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Gasmeister ("Gas Master"), Badmeister ("Bath Master")

  German Empire
German Empire
(to 1918)  Nazi Germany

Born (1900-03-26)March 26, 1900 Berlin, German Empire

Died February 4, 1980(1980-02-04) (aged 79) Berlin
Berlin
Tegel prison, West Germany

Service/branch Schutzstaffel

Rank SS-Oberscharführer

Commands held Operated gas chambers at Sobibór Camp III; lorry driver

Other work Tram
Tram
conductor, laborer

Erich Bauer[1] (March 26, 1900 – February 4, 1980), sometimes referred to as "Gasmeister", was a low-level commander in the SS of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
and a Holocaust
Holocaust
perpetrator. He participated in Action T4 program and later in Operation Reinhard, serving as a gas chamber operator at Sobibór extermination camp.

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 Action T4 1.2 Sobibór 1.3 After the war

2 Quotes 3 References

Biography[edit] Erich Bauer
Erich Bauer
was born in Berlin
Berlin
on 26 March 1900. He served as a soldier in World War I and was a prisoner of war under the French. In 1933, Bauer joined the NSDAP and SA while working as a tram conductor.[2] Action T4[edit] In 1940, he joined the T-4 Euthanasia Program
T-4 Euthanasia Program
where the physically and mentally disabled were exterminated by gassing and lethal injection. In the beginning, he worked as a driver but he was quickly promoted. Erich Bauer
Erich Bauer
described in testimony one of his first mass murders:[3]

A pipe connected the exhaust of a car to a bricked-up laboratory in the asylum. A few patients were shut into the room and I turned on the car engine. This killed the patients in eight minutes.

Sobibór[edit] In early 1942, Bauer was transferred to the office of Odilo Globocnik, the SS and Police Leader
SS and Police Leader
of Lublin
Lublin
in Poland. Bauer was given an SS uniform and promoted to the rank of Oberscharfuhrer
Oberscharfuhrer
(Staff Sergeant). In April 1942, he was dispatched to the Sobibór death camp where he remained until the camp's liquidation in December 1943.[2] At Sobibór, Bauer was in charge of the camp's gas chambers. At the time the Jews called him the Badmeister ("Bath Master"),[4] while after the war he became known as the Gasmeister ("Gas Master").[2] He was described as a short, stocky man, a known drinker who regularly overindulged. He kept a private bar in his room. While other SS guards were neatly dressed, Bauer was different: he was always filthy and unkempt, with a stench of alcohol and chlorine emanating from him. In his room, he had a picture on the wall of himself and a picture of all of his family with the Führer.[5] On October 14, 1943, the day of the Sobibór uprising, Bauer unexpectedly drove out to Chełm
Chełm
for supplies. The uprising was almost postponed since Bauer was at the top of the "death list" of SS guards to be assassinated prior to the escape that was created by the leader of the revolt, Alexander Pechersky. The revolt had to start early because Bauer had returned earlier from Chełm
Chełm
than expected. He discovered that SS- Oberscharführer
Oberscharführer
Rudolf Beckmann was dead and started shooting at the two Jewish prisoners unloading his truck. The sound of the gunfire prompted Pechersky to begin the revolt early.[6] After the war[edit] At the end of the war, Bauer was arrested in Austria
Austria
by the Americans and confined to a prisoner of war camp until 1946. Shortly afterwards, he returned to Berlin
Berlin
where he found employment as a laborer cleaning up debris from the war.[7] Bauer was arrested in 1949 when two former Jewish prisoners from Sobibór, Samuel Lerer and Esther Raab, recognized him during a chance encounter at a Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg
fairground. When Raab confronted Bauer at the fair, he reportedly said, "How is it that you are still alive?"[2] He was arrested soon afterwards and his trial started the following year. During the course of his trial, Bauer maintained that at Sobibór he only worked as a truck driver, collecting the necessary supplies for the camp's inmates and the German and Ukrainian guards. He admitted being aware of the mass murders at Sobibór, but claimed to have never taken any part in them, not engaged in any acts of cruelty. His primary witnesses, former Sobibór guards SS- Oberscharführer
Oberscharführer
Hubert Gomerski and Untersturmführer Johann Klier, testified on his behalf. The court, however, convicted Bauer based on the testimony of four Jewish witnesses who managed to escape from Sobibór. They identified Bauer as the former Sobibór Gasmeister, who not only operated the gas chambers in the camp, but also engaged in mass executions by shooting as well as in a variety of particularly vicious and random acts of cruelty against camp inmates and victims on their way to the gas chambers.[2] On May 8, 1950 the court, Schwurgericht Berlin-Moabit, sentenced Bauer to death for crimes against humanity.[8] Since capital punishment had been abolished in West Germany, Bauer's sentence was automatically commuted to life imprisonment. He served 21 years in Alt- Moabit
Moabit
Prison in Berlin
Berlin
before being transferred to Berlin
Berlin
Tegel prison. During his imprisonment, he admitted to his participation in mass murder at Sobibór and even occasionally testified against his former SS colleagues. Bauer died at Berlin
Berlin
Tegel prison on February 4, 1980.[2][7] Quotes[edit]

