Death of Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski, SS General Hot

Death of Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski, SS General

Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski
Source: Deutsche Bundesarchiv

Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski dies in a Munich prison hospital. Born in Pomerania, Germany he added "von dem Bach" to his name in 1933 and had "Zelewski" removed in 1941 because it soundeed too Polish. As an Obergruppenführer (General) in the SS, Zelewski was responsible for anti-partisan efforts on the Eastern Front during World War II.

Zelewski commited many atrocities, including the execution of 35,000 people in Riga after which he declared "There is not a Jew left in Estonia." He orders the massacre of Jews in Minsk and other places in the east, as well as ruthlessly suppressing an uprising in Warsaw in 1944. He also helped see to the creation of a concentration camp in in the Zasole suburb of O wi cim (Auschwitz).

After the defeat of Nazi Germany he offered to testify against other high-ranking Germans in exchange for immunity. As a consequence he was never put on trial and never extradited to Poland or Russia. In 1958, though, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his participation in the Knight of the Long Knives and murder of Anton von Hohberg und Buchwald. In 1961 he was sentenced to another 10 years for killing Communist prisoners in the 1930s.

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