Eduard Roschmann
SS officer
Eduard Roschmann
Eduard Roschmann was a member of the Nazi SS organization and commandant of the Riga ghetto during 1943. He was responsible for numerous murders and other atrocities. As a result of a fictionalized portrayal in the novel The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth and its subsequent movie adaptation, Roschmann came to be known as the "Butcher of Riga".
Biography
Eduard Roschmann's personal information overview.
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Libération (55) : Carlos Menem, l'effaceur - AgoraVox
Google News - over 5 years
... Gerhard Lausegger, Josef Mengele, Erich Friedrich, Otto Karl Muller, Erich Priebke, Erich Rajakowitsch, Friedrich Joseph Rauch, Walter Rauff, Eduard Roschmann, Josef Schwammberger, Siegfried Uiberreither, Josepf Votterl, Horst Wagner, Guido Zimmer
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Google News article
70s Rewind: Ronald Neame's THE ODESSA FILE - Twitch
Google News - over 5 years
The memoir details atrocities committed in the Riga (Latvia) ghetto, converted into a concentration camp, under the iron fist of Captain Eduard Roschmann (Maximiliann Schell) and claims that Roschmann is still alive, a beneficiary of the clandestine
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Google News article
Frederick Forsyth: 'I had expected women to hate him. But no...' - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - almost 6 years
Forsyth tells me his second novel, The Odessa File, helped identify Eduard Roschmann, the runaway Nazi concentration camp commander it described. “They made it into a film, which was screened in a little fleapit cinema south of Buenos Aires,
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Google News article
Riga Ghetto Survivors Await A Book They Can Embrace
NYTimes - over 19 years
Lore Oppenheimer was 15 in December 1941 when the Nazis rousted her family and other Jews from their homes in Hanover, Germany, and put them on trains to Riga, Latvia. The ghetto that awaited them had been hastily cleared: thousands of Latvian Jews had been massacred to make room. ''There was still food on some of the tables,'' Mrs. Oppenheimer
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NYTimes article
ARGENTINA YIELDS NO NEW NAZI DATA
NYTimes - about 24 years
A year ago, President Carlos Saul Menem, amid much pomp and promise, announced that Argentina was "paying its debt to humanity" by releasing all secret files on Nazis who fled here after World War II. He called on Government agencies to cooperate in turning over the documents. It seems his orders were not carried out. Now, officials of the National
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NYTimes article
THE WORLD; Argentina Faces Some Evil History, But Not All
NYTimes - about 25 years
"Goebbels was an intelligent, capable, marvelous man," said Wilfried von Owen of his former boss. "I have the utmost admiration for him." The comment has the ring of a newspaper account 45 years ago. But it appeared just this month, in the Argentine daily Pagina 12, in an account of an interview the day before with Mr. Von Owen, whom the paper had
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NYTimes article
NAZI HUNTING: TRIALS THAN NEVER GROW COLD
NYTimes - almost 27 years
LEAD: JUSTICE NOT VENGEANCE By Simon Wiesenthal. Translated by Ewald Osers. Illustrated. 372 pp. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. $22.50. JUSTICE NOT VENGEANCE By Simon Wiesenthal. Translated by Ewald Osers. Illustrated. 372 pp. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. $22.50. Is Josef Mengele still alive? In June 1985, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Frankfurt,
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Eduard Roschmann
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1977
    Age 68
    Roschmann died in Asuncion, Paraguay on 8 August 1977.
    More Details Hide Details His body was unclaimed at first and there was some question raised as to whether it was truly that of Roschmann. The West German embassy attempted to make a positive identification of the body, which according to a story in the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color, bore papers in the name of "Federico Wegener", a known alias of Roschmann's. The newspapers also reported that the body was missing two toes on one foot and three on the other, consistent with war injuries apparently sustained by Roschmann, and that his body had been identified by a man named Emilio Wolf, who had been a prisoner under Roschmann and who later came to be running a delicatessen in Asuncion. Simon Wiesenthal, then the head of the Jewish Documentation Center, had been trying to have Roschmann brought to justice for a long time. Wiesenthal was skeptical that the body was truly that of Roschmann, saying "I wonder who died for him?"