Usually the undressing went smoothly. Subsequently, the Jews were taken through the "tube" to Camp III — the real extermination camp. The transfer through the "tube" proceeded as follows: one SS man was in the lead and five or six Ukrainian auxiliaries were at the back hastening the [Jews] along. The women were taken through a barrack where their hair was cut off. In Camp III the Jews were received by SS men.... As I already mentioned, the motor was then switched on by Go[t]ringer and one of the [Ukrainian] auxiliaries whose name I don't remember. Then the gassed Jews were taken out. — Erich Bauer, 15.11.1965, StA Dortmund 45 Js 27/61.[9]

I was blamed for being responsible for the death of the Jewish girls Ruth and Gisela, who lived in the so-called forester house. As it is known, these two girls lived in the forester house, and they were visited frequently by the SS men. Orgies
Orgies
were conducted there. They were attended by Bolender, Gomerski, Karl Ludwig, Franz Stangl, Gustav Wagner, and Steubel. I lived in the room above them and due to these celebrations could not fall asleep after coming back from a journey....[10]

I cannot exclude any member of the Sobibor
Sobibor
camp staff of taking part in the extermination operation. We were a "blood brotherhood gang" in a foreign land.[3]

We were a band of "fellow conspirators" ("verschworener Haufen") in a foreign land, surrounded by Ukrainian volunteers whom we could not trust....The bond between us was so strong that Frenzel, Stangl and Wagner had had a ring with SS runes made from five-mark pieces for every member of the permanent staff. These rings were distributed to the camp staff as a sign so that the "conspirators" could be identified. In addition the tasks in the camp were shared. Each of us had at some point carried out every camp duty in Sobibor
Sobibor
(station squad, undressing, and gassing).[8]

I estimate that the number of Jews gassed at Sobibor
Sobibor
was about 350,000. In the canteen at Sobibor
Sobibor
I once overheard a conversation between Karl Frenzel, Franz Stangl
Franz Stangl
and Gustav Wagner. They were discussing the number of victims in the extermination camps of Belzec, Treblinka
Treblinka
and Sobibor
Sobibor
and expressed their regret that Sobibor
Sobibor
"came last" in the competition.[8]

References[edit]

^ The Holocaust: Lest we forget: Extermination camp
Extermination camp
Sobibor ^ a b c d e f Dick de Mildt. In the Name of the People: Perpetrators of Genocide, p. 381-383. Brill, 1996. ^ a b Burleigh, Michael (2002) [1994]. Death and deliverance. 'Euthanasia' in Germany 1900-1945. Pan Macmillan, originally Cambridge University Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0330488396.  ^ Nikzor Web Site Sobibor
Sobibor
Archive Retrieved on 2009-04-09 ^ Testimony of Eda Lichtman. Retrieved on 2009-04-09 ^ Thomas Blatt. From the Ashes of Sobibor, p. 128. Northwestern University Press, 1997. ^ a b Sobibor
Sobibor
Interviews: Biographies of SS-men ^ a b c Klee, Ernst, Dressen, Willi, Riess, Volker The Good Old Days: The Holocaust
Holocaust
as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders. ISBN 1-56852-133-2. ^ Yitzhak Arad
Yitzhak Arad
(1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, p. 77. Also at: Virtual Library. ^ Yitzhak Arad
Yitzhak Arad
(1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 116-117.

