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Hitler's Henchmen (ePub)

Nazi Executioners and How They Escaped Justice After WWII

Military > Frontline eBooks > Frontline: 17th-19th Centuries Military > Frontline eBooks > Frontline: WWII WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Helmut Ortner
Frontline Books
File Size: 553.2 KB (.epub)
Pages: 136
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526791115
Published: 10th October 2022


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Helmut Ortner reveals a staggering history of perpetrators, victims and bystanders in Hitler’s Germany. He explores the shocking evidence of a merciless era – and of the shameful omissions of post-war German justice.

Johann Reichhart was a state-appointed judicial executioner in Bavaria from 1924 until the end of the war in Europe. During the Nazi era, he executed numerous people who were sentenced to death for resisting National Socialism, including many of those involved in the 20 July 1944 bomb plot on Adolf Hitler.

As a member of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, the SS organisation responsible for administering the concentration and extermination camps, Arnold Strippel served at a number of locations during his rise to the rank of SS-Obersturmführer. These included Natzweiler-Struthof, Buchenwald, Majdanek, Ravensbrück and Neuengamme, where he was responsible for murdering the victims of a series of tuberculosis medical experiments. Like Reichhart, Erich Schwinge was also involved in the legal sphere during the Third Reich. A German military lawyer, in 1931 he became a professor of law and, from 1936, wrote the legal commentary on German military criminal law that was decisive during the Nazi era.

Aside from the part they played in Hitler’s regime, these three men all had one further thing in common – they survived the war and restarted their careers in Adenauer’s Federal Republic of Germany.

In Hitler’s Henchmen, Helmut Ortner uncovers the full stories of Reichhart, Strippel, Schwinge and others like them, Nazi perpetrators who enjoyed post-war careers as judges, university professors, doctors and politicians. Had they been gutless cogs in the machinery of the Nazi state, or ideologized persecutors? Ortner reveals that it was not only their Nazi pasts that were forgotten, but how the suffering of the victims, including resistance fighters such as Georg Elser and Maurice Becaud, and their relatives was suppressed and ignored.

“The book offers short bios of slightly more than ordinary fanatical Nazis: a military judge, a civilian judge, an executioner, and a concentration camp guard.”

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Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, April 2024

The whole book was well written and quite interesting, with quite a bit of research gone into it in what is usually a complicated Nazi regime.

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The History Fella

This book from Pen & Sword is thought-provoking, well-written, and almost disbelief in what happened during the Second World War and for a few good years before that during the rise of Nazi Germany and the rise of Hitler. The number of SS Soldiers and Nazi party leaders and influencers that just literally disappeared is mind-boggling, though some of this was because of bureaucratic mishaps and people in power stalling court proceedings. It is certainly a book that will leave you with mixed emotions.


About Helmut Ortner

Born in 1950, HELMUT ORTNER has written over thirty books, mostly political non-fiction books and biographies. His previous works include biographies on Georg Elser, The Lone Assassin: The Incredible True Story of the Man Who Tried to Kill Hitler, and Roland Freisler, Hitler’s Executioner: Judge, Jury and Mass Murderer for the Nazis. Many of his books met with a great response from readers and critics alike and, between them, have been translated into fourteen languages. Helmut works and lives in Frankfurt and Darmstadt. He is a member of Amnesty International and the Bruno Giordano Foundation. For more information, please see: www.helmutortner.de

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