.Karl Hoecker (Höcker)
Karl Hoecker was born in Engershausen, Germany, in December 1911, as the youngest of six children. His father, a construction worker, was killed in World War I, and his mother struggled to support the family. Hoecker, who worked as a bank teller in Lubbecke, joined the SS in 1933 and the Nazi party in 1937.
He married in 1937, had a daughter in 1939 and, in October 1944, a son.
Upon the outbreak of war, Hoecker was assigned to the Neuengamme concentration camp. In 1943, he became the adjutant to the commandant at Majdanek-Lublin during the Operation Reinhardt mass deportations and murders. When Sturmbahnführer Richard Baer became the commandant of Auschwitz in May 1944, Hoecker was also reassigned to the camp, again in the position of adjutant.
Karl Hoecker in the summer of 1944
US Holocaust Memorial Museum #34593
Baer had been working as the deputy of Oswald Pohl, the head of the WVHA (SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt) in Berlin, and had never before worked in a camp. Hoecker remained at Auschwitz until the evacuation, then moved with Baer to command Dora-Mittelbau until the Allies approached.
A group of SS officers in front of a building at Solahutte, the SS retreat outside of Auschwitz:
From left, Josef Kramer, Dr. Josef Mengele, Richard Baer, and Karl Hoecker.
He escaped the camp before it was taken and was captured by the British while posing as part of a combat unit near Hamburg. As Allies had an erroneous description of him, Höcker spent only one and a half years incarcerated in a British prisoner of war camp and was released at the end of 1946.
Until prosecutors began looking for him in the wake of the Eichmann trial, no one came for Karl Hoecker. He resumed his life in Engershausen with his wife and two children. He turned himself in for a de-Nazification trial in 1952 and was sentenced to serve nine months for membership in the SS, a criminal organization.
He did not have to serve it, thanks to a 1954 law of freedom of punishment. He took up gardening in his spare time, and became the chief cashier of the regional bank in Lubbecke, only losing his during the pre-trial investigations for the 1963-1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, in which he was a defendant.
The judges ruled that Hoecker was guilty of aiding and abetting the murder of 1000 people on four separate occasions. They weighed the facts that he had been a model citizen after the war, had voluntarily asked for denazification in 1952, and they could only find proof that he had been a desktop functionary. The court determined that Höcker had never been proven to be at the ramp.
He was sentenced to only 7 years, but time served was deducted and Höcker was released on parole in 1970. He regained his job as a Chief Cashier of the regional bank in Lubbecke.
Karl Hoecker died in 2000 at age 88.
Special Selected Links:
.Life is good at Auschwitz:
Karl Hoecker, center, with a group of SS personnel, all smiles.
» In the Shadow of Horror, Auschwitz SS Guardians Frolic