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Josef Oberhauser
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Josef Oberhauser at his trial
Nickname Sepp
Born (1915-01-21)January 21, 1915
Died November 22, 1979(1979-11-22) (aged 64)
Place of birth Munich, German Empire
Place of death Munich, Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany German Reich
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Years of service 1935—1943
Rank Oberscharführer, SS
Unit Bełżec
Other work Bartender, waiter

Josef Kaspar "Sepp" Oberhauser (January 21, 1915 – November 22, 1979) was the only Nazi to be successfully convicted of war 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 Belzec Trial of 1964.[1]

Background and career[edit | edit source]

File:Josef Oberhauser and Kurt Franz.jpg

Josef Oberhauser (left), with Kurt Franz (right) and Jirmann (centre) at Belzec during Operation Reinhard

Josef Oberhauser was born in Munich during World War I. He went on to become an agricultural labourer until he joined the SS in November 1935. Oberhauser, as a member of the "SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" was involved in the 1939 Poland campaign. During that time, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Oberscharführer. Thereafter, Oberhauser was posted to Bełżec extermination camp from November 1941 until 1 August 1942 as the leader of a guard platoon.

Post-war convictions[edit | edit source]

Josef Oberhauser was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Soviet military tribunal in East Germany,[citation needed] for charges relating to Action T4 euthanasia program from Hartheim. He was provided with an amnesty on 28 April 1956. Following his release, Josef Oberhauser served as a casual labourer, bartender and waiter in Munich.

In 1963 the Bełżec trial began and Oberhauser was one of 8 defendants charged with war crimes committed there at the former extermination camp. On 30 January 1964, all of the defendants bar Oberhauser were acquitted due to the collapse of the prosecution case but re-arrested shortly thereafter. Oberhauser appeared before the court again in January 1965. He was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment. Oberhauser was released after serving half of his sentence. He died in 1979. Oberhauser was unwillingly filmed for Claude Lanzmann's documentary Shoah, released in 1985.

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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