandant, Dr. Irmfried Eberl, was sacked and Wirth assigned to reorganize and speed-up the extermination process. [49] The first task, however, was to clear up the the mess in the camp and bury the decomposing corpses. The worst mess was in Camp II, the so-called 'Upper Camp', the extermination compound where a large pile of rotting corpses had accumulated near the gas chambers under which, according to Treblinka SS-man Franz Suchomel, there was 'a cesspool three centimeters deep, full of blood, maggots and shit'. No one — German, Ukrainian or Jew — wanted to touch this mess, not even after dire threats and beatings from Wirth. The Jews preferred to be shot rather than work there. [50] SS-NCO Erwin Kainer, assigned by Wirth to supervise the task but unable to persuade anyone to help, committed suicide. [51] In the end, Wirth himself and his team from Belzec had to carry out the gruesome task, as SS-NCO Suchomel recalls:

He really did work at it. Comrades who were up there told me this. Using long leather straps placed under the arms the corpses were dragged to the pits and got rid of. In those first days after his arrival, Wirth also issued orders for the construction of new gas chambers. The plans were drawn up by a man in Wirth's retinue called Hackenholt, whom we called 'Hacko' ... Lambert was called in as a builder after 'Hacko' had already done some preparatory work. [52]

Erwin Lambert, like Hackenholt, was a bricklayer by trade, now in the employ of the Foundation in SS-uniform. Previously he had carried out construction work at the T4 killing centres, mainly converting rooms into gas chambers and erecting chimneys for the crematoria. He had also worked previously in Treblinka for a short time when the camp was under construction. According to Lambert - and in agreement with Suchomel's statement above — he returned to Treblinka in August or September 1942, after the construction of the new gas chambers had already started:

Wirth was already in the camp. I also met Franz and Hackenholt in Treblinka ... Hackenholt and I had a Kommando of Ukrainians with us who worked for us as labourers. [53]

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When the new gassing installation had been completed - modelled on the 'Stiftung Hackenholt' in Belzec — Hackenholt and Lambert were transferred by Wirth to the Sobibor extermination camp where new gas chambers were also needed. Lambert:

received from Wirth the task of enlarging the gassing installation in Sobibor, to be precise, to construct it on the model of Treblinka. I then travelled to Sobibor ... together with Hackenholt ... First, I went with Hackenholt to a timber yard near Warsaw. There Hackenholt placed a big order for wood for construction work at Sobibor. Finally, we travelled together to Sobibor ... I could have arrived there sometime in October, I cannot say exactly. I only remember that it was already cold when I arrived ... we reported to the camp leader, Reichleitner. He then gave us suitable instructions for constructing the gassing installation. The camp was already in operation before our arrival and there was already a gassing installation there. [54]

Lambert assumed correctly that the Sobibor gas chambers had to be replaced for the same reasons as the chambers at Belzec and Treblinka: they were neither big enough nor solid enough to handle the number of Jews being sent to the camp for extermination. The same half-a-dozen Ukrainian guards employed in Treblinka as labourers also went to Sobibor with Hackenholt and Lambert. Their leader, a Volksdeutscher bricklayer called Busche, was also their interpreter. [55]

At the onset of winter, Hackenholt returned to Belzec where — on the orders of the Reichsführer-SS, Himmler — the hundreds of thousands of corpses buried in the camp were about to be exhumed and cremated. For a few weeks he operated a mechanical excavator opening the mass graves and removing the decomposing contents and during this time, according to Belzec villagers who met him in the local bars, 'Hackenholt stank of corpses'. On the instructions of SS-NCO Herbert Floss, the Aktion Reinhard cremation expert, the exhumed human remains were cremated on big grates constructed of railway lines placed on top of squat concrete pillars arranged around the rim of an empied grave. At the beginning of December, a second grate was constructed and between them the two pyres consumed about 4,000 corpses every 24 hours. SS-NCO Heinrich Gley who supervised the cremations estimated that over half a million corpses were burnt between the end of November 1942 and March 1943.[56]

In December 1942, Hackenholt returned to Berlin on leave to spend Christmas and the New Year celebrations with his wife Ilse, whom he had seen only once since their wedding the previous autumn. On returning to duty in Poland at the beginning of 1943, Hackenholt was again assigned to Treblinka by Wirth to assist with the cremation operation which had just started at the camp. On Wirth's orders, the corpses of the

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victims now had to be cremated immediately after gassing and not buried in the mass graves. SS-NCO Suchomel recalls a second order received shortly afterwards:

An even bigger shock came when suddenly we were told that the pits had to be emptied in order to cremate those corpses as well. Here, too, Wirth took a hand with his specialist 'Hacko' as excavator operator, and Floss as cremation expert. As usual, Belzec had been used as the experimental camp. [59]

Later, a second excavator was brought to Treblinka and permanent operators employed. Hackenholt returned to Belzec where he remained until the completion of the exhumation/ cremation operation in March. Following this, the entire camp was demolished. When in the spring 1943 all trace of evidence of the genocide carried out in Belzec had been erased, the site was inspected by a special SS-commission and the area disguised by planting fir saplings. On 21 June 1943, Wirth was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer and 28 members of his SS-Sonderkommandos also received promotions on the recommendation of Himmler. Among them was Lorenz Hackenholt who was promoted to SS-Hauptscharführer. [60]

Shortly before the closure of the Belzec camp at the beginning of May, several members of the SS-garrisons at the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps were reassigned by Wirth to supervisory duties at a big Jewish labour camp at the old Lublin airfield on the south-eastern outskirts of the city, either because they were redundant or were disciplinary cases. All were especially noted for their inhumanity and among them was SS-Hauptscharführer Lorenz Hackenholt. [61]

Wirth in the meantime had additionally been appointed Inspector of the Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke (DAW — German Equipment Works) set up in various labour camps in the Lublin District; his inspectorate for both Aktion Reinhard and DAW was located in a small house on Lublin airfield. The former aircraft hangars on the airfield, which had been abandoned since being bombed by the Luftwaffe in September 1939, and several barracks, had been used since the early summer of 1942 as the main sorting, cleaning and storage depot for the vast amounts of belongings and valuables seized from the Jews murdered in the extermination camps. The loot was delivered to the airfield by rail and also dispatched to the Reich by rail at regular intervals for further utilization. Valuable furs were disinfected with Zyklon B in four specially constructed chambers. After the arrival of SS-Hauptscharführer Hackenholt at the airfield, he used the chambers for killing prisoners no longer for work. [62]

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Among the Aktion Reinhard camp personnel transferred to the airfield by Wirth was SS-NCO Kurt Bolender, formerly a member of the Sobibor camp staff and recently released from custody in an SS penal camp. His arrival did not please Wirth, as Bolender recalls:

Wirth was not enthusiastic about my arrival and showed his displeasure by pushing me away. But on orders from Berlin he had to keep me ... I was assigned to a Kommando supervised by Hackenholt ... Hackenholt looked after himself and cared little for his work brigade. [63]

On 31 October 1961, Ilse Hackenholt, while again being interrogated by officers from SK III/a, informed them that in the autumn of 1943 she had visited her husband at the Lublin airfield camp. He had sent her a telegram in which he wrote that he had been injured and that she should come and see him. They agreed to meet first in Warsaw:

At that time my husband was in a factory, or some such similar place in Lublin, in which Jews were interned and had to work. My husband lived at that time in Lublin in the camp complex ... As far as I know, my husband performed guard duty on the area of the camp. I cannot give more precise details about his duties. [64]

During her stay in Lublin during the last three weeks of October and the first days of November 1943, Ilse Hackenholt met several of her husband's SS comrades as well as Gottlieb Hering, the former commandant at Belzec. At this time he was commandant of the Jewish labour camp at Poniatowa near Lublin which came under Wirth's jurisdiction, and regularly visited him at the airfield.

