Höss on Globocnik 

SS -Gruppenfuhrer Globocnik was head of the SS and Police in Lublin

fig 19 Odilo Globocnik Vienna

Odilo Globocnik - Second from left in Vienna (Chris Webb Private Archive)

Shortly after the beginning of the Russian campaign, the Reichsfuhrer-SS ordered a concentration camp to be set up in Lublin.The Inspector of Concentration Camps, Glucks, took over from Globocnik the land which had been selected for this purpose, together with the beginnings of the camp, and installed Koch- hitherto commandant of Buchenwald, as its commandant.

Globocnik then promised to supply Glucks with enormous quantities of blankets and sheets, footwear, and also cooking utensils, and surgical instruments and medicines, for use in the concentration camp. Eventually Glucks came to Auschwitz and authorised me to go to Lublin and select the supplies I needed. I visited Globocnik straight away, accompanied by my administrative officer, Wagner. After much dashing about, we were able to collect a certain amount of supplies that could be in use in Auschwitz. I cannot now remember of what they consisted but they included some surgical apparatus and instruments and also some medicines. At any rate the spoils were miseably small compared with the amount that Globocnik had promised. They were articles which had been requisitioned in the Lublin area and indiscriminately heaped together in a factory building.

It was during this transaction that I got to know Globocnik. He assumed a great air of importance, with his instructions from the Reichsfuhrer-SS to set up police strong-points in the territories which had been taken over. He worked out fantastic plans for a series of strong-points stretching to the Urals. He could see no difficulties in this, and he waved aside all objections. He wanted to destroy every Jew in this area on the spot, except those whom he needed to work on 'his' police positions. He proposed to put all their property into a collecting centre and utilise it for the SS. He talked about all this in his Viennese dialect in an easy-going way sitting in front of his fire in the evening, as though it was a most innocent adventure. I was rather shocked by Globocnik, who according to Glucks account was supposed to be extremely competent and to be held in high regard by the Reichsfuhrer-SS.

My first impressions were correct. Globocnik was a pompous busybody, whose object was to put himself in the foreground and to describe his fanciful plans as though they had to a large extent already been put into practice. It was he and only he who could get things done properly, whether it was a question of exterminating the Jews or resettling the Poles, or the utilisation of sequestered property. He was able to spin the most extraordinary yarns to Himmler. The latter believed him and continued to keep him, although he became unbearable and was attacked from all sides by the SD and the General-Governor and the District Gouvernor. I do not know what led to his final dismissal. He left Lublin and went to Trieste as a senior SS and Police officer. I know nothing about his activities there.

The second occasion on which I had anything to do with him was in Lublin in the spring of 1943. There had been a dispute between us over some machines and tools which he had got the local DAW -at that time subordinate to him- to deliver to the DAW at Auschwitz. He had described some ancient junk as being the most up-to-date machinery and had used the same description in his report to Pohl.  Since he had personally given orders for these swindles he did not feel very happy about it, but he dismissed the affair without comment and gave me five really modern and most urgently needed machines for the Auschwitz DAW. My administrative officer, Mockel, had to settle accounts with his department, which had also advised Pohl that the promised equipment had either not been delivered or had been delivered only in negligible quantities. Promises were made of deliveries on a grand scale, but they came to nothing.


Staff List under Globocnik (PRO National Archives)

At that time, the chief of the SS Personnel Head Office, SS-Obergruppenfuhrer von Herff, arrived in Lublin to make the acquaintance of the officers of Globocnik's department. Globocnik took the opportunity of showing him all his model establishments. He began by getting him to inspect the large quantities of Jewish property collected in the former aircraft factory and 'his' Jewish workshops where the most hopeless commodities were turned out, ranging from brushes to footmats. Everything he did was done in a way that can only be described as flashy. The Jews there, who had really organised it all, had effectively deceived Globocnik and his officers. They created as many supervisory positions as possible for themselves and then proceeded to conduct their own businesses. This was confirmed to me, later on, by Globocnik's staff officer Hofle.

  As might be expected, he regarded the Lublin concentration camp as 'his' camp. He issued orders and instructions to the commandants which completely contradicted those given by the concentration camp inspectorate or by Pohl. This was the case of perpetual dissension. Globocnik, however, always managed to get his way with the Reichsfuhrer-SS by pointing out to him the special position that Lublin occupied. He hardly bothered about instructions that came from the Reich Security Head Office. He organised his own police actions, when it suited him. He carried out executions at his own discretion. He built labour camps for prisoners, just where he liked, without bothering in the least about Pohl or DII, for to him they were always his camps and his prisoners. In the same way he regarded Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka as his extermination centres.

