Rauter, Johan Baptist Albin “Hanns.

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Rauter, Hanns Albin, born 04-02-1895 in Klagenfurt, Austro-Hungarian Empire, the second son of a family of seven children. His father, Josef Rauter, was a fairly wealthy chief forester with a strong focus on Germany. His mother was Johanna (Ivana) Antonia Loncaric Sekulic, married on 24-01-1891 in Agram (born 28-06-1874 in Selce near St. Veit am Pflaum; she died 03-03-1944 in Vienna). Hanns ’siblings were: Léocadij “Leo” Janez Anton 1891-1968 (lived in France under the pseudonym Raoul Léor), Hubert Jakob 1892-1964, Josef Franz 1893-1893, Adolphine Helyett 1897-1978, Heliodor 1900-1980, Josef 1902-1982, Johanna Franziska 1902-1983 and Frederike Juliana 1908-1999.

Hans graduated from High school in 1912 and started training as an Engineer at the Graz University of Technology. He wanted to become a structural engineer, but due to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, he had to abandon that plan for the time being. He dropped out of his studies and volunteered in the Austro-Hungarian army  He served with a Gebirgsschützenregiment and was discharged in 1919, having reached the rank of Oberleutnant. Rauter took part in the Kärntner Freiheitskampf of 1919, and from May until July 1921 he fought in the Freikorps Oberland in Oberschlesien.

While fencing, Rauter had a “Bubenstreife” carved into his face – a scar as a symbol of courage and masculinity. For his service during the war, the 1.91 meter long Rauter received several decorations including Austrian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with War decoration , Silver Medal for Bravery , Wound Medal or Karl Troop Cross. Rauter was above all a product of the First World War. In the service of the Austrian army, he looked death in the eye “a hundred times”. “Then you get hard.”

Rauter first met Adolf Hitler in 1929 and joined the Nazi cause in Austria. His forays in Austria forced him to flee to Germany in 1933, where he became part of the NSDAP department for Austria. Rauter would have preferred to join the SA, but did not make it through the selection. With his second choice, he quickly grew into a model SS man. Pre-war assessments already praised his “unshakable” National Socialist conviction and his “combatant nature”. His ascetic demeanor was also praised: “No inclinations to excess.” He was active in planning illegal NSDAP activities in Austria. In 1935 he become a member of the SS, SS-nr.: 262 958. Until 1940 he was the Leader of the SS Southeast department in Breslau.

 Leader Anton Mussert giving a speech to NSB volunteers in Den Haag, October 1941. To the rear are Rijkscommissaris Arthur Seyss-Inquart,  General Hendrik Alexander Seyffardt and SS Obergruppenführer Hanns Albin Rauter In later years, He continued to live up to that character sketch. Where many of his kindred spirits personally descended to a dubious moral level, the neat family man Rauter could not be caught in excess or self-enrichment. Professionally, he went out of his way to meet the same high standard. That meant obeying orders strictly, trying even a little better than strictly necessary, and doing everything else that was in the interest of the Third Reich.

In May 1940 he was appointed Generalkommissar für das Sicherheitswesen (General Commissioner for Security) and Höherer SS-und Polizeiführer (Higher SS and Police leader) for the occupied Netherlands. Rauter here with the Dutch General Seyffardt, Hendrik Alexander  who inspects Dutch volunteers who will leave for the Eastern Front. and Rauter here inspects the Dutch Landwacht with NSB leader Anton Mussert. In his position as police commander and highest ranking SS leader in the Netherlands, Rauter was responsible for the deportation of 110,000 Dutch Jews to the Nazi concentration camps (6,000 survived) and the repression of the Dutch resistance. He had 300,000 Dutchmen deported to Germany for forced labour. His first victims to die were those killed during the armed break up of the February strike on 26-02-1941, accounting for 9 dead that day: he also immediately declared a state of emergency and ordered summary executions.

He was the chief promoter of terror through summary arrests and internment in the Netherlands. The SS set up a concentration camp named Herzogenbusch after the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, but located in the neighboring town of Vught that gave the camp its name: Kamp Vught.  In total this camp detained 31,000 people, of whom some 735 were killed. Also, his SS manned a so-called polizeiliches Durchgangslager or police transit camp near Amersfoort, known as Kamp Amersfoort, in fact also a concentration camp, where some 35,000 people were detained and maltreated and 650 people (Dutch and Russian) died. Rauter’s SS also managed the Kamp Westerbork (polizeiliches Durchgangslager Westerbork), the place from which some 110,000 Dutch Jews were deported to Nazi concentration and extermination camps, mainly Auschwitz and Sobibor.

Under Rauter’s guidance, a special block was built for ‘political prisoners’ (i.e. resistance workers) in the Scheveningen prison. These were often held in indefinite detention. In total 28,000 people were detained here over 4 years; many were severely mistreated, some were tried and 738 men and 21 women died here or on the nearby execution field, the Waalsdorpervlakte  (now a national place of remembrance).

Rauter also instigated a system of retaliation for assaults on Nazi officials and their Dutch collaborators: one killed Nazi equalled ten Dutch victims, one killed Dutch collaborator equalled three Dutch victims. During 1944 these numbers sharply increased with the rise of resistance violence.

