History's Judgement: SS Dr. Eduard Krebsbach
Above: SS Sturmbannführer Dr. Eduard Krebsbach in his heyday, then in May 1946 on trial for War Crimes.
He was sentenced to death by a US military tribunal in Dachau on 13 May 1946, and was executed on 28 May 1947 at the Landsberg Prison.
Click on image at left to see enlarged view (211,246 bytes).
Krebsbach's SS career at Mauthausen ended abruptly when while on vacation on 22 May 1943 he shot and killed Josef Breitenfellner, a German soldier, over some disturbance at the lodge where Krebsbach was staying. After that incident Krebsbach was effectively demoted and transferred to the Warwara concentration camp, where he led the selections and presided over the liquidation of the camp in August 1944. Afterwards Krebsbach was appointed Inspector for Epidemics in occupied Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. Then eventually promoted to Oberstabsarzt (Chief Staff Doctor) in the Wehrmacht (regular army). At the end of 1944 he left that position as well and went to work as the resident physician for a textile factory in the city of Kassel.
After the war Krebsbach was arrested and charged among the 61 accused in Case No. 000-50-5 (US v. Hans Altfuldisch et al), with the '50' indicating this was a concentration camp case, and the -5 suffix indicating the crime location was KL Mauthausen or a satellite camp thereof. This was the 66th in the series of American Military Tribunals conducted at Dachau from 1945 to 1948. The trial concluded 13 May 1946. Partial extracts from transcripts of the trial testimony provide some insights to how these people thought:
Josef Herzler, former Mauthausen inmate (AMM V/3/22)
Prosecutor: And how did you carry out this order?
Krebsbach: Incurably sick inmates who were absolutely incapable of work were generally gassed. Some were also killed by benzene injection.
Prosecutor: To your knowledge, how many persons were killed in this way in your presence?
Krebsbach: (no answer)
Prosecutor: You were ordered to kill those unfit to live?
Krebsbach: Yes. I was ordered to have persons killed if I was of the opinion that they were a burden on the state.
Prosecutor: Did it never occur to you that these were human beings, people who had the misfortune to be inmates or who had been neglected?
Krebsbach: No. People are like animals. Animals that are born deformed or incapable of living are put down at birth. This should be done for humanitarian reasons with people as well. This would prevent a lot of misery and unhappiness.
Prosecutor: That is your opinion. The world does not agree with you. Did it never occur to you that killing a human being is a terrible crime?
Krebsbach: No. Every state is entitled to protect itself against asocial persons including those unfit to live.
Prosecutor: In other words, it never occurred to you that what you were doing was a crime?
Krebsbach: No. I carried out my work to the best of my knowledge and belief because I had to."
Above Right: Krebsbach was sentenced to death by a U.S. military court in Dachau on 13 May 1946, then was hanged at the Landsberg Prison on 28 May 1947 (41,032 bytes).