Horrors of the Nazi paedophile who headed unit of murderers and rapists so sadistic even the SS were sickened

 EVEN by the standards of the murderous Nazi regime, Oskar Dirlewanger’s crimes stand out for their sheer depravity.

During the Second World War, the convicted paedophile led a unit of murderers, psychopaths and sex offenders that carried out acts of barbarism other Nazis found sickening.

Oskar Dirlewanger was a convicted sex offender and mass murderer
Oskar Dirlewanger was a convicted sex offender and mass murdererCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk
Men of the SS-Dirlewanger Sturmbrigade, a unit made up murderers, rapists and other criminals
Men of the SS-Dirlewanger Sturmbrigade, a unit made up murderers, rapists and other criminalsCredit: Bundesarchiv
Dirlewanger pictured with some of his troops
Dirlewanger pictured with some of his troops

Dirlewanger himself was imprisoned for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1934 and a Nazi police report from the era described his personality.

He is a “mentally unstable, violent fanatic and alcoholic who had the habit of erupting into violence under the influence of drugs”, they said.

In the course of the war, men of the SS-Dirlewanger Sturmbrigade murdered tens of thousands of civilians, including burning alive and bayonetting babies and children.

Among his acts of unimaginable sadism was undressing and whipping female Jewish prisoners, then injecting them with the poison strychnine to watch them die in agony for entertainment.

British military historian Mark Felton describes the Dirlewanger Brigade as the “absolute epitome of evil” led by a “violent sexual sadist even the Nazis found difficult to stomach”.

Dirlewanger was born in 1895 and served as an infantry officer during WWI, when he was awarded the Iron Cross.After the conflict ended he became involved with far-right paramilitary groups fighting left wing opponents.

In 1922 he graduated with a degree from Goethe University Frankfurt and the following year, joined Nazi party.

His conviction for rape and other offences landed him in the Welzheim concentration camp, where sex offenders were held.

But thanks to the intervention of a comrade from the war, who was a senior figure in the SS, he was released.

Dirlewanger served with German troops fighting on the side of the General Franco in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-39.

At the outbreak of the World War II he volunteered for the SS and was chosen to lead a unit made up of former poachers it’s thought had the necessary skills to hunt resistance fighters in Poland.

The ranks were soon swelled by murderers, rapists and the criminally insane, who all took their lead from Dirlewanger’s own personal depravity and took on his name.

The Dirlewanger Brigade’s behaviour in the Lublin area of Poland led to complaints from local Nazis and it was transferred to what is now Belarus.

Even fellow Nazis were repulsed by Dirlewanger
Even fellow Nazis were repulsed by DirlewangerCredit: WIKIMEDIA
During the Warsaw uprising of 1944, Dirlewanger's troops killed 300 children
During the Warsaw uprising of 1944, Dirlewanger's troops killed 300 childrenCredit: Getty
A Jewish boy and his family being taken into captivity by the Nazis
A Jewish boy and his family being taken into captivity by the NazisCredit: Hulton Archive - Getty
The monster was beaten to death after being captured
The monster was beaten to death after being capturedCredit: WIKIMEDIA

In August 1942, the unit murdered 8350 Jews in the Baranovichi ghetto, an act resulted in an official SS investigation.

The scale of their activities led one official from the organisation to complain that unless “this bunch of criminals disappears from the General Government within a week, I will go myself and lock them up”.

In a documentary about Dirlewanger on his popular YouTube channel, Dr Felton said the unit “deliberately recruited men convicted of very serious crimes”.

Its ranks were made up of “sociopaths, psychopaths and deviants of every description, men who under normal circumstances would have been executed by the state or left to rot in prison”.

“The combination of such men being given arms and power was terrifying,” he said.


To his men he was a hero, with one quoted in the German media describing him as a “great guy” who was “always at the forefront, never the rear”.

Dirlewanger’s “speciality was herding large numbers of civilians into barns which were then set alight and the victims shot down as they attempted to escape”.

Civilians were also regularly used to clear minefields while doctors and nurses were butchered in hospitals.

Some estimates put the death toll inflicted as being as high as 120,000.

After a spell fighting the Red Army in which Dirlewanger was wounded several times, the unit was sent to crush the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

The Poles had take up arms in a bid to free themselves from the Nazis, who reacted with extreme brutality.


Dirlewanger ordered the murder of 500 children and in order to save bullets told his men to beat and bayonet them to death.

As the fighting was coming to an end, his men came across a hospital and an SS soldier from another unit described what happened.

“Dirlewanger stood with his men and laughed," he said

"The nurses from the hospital were rushed through the square, naked with hands on their heads.

"Blood ran down their legs… When they were hanging one of the nurses, Dirlewanger kicked the bricks she was standing on. I couldn’t watch that anymore.”

At the end of the war, Dirlewanger was wounded in fighting with the Soviets and his unit began to disintegrate, before it surrendered to the Americans.

Dirlewanger was himself captured by French troops while hiding in the mountains.

The circumstances of his death are unclear but it’s believed he was beaten to death by Polish soldiers at the camp where he was held.

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