Dominik Gleba: Guard During a Death March

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Jeffk 1970
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Dominik Gleba: Guard During a Death March

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Tue May 01, 2018 11:31 pm

Blatman provides a brief description of one of the guards during a death march. This man’s name was Dominik Gleba.

Born in 1921 to a Volksdeutsche Polish Family, Dominik was a rather sickly youth who dropped out of school to help his family on their dairy farm. The family moved to East Prussia in 1923. Blatman describes the family, including Dominik, as indifferent to politics during the first half of the 1930’s. Wanting to fit in, Dominik joined the Hitlerjugend. The other members teased him due to his height and he eventually suffered a nervous breakdown. He spent time in a psychiatric hospital (Blatman does not say for how long). In 1942 Dominik joined the Wehrmacht and soon after this transferred to the Waffen-SS. While stationed in Holland he enthusiastically embraced Nazi ideology.

He transferred to Mauthausen and in July of 1942 he executed two Soviet POWs. Blatman notes how easily an apolitical individual with a history of failure can become a killer if the organization that person joins provides them a base. He transferred to another camp, Wiener-Neudorf, in 1943 and remained there until April 1945. He joined the guards escorting the prisoners on the death march.

At the end of the first day the commander of one of the groups of prisoners ordered him to shoot a prisoner no longer capable of standing. Initially Dominik hesitated but after he consulted another guard he agreed that an order from a superior needed to be obeyed. Until that point Dominik avoided shooting other prisoners who fell. It helped that the prisoner obviously couldn’t continue. After that Dominik participated in shooting other prisoners who couldn’t continue.

Blatman points out that other guards managed to avoid killing prisoners during the march. Even outright refusal did not lead to punishment because others took the place of those who refused. Dominik was persuaded due to the condition of the prisoner, Blatman states he also feared punishment.

Dominik was later investigated for his role in murdering prisoners during the march. Blatman did not explain this further so I looked this up. I found two articles from the JTA:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.jta.org/1991/04/29/archive/two-former-ss-men-go-on-trial/amp

https://www.jta.org/1993/03/29/archive/ss-man-extradited-from-u-s-is-acquitted-by-german-court

Most of the second article deals with a second man but Dominik drew a two-year suspended sentence for his role.

Blatman, Pages 216-217
“Today I saw one of those places, saw it in all of its horror, all its filth, all its death.”
Soldier entering the Ohrdruf Concentration Camp.

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Re: Dominik Gleba: Guard During a Death March

Postby scrmbldggs » Wed May 02, 2018 2:50 am

Jeffk 1970 wrote: Blatman notes how easily an apolitical individual with a history of failure can become a killer if the organization that person joins provides them a base.


I think that was a pretty common scenario for the camp guards. Schöne Zeiten...
.

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Re: Dominik Gleba: Guard During a Death March

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed May 02, 2018 2:54 am

scrmbldggs wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote: Blatman notes how easily an apolitical individual with a history of failure can become a killer if the organization that person joins provides them a base.


I think that was a pretty common scenario for the camp guards. Schöne Zeiten...


Interesting thing is that towards the end many of the guards were not SS.
“Today I saw one of those places, saw it in all of its horror, all its filth, all its death.”
Soldier entering the Ohrdruf Concentration Camp.

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Re: Dominik Gleba: Guard During a Death March

Postby BRoI » Wed May 02, 2018 8:44 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote: Blatman notes how easily an apolitical individual with a history of failure can become a killer if the organization that person joins provides them a base.


Lenin noted, effectively, that all devoted communists would excel at torturing and murdering people opposed to their ideology, given the chance.

Lenin wrote:
... a good Communist has the qualities of a good member of the Cheka

- Lenin speech before the Ninth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, Moscow, 3rd April 1920, quoted in: Vladimir Lenin, Lenin Collected Works Vol. 30: Sept 1919 - April 1920, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1965, p. 483.
"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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