Eichmann, who had known Globocnik during the time of the SS illegal activities prior to the invasion of Austria, was greatly bothered by him. While I spent my time arguing with Eichmann about slowing down the transports of Jews to Auschwitz, Globocnik was saying that he could not get hold of enough. He wanted to be in the forefront with his exterminations and his collection of valuables.

As his advisor on exterminations, he had SA Oberfuhrer Oldenburg, from the Fuhrer's Chancellery, who before the war had devised methods of liquidating mental patients. Among Globocnik's extermination centres, I saw Treblinka on the same tour of inspection. The training camp in Trawniki was also a creation of Globocnik's. He wanted to form a separate unit of Russian guards, and had obtained the consent of the Reichsfuhrer-SS.

As might have been expected, these guards, who were called police, were unreliable. A company of them was given to me for Auschwitz. After a short time fifteen fled, taking with them all the weapons and ammunition they could lay their hands on, and during the chase that followed they engaged their pursuers with fire, which resulted in the deaths of three junior officers. All of them were recaptured, except three who managed to make their escape. The company was immediately disbanded and distributed among all the concentration camps.

His staff officer, Hofle, came to Orainenburg in 1944, and should have taken over the position of commander of a protective custody camp. In spite of the lack of suitable officers, even Glucks refused him the post. He had been too long under Globocnik's tuition. I learnt from Hofle something about Globocnik and his machinations.

Globocnik wanted to create a large German settlement  in his territory. With this in mind, he chose the district around Zamosc. He promised the Reichsfuhrer-SS, that he would move 50,000 new German settlers there within a year, as a model for the large settlements which it was intended to build later  on in the far eastern districts. He wanted to collect the necessary cattle and machines required for this purpose in the shortest possible space of time. But the district he had chosen was then occupied by Polish peasants. He therefore began straight away to evacuate them. He was quite indifferent as to where they were to go, but left that for the UWZ, or the Reich Security Head Office or the BDS in Krakow to work out. His main concern was to get the area ready to receive the 50,000 new settlers.

According to Hofle's descriptions this resettlement organised by Globocnik must have been catastrophic. Moreover, the German settlers themselves were by no means satisfied. Their hopes were unfulfilled and they worked themselves to death under the unusual conditions, waiting endlessly for Globocnik to give them assistance. 

In the summer of 1943, Globocnik visited Auschwitz on Himmler's orders to inspect the crematoria and examine the method of extermination. He was not, however, particularly struck by what he saw. His own installations were far quicker in operation and he began to quote figures to emphasise the daily rate of extermination- for example, I remember he talked of five trains arriving daily at Sobibor - and the enormous amount of property, which he had collected. He recklessly exaggerated at every opportunity. I always had the impression that he believed what he was saying. I knew from Eichmann that, for technical reasons connected with the railway, only two trains at the most could arrive at Sobibor each day.

After the incorporation of Austria, Globocnik became Gauleiter in Vienna. He caused so much mischief, however, that he soon had to be removed. He was in reality a good natured person, and in my opinion his deceptions were due to his pomposity and self-importance. Whether or not he made anything for himself out of the confused muddle of the Reinhardt action in Lublin, I do not know, but I would not put it past him. The officers and men of his territory certainly did well out of it. The special SS tribunals were given plenty of work and not a few death sentences were pronounced.

It had become almost a mania with Globocnik to requisition and utilise everything that was within his reach. He wanted to be able to supply the Reichsfuhrer-SS with an immense amount of money, and to excel even Pohl by means of his business undertakings. He was completely unscrupulous and he never even considered whether his requisitioning was right or not. This attitude naturally affected his subordinates, and since hardly any control was exercised over them, many organised their own requisitioning and made a flourishing business out of it, or else they stole whatever they could lay their hands on.

Globocnik's staff was nothing less than a collection of misfits. But they nevertheless managed to make themselves indispensable and liked by him, which was not very difficult considering his poor knowledge of human nature. When their misdeeds had to be covered up, Globocnik gave them his help, both out of good nature and so that his own intrigues would not come to light. The Reichsfuhrer-SS believed his assurances that everything in his domain was in exemplary order and exceedingly prosperous.


Commandant of Auschwitz, Pan Books Ltd,

Photograph: Chris Webb Private Archive

Document: National Archives - formerly PRO -Kew

© Holocaust Historical Society December 3, 2020