Inspection of the concentration camp

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The T-building in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, headquarters of the inspection of the concentration camps from 1938

Inspection of the Concentration Camps (IKL) was the name of the central SS administration and command authority for the National Socialist concentration camps , which was integrated into the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt  (WVHA) as "Office Group D" during the Second World War .

Before the inspection was incorporated into the WVHA, after Theodor Eicke's position within the SS-Totenkopfverband, it was called a "General Inspection of the Reinforced SS-Totenkopfstandarten".

Eicke as the inspector of all concentration camps

Seat of the Secret State Police Main Office on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin (photo 1933)

When the SA leadership around Ernst Röhm was murdered, the SS-Sturmbann "Dachau" of the concentration camp of the same name was also actively used. In the course of the so-called " Röhm Affair ", the camp commandant , SS-Oberführer Theodor Eicke , shot Röhm personally on July 1st on the instructions of Hitler . Eicke, whose organizational forms in the Dachau concentration camp were the model for all later concentration camps, since May 1934 independently claimed the title of inspector of the concentration camps and the SS guards and personally introduced an office of the same name for himself and his personal staff in the Dachau concentration camp.

The party-internal police function of the SS was released on July 20, 1934 from subordination to the SA . In the same year, Himmler also officially appointed Eicke inspector of the concentration camps and, at the same time, leader of the SS guards . Eicke now all SS guard units were subordinate to the General SS and the Political Readiness , provided that they were charged with guarding a concentration camp. In addition, the IKL was set up as an office for Eicke, which took over this and his personal staff. On December 10, 1934, the ICL moved into its offices at Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8 in Berlin. There was also the Secret State Police Office (Gestapo) and the ICL was subordinate to it. For the buildings, compare the information on the topography of terror .

The head of the IKL - at first Eicke - was on the one hand subordinate to the SS office as an SS member (from 1935 SS main office) and on the other hand was directly assigned to the Gestapo Himmler as police chief. This form of double reporting was characteristic of many SS posts and created freedom and scope for interpretation for their relatives. Eicke in particular knew how to use this system for his own goals and thus made a significant contribution to the fact that the IKL had de facto sole power of disposal over all concentration camp prisoners.

The inspection from 1935 to 1945

Until the beginning of the war, the inspection of the concentration camps remained a small authority. At the end of 1935, 11 people were employed there, by the end of 1936 the number had grown to 32. At the end of 1938, 45 people were working at the position. In 1944, the successor institution of the IKL, the Office Group D in the WVHA, employed 20 SS leaders and around 80 SS men. The employees had a relatively broad scope for action and decision-making. From 1934 various departments of the IKL emerged, including the political department (from 1937 under Arthur Liebehenschel ), the administrative department (from 1936 headed by Anton Kaindl ) and the "senior doctor" for medical care (initially Friedrich Dermietzel , from 1937 Karl Genzken ) . Eicke's most important employee was Richard Glücks as staff leader from 1936 . On April 1, 1936, he was brought to the IKL by Eicke as staff leader of the inspector of the guards and soon rose to become his deputy.

In August 1938 the inspection, which had previously been in Berlin, moved into a large staff building in Oranienburg on the southern edge of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp , which was also known as the “T-building” because of its characteristic three-winged shape.

At the beginning of the Second World War , Eicke was assigned to the front as commander of the SS-Totenkopf-Standarten . With his associations he committed in the Soviet Union and France, many mass murders . In the reconquest of Kharkov Eicke came on 26 February 1943 death.

On November 18, 1939, with retroactive effect from November 15, 1939, Glücks was appointed inspector of the concentration camps . Compared to its predecessor, Glück's policy remained largely inconspicuous, as the essential organizational structures had already been consolidated under Eicke.

At the end of 1941 / beginning of 1942, the function of the concentration camps changed due to the war: the prisoners were to be increasingly used for forced labor in the armaments industry . This ultimately resulted in the subordination of the IKL as Office Group D to the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (WVHA). Its director, Oswald Pohl , had tried to influence the administration of the concentration camps since the concentration camp system was set up. He succeeded in this in part because all SS members of the concentration camp were subordinate to the concentration camp commandant in terms of discipline, but not professionally. The department heads of the concentration camps received the technical instructions from the respective superordinate position in the IKL (later Amtsgr. D). This also corresponds to the SS practice of double reporting.

Later, Ludwig Blies was named in a leading position at DIII.

