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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/morgen.georg.konrad/morgen.002


_The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS_
Heinz H"ohne
English translation c. 1969,
Paperback Edition: 1972, Pan Books, Ltd.,
ISBN 0 330 02963 0

pages 353/356

(begin quote)

Dr. Konrad Morgen was the son of a railwayman, born 1910 in 
Frankfurt-am-Main. His professional and legal career had ended 
when he refused to accept a judgement by his provincial magistrate,
but he had then been appointed to the SS/Police Court in Cracow as
Assistant Judge to deal primarily with cases of corruption. After
quarrelling with Kr"uger, the HSSSPF, he had been posted to the
SS 'Viking' Division as a punishment. In 1943 he was transferred
to the RKPA but forbidden to deal with pilitical cases. [FN 183]
There he stumbled across a case of wide-spread corruption in the 
concentration camps.

One day the RKPA group 'Financial Crimes Office,'  to which Morgen
belonged, received a call for assistance from Kassel, where SS
Police Couty XXII was located. The Court, which was responsible 
for Buchenwald concentration camp, wished to clear up an old
corruption case with ramifications extending into the camp itself.
[FN 184]  Emil Holtschmidt, a young Criminal Police officer, had
been keeping a watch on Bornschein, the local Nazi Group leader in
Weimar; he was a provisions merchant who had run various profitable
rackets in partnership with Karl Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald.
When Holtschmidt became over-inquisitive, Bornschein joined the
Waffen SS and got himself posted to the headquarters staff of
Buchenwald. [FN 185]   The SS/Police Court took up the case but 
could do nothing, since such Courts had juristiction over the
Waffen-SS (to which the concentration camp guard units theoretically
belonged) only in the capacity of a sort of court-martial; within
the camp itself, however, so-called legal officers were in charge
and they were responsible not to Hauptampt SS-Gericht but to the
highest legal authority concerned with the concentration camps.
Obergruppenf"uhrer Oswald Pohl, Head of the SS Wirtschaftsverwaltung-
hauptampt (Economic and Administrative Department - WVHA). [FN 186

The SS/Police Court Kassel now brought the RKPA into the game. It
asked for Criminal Police assistance against the Kocj gang, speci-
fying as a condition, however, that the selected RKPA official must
carry officer rank in the Waffen-SS -- no one else would have the
smallest prospect of penetrating into Buchenwald concentration
camp.[FN 187]   Morgen, being an Oberstrurmf"uhrerin the Waffen SS,
was allotted the job and went to Weimar where he installed himself 
in the Elephant  Hotel and initiated unobtrusive investigations.
He soon succeeded in convicting Bornschein.[FN 188]  Then, however,
he found himself uncovering the murkiest secrets of Buchenwald Camp.
Though not officially auhorized to do so, he checked Koch's accounts
in Weimar banks and intercepted letters between Koch (who had mean-
while been appointed Commandant of the Lublin extermination camp) 
and his wife Ilse, who had remained in Buchenwald.[FN 189]   The
deeper he delved, the more clearly he perceived that a network of 
corruption existed with ramifications into the other concentration 
camps.

>From corruption the case developed into one of multiple murder, for
Morgen discovered that Koch had not only been blackmailing rich Jews
who had landed in his concentration camp after the 1938 Kristallnacht,
but had also been causing awkward witnesses among the prisoners to
disappear. Morgen determined to bring to justice the entire blackmail
and murder gang centered around Koch. When, however, he submitted
the results of his searches to Nebe, his Kripo master was apalled
by the over-enthusiasm of his sleuth. Nebe forsaw frightful conse-
quences from Morgen's campaign and was unwilling to take responsi-
bility.  Morgen, however, hot on the trail of his prey,  chased from
one SS leader to another. He explained the case in detail to Gestapo
M"uller, who sent him to the Head of RSHA.  The latter passed him on 
to the Head of the Hauptampt SS-Gericht who could think of only one
solution: Himmler. [FN 190]

Morgen proceeded mto the Reichsf"uhrer's Field Headquarters but could
not get in touch with Himmler. With one of Himmler's personal staff,
to whom he told the whole story, he drafted an innocently worded
telegram; provided it was delivered, Himmler's agreement seemed cer-
tain.  The telegram was delivered. {FN 191]  No one can say what 
caused Himmler to give the go-ahead for action against the Koch
gang. Perhaps it was his permanent mistrust of Obergruppenf"uhrer
Pohl and his corrupt hangers-on, or he may have underestimated the
chain reaction which the Koch case was bound to produce.  The fact
remains that, for a short instant, Himmler (in his lower-middle-class
role) could congratulate himself on putting his house in order.