Just over three weeks after Ilse Hackenholt's arrival in the city, she had to leave suddenly and return to Berlin, as she explained to the police officers:

have an extraordinarily unpleasant memory of the last days of my holiday in Lublin. As explained before, we lived a part of the time inside the camp complex, and on this particular day the whole camp was surrounded and the interned Jews were driven out. Although I myself saw that the camp was surrounded, I cannot say for sure to which units the soldiers belonged. I believe I heard from my husband that the camp was surrounded by the SS. The Jews were taken some distance from the camp and later I heard shooting. I surmised something bad was happening. It was uncanny for me there. My holiday was not yet over but I decided to leave. Besides, I remember that Hering advised me to leave. [64]

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This incident witnessed by Ilse Hackenholt occurred on 3 November 1943 and marked the beginning of a two-day massacre, code-named 'Erntefest' (Harvest Festival), during which over 42,000 Jewish prisoners were murdered by SS and police units at the nearby Majdanek concentration camp and in the labour camps at Poniatowa and Trawniki. This massacre, the biggest single mass execution of Jews during the entire Holocaust, marked the end of an empire of extermination and slave labour camps in the Lublin region previously ruled by SS-Brigadeführer Odilo Globocnik and his satrap SS-Hauptscharführer Christian Wirth. By this time, anyway, both SS-officers and many of the men who had staffed the Aktion Reinhard camps had already been transferred to other duties in northern Italy. Globocnik was Höhere SS-und Polizeiführer for the Adriatic Coastland Region, based in Trieste, and Wirth in the southern Istrian port of Pula organizing an office of the Kriminalpolizei. [66] The few members of Aktion Reinhard who had remained in Poland, including Lorenz Hackenholt, were allowed home on leave at the end of the year in time to spend Christmas with their families. However, one day before Christmas they received telegrams from Wirth ordering them to report to him immediately in Trieste. Most considered it a 'dirty trick' by Wirth to spoil their Christmas. [67]

In Trieste, the men were formed into three special SS and police units, designated as R-I based in Trieste; R-II based in Fiume (now Rijeka in Croatia), and R-III in Udine; all three units came under the overall command of Wirth who had his command post in a disused rice mill in the suburb of San Sabba. Their main task was the seizure of the few thousand remaining Italian Jews and their property, carried out under the code designation 'Einsatz R' (Operation R) and was merely an extension of their work in Poland. [68]

SS-Hauptscharführer Hackenholt was attached to the R-I unit in San Sabba, which was used as a holding centre for the Italian Jews before they were handed over to the Trieste Sicherheitspolizei for deportation by train to concentration camps in the Reich. Wirth, however, turned the San Sabba rice mill into a mini death camp in which Jews as well as Yugoslav partisans were interrogated and executed. Their bodies were burnt in a crematorium constructed by Erwin Lambert. [69] The executions and cremations, unauthorised by SS-Gruppenführer Globocnik, were finally stopped on his orders in early May 1944 and the Einsatz R units switched to anti-partisan duties on the Istrian peninsula. [70] Wirth nevertheless was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer.

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In 1944, Hackenholt was awarded the Iron Cross, II Class, for his dedicated and unquestioning service to Aktion Reinhard, and a year later, in the spring of 1945 — according to his SS comrades Josef Oberhauser, Hans Girtig and Heinrich Gley — he was killed in the fighting near Trieste.

The investigators at the Central Office in Ludwigsburg and the officers of SK III/a in Munich, however, had collected sufficient evidence indicating the strong possibility that SS-Hauptscharführer Hackenholt had not been killed during the last days of the war, but was still alive at least until 1946. Consequently, the State Prosecutor at the Regional Court in Munich I drew up a detailed indictment against him for participation in mass murder and crimes against humanity.

But what were the chances that Hackenholt had not been killed in action, as claimed by some of his comrades, and was indeed still alive at this stage of the investigation in 1961? What kind of a person was Lorenz Hackenholt that he could have survived undetected for so many years while nine of his former SS-comrades had been traced and arrested? The investigators were given an insight into his character by former members of the Aktion Reinhard Sonderkommandos. Karl Schluch described the wanted war criminal thus:

Hackenholt was an inconsiderate, hard and brutal man, without any sense of honour. I would go so far as to say characterless and indifferent. He drank a lot and was often locked up for it … He was characterless enough to carry out all orders without question. [71]

Willy Grossmann, who had known Hackenholt in Treblinka and Trieste, had some difficulty, however, in describing his character:

It is difficult for me to give an appropriate expression which suitably characterises him. I can say that he was stupid and brazen. He was, moreover, greatly feared, especially in the latter days. Hackenholt was often very drunk. He was rebellious towards his superiors. [72]

It was former SS-NCO Robert Juhrs who had served with Hackenholt in Belzec and Trieste, finally gave the most succinct description of Lorenz Hackenholt:

About his character I can use the following figure of speech which, to my mind, most appropriately describes it: 'He wanted to go and piss with the big dogs, but he couldn't lift his leg,' (Er wollte mit den grossen Hunden pissen gehen, aber konnte nicht die Beine heben). [73]

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By all accounts, Lorenz Hackenholt had been a loner with no close friends; certainly throughout the investigation not one of the men he served with — some of them since the early days at the Gafeneck killing centre in 1939 — would admit to being in any way friendly with him. They all agreed independently that even his free time he spent mostly alone. The Central Office and SK III/a investigators therefore concluded that such a callous, brutal and selfish person, used to existing alone and relying on no one but himself, could well have survived the war. What, then, might have happened to Lorenz Hackenholt during the last days of the war and its aftermath?

It was known that 11 members of the Aktion Reinhard and Einsatz R SS-Sonderkommandos who served in Poland and Italy had been killed in action in northern Italy in 1944, including their commander SS-Sturmbannführer Wirth who had been assassinated by Yugoslav partisans. [74] They had all been buried in the German Military Cemetery at Opcina, overlooking Trieste, and between 1957-1961 exhumed and reburied — together with over 21,000 other German war dead in Italy — in a new German Military Cemetery at Costermano on the eastern shore of Lake Garda in Verona province. But there was no record of a Lorenz Hackenholt ever being buried either in Opcina or Costermano.

