Richard Baer

Richard Baer or Bär ( Bavaria , 9 of September of 1911 – 17 of June of 1963 ) was an official Nazi with the rank of SS Sturmbannführer (Major) and commander of the concentration camp of Auschwitz from May 1944 until February 1945.


He was born in Bavaria in 1911; Initially pastry chef by profession, was guarded in the Dachau concentration camp after being unemployed in 1930.

Beginnings in Nazism

He joined the Nazi Party with the file number 454.991 and the SS with the number 44.225.

In 1939 he joined the SS-Totenkopfverbände , and was named assistant in the concentration camp of Neuengamme in 1942, following functions in Oranienburg , Columbia Haus ( Berlin ) and Sachsenhausen . While in Neuengamme , he participated in the assassination of Soviet prisoners of war in the special gas chamber and in the selection of prisoners for the so-called ” Operation 14f13 ” and the Euthanasia “T-4” program.

From November 1942 until May 1944 he became assistant SS- Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl , then head of the Central Office of Economic Affairs of the SS ( Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt or WVHA); In November 1943, took over the department “D I”, as it was called the “Inspection of Concentration Campuses”. It happened to Arthur Liebehenschel like Commander of the concentration camp of Auschwitz , position that occupied from March of 1944 until the dissolution of the field in early 1945 . From November 1943 until the end of 1944, Fritz Hartjenstein and Josef Kramer were responsible for extermination in the camp of Auschwitz II Birkenau, so Baer was only Commander of this part of the camp from late 1944 until January 1945. Finalizing war, Richard Baer, replaced Otto forschner as commander of the concentration camp of Dora-Mittelbau , near the town of Nordhausen (Thuringia), responsible for the execution of Russian prisoners mass. His last rank was SS-Sturmbannführer ( Mayor ).

The end

At the end of the war, Baer fled and lived near Hamburg hiding under the false identity of Karl Egon Neumann, a forest worker. In the course of investigations Second Trial of Auschwitz , to be held in the city of Frankfurt , it was located and an arrest warrant was issued in October 1960, and its widely published in the press photography. He was recognized by his co-workers and arrested in December 1960, after the arrest of Adolf Eichmann . On the advice of his lawyer , he refused to testify and died of a heart attack in detention in 1963.

The story of Baer’s arrest is faithfully told in Devin Pendas’ book, The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial . 1 After seeing the photograph in the newspaper Bild , a co-worker on the estate of Prince Otto von Bismarck, he reported that Baer was working as a forester there. When officers confronted “Neumann,” in the woods on the morning of December 20, 1960, he first denied everything. Having been raided his residence, the wife identified herself as “Mrs. Baer”, although she still claimed that Baer was called Neumann. Baer finally admitted his true identity.


  1. Back to top↑ David Pendas (2006). The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963-1965: Genocide, History and the Limits of the Law . Cambridge University Press, p. 48