The ICL had almost the sole power of disposal over the concentration camp prisoners. The instruction and release of prisoners, however, was carried out by the Gestapo (or later by the Reich Security Main Office ). Eicke's authority decided on all internal matters. She was also informed about the systematic murder operations in other SS areas (especially the murder of the Soviet commissars and other prisoners of war - execution of the commissar's order , guns in the neck in concentration camps or Operation 14f13 ) and coordinated them. With the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek concentration camps, the IKL was also subordinate to two concentration camps that were specifically built and used as extermination camps as part of the “ final solution to the Jewish question ” .

SS hierarchy within a camp

Departments, responsibilities

Within the ICL, the central (political) department emerged as the most important subdivision, which essentially determined the lives of the prisoners in each camp.

Under the aegis of Eicke, all new concentration camps were structured according to the Dachau model . In principle, this meant separating the SS men into members of the guard or the commandant's departments. The same departments were formed within the headquarters. In essence, this also resulted in the same structure of management personnel in a concentration camp:

Also due to the personnel policy of the ICL bosses, which was essentially based on personal relationships and camaraderie, there was only a small elite of concentration camp leadership personnel during the entire period of National Socialism . In contrast to the guards, these "experts" were usually not called in for front duty.

Tasks of the protective custody camp leader

The tasks of the protective custody camp leader and his adjutant: the "operation" of the camp in the sense of all orders for internal order, daily routine, appeals, etc. The hierarchy below him: the report leaders, the labor operations leader and possibly the supervisor (if there was a women's camp) were subordinate to him . They were responsible for keeping order in the entire camp and for assigning individual prisoners to external detachments. They were in front of the block leaders who supervised one or a few blocks.

The labor deployment leader was responsible for the labor deployment of the prisoners according to professional ability and performance in the internal and external commands. All prisoners in the camp were recorded in a so-called job index by the labor deployment leader. He was responsible for the Arbeitsdienstführer (SS-Unterführer), who put together and supervised the work details.

The block leaders determined the composition of the internal work details, the respective block elders and room elders from among the prisoners. As a functionary prisoners "and rule strategy parts" prisoners (see. Were of them in a further quasi used as auxiliary police Kapo (concentration camp) ).

Tasks of the political department

The tasks / responsibilities of the political department of the camp were: registration of new arrivals, discharges, relocations, police tasks such as the reaction to the death or flight of the prisoners, their interrogation (mostly connected with torture or their threats), management of the prisoner register. The chief was always an officer of the Secret State Police (ie usually an officer of the Criminal Police ). He was subordinate to the respective Gestapo control center, but often also received direct instructions and orders from the RSHA , Office IV (usually Office C 2 - protective custody matters). Z. Ex. Execution orders from the RSHA went directly to the Political Department. Conversely, the management reports on prisoners in protective custody were to be sent to the RSHA. The RSHA also ordered individual admissions and releases of protective custody prisoners.

As a Gestapo officer, the head of the Political Department was responsible for the RSHA or the competent Gestapo control center. He was subject to this both objectively and disciplinary. The same was true of his representative. The other members of the Political Department, as members of the Waffen-SS, were also subject to the Gestapo, but were part of the camp's staff company and were subject to the commandant's disciplinary powers.

Duties of the administrative manager

The administration department was subordinate to him (also: department IV, location administration, with its SS-Unterführer and SS-men of the administrative service). He was responsible for accommodation, food, clothing and pay for the headquarters staff, the guards, and for the accommodation, food and clothing of the prisoners. As in a commercial enterprise, he was the chief accountant responsible for documenting all material assets and their current status, as well as managing and maintaining real estate. The warehouse was also supplied with food via his department. He had to prepare internal accounts as requested by the superordinate economic and administrative main office , Amt D IV, under Glücks and Gerhard Maurer . An important branch was the prisoner's property management, which included all the effects (money, valuables, clothing, etc.) that were brought by the prisoners and sorted, bundled and stored in the effects room. This department was criminal and disciplinary action for embezzlement or misappropriation be liable of assets.

