Christian Wirth (German: [vɪʁt] (listen); 24 November 1885 – 26 May 1944) was a German policeman and SS officer who was one of the leading architects of the program to exterminate the Jewish people of Poland, known as Operation Reinhard. His nicknames included Christian the Terrible (German: Christian der Grausame) and The Wild Christian.
Wirth worked at scaling up the Action T4 program, in which people with disabilities were murdered by gassing or lethal injection, and then at scaling up Operation Reinhard, by developing extermination camps for the purpose of mass murder. Wirth served as Inspector of all Operation Reinhard camps. He was the first Commandant of Bełżec extermination camp. He was later killed by Yugoslav partisans in Hrpelje-Kozina near Trieste.
|Nickname(s)||Christian the Terrible (German: Christian der Grausame), The Wild Christian|
|Born||24 November 1885|
Oberbalzheim, Württemberg, Germany
|Died||26 May 1944 (aged 58)|
|Allegiance|| German Empire |
|Service number||NSDAP #420,383 |
|Commands held||Action T4|
Inspector of Operation Reinhard camps
Bełżec, December 1941 — end of August 1942
Christian Wirth was born on 24 November 1885 in Oberbalzheim, Württemberg, part of the German Empire. The son of a master cooper, after attending elementary and continuation school, Wirth learned the sawyer's craft. From 1905 to 1910, he was a member of the Württemberg Grenadier Regiment 123. By 1910 Wirth had worked as a policeman in Heilbronn, but he soon moved to Stuttgart, where he was a detective of the police.
During the First World War, at his own request, he served as a non-commissioned officer in the army on the Western front, distinguished himself in battle, was wounded, and was highly decorated. Wirth was awarded the Iron Cross First Class, Iron Cross Second Class, and the Order of the Crown (Württemberg). After the war Wirth returned to Stuttgart in June 1919 and was promoted back to police detective sergeant a short time later.
Wirth married Maria Bantel and fathered two children.
He again joined the Nazi Party as an "old fighter" on 1 January 1931 (#420,383). He joined the Sturmabteilung (SA) on 30 June 1933. From 7 December 1937 he was a volunteer of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). On 10 August 1939, Wirth transferred from the SA to the SS, attaining the rank of Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) by October (SS #354,464).
After the Nazi party rose to power in Germany, Wirth served in the Württemberg police force. He had joined the uniformed police (Orpo) in 1910 before the onset of World War I. Wirth rose to become the captain of detectives (German: Kriminalkommissar) of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) in Stuttgart.
At the end of 1939, Wirth, along with other Kripo police officers, was detached from the police for service with the Action T4 euthanasia program. These police officers served as nonmedical supervisors at the killing centers of the euthanasia program, and Wirth was chief among them. At the age of fifty-five, Wirth was among the oldest personnel involved in T-4. Wirth first set up office procedures at the "euthanasia" center at Grafeneck Castle in Württemberg. Shortly thereafter Wirth was transferred to administrative director of the euthanasia institution at Brandenburg an der Havel in Prussia (the medical director was Dr. Irmfried Eberl).
In December 1939 or January 1940, Wirth was present when twenty to thirty German mental patients were subjected to the first known gassing experiment using carbon monoxide. At Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre, the idea to disguise the gas chambers as shower rooms was introduced. Wirth continued to participate as a troubleshooter in the T-4 killing centers. For instance, when at Brandenburg a group of suspecting mental patients refused to enter the (disguised) gas chamber, Wirth coaxed them into the room by telling them that they had to enter it in order to receive clothing. But Wirth's most intimate connection with T-4 was at Hartheim, where he was chief of the office staff and director of personnel. At Hartheim, Wirth oversaw paperwork as head of the registry office, directed the killing process as the individual responsible for security, and commanded the junior staff as director of personnel. Wirth was coarse and brutal, feared by his subordinates and known to use any means necessary to ensure a smooth killing operation. When four female patients at Hartheim were suspected of having contracted typhus, Wirth shot them to prevent the spread of disease to the staff.
