Hans Erich Merbach, born 10-10-1910 in Gotha, attended elementary school in Siebleben for eight years, was dismissed from the 8th grade and then three years the advanced training school. In 1924, he entered the apprenticeship at the machine company Kloebner near Gotha and learned how to do the locksmith’s trade there. After completing my apprenticeship, Merbach was half a year there, still a bachelor, and later applied to the Gotha Life Insurance Bank in Gotha. In 1928 he entered the office of the Life Insurance Bank in Gotha, where he worked until the beginning of the war in 1939, later as a bank clerk. a trained locksmith, worked from 1928 as an office clerk and later as a bank clerk at the Gothaer Lebensversicherungs-Bank until 1939.
Hans Merbach was from June 1930 an early member of the SS (SS No. 3,387) and the NSDAP (membership number 259 233). Merbach belonged to the 14th SS Standarde as an SS man and was transferred to the Waffen-SS on 15-09-1939. He was transferred from Berlin-Lichterfelde to the Buchenwald concentration camp in December 1939, where he worked until May 1941 as adjutant of the Wachblock, guard block. Due to a cardiac muscle palsy, he stayed on hospital stays in Weimar and Gotha from 12-05-1941, after which Merbach was released until the autumn of 1941 for recovery at home. From late 1941 to mid-May 1942 and again from October to December 1942 Merbach was active as a commander of the guards of Buchenwald concentration camp.Buchenwald was a concentration camp in Nazi Germany during World War II in a wooded area near the city of Weimar. The camp, almost completely closed off from the outside world, was built in 1937 by SS men and prisoners. Buchenwald was liberated on 11-04-1945 by the Sixth Armored Division of the Third American Army, under the command of Major General Robert Walker Grow The camp was initially called Konzentrationslager Ettersberg after its location, but was soon renamed to Konzentrationslager Buchenwald/Post Weimar at the suggestion of the Weimar cultural commission. Heinrich Himmler ordered Buchenwald to be built. The camp with camp commander Karl Otto Koch, , here with his wife Ilse Koch, born Köhler, “The Bitch of Buchenwald”, was designed to hold 8,000 prisoners and was initially intended for political prisoners and criminals. The first 149 prisoners – communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma and Sinti, criminals and homosexuals – arrived at Buchenwald camp on 15-07-1937. They came from other camps, such as Sachsenhausen and Lichtenburg. The prisoners were employed in the construction of the camp, the construction of barracks, barracks, houses and the construction of streets. By the end of 1937 there were already 2,561 detainees in the camp, 48 of whom had died and were cremated in the Weimar crematorium. From April 1938, thousands of ‘werkshy’ (people who refused assigned work) and homeless people were interned in the camp. A subcategory of Jews was also defined in each category of prisoners.In the autumn of 1938, the first Austrian prisoners from Dachau arrived in Buchenwald. Among them many prominent Jewish artists and scientists. By the end of 1938 there were more than 11,000 prisoners in Buchenwald. During 1938, 771 died, including 408 of Jewish descent.
At the end of 1943 there were 37,319 prisoners, 3,516 died that year. As the Red Army advanced, more and more prisoners were evacuated from other camps to Buchenwald. For example, 4,200 Jews came from Czestochowa, 7,350 from Auschwitz and another 7,800 from Groß-Rosen. Those who arrive alive are on the verge of death from exhaustion, cold and hunger. Buchenwald became the largest camp, housing 112,000 prisoners in February 1945, of which 25,000 were women. About a third were Jewish. Conditions were now becoming increasingly worse due to overpopulation, dozens of people were dying every day from hardship.
By order of the then camp commandant SS Oberführer Hermann Pister, Merbach graduated from May to September 1942 at an officer training course at the Army Dog School Berlin-Sperenberg. From January 1943 to January 1945 Merbach acted as commander of the dog squad in the concentration camp Auschwitz. After the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Merbach became the second protective custody camp leader in the Buchenwald concentration camp from 01-02-1945. During the existence of the concentration camp, 238,979 people were imprisoned in Buchenwald. Of these, 56,545 died, including 11,000 Jews
On 07-04-1945 Merbach commanded an evacuation transport from the Buchenwald concentration camp with the original goal concentration camp Flossenbürg.
Some 5,000 concentration camp inmates initially had to travel 12 kilometers on a death march to Weimar. Merbach himself is said to have shot ten inmates on the death march. In Weimar, the prisoners were crammed into partially open freight cars for transport. Since the concentration camp Flossenbürg was evacuated from 20-04-1945, the train continued on secondary lines in the direction of Dachau, with Merbach outside of Pilsen with other SS men together shot 20 prisoners. The train reached only after 21 days on 28-04-1945 the Dachau concentration camp, one day before the liberation of the concentration camp. Previously, more than 1,500 bodies had been burned at a stop near Munich. Between 30 and 50 inmates who had to help with the incineration were said to have been shot by SS men. Due to the blatant lack of food and water (in combination with cold and poor hygiene), less than half of the approximately 5,000 prisoners arrived alive at their destination in Dachau. After the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, American soldiers made photographs of the prisoners who died in starvation and exhaustion in the freight cars, documenting the gruesome circumstances of this “evacuation transport.”
Death and burial ground of Merbach, Hans Erich.
After the end of the war, Merbach was put to death in the context of the Dachau trials in the Buchenwald trial on 14-08-1947 because of its “assistance and participation in the operations of the Buchenwald concentration camp” – especially because of its responsibility for the deaths during the evacuation transport Condemned and executed/hanged on 14-01-1949, age 48, in the war criminal prison Landsberg. Hans Merbach was buried between many other war criminals on the Spöttinger cemetery in Landsberg.