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Kurt Gerstein Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

Kurt Gerstein is a anti Nazi who was born on August 11 1905 in Munster, Germany. When Kurt was young he was taught by his father to follow orders without question. When Kurt grew up he attended college and became involved in Christian Youth. He graduated in 1931 as a mining engineer but remained very active in the youth groups especially the Federation of German Bible Circles which was banned in 1934. On January 30 1935 Kurt attended an anti Christian play. "Wittenkind". At one point in the play he stood up and shouted. "This is unheard of! We shall not allow our faith to be publicly mocked without protest!" (Rosenberg 2003) for this statement he was given a black eye and had several teeth knocked out. On September 26 1936, Gerstein was arrested and imprisoned for anti Nazi activities. He attached anti Nazi letters to invitations that were sent out to members of the German Miners Association. Kurt's house was searched, Anti Nazi letters were found issued by Confessional Church. All ready to be mailed with 7000 addressed envelopes. After the arrest, Kurt was officially excluded from the Nazi party and lost his job in the mines. Not able to get a job Kurt went back to school and studied theology at Tubingen then Transferred to the Protestant Missions Institute to study medicine. After a 2 year engagement, Gerstein then married Elfriede Bensch, a pastor's daughter on August 31 1937. Bennett 2 July 14 1938. Gerstein was again arrested and transferred to the Walzheim Concentration camp and became extremely depressed. "Several times I came within an ace of hanging myself of putting an end to my life in some other way because I hadn't the faintest idea if, or when, I should ever be released from that concentration camp." (Rosenberg 2003) Kurt was then officially released on June 22 1939. 1941 Kurt's sister in law, Bertha Ebeling, died mysteriously at the Hadamar Mental Institution. Kurt was shocked and very determined to find the truth about the deaths at Hadamar and similar situations. On March 10 1941 Kurt joined the Waffen SS and was placed in the medical service's hygiene section where he succeeded in inventing water filters for German troops. November 1941 at the funeral for Kurt's brother, a Nazi member that had dismissed Gerstein saw him in uniform. Although information about his past was passed on to Gerstein's superiors his technical and medical skills made him too valuable to dismiss, therefore he was allowed to stay. 3 months later on January 1942 Gerstein was appointed the head of the Technical Disinfection Department of the Waffen SS where he worked with various toxic gasses, including Zyklon B. June 8 1942 Kurt was visited by SS Sturmbannfuhrer Rolf Gunther of the Reich Security main office. Gerstein was ordered to deliver 220 pounds of Zyklon B to a "secret location". His main task was to change the Aktion Reinhard gas chambers from carbon monoxide to Zyklon B. Gerstein...

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