Responsibilities of the chief doctor

The chief medical officer headed to the statements of Rudolf Hoess usually several doctors who were subordinate to him. They were to be assigned to the following: The troop doctor was responsible for the medical care of the SS guards; the other camp doctors were assigned to the individual camps / areas (men’s, women’s camps, etc.) using duty rosters. In addition to the following main tasks, her task was to provide medical care for the inmates. It was mainly about hygienic aspects to avoid epidemics and the preservation of working capacity of inmates for which they are in the infirmary / block of captive doctors as assistant surgeons and -pflegepersonal served. Her central "non-medical tasks" according to Höß were:

  1. When transporting Jews arrived, they had to choose the male and female Jews who were fit for work.
  2. They had to be present during the extermination process at the gas chambers and to satisfy themselves that the extermination was complete.
  3. The dentists had to convince themselves through continued random checks that the prisoner dentists of the special commandos pulled the gold teeth of all gassed or killed persons before the cremation and threw them into the ready, secured containers (here at Auschwitz, for example).
  4. Jews who had become incapacitated and who were expected to be unable to work again within four weeks were to be decommissioned and destroyed.
  5. They had to carry out the so-called "veiled executions". Since these executions could not be known for political reasons, a natural cause of death customary in the camp should be certified as the cause of death.
  6. Presence at executions of the court martial to determine death.
  7. When applying for corporal punishment, they had to examine the prisoners to be punished for obstacles and be present during the execution of this sentence.
  8. They had to make abortions on " foreign " women .

In addition, the doctors had the opportunity or In part, the mandate to carry out medical research projects on living prisoners or those who were executed for the purpose of investigation. There were also various relationships with National Socialist professors in medical faculties throughout the Reich. As far as the registry office connected to the camp required death certificates for individual dead prisoners , these had to be forged according to the purpose (wrong doctor's name, wrong cause of death).



The historian Karin Orth showed in a study that the management level of the concentration camps (commanders and heads of the departments) was repeatedly recruited from a small group of SS members who were not ordered to work at the front during the war. Excluding the approximately 110 camp doctors, who were subject to a somewhat higher fluctuation, this group comprised approximately 207 men and a few women. Orth points out numerous similarities in social origin, life (born around 1902) up to entry into the SS and political background and therefore speaks of a regular network or "network of the concentration camp SS".


For January 1945, Orth named 37,674 men and 3,508 women as members of the concentration camp guards.


The rotation of personnel between concentration camps and the military units of the SS is put at least 10,000 SS members; some historians estimate their number at 60,000. This exchange of personnel refutes claims that the Waffen-SS had no connection whatsoever with the SS guards at the concentration camps.

Procedure of criminal proceedings

The ICL had established uniform guidelines for the so-called criminal proceedings . For Nazi propaganda purposes , Himmler could now pretend that there was supposedly a proper “criminal procedure” in the concentration camp. However, compliance with the supposed “criminal procedure” was hardly given. The Dachau concentration camp was the first to be systematically organized. The camp regulations and the punitive measures they contained later became applicable to all SS concentration camps. Since Dachau was the "model camp" for the other concentration camps, the procedure is illustrated using the example of the Dachau camp as follows:

The procedure began with the criminal report . A prisoner could be punished for a button torn off his clothes, for eating utensils that were not polished and other things (see camp regulations ). An SS man usually wrote down the prisoner number for the criminal report . Functional prisoners, for example camp elders , were instructed under Zill to submit around 30–40 criminal reports to the SS every day. In the event of a collective violation of the camp rules, the entire group had to B. Do squats and have been hit. If they did not name a single inmate, all names were noted on the criminal report. The search ("felting") of the work details took place before and after the work assignment. An unauthorized item could be a cigarette butt. Smaller things could be flogged or punished. In the case of sabotage or offenses designated as theft, “ special treatment ” could constitute the punitive measure. After the inmate number was noted, the inmate had to wait in uncertainty for his sentence. The processing of the criminal reports could take weeks or months.

When the summons arrived, the inmates in the group had to line up for roll call and wait. The interrogation took place in the Jourhaus . If the inmate denied the charge, he was mostly accused of lying, which meant additional beatings. In more serious cases, confessions were also pressed after they were brought into the bunker. Finally, the verdict was issued, for example “tree” ( hanging on stilts ) or “twenty-five” (cf. whipping buck ).

The sentence drawn up by the interrogator had to be signed off by the camp commandant. In cases like corporal punishment, the concentration camp inspector in Oranienburg had to approve the sentence. An SS doctor at the camp had to check the prisoner's health, although there were seldom medical objections. The accused had to line up in front of the infirmary (Block B) to undress, the SS doctor walked through the rows, the clerk noted the findings: “fit”.

The execution of the sentence took place a few days later. The respective prisoners had to line up, prisoner functionaries had to carry out the sentences, and a unit of the SS guards attended the execution.

