GERSTEIN, KURT° (1905–1945), German anti-Nazi, SS officer and head of the Waffen SS-Institute of Hygiene in Berlin. The son of a bourgeois family, a German nationalist, and a Christian, Gerstein joined the Nazi Party in 1933, while remaining in the Protestant youth movement. He was expelled from the Nazi Party for activities on behalf of the dissident Bekenntniskirche ("Professing Church") and was twice incarcerated in concentration camps (1936 and 1938). Anxious to know more about the Nazis' horrifying activities, he volunteered for the Waffen-SS in March 1941 and became an employee at its Hygiene Service. There are, however, other versions of the reason for his entry into the SS. A professional engineer, Gerstein reached officer's rank and due to his technical abilities was named chief of the disinfection department. He lost a sister-in-law in the so-called euthanasia program. In 1942, as an expert in the use of Zyklon B – a poison gas used in fumigations – Gerstein was sent by the rsha to belzec and treblinka , where his task was to substitute Zyklon B for diesel exhaust fumes as a means of mass murder. At Belzec he witnessed the killing of several thousand Jews from Lvov. Upon his return to Berlin, Gerstein tried to stop the murders, informing Swedish and Swiss legations, the Holy See, and underground Church groups, the German Confessing Church, of his experiences, but despite the accuracy of his reports, he encountered disbelief and indifference. Charged with the task of continuing to supply the murderous gas to the camps, Gerstein succeeded in destroying two consignments. At the end of the war, he submitted to an Anglo-American intelligence team a detailed report in French on Nazi atrocities which was used at the Nuremberg trials. Another, in German, was published after his death in Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte (vol. 1, 1953), entitled "Augenzeugenbericht zu den Massenvergasungen." Arrested by the French as a suspected war criminal, Gerstein was found hanged in his cell on July 25, 1945, victim either of suicide or murder. His testimony remains essential to our understanding of Belzec, where so little first-hand information was available. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Friedlaender, Kurt Gerstein, the Ambiguity of Good (1969); idem, in: Midstream, 13 no. 5 (1967), 24–29; F. Helmut, K. Gerstein (Ger., 1964); R. Hochhuth, The Representative (1963), (U.S. title –The Deputy). P. Joffroy, A Spy for God: The Ordeal of Kurt Gerstein (1971). (Yehuda Reshef)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gerstein-Bericht — Handschrift Gersteins Kurt Gerstein (* 11. August 1905 in Münster (Westfalen); † 25. Juli 1945 in Paris) wurde als Hygienefachmann der Waffen SS 1942 Augenzeuge der Erprobung von Massenmorden mit Motorabgasen in den Vernichtungslagern von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kurt Gerstein — Surnom Vati Naissance 11 août 1905 Munster, Allemagne Décès 25 juillet …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kurt Gerstein — (* 11. August 1905 in Münster (Westfalen); † 25. Juli 1945 in Paris) war Hygienefachmann der Waffen SS, zuletzt im Rang eines Obersturmführers. In den Vernichtungslagern Belzec und Treblinka war er 1942 Augenzeuge des probeweisen Einsatzes… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kurt Gerstein — (August 11 1905 ndash; July 25 1945) was a German SS officer and member of the Institute for Hygiene of the Waffen SS. He witnessed mass murders in the Nazi extermination camps Belzec and Treblinka. He contacted the Swedish diplomat Göran von… …   Wikipedia

  • Gerstein — ist der Name folgender Personen: Christian Schultz Gerstein (1945–1987), deutscher Journalist David Gerstein (* 1944), israelischer Künstler Kurt Gerstein (1905–1945), Abteilungsleiter im Hygieneinstitut der Waffen SS Ludwig Gerstein (1928–1994) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kurt — est un prénom d origine germanique puis anglaise. Sa principale variante en anglais est Curt, on trouve aussi Cord, Curd, ou Kort. C est à l origine un diminutif de Curtis, Konrad (Conrad), et Kunibert. Son jour de fête est le 12 novembre (Suède) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kurt Fürer — (* 24. August 1900 in Ehringen; † 12. September 1988 in Kassel) war ein deutscher Wirtschaftsjurist. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Ehrenämter 3 Ehrungen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kurt Gerstein — (Münster, 11 de agosto de 1905 París; 25 de julio de 1945) fue un militar e ingeniero de minas alemán de religión protestante, que se afilió al Partido Nazi y a las SS, donde alcanzó el rango de oficial (teniente) y fue destinado al Instituto de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gerstein Report — The Gerstein Report was written by Kurt Gerstein, an Obersturmführer of the Waffen SS in 1945 who rose to become the Head of Technical Disinfection Services of the SS. In that capacity he witnessed in August 1942 the gassing of some 3,000 Jews in …   Wikipedia

  • Gerstein — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Gerstein: Ellen Gerstein, une actrice, réalisatrice et scénariste américaine. Kurt Gerstein, un ingénieur des mines allemand (1905 1945). Catégorie :… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.