From his former SS comrades who had been in Trieste at the end of the war, the officers of SK III/a began to piece together an account of the last days in the city under German occupation, and the retreat of the German troops over the border into Austria. Robert Juhrs stated that in Italy too Hackenholt continued to use his so-called 'organizational abilities' and dealt extensively on the black market:

I know that among other things he bartered with the German navy. When he had nothing with which to barter, then we went to a gun emplacement with two 'Flak' guns, one of which I operated. [75]

Juhrs does not mention whether this anti-aircraft duty performed in lieu of bartered goods was voluntary or imposed upon them by Hackenholt.

Inevitably, Hackenholt overstepped the mark and began black market dealings with the enemy, a capital offence in wartime. He was arrested for selling ammunition to the partisans. This came as no surprise to his comrades in the unit, after all, they knew well enough that Hackenholt had neither morals nor scruples. Hackenholt was imprisoned for a time in the San Sabba rice mill, pending court martial and certain execution by firing

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that the war was lost and shrewdly released all the Jews still held in the mill, together with Hackenholt, who no doubt considered it prudent to disappear from Trieste. [77] In doing so, he committed another capital offence in wartime: desertion in the face of the enemy.

He was next seen on the outskirts of the city driving a civilian bus. SS-NCO Karl Schiffner, a former member of the Treblinka SS garrison, recalls this bizarre turn of events:

On 29 April or 2 May 1945, Lorenz Hackenholt was taken on by a private bus company near Trieste. He accepted work there. I even saw him in this job. It was between Trieste and Udine. [78]

Former SS-comrades Josef Oberhauser and Kurt Bolender also confirmed to the investigators that Hackenholt was certainly still alive at the end of April, they had come across him 'in the company of other former members of the Belzec camp staff'. They had also seen him alive 'the day before Easter 1945'. [79]

In the first days of May 1945, the German forces in northern Italy retreated northwards from Trieste towards the Austrian border. Witnesses are certain that Hackenholt joined the retreat because they saw him driving a lorry on which was mounted an anti-aircraft gun. Werner Dubois recalls the retreating troops reaching Austria and his last sighting of Lorenz Hackenholt, still driving the anti-tank truck:

I saw Hackenholt during the early days of May 1945 at Kirchbach/Carinthia in Austria. This was immediately before we were disarmed by British troops. If I remember correctly, he was driving a 'Flak' lorry (Flakvierling). I cannot say who was with him. I was with Hackenholt at the time mentioned, at our disbandment, that is, our dismissal by Dieter Allers. [80]

Ernst Zierke, who had served with Hackenholt in Belzec, was less certain that it had been Hackenholt in the anti-aircraft truck:

When I am reminded that our unit brought a 'Flakvierling' from Trieste, it does not remind me of Hackenholt. I rather think that this was an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a lorry and manned by three German sailors. [81]

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It is very probable that the 'Flakvierling' was one of the pair of anti-aircraft guns previously mentioned by Robert Juhrs. It would have been typical of Hackenholt to arrange his own speedy escape from the frontline by offering to drive the lorry over the border while the sailors manned the weapon against Allied air attacks, which were very frequent.

The final rallying place for the Einsatz R units was at Kirchbach in Austria where they were disarmed by British troops and then allowed to continue their retreat. The names of the extermination camps at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka in Poland was unknown to the British soldiers who regarded all German troops coming over the border from Italy as fighting troops.

SS-Hauptscharführer Lorenz Hackenholt was last seen outside the town by Willy Grossmann and other SS-men who were heading for the rallying point in a lorry. On the road into the town they came across Hackenholt, again in bizarre circumstances, as Grossmann recalls:

I saw Hackenholt outside Kirchbach/Carinthia driving a horsedrawn milk float. (author's italics). On that occasion he shouted joyously as we went by. Whether Hackenholt was in uniform at the time or in civilian clothes, I cannot say. After that, that is until today, I have never heard of him again. [82]

Three of the former Belzec SS guards, Karl Schluch, Robert Juhrs and Ernst Zierke, were later captured and interned in an American POW camp at Weilheim, about 50 kilometers south-west of Munich, but were released from the camp on 6 July 1945 as their duty with Aktion Reinhard in Poland was also not known to the US military authorities. They thought that Hackenholt had been in the camp with them, but could not be sure if he had also been released with them. [83]

Werner Dubois ended up in the POW camp at Heilbronn-Bockingen, north of Stuttgart. He knew that his former commander at Belzec, Gottlieb Hering, lived not far away in Stuttgart-Fellbach — having been transferred home from Trieste before the end of the war as a disciplinary case and had been appointed head of the Kriminalpolizei in Heilbronn. Dubois wrote to Hering in the hope that his former superior could obtain his early release, not knowing that Hering had died only a few weeks earlier. [84] However, he received a reply from the widow, Frau Helena Hering, who then visited him at the camp but declined Dubois' suggestion of further contact. Dubois told his interrogators from SK III/a that he had written the letter because he knew that immediately after the war the

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Hering's apartment at Sylvaner Weg 2 in Stuttgart-Fellbach 'was practically the centre where one could learn the whereabouts and fate of comrades'. [85]

Dubois' statement was confirmed to the SK III/a officers by Heinrich Gley who had also written several times to Frau Hering after the war. [86] Gley had been particularly friendly with Gottlieb Hering, both in Poland and in Italy, and stated on oath an interesting fact about Lorenz Hackenholt and the Herings. In Trieste in 1944, Frau Hering, at that time Fraulein Riegraf and employed as Hering's secretary, had lived in a villa with Hering and Hackenholt. This was confirmed by other witnesses who were also certain that she had known Hackenholt well and that she had almost been shot and killed, together with her future husband, during a drunken prank by Hackenholt and Gley. [87] It was because of this and other incidents that Fraulein Riegraf and Gottlieb Hering had been transferred first to Udine and then back to Stuttgart where she became a secretary in the city Police Presidium while Hering became Kriminalpolizei chief in Heilbronn. They married in March 1945 and settled in Stuttgart-Fellbach. [88]

By 1961 Frau Hering was married to another Stuttgart police officer and now called Helene Schubert. On 3 August of that year she was summoned to the police station in Waiblingen near Stuttgart where she swore on oath:

I do not remember a man called Hackenholt ... it is not correct that I lived together with Hackenholt in a villa. I have never lived in a villa ... I do not know whether Hackenholt had any friends or acquaintances because I do not remember a Hackenholt. I did not know such a man who probably lived under a false name in Trieste. [89]

This was the first of several occasions when Frau Schubert was to commit perjury by denying all knowledge of Lorenz Hackenholt. As her apartment had been used after the war as a 'clearing house' for information about 'old comrades' from the days in Poland in Italy, it is therefore not impossible that she knew of Hackenholt's whereabouts in 1945-46.

