Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

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Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:30 am

Discussion continued from another thread.

Sergey_Romanov wrote:The logbook shows that the summary report was mistaken:

http://www.company7.com/bosendorfer/graphics/USA_131st_Evac_Hospital_log800558.jpg


The website you took that image from, which it calls "the official log book of the US Army 131st Evac Hospital", doesn't cite its source, and could have made it from a document available as a pdf on the site I linked in my last post:
131st Evacuation Hospital (semi-mobile) Documents

Unit History 13 April 1945 to 27 June 1945) [pdf]

http://ecc.pima.edu/~gusen/Hospitals.htm


Whatever this document is [it begins at page "75"], it isn't an original daily journal/log-book. There are 77 separate daily entries [12 April - 27 June] clearly typed at the same time on the same typewriter. Most pages contain entries for different days, some feature entries for 5 separate days.

The NARA summary of "the journal of the XII Corps Medical Section" claims:
Entries for May 23–24 document the capture of Franz Ziereis, the Commandant of Mauthausen, by former camp inmates and his death (allegedly by suicide) at the Gusen I evacuation hospital.


Whilst they may be different documents, there's no mention of "suicide" in the "131st Evacuation Hospital ... Unit History" aka "log book":
23 May 1945
SS Trooper, Franz Zeireis, Commandant of all concentration camps in Austria was captured today by some Polish men, former inmates of the concentration camps, and brought to the hospital at 2130 hours. He was questioned and given medical treatment so that he might live. His rank was Colonel (Standantenfurher). He was captured near Purge.

24 May 1945
Franz Zeireis died at 0730 hours this morning and was hung as an effigy by the Pole and Russian inmates of the former concentration camp, after deat[h].


The NARA's summary of the "journal" and "Unit History"/"log book" state that Ziereis was captured by former prisoners, the latter claims "near Purge", whereas all versions of the Ziereis confession known to me state that he was captured by American troops at "Prin, near Spital". Here's what the dying Ziereis said in the letter to his wife:
Ziereis confession wrote:I have been found (23rd of May 1945.) by he Americans while you have been out shopping. I laid my machine gun behind a tree, about 4 meter away from the cottage ... When arrested, I lost my nerves. I laid my machine gun by the tree instead of using it, as I am known as a master of the rifle. The Americans showed perfect conduct, but they prevented my flight by arms. I had been shot twice and I could not rise.


The "Unit History"/"log book" claims Ziereis died "at 0730 hours this morning [24th May]", 10 hours after being brought to 131st Evacuation Hospital at Gusen, whereas his confession[s] state that he died "in the afternoon". Whilst not giving dates, a 7 June 45 SHAEF report states that Ziereis was interrogated for 40 hours:
The MAUTHAUSEN Camp was commanded by Colonel ZIERIES, who was captured and severely wounded while resisting arrest. He lived lone enough to be interrogated for 40 hours. The War Crimes Commission has a full transcript of his testimony. As a postcript [sic] to cruelties practised in the Camp, the 11-year old boy of Col. Zieries had been allowed to amuse himself by shooting residents of the camp with a rifle from the porch of the main administrative building. The boy boasted of these activities to his interrogators.

pdf p.30f: http://ecc.pima.edu/~gusen/SHAEF/12ArmyGroupMauthausen.pdf
Found below as "G-5 2711/7.2 Twelfth Army Group Mauthausen Camps pages 47 539 to 47 574 complete"
http://ecc.pima.edu/~gusen/SHAEF.htm



Former Mauthausen prisoner Lt. Col. Paul Guivante de Saint Gast wrote a report on his 12-25 May mission to Mauthausen on behalf on the French government and SHAEF. It states he was requested by the commanding officer of Mauthausen, Lt. Col. Seibel, 11th Armoured Division:
to be present at the interrogation of the SS men who were at that time held in the camp prison.

Ibid., pdf p.13f.


