KURT GERSTEIN (11 August 1905 – 25 July 1945) was a German SS
officer and member of the Institute for Hygiene of the
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Education * 1.2 Religious faith * 1.3 Relations with the Nazi Party and Government
* 2 World War II
* 2.1 Reporting * 2.2 Arrest and death
* 3 Depictions * 4 See also
* 5 References
* 5.1 Citations * 5.2 Sources
* 6 External links
Kurt was no more tolerant of discipline in secondary school than
within the family. However, in spite of earning many bad reports, he
managed to graduate at the age of 20. Going directly on to study at
the University of Marburg for three semesters, he then transferred to
the technical universities in
Although his family was not a particularly religious one, Gerstein
RELATIONS WITH THE NAZI PARTY AND GOVERNMENT
Like many of his generation, Gerstein (and his family) were deeply affected by what they saw as the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles and were attracted by the extreme nationalism of the Nazis . In July 1933, he enrolled in the SA , the Storm Troopers of the Nazi Party. Friedlander describes the contradictions in Gerstein's mind at the time: "Firm defense of religious concepts and of the honour of the Confessional youth movements, but weakness in the face of National Socialism, with acceptance of its terminology and shoddy rhetoric; acceptance, above all, of the existing political order, of its authoritarianism and its hysterical nationalism".
However, in early 1935 he stood up in a theater during a performance
of the play Wittekind protesting against its anti-
WORLD WAR II
In early 1941, Gerstein enlisted in the SS . Explanations for this
are varied and confusing. One document indicates it was the result of
his outrage over the death of a sister-in-law, who apparently was
killed under the euthanasia program directed at the mentally ill,
Because of his technical education, Gerstein quickly rose to become
Head of Technical Disinfection Services, working with Odilo Globocnik
Main article: Gerstein Report
Several days later, he had a chance encounter on the Warsaw to Berlin train with Swedish diplomat Göran von Otter , who was stationed in Berlin. In a conversation that lasted several hours, he told the diplomat what he had seen and urged him to spread the information internationally. (Von Otter did talk with high-ranking officials at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, but Gerstein's revelations were never passed on to the Allies or to any other government.) In the meantime Gerstein tried to make contact with representatives of the Vatican, the press attaché at the Swiss Legation in Berlin, and a number of people linked to the Confessing Church . One of his contacts was Dutch citizen J.H. Ubbink whom he asked to pass on his testimony to the Dutch resistance. A little later a member of the Dutch government in exile (in London) noted a testimony that is very similar to Gerstein's report in his diary. Gerstein's statements to diplomats and religious officials over the period of 1942 through 1945 had disappointingly little effect.
After his surrender in April 1945, Gerstein was ordered to report about his experiences with the extermination camps, first in French, followed by two German versions in May 1945. Gerstein's report has been criticized, especially by Holocaust deniers . Distinguished French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet , in Assassins of Memory, discusses such criticism.
Historian Christopher Browning has written: "Many aspects of Gerstein's testimony are unquestionably problematic. ... statements, such as the height of the piles of shoes and clothing at Belzec and Treblinka, Gerstein himself is clearly the source of exaggeration. Gerstein also added grossly exaggerated claims about matters to which he was not an eyewitness, such as that a total of 25 million Jews and others were gassed. But in the essential issue, namely that he was in Belzec and witnessed the gassing of a transport of Jews from Lwow, his testimony is fully corroborated .... It is also corroborated by other categories of witnesses from Belzec."
ARREST AND DEATH
On 22 April 1945, two weeks before Nazi Germany's surrender, Gerstein
voluntarily gave himself up to the French commandant of the occupied
Reutlingen . He received a sympathetic reception and was
transferred to a residence in a hotel in
A semi-fictional movie about his emotional search for Christian
values and ultimate decision to betray the SS by attempting to expose
the Holocaust through informing the Catholic Church, Amen. , was
released in 2002, starring
Ulrich Tukur as
In 2010, a group of film students from Emory University produced a short film entitled "The Gerstein Report" that chronicled the events leading up to Gerstein's death. The film won Best Drama at the 2010 Campus MovieFest International Grande Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada .
* ^ Friedländer 1969 , p. 4. * ^ Friedländer, p. 10. * ^ quoted in Friedländer 1969, p. 4 * ^ Friedländer 1969, p. 11 * ^ A B Friedländer 1969, p. 8 * ^ A B "Holocaust Encyclopedia: Kurt Gerstein". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 1 May 2015. * ^ quoted in Friedländer 1969, p. 13 * ^ Friedländer 1969, p. 19 * ^ Friedländer 1969, p. 35 * ^ Yahil, Leni; Friedman, Ina; Galai, Hayah (1991). The Holocaust: the fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945. Oxford University Press US. 357 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-504523-9 . Retrieved 2009-08-10. * ^ Friedländer 1969, p. 32 * ^ Friedländer 1969 , p. 37. * ^ 'In memoriam Kurt Gerstein' by Hans-Georg Hollweg, 2010 repeats it was his aunt. * ^ quoted in Friedländer, p. 80 where she is referred to as "aunt ", although page 73 claims it was his sister-in-law * ^ Pierre Joffroy, L'Espion de Dieu, Paris, Laffont, 2002, p. 133 (taken from French edition of) * ^ A B Evidence for the Implementation of the Final Solution: Electronic Edition, Browning, Christopher R. * ^ quoted in Friedländer 1969, p. 215 * ^ Yahil 1991, pp. 356-357. * ^ Friedländer 1969 , p. 112. * ^ Friedländer 1969, pp. 123-125 * ^ Friedländer 1969, pp. 128-129 * ^ Assassins of Memory Pierre Vidal-Naquet, 1987. Ressources documentaires sur le génocide nazi / Documentary Resources on the Nazi Genocide © Michel Fingerhut, auteurs et éditeurs, 1996-98 * ^ Friedländer, 1969, pp. 218–222 * ^ Yahil, Leni; Friedman, Ina; Galai, Hayah (1991), The Holocaust: the fate of European Jewry, 1932–1945, Oxford University Press US, p. 360, ISBN 978-0-19-504523-9 , retrieved 2009-08-10 * ^ Hochhuth, Rolf (1967), The Deputy, New York: Grove Pr, ISBN 0-394-17125-X * ^ * ^ Winning short film on YouTube about the Gerstein Report
* Friedländer, Saul (1969). Kurt Gerstein: The Ambiguity of Good.
New York CVity: Alfred A Knopf. ASIN B000GQS4Z6 .
* Joffroy, Pierre , L'espion de Dieu. La passion de Kurt Gerstein,
Robert Laffont, 1969, dernière édition 2002, 453 pages ISBN
* Joffroy, Pierre , A Spy For God: The Ordeal of Kurt Gerstein,
trans. Norman Denney, Fontana 1972, 256 pages, ISBN 0006129420
* Hey, Bernd u.a.:
A more detailed article appears in the French edition of. It has been closely consulted for this article.
* Biography with pictures