“All measures could be taken, but all according to procedures. The Jews had to get out, resistance members could be shot, but no massacres in public and all according to clear guidelines.”Rauter was horrified by supporters who did not adhere to such a depraved code of honor. He was furious after the ‘Bunker drama’ in Kamp Vught, where 74 women were pushed into a cramped cell; ten of them did not survive. Impermissible “Schweinerei”, said Rauter.”He didn’t mind that the women had died, but the way in which it was done. That’s not how you do it. If they deserve punishment, you put them in front of the firing squad or you send them to a concentration camp. What also bothered him was that the camp authorities tried to keep it a secret. Rauter wanted to be kept informed of everything. That was his strength, the reports that had to come in about what was going on.” The German atrocity was a retaliatory act. Shortly before, the communist prisoner Non Verstegen had cut off a traitor’s hair. She was then punished with solitary confinement in the new ‘bunker’. When other prisoners declared their solidarity and demanded Non’s release, they, and Verstegen himself, were taken away and imprisoned. The culprits in the drama were not only of German descent. Many of the personnel in Vught consisted of Catholic girls from Brabant, often with a background of collaboration and frolic with German soldiers. Among them was SS-Aufseherin Suze Arts, one of the two main characters of Olink’s chronicle. Arts was born in 1916 into a prominent reactionary Roman Catholic family; De Quay and Beel came home. She had been raised in the 1930s with Nazi nuns in German boarding schools and then ended up in Belgium with the scary Christ Rex movement. Back in the Netherlands she went to work in De Peel as a doctor’s assistant and became pregnant by her boss. When she met an old acquaintance from her German years, SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Ettlinger, she was persuaded to take a job in Vught and became pregnant again, this time by him. Susanna Sophia Maria Arts survived the war and died 22-05-1991 (age 74) in Amsterdam.

During the Allied assault on Arnhem in Operation Market Garden, Rauter took the active field command of the Kampfgruppe Rauter during operations in the Veluwe area and near the bridges over the IJssel river. Kampfgruppe Rauter consisted of the Landstorm Nederland, Wachbataillon Nordwest and a regiment of the Ordnungspolizei. After the assault on Arnhem had been fought off by the Germans, Rauter was given the command of the Maas front as a General in the Waffen-SS. He did not smoke, did not drink, was almost always at work, was strict, but not mean to his subordinates. Hobbies? It seems that he used to hunt every now and then.

In the night of 6–7 March 1945 he was severely wounded by an attack staged by the Dutch resistance at Woeste Hoeve on the Veluwe, a little village between Arnhem and Apeldoorn. During that attack, a bullet pierced his right jaw. Plus the scars. At his left ear, his left corner of his mouth, his chin. He had it since his student days in Graz. The boys (called Fuchsen in Graz) proved their mettle by fencing unprotected for twenty minutes with a member of a competing student body. The sharp blows to the face with the foil were decorations for life.

  His driver Wilhelm Klotz

and his adjutant Untersturmführer Erwin Exner were killed almost immediately. In a reprisal organised by SS-Brigadeführer Karl Eberhard Schöngarth, the Germans executed 117 political prisoners at the location of the attack as well as 50 prisoners in Kamp Amersfoort and 40 prisoners each in The Hague and Rotterdam— a total of 263 persons were killed (including one German soldier). That was the German soldier a medical man stationed in this area, the 30 years old Ernst Gräwe,

Gräwe, Ernst He refused to shoot innocent people and Ernst was on the spot excuted by an officer.

Johannes Marinus Hazebroek, a driver-mechanic, member of the resistance was one of them too, He was shot on 08-03-1945 on the Leusderheide together with 48 others.

This attack had not been planned; the resistance merely wanted to hijack a truck and use it to drive to a farmer who had butchered cows for the German army. Instead of the truck, Rauter’s BMW motorcar was stopped by members of the resistance dressed in German uniforms. However, Rauter had just two weeks earlier issued a directive stating that German patrols should not stop any German military vehicles outside towns or villages, and a firefight broke out. His fellow passengers were all killed, but Rauter feigned death and survived. He was found by a German military patrol and transferred to a hospital where he remained until his arrest by British Military Police after the end of hostilities. While he was awaiting his trial in a Dutch prison, Rauter’s wife begged him to come to Germany. “We have so much to discuss.” Their youngest daughter Almut, 2.5, had never seen her father before. Rauter would give his word that he would return after two weeks.

SS Obergruppenführer Hanns Albin Rauter was trialed at The Hague in 1948.

 

Death and burial ground of Rauter, Johan Baptist Albin “Hanns”.

 

Rauter was handed over to the Dutch government by the British and was tried by a special court in The Hague. Rauter denied committing war crimes, but the court found him guilty and sentenced him to death, by a firing squad. The death sentence was confirmed by a higher court on 12-01-1949, and Rauter was executed by a firing squad near Scheveningen, in the dunes, on 24-03-1949. On 25-03-1949 Hanns Albin Rauter, age 45, walked without handcuffs to his place of execution, he was granted that privilege. Rauter gave his word that he is not trying to escape. At the supreme moment he throws off the blindfold and the command “Fire!” was given by Rauter himself, who was thus ahead of the commander of the firing squad. The members of the firing squad are so stunned that they carry out the order immediately. The body was given to the Austrian family in Graz, but Rasuter is not buried in the family grave of the Rauter’s on the cemetery in Graz, only his name is on the gravestone. Rauter was married and had five children. His wife Else, who was 22 years younger, died in 2005.

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  1. Son corps n’a pas été rendu à la famille. Son lieu d’inhumation est encore aujourd’hui secret d’état. Son nom est en effet gravé sur le caveau de la famille à Graz mais le corps n’y est pas. La famille a tenu à inscrire son nom en sa mémoire.

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