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Herbert Floss
File:Herbert Floss.jpg
Herbert Floss
Born (1912-08-25)August 25, 1912
Died October 22, 1943(1943-10-22) (aged 31)
Place of birth Reinholdsheim
Place of death Zawadówka
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Rank Scharführer, SS (Sergeant)

SS-Scharführer Herbert Floss or Herbert Floß (25 August 1912 — 22 October 1943) served as acting commander of the Sobibor extermination camp during the Holocaust in Poland. He also served as cremation expert in Camp II Totenlager at the Treblinka extermination camp.[1]

Floss joined the NSDAP in 1930, the SA in 1931, and the SS in 1935.

He served at Sobibor from its establishment in April 1942 until the uprising on 14 October 1943. Before entering service in Sobibor, Floss was stationed in Buchenwald and several euthanasia centres. In the early period of Sobibor, Floss was the acting commander for a few weeks until he was succeeded by Gustav Wagner. Before the victims went into the gas chambers, he took their last possessions from them.

Floss as remembered by fellow Treblinka SS officer Heinrich Matthes:

An SS-Oberscharführer or Hauptscharführer Floss arrived at this time [November 1942], who, so I presume, must previously have been in another camp. He then had the installation built for burning the corpses. The incineration was carried out by placing railroad rails on blocks of concrete. The corpses were then piled up on these rails. Brush wood was placed under the rails. The wood was drenched with gasoline. Not only the newly obtained corpses were burnt in this way, but also those exhumed from the ditches.[2][3]
The burning of corpses received the proper incentive only after an instructor had come down from Auschwitz. The specialists in this new profession were businesslike, practical and conscientious. The instructor in incineration at Treblinka was nicknamed by the Jews as Tadellos (perfect); that was his favourite expression. "Thank God, now the fire's perfect," he used to say when, with the help of gasoline and the bodies of the fatter females, the pile of corpses finally burst into flames.[4]

By the end of July 1943, the Jewish "death brigade" in Camp II, supervised by SS man Floss, had cremated about 700,000 corpses.[5]

At Sobibor Floss also trained the Ukrainian guards. One week after the uprising he accompanied a group of them to Lublin. When the train was near Chełm he was overpowered and shot with his own machine pistol.[6]

See also

  • Treblinka Trials


  1. The Holocaust: Lest we forget: Extermination camp Sobibor
  2. StA Dusseldorf, AZ:8 Js 10904/59 <AZ. ZSL: 208 AR-Z 230/59, vol. 10, pp. 2056R, 2057
  3. Operation Reinhard: The Extermination Camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka - The Attempt to Remove Traces
  4. Alexander Donat (ed.) (1979). The Death Camp Treblinka. New York: Holocaust Library, p. 38
  5. Tregenza, Michael. Christian Wirth: Inspekteur der Sonderkommandos, Aktion Reinhard. Vol. XV, Lublin 1993, p. 57.
  6. Sobibor Interviews: Biographies of SS-men

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