Bruno Tesch & Karl Weinbacher, merchants of Death

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the executions of Bruno Tesch& Karl Weinbacher . I was able to find a few pictures of Bruno Tesch but none from Karl Weinbacher.


After the war, several employees of the companies that had supplied Zykon B to the SS in the concentration and extermination camps were brought before the court in a number of criminal trials. The first trial, of employees of the Hamburg distributorship Tesch & Stabenow (TESTA), was held before a British military court in Hamburg from March 1 to 8, 1946. The owner of the firm, Bruno Tesch, and his coworkers Joachim Hans Drosihn and Karl Weinbacher were charged with having wittingly supplied the Zyklon Bused in the German concentration camps to murder citizens of the Allied countries. The defendant Joachim Hans Drosihn was acquitted in the proceedings because he was given no insight into corporate policy. Weinbacher and Tesch, on the other hand, were found guilty of knowingly supplying Zyklon B to murder human beings and were condemned to death.


Dr. Bruno Tesch and his business manager-proxy (“Prokurist”) Karl Weinbacher, who had never been members of the German government or the German armed forces were sentenced to death.The death sentence was carried out in the Hameln (Hamelin) penitentiary on May 16, 1946.

Bruno Emil Tesch (14 August 1890 – 16 May 1946) was a German chemist and entrepreneur. Together with Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, he invented the insecticide Zyklon B, infamous for having been used by Nazi Germany to exterminate approximately a million of the victims of the Holocaust.He was the owner of Tesch & Stabenow (called Testa), a pest control company he co-founded in 1924 with Paul Stabenow in Hamburg, Germany, which was a major supplier of Zyklon B to the Nazi concentration camps.

Following the end of World War II, he was arrested by the British as a war criminal, tried, and executed.

Tesch studied mathematics and physics for one semester in 1910 at the University of Göttingen before studying chemistry at the University of Berlin, receiving his degree in 1914. He attained a position at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute


Tesch, along with fellow chemists Gerhard Peters and Walter Heerdt, with the support of I.G. Farben, began research into the use of hydrogen cyanide as a fumigating agent. They discovered a process in which the hydrogen cyanide could be manufactured and used in a solid form.

The patent was assigned to Degesch, “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung mbH” (German Limited Company for Pest Control), subsidiary of I.G. Farben, with Walter Heerdt being the only one of the inventors to receive patent rights, a portion of the proceeds from the manufacture and sale. Peters joined Degesch and would become managing director during World War II. Degesch was designated by the German government to set the safety rules and standards for the use of Zyklon B, and was given the authority to authorize shipments from the manufacturer to the customer after the strict criteria were met.

Tesch & Stabenow did not manufacture Zyklon B nor any other chemicals. It was primarily a pest control company specializing in fumigation of commercial properties such as the warehouses and freighters in the Port of Hamburg. Zyklon B was produced by Dessauer Werke and Kaliwerke.

In 1925, Tesch & Stabenow – partly due to the largesse of Paul Haber of Degesch – received the exclusive rights to distribute the insecticide Zyklon B east of the Elbe River. In 1927, Stabenow departed from the firm. Tesch held a 45% share of the company and Degesch 55%. He would assume sole ownership of the company in 1942

Tesch was first interrogated in Hamburg by British Captain and chemist Walter Freud. Freud was accompanied by Emil Sehm, a former Testa bookkeeper. Sehm claimed to have seen a memorandum concerning correspondence between Tesch and a Wehrmacht officer about the use of Zyklon B to gas humans. Tesch was arrested by the British occupation authorities on September 3, 1945, and released on October 1, 1945, only to be re-arrested a few days later on October 6.

Tesch was tried by a British military tribunal in the Curiohaus in Hamburg March 1–8, 1946, the Testa process. His two co-defendants were registered general representative Karl Weinbacher and Joachim Drosihn, the firm’s first gassing technician.

The prosecution case stated that Zyklon B was used for “systematically exterminating human beings to an estimated total of six million, of whom four and a half million were exterminated by the use of Zyklon B in one camp alone, known as Auschwitz/Birkenau”


The charge was that Tesch, “at Hamburg, Germany, between 1st January 1941, and 31st March 1945, in violation of the laws and usages of war, did supply poison gas used for the extermination of allied nationals interned in concentration camps, well knowing that the said gas was to be so used” in violation of Article 46 of the Hague Convention of 1907.One of the witnesses called by the prosecution was SS Rottenführer Perry Broad, who had worked in the political department in Auschwitz. Tesch and Weinbacher were condemned to death; Drosihn was acquitted. Tesch was executed by hanging on May 16, 1946, by Albert Pierrepoint in Hamelin Prison.


Karl Weinbacher (23 June 1898 in Stettin – 16 May 1946 in Hamelin) was a German manager and war criminal who was executed after conviction by a British war tribunal.

Weinbacher worked at Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung, which translates as German Corporation for Pest Control) until 1924, and then at Tesch & Stabenow (Testa, for short), where he received the position of manager in 1927, and by 1943 was director and deputy executive under owner and chief executive officer Bruno Tesch. Testa manufactured and sold Zyklon B, which was used not only for pest control and disinfestation, but also in the Holocaust in the gas chambers of Auschwitz to murder people. Weinbacher was involved with a percentage of the sales proceeds of Zyklon B.

Weinbacher often acted as the CEO whenever Tesch was absent or on business travels, this sometimes could be as much as 200 days a year.In that time Weinbacher would have full authority on all business activities.

After the end of World War II, Weinbacher, Tesch and Joachim Drosihn, the firm’s first gassing technician, were arrested on 3 September 1945. They were tried by a British military tribunal in the Curiohaus Trial in Hamburg from March 1–8, 1946, also called the Testa trial or the Zyklon B trial. In the cases of Weinbacher and Tesch, the court ruled that it had been proven that both knew the purpose of Zyklon B. Tesch and Weinbacher were convicted and sentenced to death on 8 March 1946, while Drosihn was acquitted. Tesch and Weinbacher were hanged in the prison for war criminals in Hamelin on 16 May 1946.

Just because these men weren’t part of the army or any government did not absolve them from any guilt and best they were complacent and worst they were actually worse then the anyone in the army, because the SS or Wehrmacht could always say they were following orders, whereas these men solely did it for profit .


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