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Hitler's First Murders

Updated on November 17, 2014
Hitler in 1933
Hitler in 1933

Hitler was a serial killer. He just hated Jews based on his personal experiences with them as he grew up, influenced by others. Why a person ends up hating another race or religious sect is part of the human mystery.

Hitler came to power in early 1933. Almost immediately, he suspended many civil activities aimed at mostly Jews. This was prompted by an arson attack upon the Reichstag in Berlin on February 27th. While Hitler was the new chancellor, his Nazi party still would only control 44% after the March elections. Still, Hitler banned the Communist party and sacked governors unfriendly to the Nazi party and replaced them. On March 24th, he was able to pass the "empowerment law" in the German government allowing him total domination. From this point on, he was God, or to some, Satan. In a swift action, he began wholesale arrests of anyone or group against the Nazi party. While most areas crumbled, this was not the case in the Rhineland or Bavaria steeped in Catholicism.

In April, a Bavarian prosecutor, Josef Hartinger and his forensic team, went to the town of Prittlach, 10 miles from Munich, to investigate what would become Hitler's first murders. Josef was not a Nazi party believer. The three men killed happened in a wooded area near the abandoned munitions plant. This area also had a fenced in area called a "camp for protective custody". It was closer to another town known as an artist's colony called Dachau. From the start, Josef suspected murder. His team was greeted by a blond hair man in a black SS uniform, a snake-like commandant. He carried a whip and was spit and polished. Right away, Josef thought he was a sadist.

The forensic team arrived at the scene and quickly assessed the three men were murdered execution style with a bullet to the back of the head at close range. All were political opponents to Hitler. All were Jews. After the examination, Josef questioned the SS soldiers and all claimed they were trying to escape this camp. Some said the men accidentally ran into gunfire. Josef didn't believe any of the SS excuses and returned back to his office to file murder charges. Murder charges against the SS and Hitler. But even within his own office, many attorneys had been replaced and he faced opposition. He had hoped to draw attention to the growing racial crimes and hoped it would prevent more with this prosecution. On his side was the president, von Hindenburg, who had the power to remove Hitler. Hitler was concerned about world opinion then and wanted the Pope to placate the opposition by Catholics in the Rhineland and Bavaria. So, the prosecution continued with an indictment of the SS men thought to be responsible for the murders. By the time it was ready for trial in late May, many more unexplained deaths had occurred and now included. The Chief of the Bavarian police, Heinrich Himmler, was ordered to stop the murders at the camp. But, as suspected, this angered Himmler and he went directly to Hitler. Being close friends, Hitler ordered the "burying and delay" of the criminal case until other events and time made it impossible for it to continue. Josef was transferred to another legal office with less tasks, as were the other forensic team members. New laws issued by Hitler made such crimes immunized him and those acting in his behalf from criminal prosecution. Whatever physical evidence there was, was now gone and SS guards learned how to make their victims vanish.

Ironically, after 1945, Josef's case file on those first murders was found in a locked drawer.he had certain proof that the SS had from the very outset formed a criminal conspiracy and a systematic use of murder and terror as Hitler's political tool. It was not until 1984 (Josef was 90 then) that his defiance to the Nazis was made known.

Of course, the small camp of Dachau grew and responsible for murdering millions of Jews.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      I guess everyone needs to start in some humble way. This was Hitler's.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Skeletons in the closet. Nice work,