Eleven days after signing this obviously false statement in Waiblingen police station, Frau Schubert was visited in her apartment in Stuttgart-Fellbach by officers from the

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Stuttgart Kriminalpolizei who had a warrent to search the premises. But nothing of interest was found concerning Lorenz Hackenholt or his possible whereabouts. [90] In the meantime, because of the alleged close connection between Hackenholt and the Hering's in Italy and the use of their Stuttgart apartment after the war as a 'comrades information centre', SK III/a in Munich requested the Baden-Württemberg State Police to check everyone in the Stuttgart area with a name similar to the alias 'Jensen' or something similar, mentioned six months earlier by Erich Bauer in Berlin-Tegel prison. There were only five men who came within Hackenholt's age group with such names:

  1. Arthur Jansen, born on 3 September 1915 in Frankfurt-am-Main, a salesman domiciled at Schimmelreiterweg 15 in Stuttgart-Mohringen;
  2. Heinrich Jansen, born on 4 January 1920 in Wursalen, a petrol pump attendant domiciled at Boblingerstrasse 37 in Sindelfingen;
  3. Philip Janson, born on 22 February 1914 in Budapest, also a salesman, domiciled at Rheinlandstrasse 18 in GIeslingen;
  4. Kurt Janzen, born on 2 June 1912 in Stuttgart, another salesman, domiciled at Grabenstrasse 8 in Heidenhain;
  5. Joachim Jansen, born on 26 July 1917 in Berlin, a sales representative domiciled at Germersheimer Strasse 7 in Bruchsal. [91]

All five men were discreetly investigated by the Baden-Württemberg Kriminalpolizei during the next two months and cleared of all suspicion after comparison of photographs and samples of handwriting. [92]

It was time to interrogate Ilse Hackenholt again, this time more rigorously and in greater detail. An officers of SK III/a in Munich contacted the Genzpolizei Inspectorate in Sonthofen near Tiefenbach and requested that they summon Frau Hackenholt for questioning. Two SK III/a officers travelled to Sonthofen to conduct the interrogation, arranged for 31 October 1961.

At the end of a long day's questioning at the Inspectorate of the Grenzpolizei in Sonthofen, Ilse Hackenholt signed an eight-page sworn statement, and in view of the evidence so far indicating her husband's survivial after the war, it made very interesting reading. After being cautioned by the officers about the severe penalties for committing perjury, Ilse Hackenholt stated as follows:

In 1939, I cannot give an exact date today after such a long time, I lived in Berlin at Kurfürstendamm 112. On the same floor lived my future husband who at that time was a member of the Waffen-SS. I did not know then which military base he belonged to. After we had been together for a good two years we were married in November 1941 at the Registry

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Office in Berlin-Schmargendorf. I must add here that in the meantime my husband had been transferred to the east and had been given leave to get married. After the honeymoon my husband returned again to the east. I never learned where my husband's unit was stationed. Our correspondence went through a Field Post Number. [93]

During the war my husband returned home on leave at different times. I can no longer give the exact times today. With some certainty I can remember that my husband came to Berlin on leave from the east during the summer of 1942, and for Christmas 1942. In addition, I know well that that in November 1943 I was bombed-out in Berlin and lost my apartment, and that ... my husband received a so-called 'bomb leave'. I also remember well that my husband came to me in Berlin on leave for the last time in 1944, and in fact I know that he came from the south. I cannot answer unequivocally the interposed question about whether my husband had leave from Italy and returned there again. I only know that he came from the south and I certainly take it that he also travelled back to the south. [94]

At this point in her statement, Ilse Hackenholt recounted the events that prematurely terminated her ill-fated holiday in Lublin in October-November 1943 to stay with her injured husband. She then told the SK III/a officers that she remembered for certain receiving a letter from him for her birthday in November 1944, and that she probably replied to this letter. After that, her memory of further correspondence was vague.

There now follows the most intriguing part of Ilse Hackenholt's statement which concerns the possible survival of her husband after the war:

Shortly after the war, that is, at the end of May or beginning of June 1945, I was visited in Berlin by a man I did not know. This man brought a handwritten note, whether written in ink or pencil I no longer know, on which was written only, 'Many Greetings, Your Lori'. As this incident could be of some importance, I must explain something else. In November 1943 I lost my apartment at Martin Luther Strasse 11 through bomb damage and went to my sister's at Babelsberger Strasse 3 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. As I have already stated, my husband was given 'bomb leave' at this time and therefore knew the new address. In the last days of the war the Babelsberger Strasse district was completely destroyed and I wrote on the wall of the ruin my new address: Wilhelmshohe Strasse 3, Berlin-Friedenau. The man who brought the note from my husband could have got the Babelsberger address from him, and then found me through the address on the ruin wall. The man introduced himself to me by name but I no longer know what it sounded like. I think it was a short name and had a 'a' in it. [95].

Ilse Hackenholt described the man as aged between 30-35 years of age and about 1.70 meters tall, and having sparse blond hair combed straight back. She claimed he was a total stranger and had never met him before, or seen him since. Whoever he was, he told Ilse Hackenholt that her husband was alive and that he needed his civilian clothes; he

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would not, however, tell her where her husband was. Ilse Hackenholt explained that she could not hand over the clothes immediately because they had been taken to his sister's at the onset of the heavy Allied bombing of the Reich capital. It occurred to her then that her husband would have known this. After a conversation with the stranger that lasted perhaps 10 minutes he left, promising to return two days later for the clothes.

On his return, the man again asked for Lorenz Hackenholt's civilian clothes, and this time had an an additional request, also allegedly from Hackenholt: he now wanted a valuable diamond ring which Lorenz had given her. Not wishing to hand over such a valuable piece of jewellry to a complete stranger, Ilse Hackenholt asked him to return later when she had thought it over.

The stranger returned a couple of days later and she suggested a compromise: that they should sell the ring on the black market and divide the proceeds. The ring fetched 2,500 Reichsmarks and the stranger took half the money, promising to give it to Hackenholt. On this occasion, Ilse Hackenholt made clear her intention of accompanying the man to find her husband who was apparently in an Allied sector of West Germany. They agreed on a meeting place and a time, but the stranger never turned up. [97] She told her interrogators:

I know for certain that the stranger never told me where my husband was staying in the west, but I can remember quite clearly that he said he wanted to get to Memmingen.

This was an intriguing piece of information. Memmingen is almost equidistant between Stuttgart and the Ingolstadt area where Bauer and Rehwald claimed they had met Hackenholt in 1946. And Memmingen is only 50 kilometers from Tiefenbach where Ilse Hackenholt made her permanent home in December 1951. There is no indication in the report of the interrogation that the SK III/a officers asked her why she had chosen this particular village as her home.

The interrogators next turned to the question of the official declaration of death of Lorenz Hackenholt requested by Frau Hackenholt in Berlin in 1953, two years after she moved to Tiefenbach. She explained that she had first approached the Regional Welfare Office in Heilbronn, where she was living at the time because of the job offered to her at the Badschuh-Strack Clinic, with the intention of claiming a war widow's pension. This was her right as her husband had not returned after the war and was listed as 'missing'. It was explained to her at the Welfare Office that in order to claim such a pension it was first necessary to have her husband officially declared dead by a magistrates court; it was not sufficient for him to listed simply as 'missing, believed killed in action'.

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After producing the required documents, birth and marriage certificates, and completing the official forms, Ilse Hackenholt had next gone to the court in Berlin-Schöneberg, the district in which she and her husband were last registered with the police during the war. The court accepted her version of events and eventually entered in the court records the official date of Lorenz Hackenholt's death as 31 December 1945.

