Pister, Hermann Franz Josef.

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Pister, Hermann Franz Josef
germanySS OberführerWehrmacht

Pister, Hermann Franz Josef , born 21-02-1885 in Lübeck, the son of a financial secretary in Lübeck, joined the German Imperial Navy in 1916 and served until the end of the war. In 1918 he began an apprenticeship as an auto mechanic and went on to become an automobile salesman and manager.

He joined the Nazi party  (no. 918391) and the SS  (No. 29892), being assigned to the SS Motor Echelon in 1932. In 1933 he was assigned to SS Motor Regiment Nineteen and in 1936 to SS Motor Regiment One. In 1937 he was assigned to Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler‘s

  motor pool. 

Pister was given the command of Hinzert concentration camp

   and served there from 09-10-1939 to 21-12-1941. On 01-01-1942 he replaced Karl Otto Koch  as commandant of Buchenwald. 

Commandant Hermann Pister, accompanied by two other SS officers, examines a bunker in the Hinzert concentration camp (a sub-camp of Buchenwald).  and here Pister exits a wooden building the administrative barracks at Hinzert

The prisoners were ordered evacuated from Buchenwald in early April 1945 to prevent their liberation by Allied troops. Pister

ordered the first group to leave on foot on 07-04-1945 to be sent to Dachau. This group was marched to the railroad station and placed in open boxcars. This train came to be known as the “Death Train”. It took until 27 April for the train to arrive at Dachau with many aboard dying of starvation and illness.  There was also evidence that the train had been strafed. SS-Obersturmführer  Hans Merbach  was placed in charge of the evacuation of Buchenwald and the train.

Death and burial ground of Pister, Hermann Franz Josef.

After the end of the war, Hans Merbach was sentenced to death on 14-08-1947, as part of the Dachau trials in the Buchenwald trial, for “helping and participating in the operations of the Buchenwald concentration camp,” especially for his responsibility for the deaths during evacuation sentenced and executed on 14-01-1949, age 38, in the war criminal prison Landsberg.


Pister was arrested by the Americans in 19; put on trial for war crimes by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau  with 30 other defendants where he was charged with participation in a “common plan” to violate the Laws and Usages of war of the Hague Convention of 1907 and the third Geneva Convention of 1929, in regard to the rights of Prisoners of War. The trial began on 11-04-1947. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. SS Oberführer  Pister died, age 63 in Landsberg Prison of an acute heart attack in his cell before the sentence could be carried out and buried on the Spöttinger Friedhof of the Landsberg Prison cemetery..

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