Despite this order from senior officer Seibel—who was himself present according to Hans Marsalek—de Gast isn't mentioned as being present in any version of the Ziereis confession I'm aware of. Nor is Ziereis mentioned in de Gast's report, although neither are the names of any SS men whose interrogations he may have attended at Mauthausen. The capture and interrogation of the former-commandant might have been notable, particularly as Ziereis denied knowledge of the plan to drown Gusen prisoners as previously alleged by de Gast:
Ziereis confession wrote:I know nothing at all about the last 800 prisoners having been killed at Gusen II with sticks or stones, or by drowning. I did not give orders for them to be killed.

- Version found in UNWCC files [UK NA: TS 26/73]

Haunschmied et al. wrote:The presence of barges intended for mass murder was confirmed by a Colonel Guivante de St. Gast, who left CC Mauthausen on 22 April, in a phone call received by Wing Commander Dehn of the SHAEF Mission France on 3 May. [599] That same day, Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces, cabled Bradley and Devers as well as the entire SHAEF Division Commands (G-3 included) quoting almost verbatim the transcript of the phone conversation between St. Gast and Dehn and referencing cable FWD-19395 from 18 April 1945:

"There are satellite camps at Gusen, Sement [sic], Linz, Wells [sic], Loeblepass [sic], containing 80,000 PWs and political deportees of mixed nationality, including women. He [French survivor de Gast] stated the Germans then planning to exterminate these completely. Gas, dynamite and barges for drowning had been called forward and received. Massacres had started when officer left the camp. Officer stated that the prisoners had few arms." [600]

599. Transcription of phone call from Lt. de Gast, Signed by Wing Commander Dehn, 3 May 1945, Memo SHAEF G-5/DP/2711/7 Mickelsen to A.C.O.S, G-5 Division, NARA 331/290/1/10/3
600. SHAEF FWD, Signed SCAEF to CG 12 Army Group G-5, 3 May 1945, NARA 331/290/1/10/3
- Haunschmied et al., St. Georgen - Gusen - Mauthausen: Concentration Camp Mauthausen Reconsidered, pp.214-215.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:40 am

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Considering that it's a single summary report made weeks after the events, further elaboration is necessary beyond "dates don't match". Do the details match? Is there further corroboration of the date in the report?


I've shown that the entries in the "log book" aka "Unit History" contradicts information not only in a SHAEF report, but even the actual confessions in regard to whom captured Ziereis, and when he died.

The Control Commission report states:
A copy of G-2 Periodic Report, dated 30 May 45 concerning Siegfried Ziereis is attached as Appendix "N"


And here is that document, as described:

Image
Image

Found here: "Appendix N Twelve Year Old Nazi":
http://ecc.pima.edu/~gusen/Record_Group_260.htm
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:41 am

The 6 Nov 2011 post "Confession of Franz Ziereis" on fold3 by bgill features a translation of Ziereis' confession as it appeared in Arbeiter-Zeitung [Vienna], 20 Sept 1945.

The original AZ article is available online at:
http://www.arbeiter-zeitung.at/

Image
larger version
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:57 am

The 19 December 1945 edition [no.4] of the UNWWC's "Press News Summary" features [p.5] details of an interesting sounding article in the 6 December 1945 edition of the Daily Mail [UK]:

The "Daily Mail" quoted an officer of the French prosecuting staff as saying that they had affidavits by Ziereis, late commandant of Mauthausen camp, and his assistant, Adolf Zutter, but that both of them had been killed by the inmates of that camp when it was liberated.

https://www.legal-tools.org/doc/b995ed/pdf/
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:22 am

BRoI wrote:The 19 December 1945 edition [no.4] of the UNWWC's "Press News Summary" features [p.5] details of an interesting sounding article in the 6 December 1945 edition of the Daily Mail [UK]:

The "Daily Mail" quoted an officer of the French prosecuting staff as saying that they had affidavits by Ziereis, late commandant of Mauthausen camp, and his assistant, Adolf Zutter, but that both of them had been killed by the inmates of that camp when it was liberated.

https://www.legal-tools.org/doc/b995ed/pdf/


Following which, the UNWCC was swiftly provided with a "translation" of Ziereis' confession:

Image
https://www.legal-tools.org/doc/a77dbe/pdf/

A February 1946 UNWCC version of Ziereis confession is available online [also found in UK NA: TS 26/73] and comes with the following preambles:

Image

On some versions of the confession in the Sidney Etkin collection it states: "Reported by Leon Krolak previous Polish political prisoner from the camps Mauthausen - Gusen" [images 18, 28, 49] whereas Dr. Toni is mentioned in several different versions, but only when commenting on Ziereis' claim that no gassings happened in Mauthausen's gas chamber:

"In Mauthausen there had been a gas room converted from a bathroom, or vice-versa, next door to the crematoria. Owing to the confession of ZIEREIS, only executions have been performed in this room. (That is not true - this is a notation of Dr. TONI.)" [image 13]

"In Mauthausen there had been a gas-room converted from a bath-room, or vice-versa, next door to the crematoria. Owing to the confession of ZIEREIS, only executions have been performed in this room. (That is not true --- this is a notation of Dr. Toni.)" [image 25]

"In Mauthausen there had been a gas room converted from a bath room, or vice-versa, next door to the crematoria. Owing to the confession of ZIEREIS, only executions have been performed in this room. (That's not true--this is a notation of Dr. Toni.)" [image 46]

"In Mauthausen there was a gas-chamber which had been converted from a bath-chamber, or vice-versa, next door to the crematorium. According to Ziereis' confession only executions took place in this room. (That is not true: this is a remark of Dr. Toni's)." [UNWCC version, p.9]


The UNWCC then released a story about the Ziereis' confession to the press through the British government:

Image
https://www.legal-tools.org/doc/2ef26c/pdf/

Image
https://www.legal-tools.org/doc/d5a46f/pdf/
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:12 pm

> it isn't an original daily journal/log-book.

It is the "Operations reports".

> Whilst they may be different documents, there's no mention of "suicide"

So the book description was wrong (as you have probably noticed, the book is quite sloppy when it comes to the date of Ziereis' death; so it is here). Nevertheless it is obvious from the record group number coupled with the MDEH code that it is this group of documents that is being described.

> latter claims "near Purge", whereas all versions of the Ziereis confession known to me state that he was captured by American troops at "Prin, near Spital".

And?

> SHAEF report states that Ziereis was interrogated for 40 hours:

It follows that the report exaggerates.

> I've shown that the entries in the "log book" aka "Unit History" contradicts information not only in a SHAEF report, but even the actual confessions in regard to whom captured Ziereis, and when he died.

Obviously whoever wrote the logbook had no direct experience with the capture so the mistakes are irrelevant, whereas when it comes to time of death the more precise document (logbook) trumps the less precise one (SHAEF report or the one that claims Z died on the 28th).

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:32 pm

It's not a "log book". It's only called a "log book" by a website mostly devoted to pianos.

The NARA guide [p.29] suggests the original version of the annually-issued "Unit History" is in RG 112: Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army):

III.10 SGO World War II Administrative Records: Unit Annual Reports (Entry 54A)
The Unit Annual Reports include 1945 annual reports for medical units posted at components of the Mauthausen complex. The 131st Evacuation Hospital furnished medical services at Camp Gusen, May 9–June 15, 1945 (Box 409, location: 390/17/25/07);


Do you know what document volumes Schwensen is referring to in endnotes 29 & 30 and corresponding main text?
https://www.inconvenienthistory.com/3/4/3160
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:13 pm

Who cares? I call it the logbook. Will call it a diary if I want to.

No, no idea.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:14 pm

In the various versions of his confessions, Ziereis claimed/was described as being shot as follows:

[Image nos. refer to documents in the Sidney Etkin collection]

Shot twice:
Once in left shoulder
Once in the stomach

Image 3
Image 14
Image 16
Image 18
Image 28
Image 49


Shot twice:
Once in left upper arm
Once in the back, bullet went through venter/belly and abdominal wall coming out the other side

Image 4
Image 19
Image 29
Image 39
Image 51
UNWCC version
Nuremberg document PS-1515 [German translation, apparently suggestive that he was shot 3 times]


Shot three times:
Locations unspecified

Nuremberg document PS-3870 [Marsalek's 8 April 46 affidavit]

No obvious signs of bullet wounds in Ziereis' back, or left upper arm/shoulder, in this photo which is recognised by the Mauthausen museum and other authorities as depicting Ziereis' corpse.