Wirth's responsibility for killing Jews began in September 1940, when crippled and insane Jews were first gassed at Brandenburg. In mid-1940, Wirth was appointed as an inspector of a dozen euthanasia institutions in the Third Reich. He frequented Hartheim Euthanasia Centre, where Franz Stangl worked. Stangl, who was later the commandant of the Sobibór and Treblinka extermination camps, described Wirth in a 1971 interview:
Wirth was a gross and florid man. My heart sank when I met him. He stayed at Hartheim for several days that time and often came back. Whenever he was there he addressed us daily at lunch. And here it was again this awful verbal crudity: when he spoke about the necessity of this euthanasia operation, he was not speaking in humane or scientific terms, the way Dr. Werner at T-4 had described it to me. He laughed. He spoke of 'doing away with useless mouths', and that 'sentimental slobber' about such people made him 'puke'.
In mid-1941, Wirth was involved in the euthanasia program in western areas of Poland; his activity during this time is obscure. In August 1941 Wirth was transferred out of T-4. He was appointed to be Commandant of the newly built Chełmno extermination camp. In September, Wirth was sent to Chełmno to start gassing Jews and Gypsies there. By late March 1942, gassing of Jews and Gypsies was conducted daily in gas vans at Chełmno.
After the T-4 Euthanasia program was terminated due to an outcry from the German church, Nazi leadership came up with the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". The first phase of the "Final Solution" was Operation Reinhard (German: Aktion Reinhard), headed by Odilo Globocnik. The first out of three Aktion Reinhard extermination camps was Bełżec. Since Wirth had previous experience in killing with gas in the forced euthanasia program, Globocnik appointed him as the commandant of Bełżec in December 1941. Belzec became fully operational for gassing on or about 17 March 1942.
Before coming to Belzec, Wirth became acquainted with the gas vans in operation in Chełmno and in the eastern occupied territories of the Soviet Union and learned their advantages and disadvantages. This experience in euthanasia, where permanent gas chambers had existed, and with the gas vans inspired his solution. He decided to combine in Belzec the permanent gas chamber with the internal combustion car engine as gas supplier. Wirth objected to the bottles of carbon monoxide gas that had been used in euthanasia institutions. The bottles, which were produced in private factories and which would be supplied to Belzec in large quantities, could arouse suspicion. In addition, the factories were located at great distances from Belzec and the steady supply of the bottles might cause a logistical problem. Wirth preferred to set up a self-contained extermination system, based on an ordinary car engine and easily available gasoline and not dependent on supply by outside factors...
Wirth carried out experiments to determine the most efficient method of handling the transports of Jews from the time of their arrival at the camp until their murder and burial. He developed some basic concepts for the process of extermination and for camp structure. The basic structure of the camp and the various actions the victims were made to do as soon as they left the train were intended to ensure that they would not grasp the fact that they had been brought for extermination. The aim was to give the victims the impression that they had arrived at a labor camp or a transit camp from where they would be sent to a labor camp. The deportees were to believe this until they were closed into the gas chambers camouflaged as baths.
The second principle of the extermination process was that everything should be carried out with the utmost speed. The victims should be rushed, made to run, so that they had no time to look round, to reflect, or to understand what was going on. This also supported the basic principle of deceiving the victims. They should be shocked, and their reactions paralyzed in order to prevent escape or resistance. The speed of the extermination process served yet an additional purpose: it increased the killing capacity of the camp. More transports could be brought and annihilated in one day.
According to Wirth's annihilation scheme, the Jews themselves should carry out all physical work involved in the extermination process of a transport...
