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Josef Hirtreiter
At the Treblinka zoo (left to right):
Paul Bredow, Willi Mentz, Max Möller, Josef Hirtreiter
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel
Rank Scharführer, SS (Sergeant)
Unit 3rd SS Division Logo.svg SS-Totenkopfverbände
Commands held Treblinka extermination camp

SS-Scharführer Josef Hirtreiter (1 February 1909 - 27 November 1978) nicknamed "Sepp", was a member of the German SS in World War II and a Holocaust perpetrator who worked at Treblinka extermination camp during the Operation Reinhard phase of the Holocaust in Poland.[1][2]


Hirtreiter was born in Bruchsal. After elementary school, he worked as unskilled construction worker and bricklayer. On 1 August 1932 he became member of the NSDAP and SA. After the invasion of Poland, in October 1940 he was assigned to the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre where he worked in the kitchen. In summer 1942 he joined the army. Four weeks later he was sent back to Hadamar, and then to Berlin, from where Christian Wirth transferred him to Lublin reservation camp complex. There, he became the SS-Unterscharführer and was assigned to Treblinka. Hirtreiter served at Treblinka II from October 1942 till October 1943 in Camp II. Later, he also served at Sobibor.[3]

After the closing of Treblinka in October 1943 Hirtreiter was ordered to Italy where he joined an anti-partisan police unit. He was arrested by the Allies in July 1946, and charged with having served at the euthanasia centre in Hadamar. He became the first of the Treblinka extermination camp hangmen to be tried in Frankfurt am Main. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 3 March 1951 for killing many children aged one to two, during the unloading of the transports notably, by grabbing them by their feet and smashing their heads against the walls of boxcars. Hirtreiter was released from prison in 1977 due to illness. He died 6 months later at an old peoples home in Frankfurt.[3]


  1. Kopówka, Edward; Rytel-Andrianik, Paweł (2011). "Treblinka II – Obóz zagłady" (in Polish) (PDF file, direct download 20.2 MB). Dam im imię na wieki [I will give them an everlasting name. Isaiah 56:5]. Drohiczyńskie Towarzystwo Naukowe [The Drohiczyn Scientific Society]. ISBN 978-83-7257-496-1. Retrieved September 9, 2013. "with list of Catholic rescuers of Jews imprisoned at Treblinka, selected testimonies, bibliography, alphabetical indexes, photographs, English language summaries, and forewords by Holocaust scholars." 
  2. Arad, Yitzhak (1987) (Google Books preview). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253213053.,+Yitzhak+(1987).+Belzec,+Sobibor,+Treblinka&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 ARC (23 September 2006). "The Treblinka Perpetrators". An overview of the German and Austrian SS and Police Staff. Aktion Reinhard Camps ARC. Retrieved 22 October 2013. "Sources: Arad, Donat, Glazar, Klee, Sereny, Willenberg et al." 

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