Deutschland / Biographie
Hans Hüttig saw an opportunity in the SS to catch up on his failed military career. The Concentration Camps became his workplace, and he was promoted to camp commander.
In 1932, one year before the National Socialists took power, Hans Hüttig joined the SS. “I was already thirty-eight years old. Tall, strong build, just the type of guy they were looking for. Just a little too old. But then some comrades who had joined earlier said to me, come and join us. I was happy,” he later recalled. Joining the SS, Hüttig saw his chance to become an officer and climb the social ladder. Ever since his youth he had aspired to a career in the military. During World War I he fought with the colonial troops in German East Africa. However, the defeat in the war finally destroyed his hopes for a career as a soldier. He was not very successful in his civilian job either: he had dropped out of an apprenticeship as a chemist, and his attempt at self-employment with his own photo shop ended in bankruptcy. Like all SS men, Hüttig saw himself as part of an elite force in which violence, harshness and brutality had positive connotations. He proved himself among the SS thugs in the hunt for communists.
In 1933 he willingly accepted an offer to work full-time for the SS. He was initially deployed as an auxiliary policeman and later switched over to the Concentration Camp guards. Hüttig felt comfortable with this, he had no moral concerns: "I knew exactly what I was going to do in the SS. We all knew it,” Hüttig said later. From 1938 he was adjutant to Buchenwald Camp Commander Karl Otto Koch, who was notorious for his brutality, and later second officer in charge of the preventive custody camp. Among the prisoners, Hüttig was feared as extremely brutal. After Buchenwald, in the eyes of his superiors, he also qualified for higher positions in Flossenbürg and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps.
In 1941, in the position of a Camp Commander, he was in charge of setting up the Natzweiler Concentration Camp in Alsace. Finally, in February 1944, he became Camp Commander of Herzogenbusch Concentration Camp in the Netherlands. Under his command, SS men shot hundreds of prisoners in the summer of 1944. His career as an SS officer ended when he fled to Germany in autumn 1944. After the end of World War II, a French court sentenced Hans Hüttig to death for the crimes he committed in Natzweiler. The sentence was not carried out. After eleven years in prison, he was released in 1956 and then lived in the small German town of Wachenheim an der Weinstrasse.