Kaduk, Oswald

Oswald Kaduk
Oswald Kaduk

Oswald Kaduk (26 Aug. 1906 – 31 May 1997), SS Unterscharführer at war’s end, was a German soldier who, after having been wounded several times, was transferred to the Auschwitz Camp in July 1941, where he served as a Rapportführer until the camp’s evacuation in January 1945.

Kaduk was arrested by the Soviets in 1946, sentenced to 25 years forced labor, yet released early in 1956. He moved to West Germany afterwards, where he was again arrested in 1959 and put on trial in 1965 during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Show Trial. From the interview Kaduk gave some ten years later to German journalist Ebbo Demant (1979), it becomes clear that Kaduk had a very simple mind.

During the trial, he was badgered by witnesses and judges so dreadfully that he suffered a nervous breakdown. Confused and desperate, he even tried to refute testimonies in his favor. He eventually simply gave up, recognizing that he had been considered a murderer right from the outset, with no chance of any defense, and that no one would believe him anyway. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly contributing to the murder of over 1,000 people.

Kaduk’s confusion lasted well into his prison time, as is demonstrated by Demant’s interviews with him, during which Kaduk expressed his outrage at the boundless lies of the witnesses who had incriminated him. Reading this interview with compassion makes this scandalous travesty of justice palpable for the attentive reader.

Kaduk was released early in 1989 at the age of 83.

(For references, see Rudolf 2019, p. 116.)

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