Kammler, Hans

Hans Kammler
Hans Kammler

Hans Kammler (26 August 1901 – unknown), SS Obergruppenführer, was deputy chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungs-Hauptamt) directly under Oswald Pohl. Kammler was in charge of Office C, overseeing all construction efforts at all the Third Reich’s camps.

After the Auschwitz Camps’ newly appointed garrison physician Eduard Wirths had lobbied for massive improvements of the hygienic, sanitary and healthcare facilities at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Kammler ordered and supervised a massive “special construction program” to turn Birkenau into a huge and modern hospital camp for tens of thousands of sick inmates.

After the British had bombed the Third Reich’s rocket testing and production facilities in Peenemünde in August 1943, Kammler was put in charge of moving rocket production underground at the new Dora Camp near Buchenwald. The living and working conditions at the Dora forced-labor camp were horrific. Hence, Wernher von Braun’s team of rocket engineers at one point went on strike in protest against the SS’s inhumane treatment of their inmate co-workers. As a result, von Braun and his team were arrested and kept in detention until they decided to quit their protest.

Kammler later also assumed responsibility for all other “secret weapon” construction efforts.

At the end of the war, Kammler offered the United States his services to transfer all knowledge and expert teams of Germany’s advanced-weapons research to the United States. The U.S. accepted, gave him a new identity, and let him immigrate to the U.S. His whereabouts and final destiny there are unknown.

Had there been any homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz or in any other camp, Kammler would have been the person centrally responsible for ordering, financing and overseeing their design, planning and construction. The U.S. secret services evidently either thought otherwise or considered modern-weapons technology to be more important than prosecuting a high-level mass murderer.

(For more details, see Brauburger/Sulzer 2019.)

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