Stefan Baretzki-Evil ‘simpleton’


Stefan Baretzki was an Auschwitz guard of Bukovina German origin. He was conscripted into the Waffen-SS and stationed at Auschwitz  from 1942 until 1945.

Baretzki was sentenced to life imprisonment and eight years in August 1965, at the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. Because he only finished primary education, the court described him as a “simpleton” and “less intelligent than all the other defendants”, However I don’t fully subscribe to that point of view. It was not uncommon in those days that people would only have primary education. But his evidence was helpful, his  admission that he knew that the mass murder of Jews was a crime was used as evidence that the other defendants knew that their actions were criminal too.


Barertzki and other guards would be shown propaganda movies like Jud Süß and Ohm Krüger after they finished work. This would than encourage them to beat up Jewish prisoners the morning after.

Baretzki claimed during  his trial that when guards asked why prisoners were sent to Auschwitz, they were informed that all of them were dangerous criminals convicted of sabotage.

Baretzki also testified against Kurt Knittel an SS guard who was in charge of the propaganda department at Auschwitz.

Baretzki testified that Knittel had told them that Jewish women and children had to be murdered because they were an inferior race.

Stefan Baretzki tough was not a simpleton, he was an evil man. The crimes he committed were calculated.He was found guilty of five counts of murder: he beat a starving prisoner to death and, on 21 June 1944, drowned four prisoners in a water tank. I a New York Times article from July 28, 1964 , it was also reported that he kicked a newborn baby to death and  knifed a prisoner who had just been hanged. The witness Mr. Gotland, a businessman from Paris, said Baretzki had ordered him to recover the child’s body, which the guard had kicked “like a rock.” He said Baretzkl later clubbed the baby’s mother to death.

On June 21,1988 Baretzki committed suicide while in jail.


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New York Times