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Otto Küsel

German concentration camp survivor
The basics
About
Date of birth Berlin, Germany
Date of death Nov 17, 1984
Authority VIAF id
The details
Biography

Otto Küsel (born May 16, 1909 in Berlin; died November 17, 1984) is considered to be an example of a prisoner functionary in Nazi concentration camp, who used his position in favour of other prisoners.

Detention in German concentration camps

Küsel was arrested because of offences against property. On May 20, 1940, he came from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to Auschwitz I in a group of 30 criminal prisoners. His prison number was number 2.

As a prisoner functionary, he was responsible to coordinate the work of the prisoners and used his position to help them, for instance by assigning good labour details to weaker prisoners.

In the afternoon of December 1942, Küsel escaped together with the Polish prisoners, Jan Baraś Komski, Mieczysław Januszewski and Bolesław Kuczbara.

Küsel was arrested in Warsaw and sent back to Auschwitz in September 1943. He was kept in isolation until November and released to the main camp in November during an amnesty related to the taking of office of the new commander Arthur Liebehenschel. On November 9, 1944 he was sent to Flossenbürg.

After the war

Küsel was among the 211 survivors of Auschwitz testifying in the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials.

Literature

  • Bernacka, Monika: Otto Küsel- Green Triangle. On the 100th Anniversary of his Birth: In: Oś—Oświęcim, People, History, Culture magazine, no. 5, May 2009, S. 8-9. (Digitalisat, englisch), retrieved 2010-04-29.
  • Czech, Danuta, Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945, 1. Aufl., 1989. Quoted after the Italian translation by Gianluca Picchinini (digitalized, Italian)
  • Dregger, Sebastian: Die Rolle der Funktionshäftlinge im Vernichtungslager Auschwitz – und das Beispiel Otto Küsels., in: Aventinus. Die Historische Internetzeitschrift von Studenten für Studenten, Ausgabe 04 - Wintersemester 07/08
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