v t e

Sobibór extermination camp

Camp organizers

Odilo Lotario Globocnik Hermann Julius Höfle Richard Wolfgang Thomalla Erwin Hermann Lambert Karl Steubl Christian Wirth

Commandant

Franz Paul Stangl a Franz Karl Reichleitner b

Deputies

Karl August Wilhelm Frenzel Hermann Michel Johann Niemann Gustav Franz Wagner

Gas chamber executioners

Hermann Erich Bauer Heinz Kurt Bolender

Other officers

Rudolf Beckmann Paul Bredow Herbert Floss Erich Fritz Erhard Fuchs Siegfried Graetschus Lorenz Hackenholt Josef "Sepp" Hirtreiter Jakob Alfred Ittner Erich Gustav Willie Lachmann Willi Mentz Paul Rost Ernst Stengelin Ernst Zierke Heinrich Barbl

Guards

Ukrainians

Ivan Demjanjuk "Trawnikis" c Volksdeutsche

Prominent victims

Helga Deen Anna Dresden-Polak Emanuel Lodewijk Elte Else Feldmann Isidore Goudeket Jakob van Hoddis Han Hollander Gerrit Kleerekoper Pati Kremer Kurt Lilien Juan Luria Messaoud El Mediouni Helena Nordheim Abraham de Oliveira Emanuel Querido Jud Simons Philip Slier Leo Smit Max van Dam Michel Velleman

Resistance Survivors

Survivors

Philip Bialowitz Thomas Blatt Selma Engel-Wijnberg Leon Feldhendler Dov Freiberg Alexander Pechersky Jules Schelvis Joseph Serchuk Stanislaw Szmajzner

Nazi organizations

General Government SS-Totenkopfverbände

Planning Methods

Documents Evidence

Operation Reinhard

Höfle Telegram

Aftermath Memorials

Sobibór trial Sobibór Museum

Related topics

The Holocaust Operation Reinhard Nazi concentration camps Extermination camp

a 28 April to 30 August 1942 b 1 September 1942 to 17 October 1943 c Up to 200

Death camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau Bełżec Chełmno Jasenovac Majdanek Maly Trostenets Sajmište Sobibór Treblinka

v t e

The Holocaust
Holocaust
in Poland

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Belarus Belgium Croatia Denmark Estonia France Latvia Lithuania Norway Russia Ukraine

v t e

Camps, ghettos and operations

Camps

Extermination

Auschwitz-Birkenau Chełmno Majdanek Operation Reinhard
Operation Reinhard
death camps

Bełżec Sobibór Treblinka

Concentration

Kraków-Płaszów Potulice Soldau Stutthof Szebnie Trawniki Warsaw

Mass shootings

AB Action Bronna Góra Erntefest Jedwabne Kielce cemetery Aktion Krakau Lviv pogroms Lwów professors Palmiry Sonderaktion Krakau Tannenberg Tykocin Bydgoszcz Wąsosz Bloody Sunday

Ghettos

List of 277 Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland
Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland
(1939–1942) Będzin Białystok Brest Częstochowa Grodno Kielce Kraków Lwów Łódź Lubartów Lublin Międzyrzec Podlaski Mizocz Nowy Sącz Pińsk Radom Siedlce Sambor Słonim Sosnowiec Stanisławów Tarnopol Wilno Warsaw

Other atrocities

Action T4 Grossaktion Warsaw Human medical experimentation

v t e

Perpetrators, participants, organizations, and collaborators

Major perpetrators

Organizers

Josef Bühler Eichmann Eicke Ludwig Fischer Hans Frank Globocnik Glücks Greiser Himmler Hermann Höfle Fritz Katzmann Wilhelm Koppe Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger Kutschera Erwin Lambert Ernst Lerch Oswald Pohl Reinefarth Scherner Seyss-Inquart Sporrenberg Streckenbach Thomalla Otto Wächter Wisliceny

Camp command

Aumeier Baer Boger Braunsteiner Eberl Eupen Kurt Franz Karl Frenzel Karl Fritzsch Göth Grabner Hartjenstein Hering Höss Hössler Josef Kramer Liebehenschel Mandel Matthes Michel Möckel Mulka Johann Niemann Oberhauser Reichleitner Heinrich Schwarz Stangl Gustav Wagner Christian Wirth