Polizeihauptmann [police captain] Christian Wirth conducted the Aktionen in Bernburg. Subordinate to him were the burners, disinfectors and drivers. He also supervised the transportation of the mentally ill and of the corpses. One day in the winter of 1941 Wirth arranged a transport [of euthanasia personnel] to Poland. I was picked together with about eight or ten other men and transferred to Belzec... I don't remember the names of the others. Upon our arrival in Belzec, we met Friedel Schwarz [sic] and the other SS men, whose names I cannot remember. They supervised the construction of barracks that would serve as a gas chamber. Wirth told us that in Belzec "all the Jews will be struck down." For this purpose barracks were built as gas chambers. I installed shower heads in the gas chambers. The nozzles were not connected to any water pipes; they would serve as camouflage for the gas chamber. For the Jews who were gassed it would seem as if they were being taken to baths and for disinfection.
On 1 August 1942, Globocnik appointed him to the post of Inspector of Aktion Reinhard camps, which would grant Wirth overall command of the Sobibór and Treblinka death camps as well. Wirth's official title in this capacity was Abteilung Reinhard - der Inspekteur des SS-Sonderkommandos beim SS- und Polizeiführer Lublin.
Wirth was noted for his unusually brutal rule. He established the regime of terror and death which was carried out in all Operation Reinhard camps more than any other camp commander. During his time at Bełżec, Wirth experimented with different methods to most efficiently deal with prisoners. He developed much of the systematic policy for interaction with the prisoners. For instance, Wirth decided that newly arrived prisoners to be murdered should be beaten with whips incessantly to drive them into the gas chambers, thus creating a sense of panic and terror in which the prisoners felt forced to comply. Such policies were soon implemented at the other death camps.
From my activity in the camps of Treblinka and Sobibor, I remember that Wirth in brutality, meanness, and ruthlessness could not be surpassed. We therefore called him 'Christian the Terrible' or 'The Wild Christian'. The Ukrainian guardsmen called him 'Stuka'. The brutality of Wirth was so great that I personally see it as a perversity. I remember particularly that on each occasion, Wirth lashed Ukrainian guardsmen with the whip he always kept...
During the construction of Sobibór, the second Aktion Reinhard camp, Wirth visited the incomplete site, and conducted an experimental gassing of 25 Jewish slave-labourers. He liked to carry a whip, and he used it on both Jewish victims and guards. When Treblinka (the last and most efficient Reinhard camp) was set up, Wirth took a direct role in reorganizing it when the first Commandant, Dr. Irmfried Eberl, was replaced by Franz Stangl. Stangl recalled one of Wirth's inspection visits to Treblinka as Inspector of Operation Reinhard, around September 1942:
To tell the truth, one did become used to it... they were cargo. I think it started the day I first saw the Totenlager [extermination area] in Treblinka. I remember Wirth standing there, next to the pits full of black-blue corpses. It had nothing to do with humanity — it could not have. It was a mass — a mass of rotting flesh. Wirth said 'What shall we do with this garbage?' I think unconsciously that started me thinking of them as cargo.
In May 1943, after Himmler's visit to Sobibór and Treblinka, Wirth was promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer (Major). On 3 November 1943, after the Sobibór uprising, SS and police units shot all of the Jewish labor forces still incarcerated at Trawniki, Poniatowa, and Majdanek concentration camps during Aktion Erntefest ("Operation Harvest Festival"); 42,000 prisoners in all.
When Operation Reinhard was terminated after three million Polish Jews and thousands of Gypsies were murdered, Wirth was sent to Trieste in Italy along with the other former Aktion Reinhard staff. From autumn 1943, Wirth's role was to oversee the Risiera di San Sabba concentration camp as well as to combat partisans over the border in occupied Yugoslavia. He commanded SS Task Force R, which engaged in antipartisan and anti-Jewish actions in the Trieste-Fiume-Udine area of northern Italy. The Jews of this area were to be concentrated at San Sabba and eventually killed. Upon Wirth's order a crematorium was built at San Sabba.
