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August Hirt in an undated photograph
August Hirt dissecting a corpse.

August Hirt (April 28, 1898 in Mannheim – June 2, 1945 in Schönenbach/Schwarzwald), an SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain), served as a chairman at the Reich University in Strasbourg during World War II.

Working with the Ahnenerbe division, Wolfram Sievers, Bruno Beger and Hirt together collected human skeletons from among the Dachau inmates. In 1943, Hirt had 79 Jewish men, 30 Jewish women, 2 Poles, and 4 "Asians" selected among the inmates at Auschwitz. These people were sent to Natzweiler-Struthof on July 30, 1943. Here they were gassed, by Josef Kramer, on August 17 and August 19, 1943. Their bodies were returned to Hirt at the anatomical laboratory of the Reich University in Strasbourg for preparation, where they were re-discovered after the liberation.

Some speculate that the Asian victims were in fact Soviets, and there is mention that Hirt used this opportunity to test the effects of mescaline as a poison.

In the book, “Die Namen der Nummern“ (The Names of the Numbers), Hans-Joachim Lang describes this mass murder. He also recounts in detail the story of how he was able to determine the identities of 86 victims, 60 years after they were murdered.

Hirt committed suicide in Schönenbach.

Sources and External Links

Additional reading

  • Courand, Raymond (2005), Un camp de la mort en France: Struthof Natzweiler, Strasbourg:Ed. Hirlé. ISBN 2-914729-27-8.
  • Lang, Hans-Joachim, Die Namen der Nummern; Wie Es Gelang, Die 86 Opfer Eines NS-Verbrechens Zu Identifizieren, Hoffmann und Campe (2004) ISBN 3-455-09464-3 or Fischer Taschenbuch Vlg. (2007) ISBN 3-596-16895-3
  • Pressac, Jean-Claude,The Struthof album : study of the gassing at Natzweiler-Struthof of 86 Jews whose bodies were to constitute a collection of skeletons, Serge Klarsfeld (1985)
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