World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

Jurgen Stroop
From Wikipedia
Jürgen Stroop, (born Josef Stroop, September 26, 1895 in Detmold, Germany — died March 6, 1952 in Warsaw, Poland), was a high-ranking Nazi Party and SS official during World War II. He was best known for his role in liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto and for his book-length account of the operation: a document originally titled The Warsaw Ghetto Is No More. Following Germany's defeat, Stroop was sentenced to death for war crimes by a US military tribunal during the Dachau Trials in 1947. He was later extradited to Poland where he was also tried and convicted of crimes against humanity. He was hanged by Polish authorities in 1952.

Stroop joined the NSDAP and SS in 1932. In 1933, he was appointed leader of the state auxiliary police. One year later, he was promoted from the rank of SS-Oberscharführer to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer. Subsequently he worked for the SS administration in Münster and Hamburg. In the autumn of 1938, he was promoted again, this time to the rank of SS-Standartenführer (colonel) and served in the Sudetenland. After the invasion of Poland, he served as commander of the SS-section in Gnesen (Gniezno). During the occupation of Poland, Stroop was transferred to Poznan as head of Selbstschutz, the notorious "self-defense" formation of the local ethnic Germans.
In May 1941, Stroop changed his name from Josef to Jürgen for ideological reasons and in honor of his deceased son. From 7 July to 15 September 1941, Stroop served in combat on the eastern front with the infantry regiment of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. He was awarded a Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class and an Infantry Assault Badge in Bronze. On 16 September 1942, he was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer and assigned as an Inspector of the SiPo and SD of the Higher SS and Police Leader for Russia South. In this position Stroop worked to help secure a key logistical route for German forces on the Eastern Front. Beginning in October 1942, Stroop commanded an SS garrison at Kherson, before becoming the SS and Police Leader (SSPF) for Lemberg (Lviv) in February 1943.

Jürgen Stroop (center, in field cap) with his men in the burning Warsaw Ghetto 1943
The Warsaw Ghetto, transfer to Greece and return to Germany

Jürgen Stroop (center, in field cap) with his men in the burning Warsaw Ghetto, 1943
Stroop's most historically prominent role was the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, an action which cost the lives of over 50,000 people. He was sent to Warsaw on 17 April 1943 by Heinrich Himmler, as a replacement for SS-Oberführer Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg, who was relieved of duty. Stroop took over from Sammern-Frankenegg following the latter's failure to suppress the uprising at the onset:
I had two battalions of Waffen-SS, one hundred army men, units of Order Police, and seventy-five to a hundred Security Police people. The Security Police had been active in the Warsaw ghetto for some time, and during this program it was their function to accompany SS units in groups of six or eight, as guides and experts in ghetto matters.

Stroop had recently been involved in operations against Soviet partisans in Ukraine and was familiar with the latest German counter-insurgency tactics. He ordered the entire ghetto to be systematically burned down and blown up building by building, and all of Warsaw's Jews to be killed or deported to extermination camps. After the uprising was suppressed, he prepared a detailed record of the operation, a 75-page report, bound in black leather and including copies of all communiqués sent to SS Police Leader East Friedrich-Wilhelm Kruger and photographs. Originally titled "The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw is no more!", it is commonly referred to as "The Stroop Report" and would later be used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials. Stroop then formally assumed the position of SS and Police Leader of Warsaw. Kruger presented an Iron Cross 1st Class to him on 18 June 1943 for the Warsaw Ghetto "action" at a gala reception in Warsaw’s Lazienki Park.

Stroop was subsequently named the Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) in Greece on 8 September 1943. The local civilian administration found his methods and behaviour unacceptable and withdrew cooperation, forbidding the local Order Police from having anything to do with him, which made his position untenable. Consequently, he was removed and on 9 November was appointed Commander of SS-Oberabschnitt Rhein-Westmark (an SS administrative district named for the Rhine and Gau Westmark) in Wiesbaden, serving there until the close of the war.