Allegedly to remove potential future witnesses, their superiors assigned former death camp staff to the most dangerous job they could find: anti-partisan combat. While in prison in 1971, Stangl stated in an interview, "We were an embarrassment to our [superiors]. They wanted to find ways and means to 'incinerate' us." Wirth was killed in May 1944 by Yugoslav Partisans while travelling in an open-topped car on an official trip to Fiume. He was buried with full military honours in the German Military Cemetery in Opcina, near Trieste. His remains were transferred in 1959 to the block 15, tomb 716 of the German Military Cemetery at Costermano, near Lake Garda, northern Italy.
| Commandant of Bełżec extermination camp
December 1941 — August 1942
SS-Hauptsturmführer Gottlieb Hering
| Inspector of Operation Reinhard camps
1 August 1942 — November 1943
The 2016 Conference USA Men's Soccer Tournament, was the 22nd edition of the tournament. It determined Conference USA's automatic berth into the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship.
New Mexico won the CUSA title, making it their first CUSA championship. The Lobos defeated FIU in the championship, 3–0.Aktion Erntefest
The Aktion Erntefest (German: Operation Harvest Festival) was a World War II mass shooting action carried out by the SS, the Order police, and the Ukrainian Sonderdienst formations in the General Government territory of occupied Poland. The operation aimed at extermination of Jews pressed into forced-labour at the camps of the Lublin reservation including Majdanek concentration camp and all its subcamps. It was closely linked with the liquidation of the ghetto in Lublin. Aktion Erntefest took place on November 3 and 4, 1943. On the orders of Christian Wirth and Jakob Sporrenberg, approximately 42,000–43,000 Polish Jews were killed simultaneously. Virtually the entire Jewish workforce was eliminated, thus concluding Operation Reinhard.Operation Harvest Festival was the single largest German massacre of Jews in the entire war. It surpassed the notorious massacre of more than 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar outside Kiev by 10,000 victims. It was exceeded only by the 1941 Odessa massacre of more than 50,000 Jews in October 1941, committed by Romanian troops.Balzheim
Balzheim is a municipality in the district of Alb-Donau in Baden-Württemberg in Germany.Bełżec extermination camp
Bełżec (pronounced [ˈbɛu̯ʐɛt͡s], in German: Belzec) was a Nazi German extermination camp built by the SS for the purpose of implementing the secretive Operation Reinhard, the plan to eradicate Polish Jewry, a key part of the "Final Solution" which entailed the murder of some 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. The camp operated from 17 March 1942 to the end of June 1943. It was situated about 0.5 km (0.31 mi) south of the local railroad station of Bełżec, in the new Distrikt Lublin of the semi-colonial General Government territory of German-occupied Poland. The burning of exhumed corpses on five open-air grids and bone crushing continued until March 1943.Between 430,000 and 500,000 Jews are believed to have been murdered by the SS at Bełżec. This makes it the third deadliest extermination camp, exceeded only by Treblinka and Auschwitz. Only seven Jews performing slave labour with the camp's Sonderkommando survived World War II; and only one of them became known, thanks to his postwar testimony submitted officially. The lack of viable witnesses who could testify about the camp's operation is the primary reason why Bełżec is so little known despite the enormous number of victims.Christian-Wirth-Schule
Christian-Wirth-Schule (Christian Wirth School) is a secondary school located in Usingen, Germany. Originally established as Lehrerbildungsanstalt für evangelische Seminaristen in 1851, it was later renamed in 1922 to Christian-Wirth-Schule, named after the accomplished attorney at law, Christian Wirth, who resided in the area. CWS publishes its own independent newspaper called the Knorke. ("Knorke" is a German slang word comparable to modern day slang usage of the word "cool" in the English language which dates as far back as the 1920s.)Franz Reichleitner
Franz Karl Reichleitner (2 December 1906 – 3 January 1944) was an Austrian member in the SS of Nazi Germany who participated in Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. Reichleitner served as the second and last commandant of Sobibór extermination camp from 1 September 1942 until the camp's closure on or about 17 October 1943. As the commanding officer of the camp, Franz Reichleitner directly perpetrated the genocide of Jews.Gottlieb Hering
Gottlieb Hering (2 June 1887 – 9 October 1945) was an SS commander of Nazi Germany. He served in Action T4 and later as the second and last commandant of Bełżec extermination camp during Operation Reinhard. Hering directly perpetrated the genocide of Jews and other peoples during The Holocaust.Heinrich Barbl
Heinrich Barbl (born March 3, 1900, Sarleinsbach, Austria; date of death unknown, not before 1965) was an Austrian-born SS-Rottenführer. He participated in the T-4 euthanasia program in Nazi Germany and, after the invasion of Poland, in Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust.Hermann Michel
Hermann Michel , sometimes referred to as "Preacher" (born 23 April 1912, allegedly died 8 August 1984), was a Nazi and SS-Oberscharführer (Staff Sergeant). During World War II, he participated in the extermination of Jews at the Sobibór extermination camp during the Nazi operation known as Aktion Reinhard.Isidore Goudeket
Isidore Goudeket (1 August 1883 in Amsterdam – 9 July 1943 in Sobibor extermination camp, Poland) was a Dutch gymnast who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics.
