_The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS_ Heinz Hoehne English translation c. 1969, Paperback Edition: 1972, Pan Books, Ltd., ISBN 0 330 02963 0 pp. 353-356 The temporary clean-up which Konrad Morgen, the SS Judge, was allowed to conduct among the SS liquidators was a good illustration of Himmler's Jekyll-and-Hyde character: the Reichsfuehrer's dual personality was suddenly exposed -- the lower-middle-class citizen with his strict moral upbringing clashed with the aotomaton, the fanatical agent of the Fuehrer's commands. It was an absurd spectable; one or two 'unauthorized' murders of Jews were investigated -- by a whole squad of SS legal experts -- inside the extermination camps where thousands were being murdered daily! 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 Krueger, 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. ^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. ^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. ^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. Obergruppenfuehrer Oswald Pohl, Head of the SS Wirtschaftsverwaltunghauptampt (Economic and Administrative Department -- WVHA). ^186 The SS/Police Court Kassel now brought the RKPA into the game. It asked for Criminal Police assistance against the Kocj gang, specifying 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. ^187 Morgen, being an Oberstrurmfuehrer in 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. ^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 meanwhile been appointed Commandant of the Lublin extermination camp) and his wife Ilse, who had remained in Buchenwald. ^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 consequences from Morgen's campaign and was unwilling to take responsibility. Morgen, however, hot on the trail of his prey, chased from one SS leader to another. He explained the case in detail to Gestapo Mueller, 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 to the Reichsfuehrer'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 certain. The telegram was delivered. ^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 Obergruppenfuehrer 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 finally broke down and confessed everything. The case for the prosecution became longer and longer; it included murder of two prisoners, Kraemer and Peix, embezzlement and actions detrimental to the war effort. ^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, Hauptscharfuehrer Blanck and last, but not least, the 'Queen of the Camp,' Ilse Koch. The indictment included murder, manslaughter, and assault with intent to murder. ^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. ^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. ^195 But how did he react to his discovery? The answer he gives today shows that he also suffered from his Reichsfuehrer's 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 Fuehrer'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. ^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.' ^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 ^198 from a public execution arranged by the camp staff as a warning to other prisoners not to collaborate with Morgen. ^199 In another camp a hut containing RKPA files was burnt down and in Auschwitz Hauptscharfuehrer Gerhard Palitsch, whom Morgen had dispatched to investigate the doings of Hoess, the Camp Commandant, vanished into a punishment cell. ^200 Nevertheless Morgen registered numerous successes. 800 cases of corruption and murder were dealt with and 200 resulted in sentences. ^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, ^202 Hermann Florstedt, Commandant of Lublin -- condemned to death for murder and executed, ^203 Hermann Hackmann, in charge of protective custody in Lublin -- condemned to death for murder but eventually posted to a penal unit, ^204 Hans Loritz, Commandant of Orianenburg -- procedings initiated on suspicion of arbitrary killings, ^205 Adam Gruenewald, Commandant of 'sHertogenbosch [sic] -- sentenced for maltreatment of prisoners and posted to a penal unit, ^206 Karl Kuenstler, Commandant of Flossenburg -- dismissed for drunkeness and debauchery, ^207 Alex Piorkowski, Commandant of Dachau -- accused of murder but not sentenced, ^208 Maximilian Grabner, Head of the Political Section in Auschwitz -- accused of murder but not sentenced. ^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. ^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. ^211 Himmler withdrew into his world of illusion. At a meeting of SS-Gruppenfuehrer 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 our own selves, in our souls and in our character we have suffered no damage therefrom.' ^212 It was no accident that Himmler closed down Morgen's campaign just at the moment when investigations were starting against Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz. Rudolf Hoess was an outstanding 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. The system and the rhythm of mass extermination were dictated not by the sadists such as Boger or Kaduk but by men like Rudolf Hoess -- worthy family men brought up in the belief that anti-Semitism was a form of pest control, harnessed into an impersonal mechanical system working with the precision of militarized industry and relieving the individual of any sense of personal responsibility. 183. Verbal information from Dr. Konrad Morgen, Feb 3rd, 1966. 184. 'Nebe Series,' Feb 23rd, 1950, p 24. 185. 'Lady mit Lampenschirm,' _Der Spiegel_, Feb 16th, 1950, p 12. 186. Testimony by Guenter Reinecke, IMT Vol XX, pp 419 et seq, 436-7, 496 et seq. Statement by Dr Konrad Morgen, IMT Vol XLII, pp 551 et seq, 563 et seq. Statement by Dr Werner Paulmann, IMT Vol XVII, pp 543 et seq. 187. Reinecke: IMT Vol XX, p 505. 188. _Der Spiegel_, Feb 16th, 1950, p 12. 189. Ibid. 190. Ibid. Verbal information from Dr Konrad Morgen, Feb 3rd 1966. IMT Vol XX, pp 510 et seq. 191. Ibid. 192. _Der Spiegel_, Feb 16th, 1950, pp 13-14. IMT Vol XX, pp 506 et seq. 193. 'Nebe Series,' Feb 23rd, 1950, p. 24. 194. Hilberg: op cit, p 579. 195. Statement by Dr Konrad Morgen, _Sueddeutsche Zeitung_, Mar 11th, 1964, p 3. 196. Ibid. 197. IMB Vol XLII, p 552. 198. IMT Vol XX, pp 439-40. 199. Ibid. 200. Ibid, p 508. 201. IMT Vol XLII, p 556. IMT Vol XX, pp 489, 438. 202. Hilberg: op cit, p 579. 203. IMT Vol XLII, p 556. 204. IMT Vol XLII, p 548. Hilberg: op cit, p 579. 205. IMT Vol XLII, p 556. IMT Vol XX, p 489. 206. IMT Vol XX, p 378. Verbal information from 'Central Office for investigation of National-Socialist crimes,' Ludwigsburg, Dec 15th, 1966. 207. Hilberg: op cit, p 579. 208. Ibid. 209. Statement by Dr Morgen, _Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung_, Mar 16th, 1965. 210. IMT Vol XX, p 507. Verbal information from Dr Konrad Morgen, Feb 3rd, 1966. 211. IMT Vol XX, p 442. 212. IMT Vol XXIX, p 146.
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