MARTIN SANDBERGER (17 August 1911 – 30 March 2010) was an SS
Standartenführer (Colonel) and commander of
Sonderkommando 1a of the
Einsatzgruppe , as well as commander of the
Sicherheitspolizei and SD
* 1 Background and early career
* 2 Activities during the Second World War
* 3 Knowledge of the Führer Order
* 4 Transfer to
* 10 References
* 10.1 Historiographical * 10.2 War crimes trials and evidence
* 11 External links
BACKGROUND AND EARLY CAREER
By 1935 he had obtained his doctorate degree. As a functionary of the Nazi student League he eventually became a university inspector. In 1936 he became an enlisted member of the SS and under the command of Gustav Adolf Scheel for the SD in Württemberg.
He began a career with the SD and by 1938 he had risen to the rank of
ACTIVITIES DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Following the German invasion and occupation of Poland in September
Heinrich Himmler embarked on a program, known as Heim ins Reich
(approximate translation: Return to the Nation) which involved driving
out the native population in areas of Poland and replacing them with
ethnic Germans (
In June 1941 Sandberger was appointed chief of
Sonderkommando 1a of
Einsatzgruppe A . During the first two weeks of the German invasion
of the Soviet Union , which began on June 22, 1941, Sandberger
Franz Walter Stahlecker
KNOWLEDGE OF THE FüHRER ORDER
The Nazi organization most responsible for carrying out The Holocaust
Streckenbach personally informed me about the Führer order, which said that, in order to secure the Eastern territory permanently, all Jews, Gypsies, and communist functionaries were to be eliminated, together with all other elements who might endanger security.
TRANSFER TO ESTONIA
In early July 1941, Sandberger was sent to
The arrest of all male Jews of over 16 years of age has been nearly
finished. With the exception of the doctors and the elders of the Jews
who were appointed by the special Kommandos, they were executed by the
self-protection units under the control of the special detachment 1a.
Jewesses in Pärnu and
At present a camp is being constructed in Harku in which all Estonian
Jews are to be assembled, so that
Others were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Report No. 17, dated 9 July 1941 carried the item —
With the exception of one, all leading communist officials in Estonia have now been seized and rendered harmless. The sum total of communists seized runs to about 14,500. Of these about 1,000 were shot and 5,377 put into concentration camps. 3,785 less guilty supporters were released.
On 10 September 1941, Sandberger promulgated a general order for the internment of Jews which resulted in the internment of 450 Jews in a concentration camp at Pskov, Russia . The Jews were later executed.
Sandburger was highly recommended for promotion in the SS:
* * * He is distinguished by his great industry and better than average intensity in his work. From the professional point of view, S. has proved himself in the Reich as well as in his assignment in the East. S. is a versatile SS Fuehrer, suitable for employment.
S. belongs to the Officers of the Leadership Service and has fulfilled the requirements of the promotion regulations up to the minimum age set by the RF-SS (36 years). Because of his political service and his efforts, which far exceed the average, the Chief of the Sipo and SD already supports his preferential promotion to SS Standartenfuehrer.
On 3 December 1941 he became commander of the Security Police and SD for Estonia.
ACTIONS IN ITALY
Sandberger returned to Germany in September 1943. In the fall of
1943, Sandberger was appointed the
In January 1944 Sandberger became head of the Department A in the RSHA Amt. VI ( Ausland-SD , the foreign intelligence service); in this position he reported directly to Walter Schellenberg . He kept the domestic and foreign accounts and financial records of the organization. As the first assistant to Schellenberg, Sandberger acted as his liaison man with Heinrich Himmler .
With all the access he had had to highly secret information, after the war, under British interrogation, Sandberger tried to delay or avoid prosecution by disclosing what he knew. Until internal reports of the Einsatzgruppen were discovered, Sandberger was able to convince the British interpreters that his account of his activities in Tallinn as the Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei (or KdS) had involved "'no evidence of any particular criminal actions on his part.'"
In the Einsatzgruppen trial , Sandberger was charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and membership in a criminal organization, that is, the SS. At his trial, Sandberger denied responsibility for the killings described in the 15 October report and sought to blame the German field police and Estonian home guard. This was rejected by the tribunal, which found that the Estonian home guard was under Sandberger's jurisdiction and control for specific operations, as shown by the same report. Similarly, Sandberger claimed he had arrested the Jews sent to Pskov to protect them, hoping that during the internment the Führer order might be revoked or meliorated and he was not in general responsible for their execution at the Pskov detention camp. Sandberger said he was responsible for "only a fraction" of the killings. Sandberger placed this "fraction" at 300 to 350 persons.
