Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Sunday, May 24, 2015


           On this date, May 24, 1945, Franz Ziereis, the last Camp Commandant of Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp died after being shot while trying to escape. I will post information about him from Wikipedia and other links.

Franz Ziereis, the last Camp Commandant of Mauthausen Concentration Camp
Franz Xaver Ziereis (13 August 1905 - 24 May 1945) was the commandant of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp from 1939 until the camp was liberated by the Americans in 1945.

SS-Obersturmbannführer (OF-4) Franz Ziereis.
Early life

Ziereis was born on 13 August 1905 in Munich, Germany. Ziereis spent 8 years in elementary school and then began as an apprentice and messenger boy in a department store. In the evenings he studied commerce. In 1922 he went to work as a labourer in a carpentry shop.

Kommandant SS-Obersturmbannführer Franz Ziereis with SS-Hauptscharführer (Master Sergeant) and SS-Oberscharührer (Technical Sergeant) at Mauthausen (91,047 bytes).

Military career

Ziereis joined Germany's Reichswehr (army) on 1 April 1924, for a period of 12 years. He was discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1936 and joined the SS on September 30 of the same year. He attained the rank of SS-Obersturmführer and was assigned as a training instructor to the SS-Totenkopfverbände. In 1937 he was given command of the 22nd Hundertschaft (hundred-man-unit) of SS-Totenkopf-Standarte 2 "Brandenburg". On 1 July 1938, he was transferred to the SS-Totenkopf-Standarte 3 "Thüringen" as a training instructor. 

One of the many photographs taken during a visit of Heinrich Himmler to Mauthausen concentration camp, apparently in April 1941. To Himmler's immediate right is Franz Ziereis, wearing an Iron cross ribbon, four pips on his left shoulder tab, and the Death's Head symbol on his right shoulder tab and on his cap. To the right of Ziereis is August Eigruber, who is identified in this series of photographs as the only person wearing a black uniform, although in this image he appears to be wearing an overcoat over his uniform. Eigruber displays no Iron Cross ribbon, and wears no Death's Head symbols. To the left of Himmler are Karl Wolff and Franz Kutschera.
Concentration camp commandant

Zeireis replaced Albert Saur as commandant of Mauthausen on 9 February 1939 by order of Theodor Eicke, Inspector of Concentration Camps. On 25 August 1939, Ziereis received a promotion to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer and, on 20 April 1944 he received his final promotion to SS-Standartenführer.

Interrogated by US Army officers while in US custody on 23 May 1945 at the 131st Evac Hospital in Gusen, there dying of gunshot wounds (78,773 bytes).
Post-war flight and death

Ziereis fled with his wife on 3 May 1945. He attempted to hide out in his hunting lodge on the Pyhrn mountain in Upper Austria. He was discovered and arrested on 23 May 1945, by an American army unit. He was shot while trying to escape and brought to a U.S. military hospital set up in Gusen I where he eventually died. His corpse was later hung on the fence of Gusen I by former prisoners of Gusen.


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