Eduard Roschmann

Eduard Roschmann ( Graz , Austria-Hungary 1908 – Asuncion , Paraguay 1977 ) was captain of the organization Nazi Schutzstaffel ( SS ) 1 and commander of the ghetto of Riga in 1943 . During World War II he was responsible for numerous murders and other atrocities. Some sources also point to him as commander of Kaiserwald concentration camp , outside Riga , and is said to be responsible for the deaths of 40,000 Jews in the Baltic country. 2

After the war, it managed to flee to South America , where it was hidden under the false names of “Federico Wagner” and “Federico Wegener”. He is considered one of the leaders of the Holocaust in Latvia . As a result of its appearance in the novel The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth and its subsequent film adaptation with the film Odessa , Roschmann became known worldwide as the Butcher of Riga . 3 2



Born in the city of Graz , then in the Austro- Hungarian Empire , Roschmann was the son of the manager of a brewery. 4 Between 1927 and 1934 , belonged to the party fascist Austrian Patriotic Front , and after the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in 1938 , he joined the Nazi party , and the following year in the SS , where he rose to become Hauptsturmführer (captain) . 4


From January 1941 Roschmann worked in the Central Security Office of the Reich , belonging to the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service or SD). After the occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany , it was destined to Riga like commander of the SD, body that assumed the extermination of the Jews in the country, and that established in the capital the ghetto of Riga . In January 1943 , Roschmann became commander of the ghetto. 1 Just outside the city established the concentration camp of Kaiserwald , where in March 1944 12,000 prisoners, almost all of them were interned Jews . Some sources also point to Roschmann as responsible for the field, although others cite the Obersturmführer ( lieutenant ) Albert Sauer . 5

During the occupation of Latvia , there was systematic extermination of the Jews in the country, being considered Roschmann one of the maximum responsible of the plan. 6 There is also evidence that he murdered many inmates in the ghetto in person during his numerous inspections there. 7


With the approach of the Soviet front , the Germans began their retirement from Latvia. In October 1944 , the SS officers fled by sea to Dantzig . From there, Roschmann moved to Austria to hide in his hometown of Graz . He was arrested as a prisoner of war and released in 1947 . However, he was recognized by former camp inmates, and arrested by the British Military Police, but escaped during his transfer to the Dachau military prison . He managed to reach Italy , where in 1948 , with the help of Bishop Alois Hudal and the Ratlines, he obtained a passport from the Red Cross under the false name of Federico Wegener, which allowed him to flee from Genoa to Argentina .

There, under his new identity, he set up a business of import and export of wood, married and obtained in 1968 Argentine nationality. Referring to Fig.

Criminal charges

In 1960 , the criminal court in Graz issued an arrest warrant for Roschmann on charges of murder and gross human rights violations in connection with the killing of at least 3,000 Jews between 1938 and 1945, the supervision of forced labor in Auschwitz , and the murder of at least 800 children under the age of 10. 8 However, the post- war Austrian legal system was ineffective in ensuring the return to trial of the Austrians who had fled Europe , and no action was taken against Roschmann on the basis of this accusation. 8 In 1963, the district court of Hamburg , West Germany , issued an arrest warrant against Roschmann. This would in the long run be a more serious threat to Roschmann. Referring to Fig.

New flight and death

As a result of the Hamburg court’s order, in October 1976 the West German embassy in Argentina filed a request for extradition of Roschmann to Germany to face the multiple murder charges of Jews during World War II. On July 5, 1977 , the Argentine dictatorship issued a statement considering the request, despite the fact that there was no extradition treaty with West Germany and that Roschamnn had not yet been arrested.

Faced with the danger of being captured, Eduard Roschmann fled to Paraguay , where he died a month later, on August 8, in a hospital in Asuncion . 8 Interpol , with the help of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal , who provided fundamental information on the physical appearance of the fugitive, confirmed that the body of the deceased belonged to Eduard Roschmann, who had entered with the false identity of Federico Wegener. 2


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b Ezergailis, pp. 152-382
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c ABC Digital « Wiesenthal confirmed presence of the Butcher of Riga in Paraguay » Accessed October 29, 2012
  3. Back to top↑ Schneider, Exile and Destruction , p. 78
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b Angrick and Klein, p. 479.
  5. Back to top↑ Kaufmann, p. 113.
  6. Back to top↑ Angrick and Klein, pp. 389-90.
  7. Back to top↑ Kaufmann, p. 155
  8. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e Rathkolb, Oliver, ed., Revisiting the National Socialist legacy: Coming to terms with forced labor, expropriation, compensation, and restitution . New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2004 ISBN 0-7658-0596-0 , p. 232-264