  • 1976
    Age 67
    In October 1976, the embassy of West Germany in Argentina initiated a request for the extradition of Roschmann to Germany to face charges of multiple murders of Jews during the Second World War. This was based on the request of the West German prosecutor's office in Hamburg. The request was repeated in May 1977. On 5 July 1977, the office of the President of Argentina issued a communiqué, which was published in the Argentine press, that the government of Argentina would consider the request even though there was no extradition treaty with West Germany.
    More Details Hide Details The communiqué was reported to be a surprise to both the Argentine Foreign Ministry and the West German embassy. The Argentine Foreign Embassy had not received a request that Roschmann be arrested. Roschmann was in fact still not under arrest at the time the communiqué was issued. At that time, a number of Germans had been arrested by the Argentine government, then under military control, and were facing charges before military tribunals. The Argentine government had also failed to account for the death of a West German citizen in unusual circumstances, apparently related to the conduct of the so-called Dirty War then being conducted by the Argentine government against alleged terrorists within the country. This was regarded by the West German government as a breach of international treaty obligations. In addition, the prominent Argentine journalist, Jacobo Timmerman, a Jew, had been arrested at that time and held incommunicado under circumstances which raised concern that he had been "subjected to ill-treatment" while in custody.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1963
    Age 54
    In 1963, the district court in Hamburg, West Germany issued a warrant for the arrest of Roschmann.
    More Details Hide Details This would eventually prove a more serious threat to Roschmann.
  • 1960
    Age 51
    In 1960, the criminal court in Graz issued a warrant for the arrest of Roschmann on charges of murder and severe violations of human rights in connection with the killing of at least 3,000 Jews between 1938 and 1945, overseeing forced labourers at Auschwitz, and the murder of at least 800 children under the age of 10.
    More Details Hide Details However, the post-war Austrian legal system was ineffective in securing the return for trial of Austrians who had fled Europe, and no action was ever taken against Roschmann based on this charge.
  • FORTIES
  • 1958
    Age 49
    His second wife left him in 1958; the marriage was later declared null and void.
    More Details Hide Details In 1968, under the name "Frederico Wagner" (sometimes seen as "Federico") he became a citizen of Argentina. In 1959 a warrant was issued in Germany for him on a charge of bigamy.
  • 1955
    Age 46
    In 1955 in Argentina Roschmann married, although he was not divorced from his first wife.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1948
    Age 39
    Roschmann arrived in Argentina either on 10 February 1948 or 2 October 1948 (2/10/1948 or 10/2/1948, depending on date notation used).
    More Details Hide Details He founded a wood import-export firm in Buenos Aires.
    In 1948 Roschmann was able to flee Germany.
    More Details Hide Details He travelled first to Genoa in Italy, and from there to Argentina by ship, on a pass supplied by the International Red Cross. Roschmann was assisted in this effort by Alois Hudal, a strongly pro-Nazi bishop of the Catholic Church.
  • 1947
    Age 38
    Roschmann concealed himself as an ordinary prisoner of war, and in so doing obtained a release from custody in 1947.
    More Details Hide Details After that however he became imprudent and visited his wife in Graz. He was recognised with the assistance of former concentration camp inmates and arrested by the British military police. Roschmann was sent to Dachau concentration camp which had been converted to an imprisonment camp for accused war criminals. Roschmann succeeded in escaping from this custody.
  • 1945
    Age 36
    In 1945, Roschmann was arrested in Graz but later released.
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  • 1943
    Age 34
    In the fall of 1943, Roschmann was made the chief of Kommando Stützpunkt, a work detail of prisoners which was given the task of digging up and burning the bodies of the tens of thousands of people whom the Nazis had shot and buried in the forests of Latvia.
    More Details Hide Details About every two weeks the men on the work detail were shot and replaced with a new set of inmates. Men for this commando were selected both from Kaiserwald concentration camp and from the few remaining people in the Riga ghetto. Historian Ezergailis states that one Hasselbach, an SS officer, was the commander of the Stützpunkt commando, and does not mention Roschmann. As his source, Ezergailis cites a witness, Franz Leopold Schlesinger, who testified in the trial in West Germany of Viktors Arajs in the late 1970s, almost 35 years later. Schlesinger in turn appears to have only "thought" Hasselbach was the commander. Roschmann is sometimes described as the commandant of the Kaiserwald concentration camp, which was located on the north side of Riga. Kaufmann however gives the Kaiserwald commandant as an SS man named Sauer who held the rank of Obersturmbannführer.
