Karl Hocker

Karl-Friedrich Höcker ( Engershausen , Preußisch Oldendorf , Germany ; November to December of 1911 – Germany , 30 of January of 2000 ) was an SS Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) and attached to Richard Baer , one of the commanders of the concentration camp Auschwitz I.


Being the youngest of six children, Höcker had been born in the town of Engershausen (now a neighborhood of Preußisch Oldendorf), North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany . His father was a construction worker who was killed in action during the First World War .

Following an apprenticeship as a bank employee, he started working at a bank in Lübbecke, where he resigned as a too routine job. After being unemployed for two years and a half, he joined the SS, in October 1933, with the number 182,961 and the Nazi Party in May 1937, with the number of affiliate 4,444,757.

Life on the SS

On November 16, 1939 , he was incorporated into the 9th Infantry Regiment of the SS, based in Danzig , and in 1940 , Martin Weiss was appointed deputy to the SS Officer, Commander of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp . In 1942 , Weiss was also appointed Commanding Officer of the Arbeitsdorf concentration camp, with Höcker serving as his deputy. Before being transferred in May 1943 to the Majdanek Extermination Camp, again as Weiss’s deputy, Höcker followed a course at the SS Military Academy (Junkerschule) in Braunschweig . During the same period he also received military training.

In 1943, he served as full deputy Majdanek – Lublin Commander during Operation Reinhard , ie mass deportations and assassinations. Later he was appointed Deputy of Baer in 1944 , who had just been appointed Delegate in the Auschwitz I concentration camp , by the SS Central Office of Economic Affairs , according to direct instruction of his direct boss, Oswald Pohl in Berlin . Höcker remained in Auschwitz until the evacuation, when it was transferred towards Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp , next to Baer. The two men administered the camp until the arrival of the Allies. At that time, Höcker used fake papers to escape the field and avoid being identified by the British who would detain him immediately.

Post-war and Judgment

Höcker had married before the war and had fathered a son and a daughter in the midst of a warlike conflict, with whom he met after leaving a brief detention at a Prisoners’ War Camp in 1946 . In the early 1960s, he was detained by the West German authorities in his hometown, where he held the position of Banking Manager. It should be noted that the Bank had reassembled it in its functions and promoted it to a pre-war superior position.

At his trial in Frankfurt , Höcker completely denied having participated in the selection of Birkenau victims or personally executed a detainee. It was verified that he was aware of the camp’s genocidal activities, but it was not verified that he had a direct role in them. In the post-war trials, Höcker totally denied having participated in the selection processes. While declarations of survivors and other SS officers placed him there, no firm evidence of his involvement could be obtained.

He was accused of collaborating with beatings of more than 1,000 detainees and sentenced to 7 years in prison, nevertheless he was released in 1970 and was able to return to his position in the bank, as Chief of Staff.

Höcker died in 2000, still stating that he had nothing to do with Birkenau’s death camp. During his final declaration at the Frankfurt Trial in 1965 , he said: ” I only knew about the events in Birkenau, indirectly because of the way and the time I was there … And I had nothing to do with what happened there . I had no influence or ability to influence those events, nor had I wanted to. I did not hurt anyone, nor was anyone killed in Auschwitz, because of me . “Höcker testified that he never set foot in the selection process on the ramp, and no survivor could name Höcker among those present Of the field ramp.

The Auschwitz Album

The year 2006 , a photo album created by Höcker, caught the attention of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ; The album gathers several rare images of the life of German officials at Auschwitz , during the times the camp remained in Operation, including in some photos the SS Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Josef Mengele at Auschwitz .

At the end of 2007 , Höcker’s photographs, and several photos from the Auschwitz Album , were analyzed by experts, in order to determine if Höcker could be seen on the train ramp. In one of them is observed a man with the same dimensions and aspect of Höcker, if verified, evidently would be distorted his testimony. The photographs showed a man extremely similar to Höcker, for the size of his head, the measurement of the arms and the body even with the measurement of the body in relation to the knees. These measures were adapted to a special software with all the information related to the personnel of Auschwitz . This allowed a 3 D scale, a certain study of the weight of the men who were photographed on the ramp. An unknown man of the same weight and measures as Höcker, was detected in this site, nevertheless the experts concluded that this unknown one was Karl Höcker. However, this stranger was uniformed as an SS Oberscharführer instead of an SS Obersturmführer as Höcker was. Anyone who has been in uniform with another hierarchy is unlikely because of the military restrictions inherent in the SS.