Did German guards and SS officers use stolen stolen Jewish papers, and did they tattoo fake concentration camp numbers onto themself to escape ?

Feb 2020
1
Budapest
Can someone recommend me some literature about the end of the second world war, more specifically about how german guards and ss officers used stolen Jewish papers, and how they tattooed fake concentration camp numbers onto themself to escape?
I wrote my thesis about Lore (2012) directed by Cate Shortland and I found most of the information about the period I wanted, but I just can't find any sources about this subject.
There is a character in the movie who travels with papers stolen from a killed Jewish man; we can see the camp tattoo on this character's arm but it can be easily faked, so we can't be sure who he really was.
I tried to find some books or papers in English and in Hungarian, but I couldn't find anything. I know some german too, not enough to search in it, but if you can recommend me some source in german I could use that too.
Thank you!
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
15,036
Europix
Can someone recommend me some literature about the end of the second world war, more specifically about how german guards and ss officers used stolen Jewish papers, and how they tattooed fake concentration camp numbers onto themself to escape?
I wrote my thesis about Lore (2012) directed by Cate Shortland and I found most of the information about the period I wanted, but I just can't find any sources about this subject.
There is a character in the movie who travels with papers stolen from a killed Jewish man; we can see the camp tattoo on this character's arm but it can be easily faked, so we can't be sure who he really was.
I tried to find some books or papers in English and in Hungarian, but I couldn't find anything. I know some german too, not enough to search in it, but if you can recommend me some source in german I could use that too.
Thank you!
Hello and welcome to our forum.

I never came across, nor heard about Nazis escaping by tattooing their arms and pass themselves for Jewish rescapees from concentration camps. And to be honest, I very much doubt there were many, if they were any. To begin with, right at the end of the war (I know it sounds cynical, but it was a bit like that), most Nazi would have been way too well fed, way too in good shape for a Jew coming out from Buchenwald or Auschwitz.

Anyway, if there were cases, if there is any info on such cases, the best source remains the Israeli state and the Jewish communities. It's the first place were that info should be searched for.
 
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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,526
Kansas
Can someone recommend me some literature about the end of the second world war, more specifically about how german guards and ss officers used stolen Jewish papers, and how they tattooed fake concentration camp numbers onto themself to escape?
I wrote my thesis about Lore (2012) directed by Cate Shortland and I found most of the information about the period I wanted, but I just can't find any sources about this subject.
There is a character in the movie who travels with papers stolen from a killed Jewish man; we can see the camp tattoo on this character's arm but it can be easily faked, so we can't be sure who he really was.
I tried to find some books or papers in English and in Hungarian, but I couldn't find anything. I know some german too, not enough to search in it, but if you can recommend me some source in german I could use that too.
Thank you!
I cant speak to your question about the guards, but the SS used have their blood type tattooed on their arms. It was the main way the Allies captured those attempting to hide in plain sight
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,731
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I remember I read something about this. In reality, in a concentration camp, German guards [and not German guards] with SS had substantially no possibility not to be spotted.

Some of them tried and become like prisoners [wearing their poor cloths], but Russians and Americans had no great troubles to detect them: their aspect. They were well better than the prisoners! Did they hope to look like a prisoner in a concentration camp? They tried, but ...
 
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Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,541
South of the barcodes
I cant speak to your question about the guards, but the SS used have their blood type tattooed on their arms. It was the main way the Allies captured those attempting to hide in plain sight
On the inside of their upper left arm near the armpit. But that was only for the prestige units and for the early years of the war, after about 1943 nobody bothered much.

The idea of SS guards disguising themselves as prisoners is one of the myths of WW2, like Nazis in submarines bound for Argentina and every doctor being Josef Mengele. Drama series and authors love the idea.

It happened, the Americans caught some guards at Dachau trying that stunt but mostly they didnt need to, nobody was searching for them so if they wandered off, joined a mass surrender and lied about their unit then German records had been destroyed or were in chaos so they could just fade away.

Plus while many German men were cicumcised they wouldnt know a thing abot pretending to be Jewish, they would be too well fed to look like KZ prisoners, why not just pretend to be a German from a different unit, far easier to assume the identity of Rolf Schmidt wehrmacht telephonist.
 
Oct 2015
1,237
California
An SS man trying to disguise himself as Jewish would be pointless, since any Russian soldier or any other persistent allied soldier can always check if he's circumsized! I can imagine how some would disguise themselves as regular heer soldiers, I believe Himmler tried to pass himself off as one when he was captured.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,541
South of the barcodes
As i mentioned in the post above, circumcision wasnt common in Germany but it wasnt that uncommon either, mostly for hygiene reasons. Until the Nazi era you could count on at least 10% of Germans being circumcised..

On the other hand many people who the Nazis classified as racially jews were religiously Catholic and Protestant so hadn't been circumcised.

Its theoretically possible for a German guard to take the identity of one of these people, but if they're stealing identities they could just as easily claim to be someone who had been in a camp for stealing, political non-conformity or any of a dozen other crimes.
After all even the most atheistic or secular jew knows basic religious services, the first time that Oberwachtmeister Schmidt tries to pass himself off as jewish all the suspicious person has to do is ask him to recite the Kadish and he's stuffed.

Another thing to consider is what papers would they be able to take? Maybe if the worked in a sorting shed, where new arrivals belongings were filtered for valuables and food you would be able to pick up passports or ID documents but you would need to find someone of your approximate age and physical details, you would need it to be from a person who's language you spoke or whose home town you would know enough about to bluff your way through.

Otherwise KZ prisoners were stripped of everything.

After the action in Hungary there werent new populations coming into the system, all they were doing was managing those prisoners who were already in camps, so youd probably have to have stolen the documents before 44?
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,799
None but the worst would even think about doing this as anti-semitism was strong and the worst of the SS who knew they had committed crimes would not bear to do it to themselves.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
6,160
Seems redundant, more trouble than it would be worth. Get som civilian clothes and claim to just be some more ordinary German Fritz would seem perfectly adequate to go into hiding. Aside from them problem of the health-discrepancy between most guards and most prisoners.