    Kaufmann describes an incident, possibly the same one referred to by Ungar, where Roschmann, during a visit to the Olaine work camp with Gymnich in 1943, found a singer named Karp with 5 eggs and had him shot immediately.
    More Details Hide Details Roschmann, together with Krause, who, although no longer ghetto commandant, was close at hand as the commandant of the Salaspils concentration camp, investigated a resistance plot among the Jews to store weapons at an old power magazine in Riga known as the Pulverturm. As a result, several hundred inmates were executed, whom Kaufmann described as "our best young people." While ghetto commandant, Roschmann became involved with the work detail known as the Army Motor Park (Heereskraftpark). This was considered a favourable work assignment for Jews, as it involved skilled labour (vehicle mechanics) necessary for the German army, thus providing some protection from liquidation, and it also gave a number of opportunities to "organise" (that is, to buy, barter for or steal) contraband food and other items. The Jews on the work detail benefited from the fact that the German in charge, Private First Class (Obergefreiter) Walter Eggers, was corrupt and wanted to use the Jews under his command to become rich. Consequently, better treatment could be had, at least for a time, by paying Eggers bribes. Roschmann heard rumours about the "good life", and attempted to prevent it by putting some of the workers into one of the prisons or transferring them to Kaiserwald concentration camp.
    Starting in January 1943, Roschmann became commandant of the Riga ghetto.
    More Details Hide Details His immediate predecessor was Kurt Krause. Survivors described Krause as "sadistic", "bloody", "monster", and "psychopath". Roschmann's methods differed from those of Krause. Unlike Krause, Roschmann did not execute offenders on the spot, but, in most cases, sent them to Riga's Central Prison. Whether this was a matter of having qualms about murder is not certain. Being sent to the prison was likely to be, at best, only a brief reprieve, as conditions there were brutal. At that time, Roschmann held the relatively low rank of Unterscharführer. Differing ranks are supplied for Roschmann. According to Ezergailis and Kaufmann, Roschmann held the rank of SS-Unterscharführer. According to Schneider, Roschmann was an SS-Obersturmführer, a higher rank. Schneider mentions no promotion for Roschmann. Historians Angrick and Klein state that in addition to the mass killings the Holocaust in Latvia also consisted of a great number of individual murders.
  • 1941
    Age 32
    In January 1941 he was assigned to the Security Police.
    More Details Hide Details Within the SS Roschmann was assigned to the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst), often referred to by its German initials SD. Following the German occupation of Latvia in the Second World War, the SD established a presence in Latvia with the objective of killing all the Jews in the country. To this end, the SD established the Riga ghetto. The Riga ghetto did not exist prior to the occupation of Latvia by the German armed forces. Jews in general lived throughout Riga before then. The ghetto itself was a creation of the SD. Surrounded by barbed wire fences, with armed guards, it was in effect a large and overcrowded prison. Furthermore, while it is common to see the Riga ghetto referred to as single location, in fact it was only a unified prison for a very short time in autumn of 1941. After that it was split into three separate ghettos.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1938
    Age 29
    In 1938 he joined the Nazi Party, and the SS the following year.
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  • 1931
    Age 22
    By 1931 he was a brewery employee, joining the civil service in 1935.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1927
    Age 18
    From 1927 to 1934 Roschmann was associated with an organisation called the "Steyr Homeland Protection Force."
    More Details Hide Details Roschmann spent six semesters at a university.
    From 1927 to 1934 Roschmann was a member of the Fatherland's Front, which in turn was part of the Austrian home guard ("Heimatschutz").
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1908
    Born
    Roschmann was born on 25 November 1908, in Graz-Eggenberg, in Austria.
    More Details Hide Details Roschmann was once a lawyer in Graz, Austria. He was the son of a brewery manager. He was reputed to have come from the Styria region of Austria, from a good family.
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