At this point in the interrogation, Ilse Hackenholt explained that she had taken out the official declaration of her husband's death entirely of her own volition, and not at the instigation of anyone else. It had been her decision alone in order to claim a war widow's pension which she believed was due to her. She now had to admit that her original statement — claiming that she had last heard from her husband on the Eastern Front in 1944 or 1945, a statement made under oath in a court of law, had been knowingly false:

This statement was untrue. As this interrogation has shown, I knew that my husband came home on leave from the south and had eventually returned there. Also, the letter for my birthday in November 1944 was not the last sign of life from my husband. I have explained in detail that my husband sent someone after the war. It is not necessary for me to say any more about this.

She continued to insist that she had committed perjury in the Berlin court solely in order to obtain the war widow's pension. Her statement continues:

When I am cautioned that there are depositions from several witnesses that my husband survived the war, then I can say that this could be correct, but it does not alter the fact that I have not seen him since the war and have heard nothing from him since the mysterious note.

The SK III/a officers then asked her why she had never made any attempt through official channels to enquire about her husband's fate, either from the Red Cross or the German Armed Forces Information Service, both of which kept records of troops killed or missing in action. Ilse Hackenholt admitted to never having made any such enquiries, but not through indifference to her husband's fate — whether he was alive or dead — but for quite a different reason:

It was known to me that my husband, through his membership of the SS, had had something to do with the Jews and the Belzec Jews' camp. For this reason I did not consider it feasible to pursue enquiries.

This was the first time that Ilse Hackenholt had admitted that she had known all along about her husband's service in the Belzec extermination camp. Until now she had steadfastly insisted that she never knew exactly where her husband was stationed because their correspondence went through a Field Post Number which she could no longer recall. She then contradicted another part of her previous statement, made four months earlier in Leutkirch, in which she claimed that her marriage to Lorenz had 'never been very

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happy'. She now claimed that the relationship had always been good, and added, 'I reckon that if he were still alive he would have let me know'.

The concluding paragraph of Ilse Hackenholt's statement was sufficient grounds for the officers of SK III/a to extend their search in another direction:

In August 1959, my brother-in-law Theo Hackenholt visited me for a holiday. On this occasion he told me about an experience which had made a very strong impression on him. On the journey a lorry had passed him and he recognized the driver as his brother. I do not know any more today on which road or between which towns this could have been.

Once again the interrogators returned to the subject of the false declaration of death, but Ilse Hackenholt replied that the questioning had already lasted six hours and she could no longer think straight. The two officers terminated the interrogation and left.

Almost two weeks passed before the SK III/a inspector who had led the interrogation in Sonthofen travelled to Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr to follow up Ilse Hackenholt's claim that her husband had been seen only two years before by his brother. (One wonders why Lorenz Hackenholt's younger brother Theo had not been questioned much earlier in the investigation as a matter of routine).

However, the subsequent police report of Theo Hackenholt's interrogation is worth quoting in full:

At the request of the Gelsenkirchen Kriminalpolizei there appeared
the married Post Office engineer

Theo H a c k e n h o l t,

born 19.7.1921 in Gelsenkirchen, domiciled in
Gelsenkirchen, Nansen Strasse 6,

and made the following statement under oath:

It is correct that in August 1959 I went for a short holiday to visit my sister-in-law Ilse Hackenholt in Tiefenbach/Allgäu. During a conversation with my sister-in-law, which lasted one-and-a-half hours, I told her that I believe that I saw my brother Lorenz Hackenholt in 1947. It is incorrect that the encounter took place in 1959 on my way to Tiefenbach, as stated by my sister-in-law.

In 1947 I was driving a lorry and trailer from Dortmund to Gelsenkirchen on Bundesbahn 1. On the way we met a delivery van which I cannot describe in detail. It could have been a converted private car. The driver of the approaching vehicle could have been my brother Lorenz. I had no opportunity to observe the driver properly as everything happened too quickly. At this encounter I only had the impression that the driver could have been my brother. I had no opportunity to note the license plate of the vehicle, nor whether or what writing the vehicle had on its side — the things by which to instigate enquiries about my brother. To questions, I reply that the vehicle was in no way a heavy lorry.

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Theo Hackenholt may only have had the impression that the driver of the oncoming car was his brother, but it made a strong enough impression for him to mention it to his sister-in-law 12 years later, which suggests that at the time they were discussing Lorenz Hackenholt. It is not very likely that Theo Hackenholt could easily have mistaken his brother's hard, dark features, even after a gap of three years.

At the Regional Court in Munich I the examining magistrate handling the Belzec Case assessed the depositions by witnesses to date and decided that there was sufficient evidence to reasonably assume that former SS-Hauptscharführer Lorenz Hackenholt was still alive under a false identity, and that the search should therefore continue in the area of Ingolstadt in Bavaria. The interim report by the judge ends with an interesting remark concerning the 10,000 DM indemnity against Lorenz Hackenholt's life which, it had been ascertained, the alleged widow had long since claimed and received in full:

Insofar as Ilse Hackenholt is suspected of having embezzled money, I have submitted the interrogation reports to the State Prosecutor in Kempten/Allgäu.

An intensive search for Lorenz Hackenholt was now begun in the Ingolstadt area. The police department in the town was requested by SK III/a by telephone from Munich to determine the following :

  1. whether any driving licenses had been issued to anyone with a name similar to 'Jansen' since the end of the war;
  2. whether anyone with such a name was registered as a lorry driver;
  3. whether any delivery driver — in the widest sense of the word, not only goods or long distance lorry drivers — is, or had ever been registered.

This official request was passed on by the Ingolstadt police department to all police stations within their jurisdiction. Every male with the names, Jansen, Jensen, Johansen, or anything similar, was systematically checked. None of the people investigated could be connected in any way with Lorenz Hackenholt.

The Ingolstadt police and all police stations in the region were provided with copies of Hackenholt's photograph and asked to check every garage, service station, vehicle repair workshop, motor accessory shop, vehicle park, and guest house frequented by drivers of commercial vehicles. There was no result.

The State Association for Bavarian Commercial Goods Carriers (Landerverband Bayrischer Führungsunternehmer) asked to enquire through their branch offices whether they had ever registered any drivers with names similar to the alleged alias who drove Faun vans. As most commercial goods drivers were registered with the Association they were easily checked. In addition, every member of the Association, regardless of name, was also checked. There was no result. All enquiries, involving several thousand drivers, proved fruitless.

At the Federal Vehicle Office (Kraftfahr Bundesamt) in Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, there were registered at this time in West Germany no fewer than 15,000 men

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with names similar to Jensen, Jansen, etc. As it was known that Hackenholt was a ruthless character and drank a lot, it was thought there may be a notification under one of these names for a traffic or drink/driving offence. The original list given to the Ingolstadt police was extended to include taxi drivers, public transport drivers and driving instructors who had names similar to the alias. All these men throughout West Germany were meticulously checked, area by area, by their local Kriminalpolizei office. Every single person's photograph and a sample of handwriting was checked against Hackenholt's. This extensive country-wide search also produced no result.