Morgen seized his chance. He ordered Koch to Buchenwald and subjected
him to so severe an interrogation that the ex-king of the camp final-
ly broke down and confessed everything.  The case for the prosecu-
tion became longer and longer; it included murder of two prisoners,
Kr"amer and Peix, embezzlement and actions detrimental to the war
effort. [FN 192]    Morgen also got his hooks on Koch's accomplices --
Sommer, a sadist in charge of one of the barracks blocks, Dr. Waldemar
Hoven, the camp doctor, Hauptscharf"uhrer Blanck and last, but not
least,  the 'Queen of the Camp,' Ilse Koch.  The indictment included
murder, manslaughter, and assault with intent to murder. [FN 193]

But Morgen and his assistants were not prepared to be satisfied merely
with the elimination of the Koch gang.  On his initiative the Kassel 
SS/Police Court had been turned into a 'special' court with the right
to investigate all crimes in concentration camps. [FN 194]   Morgen
had discovered new clues and they led eastwards, straight into the
top-secret extermination camps. He unearthed what he was not supposed
to unearth, the million-fold murders of Jews in the death factories
of the East.  In Lublin and in Auschwitz he suddenly stumbled across
the gas chambers and realized that he had been hunting one or two 
cases of murder in places where millions were being slaughtered. 
[FN 195]   But how did he react to his discovery?  The answer he
gives today shows that he also suffered from his Reichsf"uhrers
schizophrenia. There were at the time, he would have us believe, 
three types of murder: the officially decreed murder of Jews 'against
which nothing could be done because the orders issued from the 
F"uhrer's Chancellery within the framework of the 'Final Solution'
and were given by Hitler himself;  the euthanasia killings which 
were equally official; finally 'arbitrary killings' of prisoners.
[FN 196]   Only against the third category of murders did he set
the SS machine in motion.

In practically every concentration camp Morgen and the RKPA installed
Commissions of Inquiry to investigate cases of corruption and 
'arbitrary killings.' [FN 197]   Pohl's minions, however, put up
fierce resistance to the entry of the investigators; looking for 
sadists in a concentration camp was a dangerous business, for the
camp staff reacted savagely, sometimes even with murder. One of the
Oranienburg prisoners named Rothe, who was an RKPA informer, was
only saved in the nick of time [FN 198] from a public execution
arranged by the camp staff as a warning to other prisoners not to
collaborate with Morgen. [FN 199]   In another camp a hut contai-
ning RKPA files was burnt down and in Auschwitz Hauptscharf"uhrer
Gerhard Palitsch, whom Morgen had dispatched to investigate the
doings of H"oss, the Camp Commandant, vanished into a punishment
call. [FN 200]

Neverhtless Morgen registered numerous successes. 800 cases of
corruption and murder were dealt with and 200 resulted in senten-
ces. [FN 201]   Well-known names from the sinister concentration-
camp-aristocracy figured on Morgen's list: Karl Koch, Commandant
of Buchenwald and Lublin -- two death sentences for murder --
executed, [FN 202] Herman Florstedt, Commandant of Lublin --
condemned to death for murder and executed, [FN 203]  Hermann
Hackmann, in charge of protective custody in Lublin -- condemned
to death for murder but eventually posted to a penal unit,
[FN 204]  Hans Loritz, Commandant of Orianenburg -- procedings
initiated on suspicion of arbitrary killings, [FN 205]  Adam
Gr"uenwald, Commandant of 'sHertogenbosch -- sentenced for 
maltreatment of prisoners and posted to a penal unit, [FN 206]
Karl K"unstler, Commandand of Flossenburg -- dismissed for 
drunkeness and debauchery, [FN 207]   Alex Piorkowski, 
Commandant of Dachau -- accused of murder but not sentenced,
[FN 208]   Maximilian Grabner, Head of the Political Section
in Auschwitz -- accused of murder but not sentenced. [FN 209]

The deeper the men of RKPA delved into the secrets of the 
concentration-camp world, however, the more uneasy did Himmler
become. As early as mid-April 1944 he ordered Morgen to confine
himself to the Koch case; all other investigations were to be
stopped. [FN 210]    The order illustrated the conflict of
principle between Himmler the mass liquidator and Himmler the
apostle of rectitude.  He ordered that Pohl should personally
supervise Koch's execution; the other miscreants, however, must
report their crimes voluntarily; anyone who came forward of his
own free will could be sure of clemency. [FN 211]  Himmler
withdrew into his world of illusion. At a meeting of SS-Gruppen-
f"uhrer as early as 1943 he had said, 'All in all we can say
that we have completed this painful task (the annihilation of
the Jews) out of love for our people. In out own selves, in our
souls and in our character we have suffered no damage there-
from.' [FN 212]

It was no accident that Himmler closed down Morgen's campaign
just at the moment when investigations were starting against
H"oss, the Commandant of Auschwitz.  Rudolf H"oss was an out-
standing exponent of the hygenic mass-murder system, the
clinically clean automatic process; he was the ideal SS man,
for whose 'purity' Himmler had been so concerned when he
authorized this short period of house-cleaning." 

(end quote)

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