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Jürgen Stroop
24 September 1895(1895-09-24) — 6 March 1952 (aged 56)
Stroop J.jpg
Jürgen Stroop in U.S. military custody, 1945
Place of birth Detmold, Germany
Place of death Warsaw, Poland
Allegiance German Empire German Empire
Nazi Germany Third Reich
Service/branch German Empire Deutsches Heer
Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Ordnungspolizei flag.svg Polizei
Rank Feldwebel
SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS und Polizei
SS- und Polizeiführer
Battles/wars World War I
World War II (Warsaw Ghetto)
Jürgen Stroop (center, in field cap) with his men in the burning Warsaw Ghetto, 1943
Stroop before Polish court, 1951

Jürgen Stroop, (born Josef Stroop, September 26, 1895 in Detmold — March 6, 1952 in Warsaw, Poland) was a German SS and police general who oversaw the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland in World War II. After the war, he was convicted of war crimes and hanged.

Contents

Early life

Jürgen Stroop was born in Detmold, the son of a police officer After receiving an elementary education, he became an apprentice with the land register in his home town, where he worked until the start of World War I. He joined the German Army as a volunteer, served in several infantry regiments at the front, won an Iron Cross 2nd Class, and was wounded in action. At the end of the war, Stroop held the rank of a vice Feldwebel (Sergeant). After the war, he returned to work at the land register.

SS career

Stroop joined both the SS and the NSDAP in 1932. His career took off during the election campaign of the same year. In 1933, he was appointed leader of the state auxiliary police. One year later, he was promoted from the rank of SS-Oberscharführer to the rank of Hauptsturmführer. Subsequently he worked for the SS administration in Münster and Hamburg. In autumn 1938, he was promoted again, this time to the rank of SS-Standartenführer (Colonel).

Stroop served in the Sudetenland. After the invasion of Poland, he served as commander of the SS-section in Gnesen (Gniezno). During the occupation of Poland, Stroop was transferred to Poznan as head of the Selbstschutzself-defence units of ethnic Germans.

In May 1941, Stroop changed his name from Josef to Jürgen for ideological reasons (in honor of his deceased son). From 7 July to 15 September 1941, Stroop served in combat on the eastern front with the infantry regiment of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. He was awarded a Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class and an Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze.

On 16 September 1942, Stroop was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer and assigned as an Inspector of the SiPo and SD of the Higher SS and Police Leader for Russia South. In this position Stroop worked to help secure a key logistical route.

Beginning in October 1942, Stroop commanded an SS garrison at Kherson before becoming SS and Police Leader for Lemberg (Lviv) in February 1943.

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Warsaw Ghetto

Stroop's most historically prominent role was the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, an action which cost the lives of over 50,000 people.

Stroop was sent to Warsaw on April 17, 1943 by Heinrich Himmler, as a replacement for SS-Oberführer Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg, who was relieved of duty.[1][2] Stroop took over from Sammern following the latter's failure at the onset of the uprising.[3]

Stroop had more recently been involved in operations against Soviet partisans in Ukraine and was familiar with the latest techniques in counter-insurgency warfare.

I had two battalions of Waffen-SS, one hundred army men, units of Order Police, and seventy-five to a hundred Security Police people. The Security Police had been active in the Warsaw ghetto for some time, and during this program it was their function to accompany SS units in groups of six or eight, as guides and experts in ghetto matters. [4]

Stroop ordered the entire Ghetto to be systematically burned down and blown up, building by building, and all of Warsaw's Jews to be killed or deported to extermination camps.

Stroop prepared a detailed record of the operation in a seventy-five page report. It was bound together in black pebble leather, included copies of all communiqués sent to SS Police Leader East Kruger, and photographs with captions in Gothic script. Originally titled "The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw is no more!", it is commonly referred to as "The Stroop Report" (it would later be used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials).

After the uprising was suppressed, Stroop formally assumed the position of SS and Police Leader of Warsaw. SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Kruger awarded an Iron Cross 1st Class to Stroop on 18 June 1943 for the action at a gala reception in Warsaw’s Lazienki Park.

Stroop was subsequently named the Higher SS and Police Leader in Greece from 8 September until November 1943. The local civilian administration found his methods and behaviour unacceptable and withdrew cooperation, forbidding the local Ordnungspolizei police to have anything to do with him, which made his position untenable. Consequently, he was removed and on 9 November he was appointed Commander of SS-Oberabschnitt Rhein-Westmark (an SS administrative district named for the Rhine and Gau Westmark) in Wiesbaden until the close of the war. [5]

Trials and execution

In early May 1945, Stroop was captured by American forces in the town of Rottau, Bavaria. Wearing the uniform of an infantry officer, he bore false discharge papers made out to a Wehrmacht Captain of Reserve Josef Straub. He kept to this story for nearly two months before admitting to being Jürgen Stroop on 2 July 1945.

After World War II he was put on trial by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau (Dachau Trials) for the summary executions of Allied airmen (Fliegermorde) shot down over Germany in his field of command.[6] On March 21, 1947, he was sentenced to death by the tribunal. However, that sentence was not carried out; instead, he was extradited to Poland to be tried by the Polish government.

Upon extradition to Poland, Stroop was again found guilty of war crimes. While in Mokotów Prison in Warsaw, awaiting trial, Stroop was placed in the same cell with Kazimierz Moczarski, political prisoner and former Polish resistance fighter jailed by the communist secret police. After his eventual release in 1956, Moczarski wrote a book about his time spent with Stroop, titled Conversations with an Executioner (Rozmowy z katem). According to Moczarski, Stroop thus recalled the destruction of Warsaw's Great Synagogue:

What a wonderful sight! I called out, Heil Hitler! and pressed the button. A terrific explosion brought flames right up to the clouds. The colors were unbelievable. An unforgettable allegory of the triumph over Jewry.[1]

On 8 September 1951 the Polish authorities sentenced Stroop to death. He was executed in Warsaw at the scene of his greatest crime.[7]

In popular culture

In the 1976 film The Eagle Has Landed, Jürgen Stroop is portrayed by the German actor Joachim Hansen (the character is simply referred to as "Herr Gruppenführer" and not by Stroop's actual name, although in the source novel by Jack Higgins, Stroop's name is used).

In the 2001 film Uprising, Stroop is depicted by the American actor Jon Voight.

In the 2006 Polish television film Rozmowy z katem (Conversations with an Executioner, based on Kazimierz Moczarski's memoir, Stroop is played by the actor Piotr Fronczewski.

References

  • Friedman, Towiah (1986). The Trial Against SS-general Jürgen Stroop in Warsaw, Poland. Institute of Documentation in Israel for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes.  
  • Moczarski, Kazimierz; Mariana Fitzpatrick; Jürgen Stroop (1981). Conversations With an Executioner. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13171-918-1.  
  • Stroop, Jürgen (1979). The Stroop Report: The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw Is No More!. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-39450-443-7.  

Bibliography

  • Kazimierz Moczarski "Conversations with an Executioner" Prentice-Hall 1981, ISBN 0131719181

External links



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