Every owner of a Faun van in the south-eastern part of the country was checked through the Federal Vehicle Office in Flensburg. Flensburg informed SK III/a that there were 68 owners registered for the period 1945-47. All of them were individually checked by local police - not only the present owners of the vehicles, but also all previous owners - and in each case the person concerned was shown a photograph of Hackenholt. As a further check, the police additionally examined every owner's and previous owner's Social Security records and place of work. This detailed investigation also led nowhere.

The German Armed Forces Information Centre in Berlin (Deutsche Dienststelle für die Benachrichtigung der nächsten Angehörigen von Gefallenen der ehemaligen deutschen Wehrmacht) was asked whether they had any record of any officer or other rank with a name similar to the alleged alias who had been killed in March, April or May 1945 in Italy or Austria whose identity documents Hackenholt could have taken. This enquiry too had no result.

The officers of SK III/a now requested from the Central Office in Ludwigsburg further details about the alleged postwar meetings of Hackenholt with Erich Bauer and Fritz Rehwald, but Bauer was unable to add any further useful details to his previous statement, and Rehwald, according to Ludwigsburg, 'could not be traced'.

All the defendants at the forthcoming Belzec Trial before the Regional Court in Munich I were questioned again about Hackenholt and his possible whereabouts. These additional interrogations also produced no leads.

The investigators now had little option but to continue and extend their enquiries concerning all males with names akin to to the alias mentioned by Bauer. This time they enlisted the help of regional Council Vehicle Permit Offices who were asked to check individual applications for driving licenses — renewals as well as fresh applications — for the period 1945-47. Hackenholt's photograph and handwriting were compared with those of each applicant, but without referring to the applicant's name. This entailed checking over 90,000 individual applications forms. There was no result.

One slim possibility had not yet been investigated: the identity of the women known to Bauer only as 'Monika' who had befriended Hackenholt in Trieste, and who just might be still sheltering him. All the female former employees of the R-I unit in Trieste were questioned: Frau Lindner, Frau Fettke, Frau Schmiedel and Frau Allers, as well as Dieter Allers, the last commander of the unit in San Sabba. None of them could recall Hackenholt being friendly with any woman in Italy; they all independently agreed that Lorenz Hackenholt had been a 'drunken, country bumpkin and had little to do with

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women'. In Stuttgart-Fellbach, Frau Schubert again denied knowing anyone called Hackenholt.

Meanwhile, in Ingolstadt, the investigators decided to check with the local council offices in the area all applications for personal identity cards and special permits, in the same way that driving licenses had been scrutinized - by comparing Hackenholt's photograph and handwriting with those on the documents, but without referring to the applicant's name. This investigation, however, could not be carried out. The documents were no longer available. Only the card index remained which did not bear photographs of applicants and was therefore of no use to the investigation.

In the early summer of 1962, the Bavarian Social Security Court in Augsburg summoned Ilse Hackenholt for fraud. She was charged with falsely applying for and receiving a substantial sum of money in the form of a back-dated war widow's pension. The court found her guilty of making a false declaration and fraudulently receiving the money. All future payments were withdrawn. Ilse Hackenholt appealed against the verdict on the grounds that she had not knowingly committed fraud and that she was being 'unjustly pursued' by the court which, as her defence attorney claimed, had 'illegally withdrawn her pension'. Her attorney also used the argument that a previous criminal charge against her — at the instigation of the examining magistrate at the Regional Court in Munich I — of embezzling the 10,000 DM indemnity, had not been proceeded with by the State Prosecutor in Kempten. The case had been dropped 'for lack of evidence'.

Ilse Hackenholt's appeal was rejected the following year and the court imposed a heavy fine upon her. One of the witnesses questioned during the appeal was Helene Schubert who yet again perjured herself by denying knowing personally anyone called Lorenz Hackenholt.

In the meantime, on 9 October 1962, the examining magistrate at the Regional Court in Frankfurt-am-Main wrote to SK III/a in Munich enquiring about progress in the search for Lorenz Hackenholt as he too was interested in the whereabouts of the former SS-Hauptscharführer. The State Prosecutor in Frankfurt was preparing indictments against several participants in the T4 'euthanasia' killings and Hackenholt featured high on the 'wanted' list of the Frankfurt court. SK III/a replied six days later with a detailed report of their three year investigation, and informed the judge that only one enquiry now remained outstanding, namely, to determine whether Hackenholt had ever been interned as a POW at the Weilheim or any other camp in the former US Zone of Occupation. If he had been released from the Weilheim camp in the summer of 1945, together with Schluch, Zierke and Juhrs, then the police stations in the vicinity may well have rendered assistance in the form of cash, provisions, and a driving license. Therefore, SK III/a — in conjunction with the Office of the State Prosecutor in Dortmund who was dealing with the Sobibor Case, and also wished to indict Hackenholt — requested from the US Army headquarters in Heidelberg lists of names of German POWs released from their camps in 1945. At the same time, the Office of the State Prosecutor in Munich I sent an enquiry to Washington also requesting details of German POWs released from American custody.

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The SK III/a report to the Frankfurt court further informed the examining magistrate that it if these enquiries did not produce any new leads, 'the investigation into the whereabouts of Lorenz Hackenholt would be terminated'.

The American military authorities in Heidelberg and Washington were unable to provide any further useful information and the investigation was finally abandoned at the end of 1963, having lasted almost four years.

Former SS-Hauptscharführer Lorenz Hackenholt, wanted for participation in the mass murder of over 70,000 German mental patients in the 'T4' killing centres in Germany and participation in the mass murder of over 1,500,000 Jews in the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps in Poland has never been found. If still alive today, he would be 86 years old [the article was written in 1998 - Holocaust History Project]


The complete documented record of the West German police search for Lorenz Hackenholt 1959-63 is contained in a file with the title: Sonderakte Fahndung Hackenholt (Special File on the Search for Hackenholt). According to the records of the Central Office in Ludwigsburg, three copies of this special file exist: at the Central Office in File No. 208 AR-Z 74/60; at the Office of the State Prosecutor at the Regional Court in Hamburg in File No. 147 Js 573/60; and in the Office of the State Prosecutor in the Regional Court in Munich I in File No. 110 Ks 3/64. Enquiries by the author via the Central Office in Ludwigsburg for access to these special files, however, produced interesting results. The Ludwigsburg file on Hackenholt was 'missing'; the Office of the State Prosecutor in Hamburg declared that their files are not open to the public, and anyway, they have no such 'special file'; and in Munich the file 'could not be found'. Also 'missing' from the Munich archive was a photograph album compiled by the Munich Kriminalpolizei and entered in their Daily Duty Log under Item No. K 5462 - 202/60, which contained several photographs of Hackenholt. However, a photocopy of this album was later sent to the author from Munich. During research in Germany for this article, the author was warned by a State Prosecutor familiar with the case and a police officer 'not to attempt to look for Lorenz Hackenholt'.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


