Cruel Hunters

Sonderkommando Letter dated July 11, 1944

Letter from SS-Sturmmann Ernst Buchhorn to his sister Maria in Dresden, dated July 11, 1944.  Buchhorn states that he had been released on June 1 for rehabilitation.  Sonderkommando Dirlewanger records indicate that on that date some 287 political prisoners were released from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for service with the unit, while 182 German political prisoners were released for the same purpose from Auschwitz.  Buchhorn undoubtedly had been incarcerated and came from one of these two locations.

Einsatzort, July 11, 1944

My dear Sister Maria,

Just a few quick words and I can tell you that I was released on June 1st and that I have been given the chance that I can restore my honor and will be rehabilitated.  I am not allowed to tell you where I am at present, but my Feldpost Number is 21545, and I can assure you that I am in the company of some good comrades and trainers and together we are poised to help each other a lot.  I am not yet deployed to action, but my hope is that after a 100% rehabilitation, I can one day come back to you as an honest person.  That is all I can promise you for now.  Now, where is your Albert these days?  How are the children Toni and Liliane; she must be almost 6 years old by now?  Please excuse the writing paper but right now I had nothing else. Please do not send anything because we do not know how long we will stay here.  And so I will close and the letter can go out in the mail.

Greetings to you Ernst

Sonderkommando Letter July 11 1944

Sonderkommando Letter dated July 11, 19442016-03-10T18:26:05-06:00

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski

Erich von dem Bach

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, SS-Obergruppenführer, born March 1, 1899 in Lauenburg (Pomerania), Higher SS and Police Leader Southeast, Higher SS and Police Leader Central Russia, chief of anti-partisan forces in the East, suppressor of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, commander XIVth SS Corps, winner of the Iron Cross 1st Class and wounded in action twice in World War I, winner of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, sentenced at Nürnberg to ten years, released 1951, sentenced by a German court in 1962 to life imprisonment, died March 8, 1972 in a prison hospital in Munich-Harlaching.

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski2015-09-08T16:03:26-05:00

Dirlewanger and Staff

Dirlewanger and Staff

This is another grainy photo and appears to be from late 1944 or early 1945.  Dirlewanger looks older; he knows that if Germany loses the war, he will be tried and executed.  The officer in the background close to Dirlewanger appears to be wearing the Anti-Partisan Badge in Silver; that would mean service with the Sonderkommando for a long time.

Dirlewanger and Staff2015-09-08T16:04:42-05:00

Dirlewanger Murder Site?

Dirlewanger Murder Site?

Is this building the temporary jail at Altshausen, Baden-Württemberg?  Or did Dirlewanger survive the war and flee to Syria?  Do I need to go back to Germany and re-write the book?

Dirlewanger Murder Site?2015-09-08T16:05:28-05:00

Reconnaissance Platoon in Sonderkommando Dirlewanger

Reconnaissance Platoon in Sonderkommando Dirlewanger

Like so much evidence concerning the unit, this photograph is grainy, with poor light and no names attached.  This appears to be a motorcycle-equipped reconnaissance platoon, based on the goggles. The solid nature of the log barracks building suggests that the photograph was taken in 1943-1944.  The troopers are wearing Waffen-SS pattern camouflage smocks.

Reconnaissance Platoon in Sonderkommando Dirlewanger2015-09-08T16:06:26-05:00

Oskar Dirlewanger

Oskar Dirlewanger

Dirlewanger was as despicable a human being as ever walked the earth.

Oskar Dirlewanger2015-09-08T16:07:29-05:00

Reputed Grave of Oskar Dirlewanger

Reputed Grave of Oskar Dirlewanger

Reputed Grave of Oskar Dirlewanger at Altshausen, Germany.  Could he have survived the war and the grave was a hoax?  The French files concerning his capture are still sealed, but it might be worth another adventure to France!

Reputed Grave of Oskar Dirlewanger2015-09-08T16:08:31-05:00

Six Enlisted Men in Sonderkommando Dirlewanger

Six Enlisted Men in the Sonderkommando

Six Enlisted Men in the Sonderkommando. This photograph also appears to have been taken in Russia, during the anti-partisan days of the unit. It appears that the trooper in the back center is wearing a special Dirlewanger collar tab. He has either an Anti-Partisan Badge or a General Assault Badge.

Six Enlisted Men in Sonderkommando Dirlewanger2015-09-08T16:09:27-05:00

Sonderkommando Letter dated September 17, 1943

Sonderkommando Letter dated September 17, 1943

Sonderkommando Letter dated September 17, 1943.  Here is a letter written by SS-Rottenführer Franz Witt; he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of SS-Sonderkommando Dirlewanger.  In it, he describes an engagement on September 5, 1943, during which SS-Grenadier Haberland was killed in action, but 35 partisans were killed and 15 were wounded.  My guess is that Dirlewanger killed the 15 wounded partisans in addition to the 35 killed in action.  That would equal Franz’s total of 50.

FPN 02678
September 17, 1943

Dear Juppes,

Thanks for your letter from the 28th (August 28) and as I can see from it, the matter with the W.E.A. has been resolved for now.  There is not much news from here to tell you.  A few days ago, we had another skirmish here.  In Mirki we were supposed to guard some harvesting, instead from a nearby forest, we were attacked by a gang.  We had to search the whole forest and then smoked the whole village out.  Believe me, it was not a pretty sight to see all the summer labor of the farmers going up in flames. But it is their own fault; they cooperate too much with these bandits.  They even had a mortar, but we found the thing later in the forest.  We lost one dead, Grenadier A. Haberland [Albert Haberland, born January 10, 1919 in Essen] and Specker was wounded.  The bandits fled into the land but left 50 dead behind.  Tomorrow I have a day off; I have to visit a dentist in Minsk.  I will close now; hope all is well; give my greetings to Marlene and Berti.

Your Old Cousin Ette

Sonderkommando Letter dated September 17, 19432015-09-08T16:12:25-05:00
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