Maximilian Grabner

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Maximilian Grabner
Grabner, Maximilian.jpg
SS-Untersturmführer Maximilian Grabner
Head of the Political Department in Auschwitz
Personal details
Born(1905-10-02)2 October 1905
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died24 January 1948(1948-01-24) (aged 42)
Montelupich Prison, Kraków, Polish People's Republic
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Criminal statusExecuted
Conviction(s)Crimes against humanity
TrialAuschwitz trial
Criminal penaltyDeath
Political partyNational Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Military service

Maximilian Grabner (2 October 1905 – 24 January 1948) was an Austrian Gestapo chief in Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, the infamous torture chamber Block 11 was Grabner's own empire. He was executed for crimes against humanity.

Early life[edit]

Born in Vienna, Grabner joined the Austrian police force in 1930 and became a member of the then-illegal Nazi Party in 1933. After the Anschluß of Austria in 1938, he joined the SS and became a member of the Gestapo. He arrived at Katowice at the outbreak of World War II. He was transferred to Auschwitz concentration camp less than one year later where he became Chief of the Politische Abteilung ("camp Gestapo").

Career at Auschwitz[edit]

As Gestapo chief, Grabner was responsible, among other things, for the fight against the resistance movement in the camp, as well as for the prevention of escapes and all contact with the outside world. These tasks were carried out with horrendous cruelties against the prisoners and a large number of incarcerations in the bunker in Block 11. Grabner's staff members, such as Wilhelm Boger, who was only brought to justice in the early 1960s, carried out so-called sharpened interrogations, during which the victims were systematically tortured.

Grabner, together with the commander of the Schutzhaftlager, initiated, on a regular basis, clearings of the bunker: the inmates were examined and many of them were sent directly to the inner courtyard between Block 10 and Block 11, where they were shot. He once ordered SS-Untersturmführer Hans Stark to drop Zyklon B into a gas chamber.[1] Along with Stark, Grabner personally took part in the shooting of Russian Commissars.

Trial and conviction[edit]

In 1943, Grabner was arrested for theft, graft and corruption and was put on trial in Weimar a year later. He was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison. After the trial, he returned to Katowice. It is not known if he served any time in prison. Grabner was then arrested by the Allies in 1945 and turned over to Poland in 1947. In the Auschwitz Trial he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death. Grabner was hanged on 24 January 1948.


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  1. ^ Rees, Laurence: Auschwitz - the Nazis and the 'Final Solution' - BBC Books - 2005 - IBN 0-563-52117-1 (page 96)