Martin Sandberger

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Martin Sandberger, born in Nuremberg in 1948

Martin Karl Sandberger (born August 17, 1911 in Charlottenburg near Berlin ; † March 30, 2010 in Stuttgart ) was a German SS standard leader . As the commander of the Einsatzkommando 1a as well as the commander of the security police and SD in Estonia, he was one of the protagonists of the mass murder of the Jews of the Baltic States .


Youth and Nazi careers

Sandberger was born in Berlin-Charlottenburg as the son of a senior employee of IG Farben from Württemberg . He grew up in Berlin and Tübingen and studied law from 1929 to 1933 at the universities of Munich , Cologne , Freiburg im Breisgau and finally Tübingen .

At the age of 20 he joined the NSDAP and SA . At the University of Tübingen, the National Socialists set the tone even before the “ seizure of power ”. Sandberger was chairman of the Tübingen student body from 1932 to 1933, and in 1933 he advanced to become the university group leader of the NS Student Union (NSDStB) and the leader of the student body in Tübingen. He received his doctorate in November 1933 with the extremely rare grade “very good” on the subject of Social Insurance in the National Socialist State: Fundamentals of the Controversial Question: Insurance or Pension?

He quickly made a career as a functionary of the NSDStB and became a federal university inspector. In 1936 the SA transferred to the SS . Sandberger was recruited by Gustav Adolf Scheel for the SD in Württemberg and had been a full-time employee of the SD Upper Section Southwest since 1936. He also made a steep career within the SD and became an SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) as early as 1938 . At the same time, he continued to work for the NSDStB led by Scheel as head of the south-west division of the Reich Student Leader.

On October 13, 1939, Himmler had appointed him head of the North-East Central Immigration Office. a. the "racial assessment" of German resettlers ( Heim-ins-Reich-Geholter ) was. After the beginning of the war against the Soviet Union , Sandberger became one of the main perpetrators of the genocide in the Baltic States as the leader of the Einsatzkommando 1a (alongside another lawyer from Tübingen, Dr. Walter Stahlecker ) . Sandberger showed a particular zeal; In his annual report of July 1, 1941, he reported 941 murdered Jews to Berlin. His "commitment" was recognized, on December 3, 1941 he was appointed commander of the SiPo and the SD in Estonia . Since March 1941, Sandberger appears in the business distribution plan of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) as head of Section IB 3 (curriculum design of schools), from January 1944 as head of Department VI A (organization of the foreign intelligence service) in Office VI of the RSHA. (Lit .: Krausnick, Birn, Welzer, Weiss-Wendt)

After 1945

In the Einsatzgruppen trial he was sentenced to death in 1948. Although even the advisory body of the American High Commissioner of the newly established Federal Republic of Germany , the "Peck Panel" , was in this case for the upholding of the death sentence, Sandberger's sentence was changed by John McCloy on January 31, 1951 to life imprisonment.

Sandberger's father now used his relationship with Federal President Theodor Heuss , who turned to the then US Ambassador James Bryant Conant with a request for a pardon. Numerous Württemberg dignitaries such as Justice Minister Wolfgang Haußmann and Regional Bishop Martin Haug stood up for Sandberger. Even the renowned lawyer and Vice President of the German Bundestag Carlo Schmid took care of the Landsberg prisoners . Attorney Hellmut Becker stood up for him and represented him in the appeal process. His commitment to Sandberger had an impact, and he was released on May 9, 1958.

Subsequently, through the mediation of Bernhard Müller, he received a position as legal advisor in the Lechler Group . Up until 1972, Sandberger was repeatedly summoned as a witness in Nazi war crimes trials , for example in 1958 in the trial against the “ Einsatzkommando Tilsit ”, the so-called Einsatzgruppen trial , in Ulm. A criminal prosecution by the public prosecutor's offices in Munich (1962) and Stuttgart (1971/72) because of his responsibility for the "shooting of numerous people, including communists, Jews and parachutists in the years 1941 - 1943" (preliminary investigation by the public prosecutor at the Stuttgart regional court in June 1971, p. 1 - the group of gypsies is not mentioned here) has been discontinued. The reason was that Sandberger was already convicted in 1948 in the proceedings before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. This precludes prosecution by German judicial authorities in accordance with the 1955 Agreement on Regulating Issues relating to War and Occupation, the so-called transition agreement (see Federal Archives B 162/5199 p. 26). Neither the two-plus-four treaty in the course of reunification in 1989 nor the opening of the archives after Estonia's independence in 1991 brought no new documents to light, at least none are mentioned in the research (cf. Birn). In connection with the trial of John Demjanjuk, an article appeared in Spiegel on April 3, 2010, which received wide media coverage. Sandberger, one of the last high-ranking Nazi criminals, died on March 30, 2010 in Stuttgart.


Web links

Commons : Martin Sandberger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Walter Mayr: Demigod in field gray . In: Der Spiegel No. 14/3. April 2010
  2. Michael Wildt: Generation of the Unconditional - The Leadership Corps of the Reich Security Main Office. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-930908-87-5 .
  3. Michael Grüttner : Biographical Lexicon for National Socialist Science Policy (= Studies on Science and University History. Volume 6). Synchron, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-935025-68-8 , p. 144.
  4. Norbert Frei: Politics of the Past. The beginnings of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Nazi past , Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-42557-7 .
  5. ^ Hilary Earl, The Nuremberg SS-Einsatzgruppen Trial, Cambridge 2009, ISBN 978-0-8156-3228-3 .
  6. Ulrich Raulff , Kreis ohne Meister , Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59225-6 , p. 404.
  7. Annette Weinke: Adenauerzeit (part 2). The national community becomes a republic. Die Zeit , 40, September 24, 2009
  8. Walter Mayr: Demigod in field gray . In: Der Spiegel No. 14, April 3, 2010