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Bekleidungswerk Lublin

Last Update 27 June 2006

Extracts from the interrogation of POW Heinrich Gustav Wilhelm Wied, dealing with the Bekleidungswerk Lublin, December 1943 Ė April 1944.

Wied was born in Oschersleben on 9 June 1909. He was a Kripo (Criminal Police) official with the rank of an SS-Hauptsturmführer.
The Bekleidungswerk Lublin had been set up to collect and make use of property removed from prisoners entering KZ Lublin (Majdanek). It also served the Arbeitslager Pulawy and several other camps in the Lublin area.
The Bekleidungswerk Lublin used 3 hangars at the disused Lublin airfield as warehouses and employed a staff of some 70 SS men. The responsible authority was the Reichskanzlei in Berlin, Voss-Straße 4.
Wied established that the German Stiftung für Anstaltspflege (the euthanasia organization "T4") was responsible for the liquidation of Jews in the concentration camps and mental ill inmates of asylums. This activity bore the cover-name "Aktion Reinhard". The leading persons were Oberregierungsrat Allers, SS-Sturmbannführer Wirth, and SS-Hauptsturmführer Hering. The then police chief of Lublin, SS-Gruppenführer Globocnik, was equally responsible.

Pistol Holster from Lublin
Pistol Holster from Lublin
Wiedís investigations in Lublin established that 18 SS men, mainly on the Bekleidungswerk staff, were guilty of corruption on a large scale. Throughout his enquiries Wied had to combat deliberate obstruction from the higher Sipo/SD leaders, because they themselves were also deeply implicated. For example, the aforementioned Allers intervened on behalf of one of the accused SS men in whose possession Wied found a large quantity of obviously stolen jewellery and clothing, etc., in that Allers declared that the accused had taken the articles with the authority of the Stiftung.

The cases against the 18 accused were heard before the SS und Polizeigericht in Kassel. Sentences up to 3 years imprisonment were imposed but in several cases no verdict could be reached since the defendants were absent, allegedly on front-line service.
The resentment against Wiedís interference in this profitable "racket" in Lublin found expression in a variety of ways. On one occasion he found the tyres of his car slashed, on another occasion sugar was placed in the car's petrol tank.

Murder Camp Lublin:
Attached to the KZ Lublin (Majdanek) was a crematorium which Wied personally visited. It was a single storey building containing the mortuary, about 6 ovens and the living quarters of the attendant, SS-Oberscharführer Musfeld. With the wind in the right direction the stench in Lublin, 6 km distant, was nauseating. Apparently the victims were mainly delivered by truck, executed (Wied believes by shooting), and then cremated.
Wirth and Hering played a prominent part in the killings. A certain Schott, from whom Wied has this information, had heard them openly boasting about it.

Obstructionists: The staff of the Bekleidungswerk Lublin came under the command of the SS Standortkommandant, SS-Sturmbannführer Wippern. This man showed no inclination to support Wied in his investigations, the probable reason being that he was too deeply involved in corruption himself. There was no check of or receipt for property removed from prisoners. It was obvious from the lavish spending and extravagant living of the staff of both the KZ and the Bekleidungswerk, that this must be their main source of income.
Allers also did his utmost to impede the subject's inquiries, for example, in connection with a house search at the homes of SS-Sturmscharführer Rottenfüsser and another SS man, both in the town of Dachau.
Wied discovered a quantity of property, stolen from prisoners. Allers, probably prompted by SS-Sturmbannführer Wirth, shielded the thieves by officially stating that they had the permission of his organisation Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Anstaltspflege to take the goods.

Wied commented on various members of the SS in Lublin:
SS-Rottenführer Ernst Gollack, born in 1915 (?), 176 cm tall, stocky build, round full face, fair hair, who had a family in Katowice (Kattowitz). He was a pre-war KZ-guard, since 1940 in Lublin, at first in Majdanek, later in the Bekleidungswerk. He was suspected of theft.
SS-Oberscharführer Winkler, in 1943 employed in the Bekleidungswerk. Wied searched his house near Kochel, Bavaria, but found nothing.
SS-Sturmbannführer Wippern, leader of the Standortkommandantur in Lublin. At least tolerated and probably had a share in the theft of prisoners' property in the KZ Lublin (Majdanek).

Source: PRO / WO 309/521

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