Pohl, Oswald°

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POHL, OSWALD ° (1896–1951), *ss officer, formerly a naval paymaster head of the Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (Economic-Administrative Main Office, wvha). He joined the Nazi Party in 1926 and the SS in 1934. In 1934 he became head of the administrative office of the SS which dealt with all its financial and administrative matters. In 1939 he was appointed head of the construction office of the SS, including the concentration camps. His task was to develop the economic enterprises of the SS, which were essential to their operation. On Feb. 1, 1942, the officers under his charge were brought into the wvha. In the spring of 1942 the Inspection Authority of the concentration camps was added to his responsibilities. Pohl aimed at financing all SS activities, including the Waffen SS, from the profits of SS-owned enterprises for which he utilized the slave labor of concentration camp prisoners and expropriated Jewish property. He had more than half a million slave laborers at his disposal which he could rent to industry as workers. Another source of income was gained from the belongings of murdered Jews, including their gold teeth. Pohl always urged longer working hours, less rest, and stricter supervision over the camp inmates. He enslaved prisoners of war contrary to international conventions. Since his concern was labor and since he was pressed for manpower, he even opposed the *rsha policy for the total destruction of the Jews and advocated sparing able-bodied Jews from immediate death, so that they could be worked to death. This bought them a little time and enabled some to survive. Pohl was sentenced to death by the U.S. Military Tribunal in 1947 and hanged in Landsberg in 1951.


imt, Trial of the Major War Criminals (1949), index; Trial of the War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, 5. (1950), Case 4, against Pohl et al.; R. Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews (1961), index; R.M.W. Kempner, SS im Kreuzverhoer (1964), 130–46; G. Reitlinger, Final Solution (19682), index.

[Yehuda Reshef /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]