Witness to the Exterminations at Belzec

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Wilhelm Pfannenstiel


 Witness to the Exterminations at Belzec 



During the First World War I was an air force officer and was demobilised as a first lieutenant in the reserve. In 1936 I successfully completed reserve training as a sanitation officer in the army and was promoted to Oberstabsarzt in 1939.


From 1930 up to this time (1939) I held a chair in Hygiene and Bacteriology at the University of Marburg and was at the same time director of the Institute of Hygiene in Marburg. This was a normal professorship I retained this professorship up until the end of the war.


At the end of 1939 I was called upon by the Waffen- SS to work for them as a consultant hygienist. At that time the Waffen-SS having expanded considerably as a result of the war, needed medical experts to work for them in an advisory capacity.


On a visit to Berlin at the end of 1939 I got in touch with the then Corps Doctor of Waffen-SS, Dr Dermietzel, who asked me to serve as medical advisor with a rank of SS- Sturmbannfuhrer. I already knew Dr Dermietzel from my time as SS- Oberabschnittsarzt in Oberabschnitt Fulda – Werra.


In April 1940 I was then called up by the Waffen-SS and given a posting as consultant hygienist. My assignments mostly took place when there were no lectures. My work entailed inspecting, checking and improving the sanitary facilities at all the different places where the Waffen-SS was stationed and to combat epidemics.


For this reason I visited the city of Lublin and the surrounding area in 1942. I had already been in Poland since 1940 in my capacity as hygienist. I was however, always at each place for just a short time, after which I would return to the university in Marburg.


According to the available documentation, I was in the city of Lublin for the first time in August 1942 , it was here that I met SS-Gruppenfuhrer Globocnik for the first time. At the time there were plans to build a large concentration camp on the outskirts of the city of Lublin, capable of holding about 150,000 people. I visited the site to advise on the sanitary installations which were being built, provisions of drinking water and sewage drainage.


I did not have any contact with the occupants of the concentration camp or the worker columns. I remained only a short time in Lublin as my assignment in connection with the concentration camp was finished.


I naturally had other assignments in the area around Lublin which were also related to sanitary measures. After I had finished this work I returned to Marburg to the university. My instructions always came from Berlin, from the Sanitation Office of the Waffen-SS. I also spent some time in Berlin in order to be on call for short term assignments. My own permanent place of residence was and always remained Marburg.


When I am asked about executions of Jews I must confirm that on 19 August 1942 I witnessed an execution of Jews at Belzec extermination camp, I would like to describe how I came to be there.


During my conversations with SS-Brigadefuhrer Globocnik, he told me about the large spinning-mills that he had set up in Belzec. He also mentioned that work at this camp would considerably outstrip German production. When I asked him where the spinning materials came from, he told me proudly that they had been taken from the Jews.


At this point he also mentioned the extermination actions against the Jews, who for the most part were killed at the camp at Belzec. Around the same time Globocnik had asked a certain SS-Obersturmfuhrer Gerstein, while he was in Lublin, how these large mills could best be disinfected.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/ar/belzec/pfannenstiel.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto
H.E.A.R.T 2010

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