Henri Henripierre

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Henri Henripierre (also Heinrich Heinzpeter, also Henry Henrypierre, officially: Heinrich Henrypierre) (born August 23, 1905 in Leberau (today Lièpvre) in what was then Alsace-Lorraine ; † May 15, 1982 in Strasbourg ) was a German pharmacy assistant.


Henripierre was born under the name Heinrich Sigrist on August 23, 1905 as the illegitimate son of the garment cleaner Rosalie Sigrist. Some time later, the electricity worker Heinrich Henrypierre confessed to being his father and was entered on the birth certificate of the Leberau registry office. Henripierre spent his school days in Upper Alsace near his birthplace. In 1928 he moved to Paris with his girlfriend, the cook Augustine Lirot . He married her in 1939. From 1930 he worked in the hospital. Since he could not have completed a pharmacy degree in the short time, his professional statement in the Nuremberg medical process that he is a pharmacist by profession must be critically questioned. Drafted at the beginning of the Second World War, he was soon taken prisoner of war. According to his testimony in Nuremberg near Compiègne, he was in captivity for a short time, presumably in prisoner-of-war front main camp 122, from which the Royallieu transit camp later emerged. On July 17, 1941, Henripierre applied for naturalization in order to become a German citizen. He committed himself in writing to "Germanness". He signed the name of his birth certificate: Heinrich Henripierre. The receiving office was the EWZ, the responsible immigration center, which was part of the SS . Usually the applicant had to appear in front of four examiners with the rank of SS staff officers, among them “race examiner” and “ethnicity expert”. Henripierre mentioned the four SS officers in Nuremberg, but claimed that they had worked in a concentration camp where he was a prisoner. But there is no evidence that he was ever held in a concentration camp. Henripierre passed the exam and was allowed to move to Germany. He went to Strasbourg, where he applied to August Hirt in anatomy . He worked as an assistant in the morgue ("Garçon d'Anatomie"). The SS-Ahnenerbe paid the employees in Hirt's institute a second salary. This was euphemistically called "Research Aid". Since it was also paid to cleaning women and drivers, it can be assumed that they wanted to keep the employees docile. Henripierre also received monthly payments from the SS, which increased his regular income by around 40%. Henripierre's salary claim still existed on March 13, 1945, as the SS administration recorded in writing. Still well ahead of the Germanisierungsmaßnahmen of Gauleiter Robert Wagner Henri Pierre applied for ( "Regulation on the German naming of 15 January 1943") the Germanization of his name. On December 21, 1942, the authority of the Strasbourg police chief entered in the birth certificate that Henripierre was now called Heinrich Heinzpeter. After the divorce had been negotiated by July 6, 1944, Augustine and Henri Henripierre were divorced on May 4, 1945. Henripierre married Anne-Marie Dollet on May 5, 1945. Henri Henripierre died on May 15, 1982 in Strasbourg, Département Bas-Rhin, after giving evidence all his life and expressing his disgust for the SS, their crimes and their criminals. It was not until 2018, when the historian Julien Reitzenstein, following Fritz Bauer's suspicion , had reopened the crime of the Strasbourg skull collection on the basis of often newly found sources, that Henripierre's complicity became known.

Nuremberg medical trials

Henripierre became internationally known for his testimony at the Nuremberg medical trial . There he had given gruesome details about the crime of the Strasbourg skull collection on record. He also told the world public how unscrupulous the director of anatomy, August Hirt , had threatened him with death. Henripierre said in his testimony that he had come “only inspired by the desire to fulfill my duty and debt and to serve justice. I owe this to the 86 victims we received in August 1943. ”Shortly after the occupation of the Strasbourg anatomy department on November 23, 1944, the anatomy worker Henripierre turned to the French authorities in December 1944. He was the only source to report to them and a commission of inquiry that August Hirt had planned a museum with “dead Jews as exhibits”. The investigative commission of the judge at the Permanent Military Tribunal of the 10th Military District in Strasbourg, Major Jadin, completed a report on January 15, 1946, in which the claim was made for the first time that the 86 victims were intended for a museum: “Des soins particuliers furent pris pour leur conservation, car ils devaient être transformés en pièces anatomiques destinées à enrichir le musée d'anatomie (Henrypierre). ”The fact that Henripierre was the only witness with this testimony led to his summons as a witness to the gruesome crimes of the SS racists in the Nuremberg courthouse. His testimony was intended to incriminate the defendant, Reich Manager of the Ahnenerbes, Wolfram Sievers . This was the superior of all perpetrators and accomplices, with the exception of Heinrich Himmler . However, knowing the innumerable press reports on Henripierre's statement about a museum planned by Hirt, defended himself very skillfully. Sievers testified that the crime was not at all attributable to the SS and him, but to the state university and the already dead shepherd. He had already laid this trail in the Nuremberg trial of major war criminals . The trial observers Alexander Mitscherlich and Fred Mielke adopted Henripierre's statement, confirmed by Sievers, that Hirt wanted a museum with the skeletons of dead Jews and that the French Henripierre had threatened to maintain secrecy. This can be found in both books Medicine Without Humanity, which describes the medical process. Since then, a public image of the French slave laborer and Resistance supporter Henripierre has formed: a courageous man who worked resolutely against the race fanatic Hirt and reported a gruesome crime by the SS perpetrators. The Germanist Hans-Joachim Lang identified the names of the victims of the crime in 2004 by copying them from the list of prisoner numbers that Henripierre had sent the French authorities in 1944. He embeds this work in a frame narrative that shows Henripierre as a hero. In 2018, historian Julien Reitzenstein published sources showing that Henripierre was not a hero, but an accomplice of the crime paid for by the SS.