Image
Source of this version.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:11 pm

BRoI wrote:No obvious signs of bullet wounds in Ziereis' back, or left upper arm/shoulder, in this photo ...


Although, the bandaged left elbow and the dried blood on the buttocks and inner thighs reminded me of notes made by a US Army soldier on his 17 May 1945 guided tour of Mauthausen, followed by drinks with the commanding officer:

Former SS men forced to work on clean up details about camp — had to be protected from Polish & other Jews! They caught one SS man & broke elbows by bending over sticks — picked teeth out — castrated him & slashed & let die (this was in camp after allies got there).

Image


USHMM: William C. Alston Jr. papers relating to Mauthausen. Accession Number: 1994.A.0140 | RG Number: RG-04.047
Image from: https://usholocaustmemorialmuseum.tumblr.com/search/alston
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:51 pm

Sort of a correction: shot in the arm and back != shot twice. He could have been shot twice in the back, for example. As he seems to be saying: "I was shot in the upper left arm and in the back (two shots with a bullet penetrating the stomach and damaging the stomach lining."

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:55 pm

If you want to pursue the dating thing further, apply your skills to ID'ing the people in the deathbed photos and see when they were in the camp.

---

http://collections1.yadvashem.org/arch_ ... 413_10.jpg
http://collections1.yadvashem.org/arch_ ... 5413_9.jpg

Clearly a bandage (of sorts) on the stomach and on the upper left arm.

---
http://collections1.yadvashem.org/arch_ ... 5413_8.jpg

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:59 pm

A side note on terminology: in Russian vernacular "plecho" means shoulder in the English sense, but this is an "incorrect" usage since properly anatomically it means upper arm. I wonder if there was some sort of the same ambiguity in German in that period.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:22 pm

There is some sort of a mark on the upper arm of the corpse, the bandage could have slid down, the back wound or wounds could be masked by paint.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:53 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:Sort of a correction: shot in the arm and back != shot twice. He could have been shot twice in the back, for example. As he seems to be saying: "I was shot in the upper left arm and in the back (two shots with a bullet penetrating the stomach and damaging the stomach lining."


Fair point, but...

Images 3, 14, 16, 18, 28, and 49 all state:
At this point the interrogation came to end because of his weakness and difficulties in speaking. Franz Ziereis gave the above statements laying in bed, being seriously wounded by two shots, one in the stomach and one in the left shoulder.


Images 4, 19, 29, 39, and 51 all state:
I got shot through the left upper arm and also in the back. [The] The gun-bullet went through the ventor [sic] and came out on the other side.


I've just noticed from smudges, typos and such that some of the documents in the Sidney Etkin collection are just photostats of other documents in the collection.

The UNWCC's rephrased English version, the German translation made at Nuremberg [PS-1515], and Marsalek's version given at Nuremberg [PS-3870] aren't particularly relevant to this matter. Supposedly a Polish version exists: NO-1973.
"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:23 pm

BRoI wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:Sort of a correction: shot in the arm and back != shot twice. He could have been shot twice in the back, for example. As he seems to be saying: "I was shot in the upper left arm and in the back (two shots with a bullet penetrating the stomach and damaging the stomach lining."


Fair point, but...

Images 3, 14, 16, 18, 28, and 49 all state:
At this point the interrogation came to end because of his weakness and difficulties in speaking. Franz Ziereis gave the above statements laying in bed, being seriously wounded by two shots, one in the stomach and one in the left shoulder.


Images 4, 19, 29, 39, and 51 all state:
I got shot through the left upper arm and also in the back. [The] The gun-bullet went through the ventor [sic] and came out on the other side.


I've just noticed from smudges, typos and such that some of the documents in the Sidney Etkin collection are just photostats of other documents in the collection.

