Camp SS leaders liked to portray their guards as an elite force: men in gleaming black uniforms – well-trained, united, incorruptible – who were ready to sacrifice their lives for Nazi Germany. In reality, the Camp SS was rife with rivalries and infighting. As the following punishments reveal, there was plenty of disobedience, drunkenness and dereliction of duty. Prisoners sometimes used this to their advantage, driving a wedge between different SS officials.
Name: SS Pack Leader Karl U.
Punishment: 3 days’ strict detention
Reason: because in a letter dated 30.1.41 he made comments critical of SS organizations.
Name: SS Rifleman Adolf E.
Punishment: 6 weeks’ strict detention
Reason: because on 12.5.1941 he drank alcohol in a pub with a prisoner (capo), thus disregarding the orders given to him concerning associating with prisoners and making himself guilty of military disobedience.
Name: SS Rifleman Erich P.
Punishment: 7 days’ strict detention and four weeks’ confinement to camp until 8 pm.
Reason: because on 14. and 15.6.1941 he had got so drunk that on 14.6.41 he walked past three officers on Auschwitz station with his hands in his pockets, failed to salute and on 15.6.1941 did not report for guard duty.
Name: SS Rifleman Emil B.
Punishment: 5 days’ strict detention
Reason: because on 12.7.1941 he was discovered asleep in the grass while on sentry duty.
Source: BArchB, Film 72201
Translation: Lesley Sharpe and Jeremy Noakes