Involvement in the crime

Julien Reitzenstein describes Henripierre's involvement in the crime as low, as well as his payment by the SS, and comes to the conclusion that Henripierre was more of an insignificant accomplice. There were no indications that he was a fanatical Nazi, only his commitment to "Germanness". However, after Reitzenstein's publication of the documents, Henripierre can no longer be relied on as a neutral witness. It also became evident that apart from Henripierre's statements, no evidence has been found since 1944 that a “museum with dead Jews” (cf. Lang, The Names of Numbers) was planned in Strasbourg. The new documents, however, indicate that Bruno Beger had planned a museum project with Near Eastern and Inner Asians, for which he carried out "Mongol research" in Auschwitz, in the course of which he selected the 86 victims, even though they were not Asians. On August 11, 13, 14 and 18, 1943, the commander of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp , Josef Kramer, murdered 86 Jewish people from all over Europe (with the exception of the Soviet Union , where according to sources the skeletons of " Jewish-Bolshevik commissars" should come from , which were the basis of the originally planned crime.) with a hydrocyanic acid derivative . The corpses were taken to the anatomy department in the “Bürgerspital” university hospital. Since there were not enough cooling compartments, the corpses could not be stored in the way they were needed before skeleton dissection. The only alternative, the immediate “coarse deflashing”, was not carried out due to a lack of staff. In addition to Henripierre and René Colombin Wagner and the senior taxidermist Otto Bong, only two technical assistants worked for Hirt in this area. The staff could hardly keep up with the production of the preparations for the regular medical training, which is why the coarse meat removal did not take place. That is why 10 liters of preservation liquid including 2 liters of formol from Henipierre were injected into each corpse and then placed in vats with alcohol. By order of Himmler, Bong and Henripierre had to destroy the bodies as the Allies approached Strasbourg. Henripierre chopped up the corpses so that more could fit into the few remaining coffins. The bodies were cremated in the city crematorium .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Reitzenstein, Julien: The SS-Ahnenerbe and the Strasbourg skeleton collection - Fritz Bauer's last case . Berlin 2018. p. 263 with reference to Henripierre's birth certificate no. Birth certificate no. 36 dated August 24, 1905 with subsequent entries.
  2. BArch NS 21/29
  3. ^ Nazi crimes solved after 75 years . ( bz-berlin.de [accessed on June 22, 2018]).
  4. ^ Order of Police President Strasbourg dated March 17, 1943, shown as Figure 25 in: Reitzenstein, Julien: The SS-Ahnenerbe and the Strasbourg skeleton collection - Fritz Bauer's last case. Berlin 2018. p. 269.
  5. Ebbinghaus, Angelika, Dörner, Klaus: Destroying and healing: the Nuremberg medical trial and its consequences . 1st edition. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-351-02514-9 , p. 752 .
  6. BArch B 162/20260, Rapport d'Expertise de MM. Les professeurs et docteurs Simonin, Piédelièvre, Fourcade of January 15, 1946, p. 9.
  7. Lang, Hans-Joachim, 1951-: The names of the numbers: how it was possible to identify the 86 victims of a Nazi crime . 1st edition. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-455-09464-3 .
  8. BArch B 162/20260, Rapport d'Expertise de MM. Les professeurs et docteurs. Simonin, Piédelièvre, Fourcade, p. 9.
  9. ^ Reitzenstein, Julien: The SS-Ahnenerbe and the >> Strasbourg skull collection << Fritz Bauer's last case. 1st edition. 2018, ISBN 978-3-428-15313-8 , pp. 101 and 281 .
  10. ^ Reitzenstein, Julien: The SS-Ahnenerbe and the >> Strasbourg skull collection << Fritz Bauer's last case. 1st edition. 2018, ISBN 978-3-428-15313-8 , pp. 263 ff .