He was part of the Dutch gymnastics team, which finished seventh in the team event. In the individual all-around competition he finished 62nd.
He died in Sobibor extermination camp.Josef Oberhauser
Josef Oberhauser (January 21, 1915 – November 22, 1979) was a low-ranking German SS commander during the Nazi era. He participated in Action T4 and Operation Reinhard. Oberhauser was the only person to be successfully convicted of crimes committed at the Bełżec extermination camp. He was charged with 450,000 counts of accessory to murder and sentenced to 4.5 years imprisonment during the Belzec Trial of 1964.Kurt Lilien
Kurt Lilien (6 August 1882 – 28 May 1943) was a German actor. He appeared in 50 films between 1919 and 1933. Born Kurt Lilienthal into a Jewish family, Lilien would be arrested and sent to Sobibór extermination camp by the Nazis where he died in 1943.Lublin Reservation
The Lublin Reservation (German: Lublin-Reservat) was a concentration camp complex developed by Nazi German Schutzstaffel (SS) in the early stages of World War II, as the so-called "territorial solution to the Jewish Question". The idea for the expulsion and resettlement of the Jews of Europe, into the remote corner of the Generalgouvernement territory bordering the cities of Lublin and Nisko, was devised by Adolf Hitler and formulated by his SS henchmen as the so-called Nisko und Lublin Plan named alternatively after both locations. The plan was developed in September 1939 after the invasion of Poland and implemented between October 1939 and April 1940, in contrast to similar Nazi "Madagascar" and other Jewish relocation plans drawn up before the attack on Poland at the onset of World War II.Adolf Hitler devised the idea with the help of Nazi chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, including active participation of SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann ("architect of the Holocaust"); as well as Heinrich Müller of the Gestapo, Hans Frank (Hitler's personal lawyer), and Arthur Seyss-Inquart of the Generalgouvernement administration. Gruppenführer Odilo Globocnik, the former Gauleiter of Vienna – appointed the SS and Police Leader of the new Lublin District – was put in charge of the reservation. During early implementation of the plan, the Nazis set up a system of ghettos for Jewish civilians to utilize them as the German workforce. The first forced labour camps were established for the Burggraben project intended to fortify the Nazi-Soviet demarcation line, and to supply the local SS units at Lublin from Lipowa.In total, about 95,000 Jews were deported to the Lublin Reservation. The main camp of the entire complex was set up in Bełżec initially (before the construction of death camp) for the Jewish forced labor. In March 1942 it became the first Nazi extermination camp of Operation Reinhard, with permanent gas chambers arranged by Christian Wirth in fake shower rooms. Though the Burggraben camps were temporarily closed in late 1940, many of them were reactivated in 1941. Two other extermination camps, Sobibor and Majdanek, were later set up in the Lublin district also. The Lipowa camp became a subcamp of the latter in 1943. The Nisko Plan was abandoned for pragmatic reasons; nevertheless, the Zwangsarbeitslagers (German for "forced labor camps") already established for DAW became the industrial base of other SS projects such as Ostindustrie. A number of them functioned until Aktion Erntefest, others beyond the massacres.In 1942, the so-called "Territorial Solution to the Jewish question" was abandoned in favour of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".Paul Bredow