The UNWCC's rephrased English version, the German translation made at Nuremberg [PS-1515], and Marsalek's version given at Nuremberg [PS-3870] aren't particularly relevant to this matter. Supposedly a Polish version exists: NO-1973.

I've quoted the version from Yad Vashem. Your first quote does not purport to come from him, so depending on who writes could be less precise. Your second quote does not contradict possible 3 shots.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby Balmoral95 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:49 am

Franz Ziereis on the wire, pfft...You know this how? Witness testimony? Well bugger off, since you don't like witness testimony anywhere else. And everybody been over this before. Take your facking newspapers and line your hole for next winter, idiot.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:07 am

On 3 Sept 1945, the US Forces-published Linz newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten featured the account of Zieries' capture by the American officer [not named] who led the mission to capture him.

- Captured the 23 May
- Only two bullets fired, both hitting him:
- 1st bullet struck upper left arm, on his SS tattoo—under arm then
- 2nd bullet struck the spine—paralysing Zeiries' legs

- Two officers of the 11th Armoured Division came to interrogate him in Gusen
- Given blood transfusion [as seen in photo SR posted]
- Died soon afterwards
- Zeiries' corpse taken from morgue and hung on fence by former prisoners

Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 3. September 1945, p.3. wrote:
Die letzten Stunden des Massenmörders Franz Ziereis
Unmittelbar nach der Protokollaufnahme seinen Berletzungen erlegen

Ein amerikanischer Offizier berichtete von der Gefangennahme und dem Tod eines Deutschen, der mindestens 400 KZ.-häftlinge selbst ermordet und aufs dessen Befehl viele weitere Tausend erschossen wurden. Es handelt sich um den SS.-Standartenführer Franz Ziereis, dessen schauderhafte Banditenbeichte wir in den letzten Ausgaben abdrucken. Ziereis war sechs Jahre lang Lagerleiter des berüchtigten Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen und mehrere Jahre Kommandeur aller Konzentrationslagers in Nordösterreich. Es wurden während seiner Herrschaft in Mauthausen und Gusen bei Linz auch eine Anzahl amerikanischer Kriegsgefangener mißhandelt und ermordet; erwiesen ist ferner, daß der amerikanische Kriegsberichter Josef Morton von der Associated Preß anfangs 1945 in Mauthausen gepeinigt und schließlich getötet wurde.

Als am 4. Mai die amerikanische 11. Panzerdivision sich dem KZ.-Lager Gusen näherte, flüchtete Ziereis in die Berge. Durch die Gesangenahme eines seiner Vertrauten konnte sein Aufenthaltsort in Erfahrung gebracht werden. Der amerikanische Offizier berichtet folgende Einzelheiten:

