Werner Berger (SS member)

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Werner Berger in April 1947

Werner Alfred Berger (born February 22, 1901 in Konstanz , † June 10, 1964 in Rottweil ) was a German SS-Oberscharführer and member of Command 99 in the Buchenwald concentration camp .


Berger, a bank clerk by profession, was a member of the NSDAP and had been a member of the Waffen SS since April 1940 . From January 1941 to April 1945 Berger was part of the Buchenwald concentration camp staff. Berger worked in Buchenwald as head of the effects room, where the personal belongings of the concentration camp inmates were kept. He was also a member of Kommando 99, which carried out executions in Buchenwald concentration camp.

At the latest after the end of the Second World War , Berger was arrested and indicted with five other accused in the framework of the Dachau trials in a secondary trial to the main Buchenwald trial on November 25, 1947. The subject of this secondary trial was the executions by Kommando 99. On December 3, 1947, Berger, who, like the other defendants, pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to life imprisonment for helping and participating in the violent crimes in Buchenwald concentration camp. After the verdict was announced, Berger was transferred to the Landsberg War Crimes Prison to serve his sentence .

Berger is also associated with the murder of Ernst Thälmann in Buchenwald concentration camp. Thälmann's death on August 18, 1944 has not been cleared up. The former Buchenwald prisoner Marian Zgoda testified in the main Buchenwald trial that he saw that, in addition to Erich Gust and Wolfgang Otto , Werner Berger also took part in the shooting of Thälmann. Otto had been charged and convicted of crimes against members of Allied states in the main Buchenwald trial . Gust had gone into hiding under a false name.

Based on Zagoda's statements, arrest warrants were issued on November 13, 1948 by the Weimar District Court against Otto, Berger, Gust and other suspects. In 1950, after consultation with the GDR authorities , the Soviet Control Commission unsuccessfully applied to the responsible American authorities for the extradition of Berger and Otto to carry out a trial for Thälmann's murder.

Berger was released early from the Landsberg War Crimes Prison in 1954. He then found a job at a bank and finally rose to branch manager at the state central bank in Baden-Württemberg. Thälmann's widow, Rosa Thälmann , filed a complaint against the alleged Thälmann murderers Otto and Berger with the Cologne public prosecutor's office through the lawyer Friedrich Karl Kaul . The preliminary investigation was ultimately unsuccessful. Berger died in June 1964.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b United States v. Werner Alfred Berger et al. - Case No. 000-Buchenwald-50 (PDF; 4.8 MB) from February 20, 1948
  2. Werner Berger at www.buchenwald.de
  3. a b c Falco Werkentin: Political criminal justice in the Ulbricht era. Berlin 1995, pp. 203ff
  4. René Börrnert: How Ernst Thalmann faithfully and boldly! The Thälmann image of the SED in everyday education in the GDR. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2004, ISBN 3-7815-1321-1 , p. 57