Hauptscharführer Gustav Hermann Sorge, “Der eiserne Gustav” (Iron Gustav).


Gustav Hermann Sorge born April 24, 1911, in Reisen, nicknamed “Der eiserne Gustav” (Iron Gustav) for his brutality, was an SS senior NCO. He  was initially a guadr at Esterwegen concentration camp in the Emsland region of Germany. Later on, he was assigned to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Among the many people who were murdered at Sachsenhausen by Sorge was Leon Sternbach, a professor of classical philology at the Jagiellonian University   and the paternal uncle of famed chemist, Leo Sternbach . Sorge became a prisoner of war of the USSR  after the war. Sorge was tried as a war criminal by the Soviet Union in the Sachsenhausen trial held in the former city hall of Berlin-Pankow in 1947, along with Sachsenhausen commandant, Anton Kaindl  , prison block director, Kurt Eccarius  and others. Anton Kaindl was found guilty with 11 of the others and was held in the Hohenschonhausen for a month. He was then sent to the Vorkuta Gulag where he died in the spring of 1948, age 46 and buried their Eccarius was found guilty and sentenced to eight and a half years’ imprisonment  on December 22, 1969. Sorge was released after serving two years. He was also investigated for the murder of Yako Losifovich Dzhugashvili, son of Josef Stalin.

Sorge was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Sorge was repatriated to West Germany in 1956 on the condition that he continue to serve the life sentence imposed by the Soviets. Sorge   was put on trial with fellow SS guard, Oberscharführer Wilhelm Schubert , in Bonn for the 1941 murders of over 13,000 Soviet prisoners of war, many of whom were invalided, at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The murders were carried out on a daily basis for six weeks. The retrial was ordered by the Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany to assuage public concern that the original verdicts in 1947 were indeed warranted. He was convicted of 67 individual murders and numerous counts of manslaughter  and re-sentenced to a life term. Sorge was sent to Rheinbach prison near Bonn, where he died in 1978, age 67.

Wilhelm Schubert was born in 1917 in Magdeburg, and volunteered for the Waffen-SS  in 1936, joining the SS-Totenkopf Brigade (later the Totenkopf Division) . He joined the Nazi Party in 1938 and from May of that year until April 1942 he was a Blockführer in Sachsenhausen. At the end of 1939 he took part in the shooting of thirty-three Poles, and from September to November 1941 he took part in the extermination of Soviet POWs and civilians.


He was said to have personally shot five hundred and ten prisoners, as well as brutally mistreated, tortured, and whipped many others. Following his trial by a Soviet Military Tribunal, he was sentenced to life in prison with forced labor. Schubert died old age 88 on 12-01-2006 in Solingen.


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