Q. The sum total of Communists seized runs to about 14,500; do you see that?
A. Yes, 14,500, yes.
Q. That means 1,000 were shot?
A. Yes, I get that from the document.
Q. You know it. Did you know of it? Do you remember it?
A. The report must have been submitted to me.
Q. Then at one time, at least, you knew of it?
Q. Were you in
Sandberger claimed the execution of the Jews at Pskov happened in his absence and without his knowledge. The tribunal found that Sandberger's own testimony convicted him:
Q. You collected these men in the camps?
A. Yes. I gave the order. Q. You knew that at some future time they could expect nothing but death? A. I was hoping that Hitler would withdraw the order or change it. Q. You knew that the probability, bordering on certainty, was that they would be shot after being collected? A. I knew that there was this possibility, yes. Q. In fact, almost a certainty, isn't that right? A. It was probable.
Q. You collected these Jews, according to the basic order, didn't you, the Hitler Order?
A. Yes. Q. And then they were shot; they were shot; isn't that right? A. Yes. Q. By members of your command? A. From Estonian men who were subordinated to my Sonderkommando leaders; that is also myself then. Q. Then, in fact, they were shot by members under your command? A. Yes. Q. Then, as a result of the Fuehrer Order, these Jews were shot? A. Yes.
Sandberger testified that he had protested against the inhumanity of the Führer order, but his account was not accepted by the Nuremberg Military Tribunal which was conducting the trial: "Despite the defendant's protestations from the witness stand, it is evident from the documentary evidence and his own testimony, that he went along willingly with the execution of the Fuehrer Order."
DEATH SENTENCE AND REPRIEVE
Sandberger was found guilty on all counts. In September 1947, Judge Michael Musmanno pronounced the tribunal's sentence:
"Defendant MARTIN SANDBERGER, on the counts of the indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to death by hanging.
Despite political pressures, General
Lucius D. Clay confirmed
Sandberger's death sentence in 1949. In 1951, Sandberger's sentence
was later commuted to life imprisonment by a clemency board acting
under the authority of
John J. McCloy
Sandberger's father, a retired production director of
IG Farben ,
used his connections with West German president
Theodor Heuss . Heuss
in turn contacted the US Ambassador at that time
James B. Conant with
the request for pardon. Numerous pleas for leniency from influential
individuals including Minister of Justice Wolfgang Haußmann and
Landesbischof (bishop) Martin Haug were made. The renowned lawyer and
vice-president of the West German German parliament Carlo Schmid
worried about Sandberger's conditions in
* ^ A B C D E F Ezergailis, The Holocaust in Latvia, at pages 204-205 * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10, Nuernberg, October 1946 - April 1949, Volume IV, ("Green Series) (the " Einsatzgruppen case"), at pages 532 to 536 ("Einsatzgruppen judgment") (also available at Mazel library (well indexed HTML version)) Cite error: Invalid tag; name "EinsatzTrial_532" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page ). * ^ Wildt, Michael, Generation of the Unbound, at page 13. * ^ Browder, George C, Hitler's Enforcers, at page 222. * ^ Ezergailis, The Holocaust in Latvia, at page 149. * ^ Einsatzgruppen trial transcript, 1947-1948, volume 6, pages 2143-2176, as excerpted and republished in Ezergailis, The Holocaust in Latvia, at page 205. * ^ Kahn, Hitler's spies, at pages 263-264. * ^ International Military Tribunal, record of proceedings, 4 April to 15 April, 1946, Testimony of Ernst Kaltenbrunner, April 12, 1946, page 310. * ^ A B C D Breitman and Goda, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, at pages 105 and 146-147. * ^ A B Smelser, Ronald M. , and Davies, Edward J. , The Myth of the Eastern Front , Cambridge University Press 2007 ISBN 0-521-71231-9
* ^ Einsatzgruppen judgment, at page 587 * ^ National Archives. org: Breitman, Richard, "Historical Analysis of 20 Name Files from CIA Records analysis of CIA files", April 2001 * ^ A B C Frei, Norbert, and Golb, Joel, "Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi past", at pages 226 to 229. * ^ http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/mort-d-un-nazi_882739.html
Wikisource has original text related to this article: COMPREHENSIVE REPORT OF EINSATZGRUPPE A UP TO 15 OCTOBER 1941
* (in German) Birn, Ruth Bettina: Die
Sicherheitspolizei in Estland
1941-1944. Eine Studie zur Kollaboration im Osten. Ferdinand
Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, ISBN 978-3-506-75614-5 .
* Breitman, Richard, and Goda, Norman , U.S. intelligence and the
Nazis, Cambridge University Press 2005 ISBN 0-521-85268-4
* Conclusions of the Estonian International Commission for the
Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity
* Ezergailis, Andrew ,
The Holocaust in Latvia 1941-1944—The
Missing Center, Historical Institute of Latvia (in association with
the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
WAR CRIMES TRIALS AND EVIDENCE
* Stahlecker, Franz W. , "Comprehensive Report of Einsatzgruppe A Operations up to 15 October 1941", Exhibit L-180, translated in part and reprinted in Office of the United States Chief of Counsel For Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume VII, pages 978-995, USGPO, Washington DC 1946 ("Red Series") * Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10, Nuernberg, October 1946 - April 1949, Volume IV, ("Green Series) (the " Einsatzgruppen case") also available at Mazel library (well indexed HTML version)