VERY RARE ORIGINAL 1943 DOCUMENT SIGNED BY ‘THE BEAST OF BELSEN’

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VERY RARE 1943 DOCUMENT, SIGNED BY THE MAN WHO WAS COMMANDANT OF AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU, BERGEN-BELSEN AND NATZWEILER CONCENTRATION CAMPS

SS-HAUPTSTURMFÜHRER JOSEF KRAMER

NAMED ‘THE BEAST OF BELSEN’ BY THE INMATES

SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Kramer (10 November 1906 – 13 December 1945) was the Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau (from 8 May 1944 to 25 November 1944) and of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (from December 1944 to its liberation on 15 April 1945). Dubbed the ‘Beast of Belsen’ by camp inmates, he was a German Nazi war criminal, directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. He was detained by the British Army after the Second World War, convicted of war crimes and hanged on the gallows in the prison at Hamelin.

Kramer joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and the SS in 1932. His SS training led him into work as a prison guard and, after the outbreak of war, as a concentration camp guard.

In 1934, he was assigned as a guard at Dachau. His promotion was rapid, obtaining senior posts at Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps. He became assistant to Rudolf Höss, the Commandant at Auschwitz in 1940.

Kramer was named Commandant of Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in April 1941. Natzweiler-Struthof was the only concentration camp established by the Nazis on present-day French territory.

As commandant at Natzweiler-Struthof, Kramer personally carried out the gassings of 80 Jewish men and women, part of a group of 87 selected at Auschwitz to become anatomical specimens in a proposed Jewish skeleton collection to be housed at the Anatomy Institute at the Reich University of Strasbourg under the direction of August Hirt.

Kramer was promoted to the rank of Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in 1942 and, in May 1944, was transferred to become the Lagerführer (camp commander) in charge of operations at Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the main center used to kill inmates within the Auschwitz concentration camp complex, from 8 May 1944 to 25 November 1944. He was brought to Auschwitz to manage the gassings of new transports in May 1944, according to the Prosecution Judge Advocate at the War Crimes tribunal that convicted him of being responsible for the murders committed at Auschwitz. There were a number of witnesses who said that he took an active part in the selection parades in that, for instance, he loaded people into the trucks and beat them when they resisted.  At Auschwitz, Kramer soon became known among his subordinates as a harsh taskmaster.

In December 1944, SS-Hauptsturmführer Kramer was transferred from Birkenau to Bergen Belsen, near the village of Bergen. Belsen had originally served as a temporary camp for those leaving Germany, but during the war had been expanded to serve as a convalescent depot for the ill and displaced people from across north-west Europe. Although it had no gas chambers, Kramer’s rule was so harsh that he became known as the “Beast of Belsen”.

As Nazi Germany collapsed, administration of the camp broke down, but Kramer remained devoted to bureaucracy. On 1 March 1945, he filed a report asking for help and resources, stating that of the 42,000 inmates in his camp, 250–300 died each day from typhus. On 19 March, the number of inmates rose to 60,000 as the Germans continued to evacuate camps that were soon to be liberated by the Allies. As late as the week of 13 April, some 28,000 additional prisoners were brought in.

With the collapse of administration and many guards fleeing to escape retribution, roll calls were stopped, and the inmates were left to their own devices. Corpses rotted everywhere, and rats attacked the living too weak to fight them off. Kramer remained even when the British, led by Major Brian Urquhart, arrived to liberate the camp, and took them on a tour of the camp to inspect the “scenes”. Piles of corpses lay all over the camp, mass graves were filled in, and the huts were filled with prisoners in every stage of emaciation and disease. [source: Wikipedia]

The document, dated 7 December 1943 and ssued in KL Natzweiler is an order that two days later all SS men whose blood type has not yet been determined have to give blood to get their blood type documented.

The document is in nice condition and the signature is strong. This item ships from one of our affiliates in Germany. It comes from a private collection and has never been offered for sale before. It was purchased directly out of a German archive. The seller gives a full money back guarantee for the authenticity of the document and signature. Includes shipping worldwide.

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