Christian Wirth

Christian Wirth ( Obersalzheim , Württemberg , 24 of November of 1885 – near Hrpelje-Kozina , today Slovenia , 26 of maypole of 1944 ) was an officer of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the German police. He was commander of the Bełżec extermination camp and one of the main architects of the program to exterminate the Jews of Poland, known as Operation Reinhard . Due to his brutality, he gained several nicknames among his victims, who knew him as Christian the Terrible (in German : Christian der Grausame ) and Christian Wild . 1



In 1910 he joined the uniformed police . 2 He came to participate in the First World War , fighting on the Western Front . Upon his return to Germany in 1919, he was promoted to a police detective.

Wirth was one of the first members of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), joining for the first time in 1923, before the party was outlawed after the failed Putsch of the Brewery . 2 rejoined the January 1, 1931 with the record number of 420,383, and later in the Sturmabteilung (SA), 1 on June 30, 1933, but left the militancy void. On December 7 he joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). On 10 August 1939 he was finally transferred from the SA and joined the Schutzstaffel (SS), reaching in October the rank of Obersturmführer . 2

It worked the first years of the Nazi regime like agent of the Kriminalpolizei (KriPo) in Stuttgart . He was a key official in the Aktion T-4 Program to coordinate organized euthanasia in all occupied territories between 1939 and 1941.

War crimes

Christian Wirth.

Between 1942 and 1943, he was appointed first commander of the Bełżec extermination camp where he earned the nickname of Christian El Salvaje 1 who systematized mass extermination by changing the method of suffocation with carbon monoxide to gas Zyklon B with the help of SS Obersturmführer Kurt Gerstein , in this field, also systematized the way in which the victims were received, deceiving them with euphemisms to carry them by their will to the gassing chambers. However, the system of crematoria had not yet been introduced, so the bodies were buried in Belzec.

On August 18, 1942 Gerstein witnessed how the earth swelled with the gases of rot and the ground had to be burned. Christian Wirth is mentioned by Gerstein, in testimony about a gassing in Belzec.

On 14 August 1942, Odilo Globocnik appointed Inspector of the three death camps of Operation Reinhard : Belzec , Sobibor and Treblinka , in the district of Lublin . 2 After this operation, Odilo Globocnik is appointed responsible for directing the “Task Force R” of the SS, in the summer of 1943 . This unit was formed, with former members of Operation Reinhard, to carry out missions against partisans , Jews and armed bands in northern Italy , especially in the area of Fiume , Trieste and Udine . All the Jews captured in this area were transferred to the small field of San Sabba , near Trieste and executed there. On the initiative of Wirth, in the same place it was built a furnace crematorium to destroy the bodies of prisoners killed. 3

Wirth died in an ambush of the Yugoslav Partisans 26 of May of 1944, while it was going to Fiume .

Decorations obtained

  • First Class Iron Cross (1914).
  • Second Class Iron Cross (1939), for his services rendered in 1914 .
  • Cross of Merit of War of First Class with Swords.
  • Second Class War Merit Cross with Swords.
  • Bronze medal of the Sturmabteilung (SA).


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c Christian Zenter, Friedemann Bedürftig (1991). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich , New York: Macmillan, p. 1053
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c d Henry Friedlander (1995). The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution , Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, pp. 203-204
  3. Back to top↑ Yitzhak Arad (1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps , Bloomington: Indiana University Press, p. 399