The Children of Bullenhuser Damm association

THE PERPETRATORS

Wilhelm Dreimann (1904–46) was deployed from the Hamburg police force in 1940 as a guard in Neuengamme Concentration Camp. He carried out executions in the camp single-handedly. Prisoners identified him as the executioner of Neuengamme. According to evidence from Frahm, he hanged at least the first two children and, with the help of Wiehagen and Frahm, also the adult prisoners.
He was sentenced to death in the Curio-Haus trial and executed on 8 October 1946.


All images (unless otherwise mentioned):
© Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial archives

Johann Frahm (1901-46) trained in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp from 1939. From November 1942 he was in service in Neuengamme Concentration Camp; from 1944 he deputized for roll call leader (Rapportführer) Dreimann in the camp typing pool. He participated in the murder of both the children and the adult prisoners. In May 1945 he was able to flee to his family in Kleve. At the end of October 1945 he was arrested by British agents and, during the Curio-Haus trial in 1946, condemned to death for the murders at Bullenhuser Damm. On 11 October he was executed.

Dr. Kurt Heißmeyer (1905-67) practised as a doctor in Hohenlychen and planned to become a professor. In order to do this had to carry out medical experiments. He injected the children with tuberculosis bacilli and removed the lymph glands under their arms by operation. The children then became ill with high fever and pains. Heißmeyer wanted to prove through his human experiments that it was possible to combat tuberculosis using artificially produced skin tuberculosis and also that “racially inferior” people were more susceptible to tuberculosis. The first hypothesis had been found to be scientifically untenable long before the experiments took place. The second hypothesis stemmed solely from Nazi ideology. After the war, Heißmeyer was able to practice unrecognized as a lung specialist in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for 20 years.
In 1964 it was revealed in the GDR that the lung specialist had carried out criminal experiments. He was arrested and, in 1966, condemned to lifelong imprisonment for crimes against humanity by the Magdeburg local court. In the judgment it was stated that at least four children were injected with virulent tuberculosis bacilli which Heißmeyer had also introduced into the lung with a probe. Kurt Heißmeyer died in prison in 1967.

(Sig. F 2001-4403)

Ewald Jauch (1902-46) was initially employed as a guard (1940-44) and then as roll call leader (Rapportführer) in Neuengamme. From December 1944 he was section commander of the Bullenhuser Damm satellite camp. He, too, took part in the murder of the children and was condemned to death in 1946 in the Curio-Haus trial and hanged on 11 October.

Max Pauly (1907-46) was a shopkeeper from Wesselburen in Dithmarschen. In 1930 he became a member of the NSDAP and in 1932 he entered the SS. From August 1942 he was commander of Neuengamme Concentration Camp. It was he who received the order to kill the children from superior SS section in Berlin and passed it on to Alfred Trzebinski. Max Pauly was sentenced to death on 3 May 1946 and executed in Hameln on 8 October 1946.

Hans Friedrich Petersen (1897-1967) was junior squad leader (Unterscharführer) and the driver for the Neuengamme Concentration Camp postal office. He drove the truck containing the children, their attendants, and six of the Soviet prisoners-of-war, who were brought to Bullenhuser Damm. He was not one of the accused in the Curio-Haus trial and not questioned as a witness, even at a later date. He died in 1967 in Sonderburg, Denmark.

© The National Archives
(Sig. WO 309-935), Great Britain

Adolf Speck (1911-46) came as a guard to Neuengamme Concentration Camp and, in the same summer, was put in command of the concentration camp brickworks. He was known to be brutal and violent. On the night of the crime he was guarding the Soviet prisoners-of-war with Wiehagen. During the Curio-Haus trial he admitted that he had shot one of the prisoners because he had thrown salt in his (Speck’s) face.
In May 1946 he was sentenced to death and executed the following October.

© Bundesarchiv Berlin (Sig. BDC/RS, Strippel, Arnold, geb. 2.6.1911)

Arnold Strippel (1911-94) was an SS man, employed in concentration camps from 1935 until the end of the war. First he was in Sachsenburg; then from July 1937 to March 1941 in Buchenwald as chief roll call leader (Rapportführer). From March 1941 he was initially in Natzweiler (Saar), from October 1941 in Majdanek Concentration Camp, from mid-May 1943 he was in charge of the forced labor camp in Peenemünde. From October 1943 to May 1944 he was commandant of the protective custody camp in Vught Concentration Camp in the Netherlands. Thereafter he was active in Neuengamme Concentration Camp and its numerous satellites. In 1945 out of fear of the British, he initially went underground and lived partly under false names. In 1948 he was put into an internment camp because of his membership of the SS. But since there was not sufficient evidence against him, he was released from imprisonment. However, eventually he was sentenced by a court of jury in Frankfurt to lifelong imprisonment for the murder of prisoners in Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He petitioned for a revision of the judgment. The sentence was lifted and, in 1970, he was sentenced simply as an accessory to murder with a prison sentence of six years. For the excess imprisonment he had undergone, he received compensation of DM 121,500. He did not have to reenter prison although a court of jury in Dusseldorf in 1981 sentenced him as an accessory to murder in Majdanek Concentration Camp to three years and six months; he was regarded as unfit to serve a prison sentence.
In the mid-1960s the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office investigated him as being a possible participant in the murders in Bullenhuser Damm. He had been implicated of complicity by Trzebinski, Dreimann, Jauch and Frahm during the Curio-Haus trials. But the case was closed because the public prosecutor’s office decided there was too little evidence.
After relatives of the victims of Bullenhuser Damm filed criminal charges in 1979, the public prosecutor resumed investigations. Finally, in 1983, it accused him of murder in 42 cases – of the 20 children, the prisoners’ four doctors and attendants and the Soviet prisoners-of-war. The case was suspended at the Hamburg regional court because Strippel was regarded as unfit to stand trial.
Strippel died in 1994 in Frankfurt am Main.

© Bundesarchiv Berlin (Sig. BDC/SSO, Trzebinski, Alfred, geb. 29.08.1902)

Dr. Alfred Trebinski (1902-46) was camp doctor in Ausschwitz in 1941, then in Majdanek Concentration Camp. In 1943 he became chief medical officer at Neuengamme. He was also involved through setting up the special Heißmeyer department in the medical experiments. Alfred Trzebinski was involved in the murder of the children.
After the war he tried to go underground, but was arrested on 1 February 1946 and sentenced to death in the Curio-Haus trial.

Heinrich Wiehagen (1911-45) was junior squad leader (Unterscharführer) in Neuengamme Concentration Camp. He assisted Wilhelm Dreimann and Johann Frahm in hanging the adult prisoners in the boiler room. In May 1945 he was a guard for prison ships in the bay of Lübeck which were bombarded mistakenly. He was killed by prisoners after he had shot at their comrades swimming in the water.