Gas chamber executioners

Erich Bauer Bolender Hackenholt Klehr Hans Koch Herbert Lange Theuer

Physicians

von Bodmann Clauberg Gebhardt Fritz Klein Mengele Horst Schumann Trzebinski Eduard Wirths

Ghetto command

Auerswald Biebow Blösche Bürkl Konrad Palfinger von Sammern-Frankenegg Stroop

Einsatzgruppen

Wolfgang Birkner Blobel Felix Landau Schaper Schöngarth von Woyrsch

Personnel

Camp guards

Juana Bormann Danz Demjanjuk Margot Dreschel Kurt Gerstein Grese Höcker Kaduk Kollmer Muhsfeldt Orlowski Volkenrath

By camp

Sobibór Treblinka

Organizations

Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
(SS) Ordnungspolizei
Ordnungspolizei
(Orpo battalions) WVHA RKFDV VoMi General Government Hotel Polski

Collaboration

Belarusian

Belarusian Auxiliary Police BKA battalions Brigade Siegling Black Cats Central Rada

Jewish

Jewish Ghetto Police Żagiew ("Torch Guard") Group 13 Kapos Judenräte

Russian

Waffen-SS "RONA" Waffen-SS "Russland" Ostlegionen, Bataillone (Cossack Division, Russian "ROA")

Ukrainian

Ukrainian Auxiliary Police SS Galizien Ukrainian Liberation Army Schutzmannschaft
Schutzmannschaft
(Battalion 118, Brigade Siegling, 30. Waffen SS Grenadier Division) Trawnikimänner

Other nationalities

Estonian Auxiliary Police Latvian Auxiliary Police
Latvian Auxiliary Police
(Arajs Kommando) Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions
Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions
(Schutzmannschaft, Ypatingasis būrys) Pieter Menten
Pieter Menten
(Nederlandsche SS)

v t e

Resistance: Judenrat, victims, documentation and technical

Organizations

AK AOB Bund GL PKB ŻOB ŻZA

Uprisings

Ghetto uprisings Białystok Częstochowa Sobibór Treblinka Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising

Leaders

Mordechai Anielewicz Icchak Cukierman Mordechai Tenenbaum Marek Edelman Leon Feldhendler Paweł Frenkiel Henryk Iwański Itzhak Katzenelson Michał Klepfisz Miles Lerman Alexander Pechersky Witold Pilecki Frumka Płotnicka Roza Robota Szmul Zygielbojm

Judenrat

Jewish Ghetto Police Adam Czerniaków Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski

Victim lists

Ghettos

Kraków Łódź Lvov (Lwów) Warsaw

Camps

Auschwitz Bełżec Gross-Rosen Izbica Majdanek Sobibór Soldau Stutthof Trawniki Treblinka

Documentation

Nazi sources

Auschwitz Album Frank Memorandum Höcker Album Höfle Telegram Katzmann Report Korherr Report Nisko Plan Posen speeches Special
Special
Prosecution Book-Poland Stroop Report Wannsee Conference

Witness accounts

Graebe affidavit Gerstein Report Vrba–Wetzler report Witold's Report Sonderkommando photographs

Concealment

Sonderaktion 1005

Technical and logistics

Identification in camps Gas chamber Gas van Holocaust
Holocaust
train Human medical experimentation Zyklon B

v t e

Aftermath, trials and commemoration

Aftermath

Holocaust
Holocaust
survivors Polish population transfers (1944–1946) Bricha Kielce pogrom Anti-Jewish violence, 1944–46 Ministry of Public Security

Trials

West German trials

Frankfurt Auschwitz trials Treblinka
Treblinka
trials

Polish, East German, and Soviet trials

Auschwitz trial
Auschwitz trial
(Poland) Stutthof trials Extraordinary (Soviet) State Commission

Memorials

Museum of the History of Polish Jews Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum Majdanek State Museum Sobibór Museum International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim/Auschwitz March of the Living

Righteous Among the Nations

Polish Righteous Among the Nations Rescue of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust Garde

.