Irmfried Eberl: Wikis

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SS Obersturmführer (1st lieutenant) Irmfried Eberl (Born in Bregenz on September 8, 1910 - February 16, 1948), helped establish, and was the first commandant of, the extermination camp known as Treblinka. He was the only physician ever to command an extermination camp.

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Murderer of disabled persons

Nazi propaganda intended to justify murder of disabled people. Note the attendant attired in medical garb.

A 1933 graduate of the medical program at Innsbruck University, Eberl gained his doctorate a year later. Trained and practicing as a psychiatrist, he was a firm supporter of the mass murder of individuals with mental disorders (known as T-4 Euthanasia Program) Eberl spent two years helping implement the program at Brandenburg Psychiatry Facility. and at Bernburg. Despite not being formally ordered to take part, psychiatrists such as Eberl were at the center at every stage of justifying, planning and carrying out the mass murder of those with mental disorders, and "constituted the connection" to the later annihilation of Jews and other "undesirables" such as homosexuals in the Holocaust.[1]

Industrial murder under his command at Treblinka death camp

When public outcry against the Action T-4 murders forced their abandonment in Germany, the murderers like Eberl found themselves out of work. This did not last long, as the Nazi leadership made the decision to use the Action T-4 personnel to murder much larger numbers of people in Poland, using variations of the methods used in the T-4 killings. As a result, in July 1942, Eberl was transferred to command of Treblinka in July 1942 as part of Operation Reinhard. He was dismissed six months later for incompetence in disposing of the bodies of the thousands people he had killed, and was replaced by Franz Stangl. Eberl was apparently also part of a ring at the camp that was stealing the possessions of the people they'd murdered and sending them back to cohorts in Berlin.[2]
In 1970, Stangl, then in prison for his own extraordinary crimes, described Treblinka when he first came to the murder camp when was under Eberl's command:

We could smell it kilometres away. The road ran alongside the railway tracks. As we got nearer Treblinka but still perhaps fifteen, twenty minutes' drive away, we began to see corpses next to the rails, first just two or three, then more and as we drove into what was Treblinka station, there were hundreds of them -- just lying there -- they'd obviously been there for days, in the heat. In the station was a train full of Jews, some dead, some still alive -- it looked as if it had been there for days.

... thousands of bodies everywhere, putrifying, decomposing. Across the square in the woods, just a few hundred yards away on the other side of the barbed-wire fence, there were tents and open fires with groups of Ukrainian guards and girls -- whores from Warsaw I found out later -- weaving, drunk, dancing, singing, playing music -- Dr Eberl, the Kommandant showed me around the camp, there was shooting everywhere ... .[2]

Later career, apprehension, and suicide

In 1944 he joined the Wehrmacht for the duration of the war. After the war, Eberl found himself a widower following his second wife's death, and continued to practise medicine in Blaubeuren until he was arrested in January 1948, and hanged himself the following month to avoid trial.

Subject of later documentary film

Eberl was one of two subjects of the 1998 film Healing by Killing, the other subject being Carl Clauberg

References

  1. ^ Rael D Strous (2007) Psychiatry during the Nazi era: ethical lessons for the modern professional Annals of General Psychiatry 2007, 6:8doi:10.1186/1744-859X-6-8
  2. ^ a b Sereny, Gitta, The Healing Wound -- Reflections on Germany 1938-2001, page 117, Norton, 2001 ISBN 0-393-04428-9
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