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Oswald Kaduk, born on August 26, 1906, in Königshütte, Upper Silesia, etched his name into history as a German SS member during the dark days of the Nazi era. His role as Rapportführer at the Auschwitz concentration camp bears witness to the atrocities committed by individuals who willingly embraced the horrors of the Holocaust.
Born into a family of blacksmiths, Kaduk had a humble life in Königshütte. He went to the Volksschule and eventually finished his butchering training in 1924. Early in his career, he worked at a nearby slaughterhouse and had fire service jobs at a chemical company and the Chorzów municipal fire brigade.
After joining the Allgemeine SS in 1939, Kaduk joined the Waffen-SS in 1940 and was called up to fight on the Eastern Front. His relocation to Auschwitz in 1941 resulted from health difficulties. He was first assigned to watch tower duty, then became a Blockführer and finally a Rapportführer.
Being regarded as one of the most vicious and ruthless SS members led to Kaduk’s infamy at Auschwitz. Kaduk’s severe violence was revealed by a witness to a horrifying episode in 1944. After a prisoner went AWOL, there was a savage attack that resulted in the prisoner’s death. Kaduk and another Rapportführer trampled the victim’s ribcage until his ribs snapped.
Historian Andrew Roberts illustrated the mindless cruelty that characterized Auschwitz in “The Storm of War,” where he described Kaduk’s gruesome habit of giving balloons to Jewish children right before they were executed by phenol injection to the heart.
Witnessing the mass executions in gas chambers, Kaduk remembered the physicians ordering the injection of Zyklon B gas.
The notorious “Kaduk’s chapel,” a little tower tucked in between the main camp and the barracks, is a grim reminder of him.
After Germany was forced to submit, Kaduk worked in a sugar plant until a Soviet patrol recognized him and detained him in 1946. He was given a 25-year hard labor sentence by a Soviet tribunal in 1947. After being freed in 1956, he moved to West Berlin, where he ironically became known as “Papa Kaduk” while working as a hospital nurse.
But in 1959, at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials, justice was served to Kaduk. In 1965, the court convicted him of murder in 10 cases and joint murder in at least a thousand cases and condemned him to life in prison. Appeal after appeal for mercy failed to change the seriousness of Kaduk’s actions.
In a TV documentary interview, while incarcerated, Kaduk refuted Holocaust denial and emphasized the indisputable reality of Auschwitz’s atrocities.
Kaduk was transferred to an open jail in 1984. In 1989, his health prevented him from being imprisoned, and he was freed. He lived out his retirement years in Langelsheim, Harz, and died on May 31, 1997, at the age of ninety-nine.
How much is Oswald Kaduk Worth?
Oswald Kaduk has an estimated net worth of about $1 – $5 million.