According to the regulations, the following persons were involved in the criminal proceedings procedure:

  • the SS man or prison officer who reported the criminal offense,
  • the interrogator,
  • the camp leader,
  • the camp commandant,
  • an SS doctor,
  • an area clerk,
  • a unit of SS guards,
  • Prison functionaries who had to enforce the sentence,
  • the inspector of the concentration camps,
  • partly Himmler himself.

Nazi propaganda

Himmler cited the protracted procedure as supposed evidence that the SS concentration camps had an orderly penal system that was protected from abuse:

“Atrocities, sadistic things, as the foreign press often claims, are impossible. First of all, only the inspector of all camps can impose the punishment, i.e. not even the camp commandant, secondly, the punishment is carried out by a guard company, so that there is always a train of 20 to 24 people with them, after all, a doctor is present during the punishment and a secretary. So you can't do more in terms of accuracy. "


The cumbersome, bureaucratic procedure obscured the responsibility. The complexity of the penal procedure did not lead to a reduction in penalties. The catalog of punishments was not restricted. Often detainees were beaten without a criminal trial or were sentenced to death. The punishment procedure was not observed. For example, Zill ordered two men to perform the number of strokes, which would double the number of strokes, but still count as a single number.

Mail pieces

Various pieces of mail prove the presence of the concentration camp in the postal system:

See also


  • Jörg Balcke: Relief of responsibility through organization. The "inspection of the concentration camps" and the concentration camp terror. Diskord, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-89295-701-0 .
  • Nicolas Bertrand: The rules of camp detention in the nationals. Concentration camps. In: JoJZG, Jg. 6/1, pp. 1–12 (March 2012, based on his dissertation 2011 at the Humb.Univ.Berlin, Jur. Fac. An excerpt, online . He refers in particular to the camp regulations of the Ravensbrück concentration camp as a model.)
  • Karin Orth : The system of the National Socialist concentration camps. A political organization story. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-930908-52-2 .
  • Karin Orth: The concentration camp SS. dtv, Munich, 2004, ISBN 3-423-34085-1 .
  • Johannes Tuchel : Concentration Camp. Organizational history and function of the “Inspection of the Concentration Camps” 1934–1938. (= Writings of the Federal Archives, Volume 39). Oldenbourg, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-7646-1902-3 .
    • again: The inspection of the concentration camps 1938–1945. The system of terror. Hentrich, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89468-158-6 .
  • Eugen Kogon : The SS State - The System of the German Concentration Camps. , Alber, Munich 1946, most recently: Heyne, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-453-02978-X .
  • Stanislav Zámečník : (Ed. Comité International de Dachau ): That was Dachau . Luxembourg 2002, ISBN 2-87996-948-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Zdenek Zofka: The emergence of the Nazi repression system ( Memento of the original from March 27, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , State Center for Political Education in Bavaria, call of February 2, 2007. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Blies: Hauptsturmführer initially (February - March 1940) SS troop doctor in Buchenwald concentration camp and Dachau concentration camp , b. 1892 in Langenschwalbach , studies at the LMU 1915/16, 1916/17 leave from there as a soldier; the doctor doctorate in Giessen in 1929 , after the war undetected as a doctor in Offenbach am Main date of death act, unknown. See Yves Ternon , Socrate Helman: Histoire de la médecine SS. Casterman, Paris 1969, p. 212 (here misspellings "Bliess" and "d (épartement) 14" instead of DIII, since based on handwritten documents). In this function, official letters have been handed down from him: From: Buchenwald Report. From March to May 1945 Blies was SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer since September 1, 1944, see online ( Memento of the original from May 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , as a doctor at the corps staff "III. (Germ.) SS-Panzer-Korps" under Felix Steiner . In 1944 he was Oskar Hock's deputy . NSDAP membership number 1,662,092; SS no. 78.004 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Karin Orth on ( Memento of the original from August 2, 2012 in the web archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Orth: The Concentration Camp SS. 2000, p. 151f.
  5. ^ Orth: The Concentration Camp SS. 2000, p. 54.
  6. Mirsoslav Karny: Waffen SS and concentration camp. In: Ulrich Herbert et al. (Ed.): The National Socialist Concentration Camps. (= fiTb 15516). Vol. 2, Frankfurt 2002, ISBN 3-596-15516-9 , pp. 791-193.
  7. ^ Stanislav Zámečník: That was Dachau . Luxemburg, 2002, pp. 132–135, also: 125ff.
  8. Himmler's speech to officers of the Wehrmacht in 1937 . - In: Buchenwald. Reminder and obligation. Berlin, 1960, p. 26.
  9. ^ Zámečník: That was Dachau . Luxembourg, 2002, p. 128.