Note 021
by Joachim C. Fest

21 Hoss, Commandant of Auschwitz. To what results a complex about 'weakness' can lead is seen in a conversation which Gunther R. Lys had with Harry Naujocks and recorded in the form of a memorandum which he made available to the author. Naujocks, camp elder of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 1936 to 1942, records:

'In midsummer of 1938 I was called to the camp gate one evening after closing time, where Rapportfuhrer Kampe gave me instructions for the following day's work. Casually Kampe added, "And the gardener, Teschner, must go." I assumed the gardener had to be replaced, possibly because he had stolen tomatoes, broken the rules by smoking, or something of the sort. I would not have been able to stand up for a political offender, for Kampe discouraged all favouritism towards protected prisoners. Teschner, however, was a professional criminal. But to my objections, Kampe answered, "Don't you understand German, man? He must go! Adju's orders!"

According to Naujocks, a direct order for murder was then produced. What was unusual about this was, as he said, (1) the place where the order was passed on, (2) the person who gave it, and (3) the fact that it was given to the camp elder. Generally the SS block leader or fatigue-party leader used the formula 'He must go' for criminals or asocials within the scope of the punishment squad. The adjutant of Sachsenhausen concentration camp at that time was Rudolph Hoss. When Kampe dismissed him, Naujocks immediately sought out Teschner, who was already asleep. He asked the gardener whether anything unusual had happened to him during the day. Teschner too thought of some routine occurrence such as theft or smoking, and denied it. Thereupon Naujocks said, 'Did you have anything to do with Hoss?' Then Teschner remembered: that morning Hoss, mildly affected by heat or heat plus alcohol, had suffered an attack of weakness in the greenhouse; he, Teschner, had pulled the half-fainting man into the shade and brought some cold water for his forehead and throat. Hoss had gone off without thanks. Naujocks says today:

'I understood immediately. His shame that a prisoner should have seen such weakness was Hoss's motive for ordering the elimination of this prisoner. I went immediately to Kampe and managed to arrange for Teschner to go to Gross-Rosen with a transport leaving the camp at four o'clock the next morning.'

Hoss's motive was clear to Kampe: sensibility, excessive need of virility; he had felt himself 'exposed' by Teschner.

From Chapter 22, Rudolf Höss , Part 3 of The Face Of The Third Reich by J.C. Fest -- See further Notes

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