Another installment of nightmare fuel (if I have to suffer, so do you):http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Dirlewanger
Oskar Dirlewanger (September 26, 1895 Würzburg - June 5, 1945 Altshausen) was a World War II officer with the Schutzstaffel (SS). He commanded the infamous SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger unit made out of amnestied Germans convicted of major crimes
Oskar Dirlewanger was an infantry officer in World War I and won both the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Iron Cross 1st Class.
After the end of war he joined different Freikorps and fought in the Ruhr Area, in Saxonia and in June 1921 in Upper Silesia. Between his militant employment he studied at the university in Frankfurt and in the year 1922 he attained a PhD in political science. He joined the NSDAP in 1923, but was eventually expelled. He rejoined years later, receiving Party #1,098,716. His eventual SS # was 357,267.
He held various jobs, which included working as a bank employee and teacher. In 1934 he was convicted of, among other things, the rape of a 13-year old BDM girl and molesting other underage girls, and he was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Dirlewanger then lost his job, his doctor title and all military honors. After transfer from the Ludwigsburg prison he was sent to the Welzheim concentration camp, which he was able to leave after intervention of his friend and later SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger.He served in the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939
and he was wounded three times. This helped redeem his reputation and with help of the Nazi party his Doctor title was restored by the University of Frankfurt.
At the beginning of the Second World War Dirlewanger volunteered for the Waffen SS and received the rank of Obersturmführer.
The idea for a military unit made up of convicted criminals was apparently because Heinrich Himmler thought that convicted criminals (starting with poachers) could be reformed and used as second line units on the eastern front against the partisans. However a lack of poachers meant that the division soon began accepting hardened career criminals, as well as Soviet Russian and Ukrainian POWs, members of the Wehrmacht convicted of "lesser" felony offenses, and eventually all German convicts (including rapists, child molesters, murderers, and those that had been committed to asylums for the criminally insane).
The battalion was assigned to anti-partisan duties first in occupied Poland (General Government), where Dirlewanger had previously served as a commandant of an SS labor camp for Jews in Dzików. In February 1942, it was reassigned for anti-partisan duties in Belarus. Dirlewanger was known to lead his soldiers into combat personally which was unusual for someone of his rank; he was wounded many times in combat. Dirlewanger received the clasp to his Iron Cross II on May 24, 1942, and that to his Iron Cross I on September 16, 1942, and received the German Cross in Gold on December 5, 1943, in recognition of his regiment's successes during this time, such as Operation Cottbus, which was the destruction out the partisan pseudo state Republic of Lake Pelik and a claimed body count of 15,000 dead partisans
Dirlewanger's primary patron in the SS hierarchy was Gottlob Berger, the head of the SS-Hauptamt. Berger provided Himmler with a massive political boost by numerically increasing the Waffen-SS through administrative means. Following an order signed by Berger in 1940, every active SS member would wear the same uniform and carry the same paybook as the professional SS soldiers. The blurring of the line between the camp guards and the Gestapo and the front-line soldiers pushed Himmler toward his ultimate goal — sole commander of Germany's armed forces. Given Berger's contribution to Himmler's ambitions, it is possible that Himmler allowed Berger a free hand. Both Berger and Himmler were enthusiastic about the incorporation into the Waffen-SS of the Kaminski Brigade, a unit made up of Soviet turncoats. Bronislaw Kaminski was executed by Germany for his unruly performance in Warsaw in 1944; Dirlewanger was however protected by Berger.Dirlewanger's unit was employed in the fight against partisans in the occupied Soviet Union where they gained a reputation for extreme brutality, including indiscriminate murder of civilians of all gender and age, rape and other excesses, as well as widespread looting.
Occasionally Dirlewanger's promoter and friend Gottlob Berger participated, and traveled from Berlin to visit him.
SS Judge and investigator Georg Konrad Morgen attempted to have Dirlewanger charged for war crimes, but was blocked by Heinrich Himmler.
Later, Dirlewanger's unit was used in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising at the specific request of Himmler, who was so deeply enraged at the continued resistance of the Warsaw Poles that he sought to utilize the unit's penchant for sadistic and bloodthirsty terrorism to quickly break the will of the remaining Polish fighters. By this stage in the unit's history, the brigade's ethos had become so degenerate and indiscriminate that Himmler was forced to detail several companies of military police to protect nearby German units and ensure the Dirlewanger men only targeted the Poles. The unit was encouraged by Himmler to terrorize freely, take no prisoners, and generally indulge their perverse tendencies; favored tactics of the Dirlewanger men during the siege reportedly included the ubiquitous gang rape of female Poles (both women and children), playing "bayonet catch" with live babies, and torturing captives to death by hacking off their arms, dousing them with gasoline, and setting them alight to run armless and flaming down the street. The Dirlewanger brigade committed almost nonstop atrocities during this period, (in particular the four-day Wola massacre), for which Dirlewanger and his superior Erich von dem Bach were awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on September 30, 1944.
Dirlewanger received his final promotion, to SS-Oberführer der Reserve, on August 15, 1944. On February 15, 1945, he was seriously injured in combat for the 12th time and sent to the rear.
On June 1, 1945, French occupation forces used Polish soldiers in their service to forcibly bring him to the Altshausen jail. Dirlewanger was beaten and tortured over the next few days. He died from injuries inflicted by the Polish guards around June 5, 1945. This information was suppressed at the time, and many bogus sightings of him were made around the world, even though the French recorded that Dirlewanger was buried on June 19, 1945, leaving little doubt that he was dead.
Other rumors surfaced years later to suggest that he had escaped, including one story of Dirlewanger serving in the French Foreign Legion, and later defecting to Egypt to accept a commission in Gamal Abdel Nasser's army. These were proven false when a French court arranged the exhumation of his corpse to confirm his identity in November 1960.