Alexander Piorkowski

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Piorkowski under British arrest at Westertimke near Bremen Alexander Piorkowski.jpg
Piorkowski under British arrest at Westertimke near Bremen
Heinz Detmers June 1947 Heinz Detmers.jpg
Heinz Detmers June 1947

Alexander Bernhard Hans Piorkowski, also known as Alex Piorkowski (11 October 1904 – 22 October 1948 in Landsberg am Lech) was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era and commandant of Dachau concentration camp. Following the war, he was convicted and executed.

Landsberg am Lech Place in Bavaria, Germany

Landsberg am Lech is a town in southwest Bavaria, Germany, about 65 kilometers west of Munich and 35 kilometers south of Augsburg. It is the capital of the district of Landsberg am Lech.

Dachau concentration camp Nazi concentration camp in Germany before and during World War II

Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in 1933, intended to hold political prisoners. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. Opened by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or Arbeitskommandos, and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The camps were liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.



Alexander Piorkowski was a trained mechanic who worked as a traveling merchant in the 1920s.

He joined the SA on 1 June 1929 and moved from there to the SS on 1 June 1933 (member no. 8,737). On 1 November 1929, Piorkowski became a member of the Nazi Party (member no. 161,437). He first led the SS-Standarte in Bremen from 20 July 1935, and in the following year, the SS-Standarte Allenstein. For health reasons, he retired from the service on 19 September 1936. [1]

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Sturmabteilung</i> original Nazi paramilitary

The Sturmabteilung, literally Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party's original paramilitary. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and intimidating Romanis, trade unionists, and, especially, Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

Nazi Party Fascist political party in Germany (1920-1945)

The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of Nazism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.

From July 1937 to December 1937, Piorkowski was provisionally commandant of Lichtenburg concentration camp, and after its conversion into a women's concentration camp, deputy to Lagerdirektor Günther Tamaschke until August 1938. [2] From there he was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp in early August 1938, where he served as Schutzhaftlagerführer . From February 1940 to mid-September 1942, he was the commandant of Dachau concentration camp. Due to corruption charges, he was discharged from service on 31 August 1943. [1]

Lichtenburg concentration camp Nazi concentration camp in Germany

Lichtenburg was a Nazi concentration camp, housed in a Renaissance castle in Prettin, near Wittenberg in the Province of Saxony. Along with Sachsenburg, it was among the first to be built by the Nazis, and was operated by the SS from 1933 to 1939. It held as many as 2000 male prisoners from 1933 to 1937 and from 1937 to 1939 held female prisoners. It was closed in May 1939, when the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women was opened, which replaced Lichtenburg as the main camp for female prisoners.

Günther Tamaschke was a German SS-Standartenführer and commandant of the Lichtenburg and Ravensbrück concentration camps.


Schutzhaftlagerführer was a paramilitary title of the SS, specific to the concentration and extermination camps Totenkopfverbande. A Schutzhaftlagerführer was in charge of the economic function of the camp. Usually, there was more than one SS man performing that function at each location due to their enormous size. Schutzhaftlagerführers received orders from the central offices in Berlin, such as DEST run directly by the SS. Prisoners' lives were entirely in their hands. Their orders, which usually involved routine maltreatment of condemned victims, were carried out through "assignments" so they would not have to deal with the dead resulting from them.

After the Second World War, Piorkowski, along with his adjutant Heinrich Detmers, had to answer to a U.S. military tribunal at the Dachau trials from 6 to 17 January 1947. The charges were crimes against humanity, deportation, abduction and ill-treatment of prisoners in the former concentration camp at Dachau. Piorkowski was sentenced to death. He made futile petitions for a pardon. Alexander Piorkowski was hanged in the Landsberg Prison for war criminals. [3]

Dachau trials

The Dachau trials were held for all war criminals caught in the United States zones in occupied Germany and Austria, as well as for those individuals accused of committing war crimes against American citizens and its military personnel. The trials, which were held within the walls of the former Dachau concentration camp, were conducted entirely by American military personnel whose legal authority had been conferred by the Judge Advocate General's Department within the U.S. Third Army.

Crimes against humanity deliberate attack against civilians

Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.

Landsberg Prison prison

Landsberg Prison is a penal facility located in the town of Landsberg am Lech in the southwest of the German state of Bavaria, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) west of Munich and 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Augsburg. It is best known as the prison where Adolf Hitler was held in 1924, after the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, and where he dictated his memoirs Mein Kampf to Rudolf Hess.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Ernst Klee German writer

Ernst Klee was a German journalist and author. As a writer on Germany's history, he was best known for his exposure and documentation of the medical crimes of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, much of which was concerned with the Action T4 or involuntary euthanasia program. He is the author of The Good Old Days': The Holocaust Through the Eyes of the Perpetrators and Bystanders first published in the English translation in 1991.

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  1. 1 2 Johannes Tuchel: Konzentrationslager: Organisationsgeschichte und Funktion der Inspektion der Konzentrationslager 1934–1938. 1991, p. 385
  2. Stefan Hördler, Sigrid Jacobeit (Hrsg.): Dokumentations- und Gedenkort KZ Lichtenburg. Berlin 2009, p. 125f
  3. This article contains a translation of the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia
Military offices
Preceded by
SS-Standartenführer Hans Helwig
Commandant of Lichtenburg concentration camp
July 1937 – December 1937
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Deputy director of Lichtenburg concentration camp
December 1937 – August 1938
Succeeded by
SS-Obersturmbannführer Max Koegel
Preceded by
SS-Oberführer Hans Loritz
Commandant of Dachau concentration camp
February 1940 – September 1942
Succeeded by
SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Gottfried Weiss