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Maximilian Grabner
File:Grabner, Maximilian.jpg
Official portrait of Maximilian Grabner
Personal details
Born (1905-10-02)2 October 1905
Vienna, Austria
Died 28 January 1948(1948-01-28) (aged 42)
Kraków, Poland
Nationality Austrian
Political party National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Military service
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Rank SS-Untersturmführer

Maximilian Grabner (2 October 1905 — 28 January 1948) was an Austrian Gestapo chief in Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, the infamous torture chamber Block 11 was Grabner's own empire.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born in Vienna, he joined the Austrian police force in 1930 and became a member of the then-illegal Nazi Party in 1933. After the Anschluß of Austria in 1938, he joined the SS and became a member of the Gestapo. He arrived at Katowice at the outbreak of World War II. He was transferred to Auschwitz concentration camp less than one year later. There he became Chief of the Political Department, the Gestapo.

Auschwitz[edit | edit source]

As Gestapo chief he was responsible, among other things, for the fight against the resistance movement in the camp, as well as for the prevention of escapes and all contact with the outside world. These tasks were carried out with horrendous cruelties against the prisoners and a large number of incarcerations in the bunker in Block 11. Grabner's staff members, such as Wilhelm Boger, who was only brought to justice in the early 1960s, carried out so-called sharpened interrogations, during which the victims were systematically tortured.

Grabner, together with the commander of the Schutzhaftlager, initiated, on a regular basis, clearings of the bunker: the inmates were examined and many of them were sent directly to the inner courtyard between Block 10 and Block 11, where they were shot. He once ordered SS-Untersturmführer Hans Stark to drop Zyklon B into a gas chamber.[1] Along with Stark, Grabner personally took part in the shooting of Russian Commissars.

Arrests[edit | edit source]

In 1943, he was arrested for theft, graft and corruption and was put on trial in Weimar a year later. After the trial, he returned to Katowice. Grabner was arrested by the Allies in 1945 and turned over to Poland in 1947. In the Auschwitz Trial he was found guilty of charges of murder and crimes against humanity, and was sentenced to death. Grabner was hanged on 28 January 1948.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich: Wer war was vor und nach 1945. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-596-16048-0
  • Hermann Langbein: Menschen in Auschwitz. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin Wien, Ullstein-Verlag, 1980, ISBN 3-548-33014-2
  • Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (Hrsg.): Auschwitz in den Augen der SS. Oswiecim 1998, ISBN 83-85047-35-2
  • Wacław Długoborski, Franciszek Piper (Hrsg.): Auschwitz 1940-1945. Studien zur Geschichte des Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz., Verlag Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oswiecim 1999, 5 Bände: I. Aufbau und Struktur des Lagers. II. Die Häftlinge - Existentzbedingungen, Arbeit und Tod. III. Vernichtung. IV. Widerstand. V. Epilog., ISBN 83-85047-76-X.
  • Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (Hrsg.): Auschwitz in den Augen der SS. Oswiecim 1998, ISBN 83-85047-35-2.
  • Rees, Laurence: Auschwitz - the Nazis and the 'Final Solution' - BBC Books - 2005 - IBN 0-563-52117-1

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Rees, Laurence: Auschwitz - the Nazis and the 'Final Solution' - BBC Books - 2005 - IBN 0-563-52117-1 (page 96)

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