Josef Erber (SS member)

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Josef Erber , until 1944 Josef Houstek (born October 16, 1897 in Ottendorf , Sudeten Silesia , † 1987 ) was a Bohemian-German SS-Oberscharführer and member of the Gestapo in the Auschwitz concentration camp .


After attending primary school, Erber worked in a spinning mill. After the outbreak of World War I , he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Infantry Regiment No. 18 in 1915 and served as a soldier in Russia and Italy. After the war he worked again as a spinning worker. He also did military service in the Czech Army and then worked in the spinning mill until 1940. In 1936 Erber joined the Sudeten German Party . In 1939 he became a member of the NSDAP and the SS . In October 1940 he was drafted into an SS skull unit . Erber came to Auschwitz at the beginning of November 1940 and stayed there until the camp was cleared in January 1945.

Erber was first part of the camp's guards and then joined the armory. In mid-1942 Erber was transferred to the Political Department (camp Gestapo) in the main camp Auschwitz . In addition to various tasks in the camp, from September 1942 he was also head of admission to the women's camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau . From October 1943 to April 1944 he was in charge of the political department for the entire Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

Erber was often assigned to the ramp service. He also participated in the singling out of the incapacitated inmates. According to the findings of the Frankfurt jury court, Erber was involved in shootings and a total of fifty selections . In September 1942, female prisoners had to jump over a ditch. Anyone who couldn't do this because of exhaustion was gassed .

Filip Müller , a former member of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkenau , had the following to say about Erber: "Whenever he showed up in the crematorium, there was always a major murder in front of him , which is why he was called Malchemowes , that is, Angel of Death, in the Sonderkommando ."

In February 1944 Erber was promoted to SS-Oberscharführer and awarded the War Merit Cross, Second Class. After the "evacuation" of the Auschwitz concentration camp in January 1945, he was still employed in the Groß-Rosen and Mauthausen concentration camps .

After 1945

In May 1945, Erber was taken prisoner by the United States . He was released at Christmas 1947. He worked in a spinning mill in Hof for 15 years .

He was arrested on October 1, 1962. Erber was a defendant in the second Auschwitz trial , which took place from December 14, 1965 to September 16, 1966 before the Frankfurt Regional Court . He was found guilty of joint murder in seventy cases guilty and to lifelong prison convicted. He was released in 1986 and died a year later at the age of 90.

In the film report “Three German Murderers. Recordings on the Banality of Evil ”(1978/99) by Ebbo Demant were interviewed fourteen years after the Auschwitz trial and during their imprisonment, Erber, Oswald Kaduk and Josef Klehr about Auschwitz and their self-image as former members of the SS camp staff.


“Right off the ramp [into the gas chambers]. But then they were counted again beforehand, because Berlin demanded that we count the exact count, and also the details, that is to say, whether men or women. " (In: Demant)

To the crematoria in Auschwitz:

“There were four crematoria. So in Birkenau, I'm talking about Birkenau. [...] They had a capacity of three thousand people. " (In: Demant)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted from Ernst Klee: Auschwitz. Perpetrators, accomplices and victims and what became of them. A dictionary of persons , Frankfurt am Main 2013, p. 189
  2. ^ Ernst Klee: Auschwitz. Perpetrators, accomplices and victims and what became of them. A dictionary of persons , Frankfurt am Main 2013, p. 189
  3. Text version: Ebbo Demant (ed.): Auschwitz - "Straight from the ramp ..." Kaduk, Erber, Klehr: Three perpetrators on record , Hamburg 1979.