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Paul Blobel

(1894 - 1951)

Paul Blobel, born on August 13, 1894, was an SS-Standartenfuehrer and a member of the SD. He was born in the city of Potsdam, and he was a German soldier who fought in World War I, decorated with the Iron Cross first class. After the war, Blobel studied architecture and was a practicing architect from 1924 until 1931, when he lost his job. He then joined the Nazi Party and joined the SS.

During the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Blobel was the commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppen C operating in the Ukraine. Following Wehrmacht troops into the Ukraine, the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) would be responsible for “liquidating” political and racial undesirables. Blobel was primarily responsible for carrying out the massacre at Babi Yar in Kiev.

Owing to health reasons brought about mostly by his alcoholism, he was dismissed from his command on January 13, 1942.

From July 1942 until 1944, he was put in charge of Aktion 1005, the operation to obliterate the traces of the mass murders committed by the Germans by disinterring and cremating the bodies from the mass graves in the German-occupied Soviet Union. This was carried out by exhuming the bodies from mass graves and burning them, a task that Blobel optimized with techniques he had developed: alternating layers of bodies with firewood or the use of rails as grills.

Up to 59,018 executions are attributable to Blobel, though during testimony he alleged to have killed “only” 10,000-15,000. Blobel was tried and convicted by the U.S. military tribunal in Nuremberg at the Einsatzgruppen Trial and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Landsberg prison on June 8, 1951.

Sources: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Wikipedia - Paul Blobel