[1] Adelbert Ruckerl, ed., NS-Prozesse Nach 25 Jahren Strafverfolgung: Möglichkeiten - Grenzen - Ergebnisse (Karlsruhe, Verlag C. F. Muller, 1972), p. 21.
[2] Letter from Tuviah Friedman, Director of Documentation at the Institute of Documentation in Israel for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes, Haifa, Israel, to Senior State Prosecutor Dr. Schuele, Director of the Ludwigsburg Central Office, dated 22 September 1959.
[3] Since 1994, the US authorities handed over the Berlin Document Center files to the Federal German authorities. The archives are now administered as a branch of the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz (Aussenstelle Berlin-Zehlendorf).
[4] Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Aussenstelle Berlin-Zehlendorf (BKBZ), personal file Lorenz Hackenholt.
[5]The other six SS-NCOs were: Kurt Franz, Fritz Irrmann and Herbert Floss from Buchenwald, and Johann Niemannn and Gottfried Schwarz from Dachau.
[6] Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen (ZStL) 208 AR-Z 251/59: The Case Against Kurt Bolender et al (Sobibor Case), p. 703. Statement by Werner Dubois, 7.9.1961 in Schwelm.
[7] For details of the Foundation and its activities within 'T4' see: Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill & London, The University of North Carolina Press, 1995).
[8] ZStL 208 AR-Z 251/59 (Sobibor Case), p. 703. Statement by Werner Dubois, 7.9.1961 in Schwelm.
[9] For a short history of Grafeneck and its extermination installation see: Karl Morlok, Wo bringt ihr uns hin? Geheime Reichssache Grafeneck (Stuttgart, Quel Verlag 1986).
[10] BKBZ personal file August Becker. Disziplinar-Sache Becker/Hackenholt (Tatlicher Beleidigung).
[11] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59: The Case Against Josef Oberhauser et al (Belzec Case), pp. 1495-1502. SK III/a Report on the Interrogation of Ilse Hackenholt, 30.10.1961 in Sonthofen. [12] Okregowa Komisja Badania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu/Instytut Pamieci Narodowej, Lublin, Poland (OKBL), Ds. 1604/45 - Zamosc (The Death Camp at Belzec). Statement by Stanislaw Kozak on 14.10.1945 in Belzec.Kozak was a member of the team of 20 local labourers who built the camp, including the gassing shed.
[13] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 190. Letter from the Ludwigsburg Central Office to the Police President of West Berlin, dated 5.11.1959.
[14] Ibid., p. 192. Report from Abteilung I of the Berlin Police Presidium to the Ludwigsburg Central Office, dated 16.11.1959.
[15] Ibid., p. 193. Archive of the Berlin-Schoneberg Magistrates Court, 72/24 II 1061/53: Official Declaration of Death of Laurenzius Maria Hackenholt, dated 22 August 1953. Copy forwarded to the Ludwigsburg Central Office dated 23.11.1959.
[16] Ibid., p. 195. Letter from the Ludwigsburg Central Office to Hauptkriminalkommissar Miller of the Baden-Wurttemberg State Police Office in Heilbronn, dated 23.11.1959.
[17] Ibid., p. 200. Letter to the Ludwigsburg Central Office from Kriminalkommissar Jll of the Heilbronn Kriminalpolizei, dated 1.12.1959. Heilbronn Kriminalpolizei Daily Duty Log, Entry No. Sp. 789/59.
[18] Ibid., p. 1060. Report by Kriminalpolizei Branch Office of the Bavarian State Police in Kempten/Allgau to the Bavarian State Police Office in Munich, dated 25.11.1960. Copies forwarded to SK III/a on 20.11.1960 and to the Ludwigsburg Central Office on 29.11.1960. Bavarian State Police Daily Duty Log, Entry No. 814/1960.
[19] Ibid., p. 1061
[20] Ibid., p. 1684. Statement by Erich Bauer on 1.3.1960 in Berlin-Tegel prison.
[21] SK III/a, Daily Duty Log, Entry No. K.5462. Report by the Examining Magistrate at the Regional Court in Munich I to the Bavarian State Police in Munich, dated 6.3.1961.
[22] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1370. Search Warrant No. 7 Gs 1116/61, dated 7.7.1961.
[23] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), pp. 1370-1372. SK III/a Search Report, dated 13.7.1961.
[24] Ibid.
[25] Ibid., p. 1373. Search Warrant No. Gs 121/61.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Ibid., p. 1373a.
[29] The nine former Belzec guards were: Werner Dubois, Erich Fuchs, Hans Girtzig, Heinrich Gley, Robert Juhrs, Josef Oberhauser, Karl Schluch, Heinrich Unverhau and Ernst Zierke.
[30] ZStL 208 AR-Z 74/60: The Case Against Georg Michalsen (Staff of the SS-und Polizeifuhrer Lublin), p. 9280.
[31] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1754. Statement by Heinrich Gley on 8.5.1961 in Munster.
[32] Ibid., p. 1469. Statement by Robert Juhrs on 11.10.1961 in Frankfurt-am-Main.
[33] Ibid., p. 1421. Statement by Kurt Franz on 14.9.1961 in Dusseldorf
[34] Niedersachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Hanover, Nds. 721 Hild. Acc. 39/91, No. 28/133, personal reminiscences of Ferdinand Hahnzog, July 1962, p. 245.
[35] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1685. Statement by Josef Oberhauser on 12.12.1961 in Munich.
[36] Ibid.
[37] Franz Suchomel, Christian Wirth, genannt 'Christian der Grausame' oder 'Stuka' (Ukr.), Altotting 1972 (private report).
[38] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1365. Statement by Hans Girtzig on 18.7.1961 in Berlin.
[39] Ibid., p. 1427. Statement by Kurt Franz on 14.9.1961 in Dusseldorf.
[40] Ibid., p. 1386. Statement by Werner Dubois on 16.9.1961 in Schwelm.
[41] Ibid., p. 1512. Statement by Karl Schluch on 11.11.1961 in Kleve.
[42] Ibid., p. 1515.
[43] Ibid., p. 1511.
[44] Franz Suchomel, Christian Wirth, genannt 'Christian der Grausame' oder 'Stuka' (Ukr.), Altotting 1972 (private report).
[45] According to unfinished archeological excavations at the presumed site of the new gas chambers in October 1999, the new gassing building could have contained four chambers on either side of the central corridor, each chamber measuring 4 m. x 4 m.
[46] National Archives, Washington DC. Statement by Kurt Franz on 30.12.1959 in Dusseldorf. Franz mentions 'engines' and 'engine rooms' in the new gassing building; it would have been logical and efficient to have two engines in operation, each one serving the chambers on either side of the central corridor.
[47] Generalstaatanwaltschaft beim Landgericht Munich I !!5 Ks 3/71: The Case Against Werner Dubois, p. 2029. Statement by Werner Dubois on 15 September 1971 in Munich.
[48] Gottlieb Hering: b. 2.6.1887 in Warmbronn, Wurttemberg. After military service in Ulm 1907-1912, served with the Schutzpolizei in Heilbronn. 1915-1919 active service on the Western Front with a machine gun company of Grenadier Regiment 119. 1919-1939 Kriminalpolizei in Schwenningen, Goppingen and Stuttgart. 1939 special police duty in Gotenhafen (Gdynia) in SS-uniform, than transferred to 'T4'. Served in the Hadamar and Sonnenstein 'euthanasia' centres before transfer to Belzec in the summer of 1942.