Paul Bredow (1902 – December 1945) was an SS sergeant and a Holocaust perpetrator. He served at Treblinka extermination camp during the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust in Poland.Bredow was from German Silesia (Schlesien). He served at Grafeneck and Hartheim Euthanasia Centres. He came to Treblinka together with Franz Stangl in the first group of German SS. He served there until spring 1943. Bredow was the head of the Kommando Rot clothing sorting unit at the Barracks A in the camp's zone 2 Auffanglager, remembered for his pathological cruelty by survivors. In spring 1943 he was transferred to Sobibor, where he was put in charge of the "Lazarett". His hobby there was a target shooting of Jews with a pistol, fifty a day, which was fully approved by his superior Christian Wirth.Bredow was transferred to San Sabba concentration camp in Trieste (Italy) before the war ended. He returned to Germany after the war and worked for a few months as carpenter together with his SS friend Frenzel in Giessen until November 1945. In December 1945 he was killed in an accident in Göttingen.RaD Man
Christian Wirth (born in the 1970s), better known by the pseudonym RaD Man, is an American computer artist and historian. He works in the field of ANSI art, a method of creating art using a limited set of text characters and color escape codes based loosely on the relevant ANSI standard (X3.64: Control Sequences for Video Terminals and Peripherals).
RaD Man was initially involved with the Aces of ANSI Art (AAA), an organization which created ANSI artwork for a number of computer bulletin board systems from 1989 to 1991. With others, he created the "ANSI Creators in Demand" group (also known as ACiD).Starting in 1990, ACiD released artwork on an ad hoc network of BBSes, updating a collection of art known as the ACiD Acquisition by sending a compressed file of all the completed work up to that time. By 1992, the increasing file size made this process impractical, and this led to the development of the artpack, where groups of artists (including ACiD) would upload monthly update packages instead. In early 2004, RaD Man directed and produced ACiD Acquisition Update #100, colloquially known as "ACiD-100, the final artpack released by ACiD as a group.In 1996, RaD Man founded the ACiD Artpacks Archive to collect the artpacks created by the hundreds of groups that followed in ACiD's footsteps. This collection eventually was transferred to DVD as Dark Domain: the artpacks.acid.org collection in 2004.Since 2002, RaD Man has worked as a historian and spokesperson for the artscene, collecting information and interviews with the artists involved, and creating reports and presentations on the lineage of computer art. Some of this work includes The ARTS, a talk radio show which discusses the many different facets of the creative computer underground scenes and the Pilgrimage 2004 demoparty.In 2006, RaD Man became a member of cDc's Ninja Strike Force.In 2007, he co-founded Blockparty with Jason Scott, a North American demoparty. The event was produced in cooperation with Notacon and took place annually in Cleveland, Ohio, from 2007–2010.
In November 2009, ANSI art group Blocktronics paid tribute to RaD Man and his contributions to the ANSI art scene by releasing an artpack titled "Codename Chris Wirth".Radman
Radman may refer to:
RaD Man, pseudonym of Christian Wirth, American computer artist and historian
Radman, Yemen, village in San‘a’ Governorate
Miroslav Radman (born 1944), Croatian biologist
Velimir Radman (born 1983), Croatian footballerUckermark concentration camp
The Uckermark concentration camp was a small German concentration camp for girls near the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Fürstenberg/Havel, Germany and then an "emergency" extermination camp.Usingen
Usingen is a small town in the Hochtaunuskreis in Hessen, Germany. Until 1972, this residential and school town was the seat of the former district of Usingen.