Am 21. Mai erzählte ein ehemaliger Häftling des Konzentrationslagers Gusen, daß sie einen der Vertrauten von Ziereis ein Haus in der Nähe von St. Georgen betreten sahen. Das Haus wurde beobachtet und der Mann am nächsten Morgen gefangengenommen. Man sicherte ihm feine persönliche Freiheit zu, wenn er über den Aufenthaltsort von Ziereis Auskunft geben würde. Am nächsten Morgen erklärte er sich bereit, uns zu Ziereis zu bringen. Wir waren zehn Mann: vier amerikanische Soldaten, fünf ehemalige KZ.-Häftlinge und der Mann, der uns zu dem Bergversteck von Ziereis führte. Lange stiegen wir bergauf, verfolgten dann ungefähr eine dreiviertel Stunde lange eine schmale Spur, die zu einer Hütte auf einem kleinen Hügel führte. Hier stellten sich zwei der amerikanischen Soldaten zu beiden Seiten des Hauses auf, während ich selbst die Eingangstür im Auge behielt. Die übrigen blieben hinter uns. Nur ich und die beiden Soldaten waren bewaffnet. Wir riefen und Ziereis trat aus dem Haus. Unserer Aufforderung, sich zu ergeben, leistete er sofort Folge; aber während ich einen der Soldaten in das nächste Dorf sandte, um ein Seil zu holen, versuchte Ziereis zu flüchten. Wie wir später erfuhren, wollte er zu einem in der Nähe seines Hauses versteckten Maschinengewehr laufen. Wir riefen ihm nach, stehen zu bleiben, aber er lief weiter. Ich befahl den Soldaten zu schießen. Ziereis wurde am linken Oberarm getroffen, an der Stelle, wo seine Blutgruppe eintätowiert war. Da er auch einer zweiten Aufforderung, stehen zu bleiben, nicht folgte, schossen die Soldaten nochmals auf ihn, versuchten aber, ihn nur seicht zu verwunden, damit er lebend in unsere Hände siele. Die nächste Kugel drang durch sein Rückgrat. Das warf ihn nieder. Ich lief zu ihm, beugte mich vorsichtig über ihn und überzeugte mich, daß er nicht Komödie spiele. Da ich nicht wußte, wie schwer er verwundet war, befahl ich ihm aufzustehen. Er konnte nicht mehr. Die ehemaligen KZ.-Häftlinge holten aus der Berghütte sofort Decken und Leintücher, um ihn zu verbinden. »Er darf nicht sterben!« sagten sie, »auf keinen Fall. Es wäre ein zu leichter Tod nach all den von ihm begangenen Verbrechen.« Wir nahmen eine Tür als Tragbahre und trugen ihn in das nächste Dorf. Unterwegs trafen wir seine beiden zwölf-und achtjährigen Söhne und fein fünfjähriges Töchterchen. Seine Frau, erzählte man uns, war auf dem Weg zur Berghütte, aber der Lärm der Schüsse satte sie wahrscheinlich vertrieben. Der jüngere Sohn Ziereis’ wollte nicht mit uns gehen. Als ich ihn aufforderte, feinem Vater noch einmal die hand zu reichen, weigerte er sich und sagte, daß er ihn nicht sehen wolle.

Auf einem Lastkraftwagen schafften wir Ziereis nach Gusen und versuchten, ihn mit Hilfe einer Bluttransfusion am Leben zu erhalten. Wir verständigten das Militärgouvernement, und zwei Offiziere der amerikanischen 11. Panzerdivision kamen sofort, um ihn zu vernehmen. Ziereis starb kurz nachher. Wir brachten den Toten in die Leichenhalle von Gusen. Einige der ehemaligen KZ.-Häftlinge fanden ihn hier und hingen die Leiche an den Drahtzaun des einstigen Konzentrationslagers. Später nahmen wir sie herunter und begruben sie.

Soweit der Bericht des amerikanischen Offiziers. Ziereis, der auch unter dem Namen Michael Styts auftrat, trug einen Brief bei sich, in dem es hieß, daß er alle übrigen Dokumente verloren habe und Angehöriger des Volkssturmes sei. Der Brief war mit 10. Mai datiert und von dem Kreisleiter von Steyr unterzeichnet. Außerdem trug er eine Genehmigung bei sich, die ihn zu Reisen auf der Strecke Steyr-Gusen berechtigte. Bei seiner Vernehmung hatte er den Mord an 400 Personen zugegeben und außerdem gestanden, daß er im Laufe der Jahre Befehle zur Erschießung von 450.000 Mann gegeben hatte.

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"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.

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Re: Franz Ziereis: capture, confession[s], and death

Postby BRoI » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:08 am

I took the following photo on 15 April 2014 at Mauthausen, using—as is my wont—an entirely inappropriate camera-setting.

The museum label states:

Corpse of the former camp commandant Franz Ziereis, 1945
Unknown photographer
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC., Photo No. 50543


The former camp commandant Franz Ziereis initially manages to escape. But for a few days after the liberation of the camp he is tracked down by US soldiers and badly wounded during his arrest. Before he dies of his injuries a few hours later, he is interrogated about his activities as camp commandant.

Former prisoners hang his body on the camp fence as a form of symbolic retribution.


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"I believe that when the history of the [Great] war comes to be impartially written, the two greatest results will be the establishment of the national Jewish home and the creation of the League of Nations. The two are not really disconnected. They represent the two great ideas for which we fought and by which we conquered—the ideas of nationalism and internationalism."
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, March 1923.


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