Adolf Theuer

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Adolf Theuer prison photo (1946)

Adolf Theuer (sometimes given as Teuer) (20 September 1920 in Henneberg-Bolatitz – 23 April 1947 in Opava) was an SS-Unterscharführer at Auschwitz concentration camp. He was executed after the war as a war criminal.


Previously a bricklayer by trade, Theuer's SS career began when he was deployed to Auschwitz in 1940 at the rank of SS-Rottenführer. On 1 August 1941 he was promoted to SS-Unterscharführer.[1] He served as an SDG or Sanitätsdienstgefreiter; a medical orderly as part of the Sanitätswesen, one of the five concentration camp departments involved in running such a facility. He was also a member of the Desinfektionskommando (disinfection squad), the unit of SS medics involved in the mass gassing of prisoners. One of Theuer's responsibilities was inserting the Zyklon B into the gas chamber, a task shared by other SS orderlies such as SS-Unterscharführer Hans Koch and SS-Oberscharführer Josef Klehr.[2] During the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials, Klehr, the chief of the Desinfektionskommando, testified that Theuer explained to him that he would insert the gas when ordered to do so by the accompanying SS doctor.[3]

SS-Unterscharführer Oswald Kaduk recalled an incident when Theuer, his fellow countryman, was reluctant to insert the gas. Kaduk stated that:

"...I have even seen SS men who were supposed to be involved in gassing operations cry. And to them, the then doctor, Dr. Mengele said, 'You have to do it'. He said... I can remember Theuer well. I knew him from... was my fellow countryman, been a young man. And he said, 'You have to do it.' He did it, with tears in his eyes. He inserted it and immediately shut the hatch. I was there."[4]

— Oswald Kaduk, "Auschwitz, Stimmen."

Theuer remained at the camp until its evacuation in January 1945, when he was subsequently deployed in Ohrdruf concentration camp, a subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp.


Although Theuer did not torture prisoners, he was still known in the camp as a butcher.[5] After the war he was put on trial along with Sofie Hanel (SS-Hilfsaufseherin, SS-Aufseherin, SS-Blockfuhrer) in Prague; both were sentenced to death.[6] Theuer was hanged in Opava (Czechoslovakia) on 23 April 1947. Hanel was hanged on 12 January 1948.[7]


  1. ^ Frei (2000), p. 61
  2. ^ "Karl Lill". Fritz Bauer Institut. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  3. ^ Langbein (1995), p. 569
  4. ^ Steckel, Ronald. Auschwitz, Stimmen. Delta Music & Entertainment. ISBN 3-86538-505-2. Cited in Aktenzeichen: 4 Ks 2/63 – Eine Lange Nacht über den 1. Frankfurter Auschwitz-Prozess 1963–1965. Retrieved on 17 July 2011.
  5. ^ Piper et al (1996), pg. 52
  6. ^ Piper et al (1996), pg. 311
  7. ^ Hanel (married Nitsche), Sofie-Birthplace: Freiwaldau, Sudetenland (Jeseník, Olomouc Region, Czech Republic) Camp Service: Ravensbrück, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Unknown SS Positions: SS-Hilfsaufseherin, SS-Aufseherin, SS-Blockfuhrer Notes: The name 'HANEL, Sofie,' appeared as an 'SS woman Overseer,' in a file of the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) dated March 20, 1947, 'Personnel of the Concentration Camp in Oswiecim-Auschwitz;' she was tried by a Czech court for war crimes at an unknown sub-camp, as well as on a death march at the closing of the war, and sentenced during the 'Prague Wardens' trial to death for murder and maltreatment of camp prisoners on October 7, 1948; she was hanged on January 12, 1948 in the Pankrac Prison in Prague.