[49] ZStL AR-Z 230/59: The Case Against Kurt Franz et al (First Treblinka Case), p. 2040. Statement by Josef Oberhauser on 21.2.1962 in Munich.
[50] Franz Suchomel, Christian Wirth, genannt 'Christian der Grausame' oder 'Stuka' (Ukr.), Altotting 1972 (private report).
[51] Ibid. Kainer had already served a term in Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1941 on Wirth's orders for breaking the 'T4' oath of silence while serving in the Hadamar gassing centre. He shot himself when threatened by Wirth with a second term in Sachsenhausen for disobeying his order to clear up the mess around the Treblinka gas chambers.
[52] Ibid.
[53] ZStL 208 AR-Z 230/59 (First Treblinka Case), p. 3840. Statement by Erwin Lambert on 27.10.1967 in Stuttgart.
[54] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 251/59 (Sobibor Case), p. 1542. Statement by Erwin Lambert on 2.10.1962 in Stuttgart.
[55] Ibid.
[56] OKBL Ds. 1604/45 - Zamosc (The Death Camp at Belzec), witnesses statements.
[57] ZStL 208 AR-Z 268/59: Case Against Lothar Hoffmann et al (Lublin Gestapo Case), p. 2887. Statement by Heinrich Gley on 6.2.1962 in Munster.
[58] Ibid., pp. 2887-2888.
[59] Franz Suchomel, Christian Wirth, gennant 'Christian der Grausame' oder 'Stuka' (Ukr.), Altotting 1972 (private report).
[60] Aktion Reinhard promotion list in: BKBZ personal file Christian Wirth.
[61] Czeslaw Rajca, 'Podobozy Majdanka' in: Zeszyty Majdanka, vol. 9, pp. 92-93, Panstwowe Muzeum na Majdanka, Lublin 1977.
[62] ZStL 208 AR-Z 74/60 (Staff of the SS-und Polizeifuhrer Lublin), pp. 6120-6121
[63] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), pp. 1314-1315. Statement by Kurt Bolender on 5 June 1961 in Munich. Bolender had been sentenced by an SS and Police Court in Cracow to nine months imprisonment — three of them in a penal camp in Danzig-Matzkau, for intimidating a witness and committing perjury during his divorce proceedings.
[64] Ibid., pp. 1496-1497. Statement by Ilse Hackenholt on 31.10.1961 in Sonthofen. 65 Ibid.
[66] Ibid., 518 65/65: The Case Against Josef Oberhauser (San Sabba Case), p. 324. Statement by Josef Oberhauser on 24.9.1974 in Munich.
[67] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 251/59 (Sobibor Case), p. 931. Statement by Heinrich Gley on 4.12.1961 in Munster.
[68] Ibid., 518 AR-Z 65/65 (San Sabba Case), pp. 381-383: 'Die Abteilung R'
[69] Franz Suchomel, Kleiner Bericht uber die Operationszone Adriatisches Kustenland, Altotting 1978 (private report).
[70] ZStL 518 AR-Z 65/65 (San Sabba Case), p. 328. Statement by Josef Oberhauser on 24.9.1973 in Munich.
[71] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1511. Statement by Karl Schluch on 11.11.1961 in Kleve
[72] Ibid., p. 1527. Statement by Willy Grossmann on 10.11.1961 in Erndtebruck
[73] Ibid., p. 1469. Statement by Robert Juhrs on 11.11.1961 in Frankfurt-am-Main.
[74] Wirth was assassinated on 26 May 1944 by Yugoslav partisans of I Battalion of the 'Istrska' Division led by Max Zadnik while on a duty journey from Trieste to Fiume (now Rijeka in Croatia). His car was ambushed near Kozina, 20 km. east of Trieste. See: Max Zadnik, Istrska Odred, Nova Gorica 1975, pp. 321-322.
[75] ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1470. Statement by Robert Juhrs on 11.10.1961 in Frankfurt-am-Main.
[76] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 251/59 (Sobibor Case), p. 2430. Extracts from the files of the State Prosecutors Office in Munich I pertaining to the civil action against Ilse Hackenholt by the Social Security Court in Augsburg in 1962.
[77] Ibid., p. 1326. Statement by Kurt Bolender on 6.6.18961 in Duisburg-Beeck prison.
[78] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1380. Statement by Karl Schiffner on 19.4.1963 in Salzburg.
[79] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 251/59 (Sobibor Case), p. 2429. Extracts from the files of the State Prosecutors Office in Munich I pertaining to the civil action against Ilse Hackenholt by the Social Security Court in Augsburg in 1962.
[80] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1386. Statement by Werner Dubois on 16.9.1961 in Schwelm.
[81] Ibid., p. 1728. Statement by Ernst Zierke on 31.1.1963 in Ratzeburg
[82] Ibid., p. 1527. Statement by Willy Grossmann on 9.11.1961 in Erndtebruck.
[83] Ibid., p. 1505. Karl Schluch, 11.11.1961/Kleve.
[84] Hering died in unknown circumstances on 9.10.1945 in the waiting room of the Katherinen Hospital in Stetten-im-Remstal, Wurttemberg. His death certificate does not give a cause of death and is therefore a legally invalid document. He was being investigated at the time by the French military authorities as a suspected war criminal. Copy of the death certificate in: ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 416.
[85] Ibid., 208 AR-Z 251/59 (Sobibor Case), pp. 2429-2433. Report by the examining magistrate at the Regional Court in Munich I.
[86] Ibid., p. 990. Report to the Senior State Prosecutor at the Regional Court in Munich I, dated 16.8.1960. During a house search by police of the Hering's apartment at Sylvaner Weg 2 in Stuttgart-Fellbach on 18.7.1961, in connection with the Belzec Case, among other items there were found seven letters to Frau Hering from Heinrich Gley, and two photographs of Gley. The return addresses on the envelopes led to Gley's arrest in Munster.
[87] Ibid.
[88] Ibid., p. 2440. Helene Schubert (Hering), 2.10.1963/Stuttgart.
[89] Ibid., p. 2249. Helene Schubert, 3.8.1962/Waiblingen.
[90] Ibid., ZStL 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), pp. 1379-1380. Report by the Sonderkommission of the Baden-Wurttemberg State Police to SK III/a in Munich, dated 16.8.1961/Ludwigsburg. Daily Duty Log, Entry No. SK. ZSt. II/17-162/61.
[91] Ibid., pp. 1593-1594. Report dated 17.7.1961/Ludwigsburg. Daily Duty Log, Entry No. SK. ZSt. I/18-162/61.
[92] Ibid.
[93] Belzec extermination camp Field Post No. 27712.
[94] ZStl 208 AR-Z 252/59 (Belzec Case), p. 1496. Ilse Hackenholt, 31.10 1961/Sonthofen.
[95] Ibid., p. 1497.
[96] (there is no footnote 96)
[97] The description of the stranger given by Ilse Hackenholt could correspond to Rudolf Kamm who had served with Hackenholt in Belzec and Trieste. Kamm was arrested by the US Army in Bavaria in the summer of 1945 and interned in the Aiblingen camp. He was not released until 18.2.1946, which would explain his failure to turn up to meet Ilse Hackenholt in June 1945.



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