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Jürgen Stroop.


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Jürgen Stroop in custody
Jürgen Stroop in custody.

Jürgen Stroop, (born Josef Stroop, September 26, 1895 - March 6, 1952) was an SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS und Polizei, who served as the SS and Police Leader of the Poland-Warsaw area during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.

Early life

Jürgen Stroop was born in Detmold, the son of a police officer. After receiving only an elementary education, he became an apprentice with the land register in his home town of Detmold, where he worked until the start of World War I, when he joined the German Army as a volunteer. At the end of the war, he held the rank of a vice feldwebel (sergeant). After the war, he returned to work at the land register.

SS career

Stroop joined both the SS and the NSDAP in 1932. His career took off during the election campaign of the same year. In 1933, he was appointed leader of the state Auxiliary Police. One year later, he was promoted from the rank of SS-Oberscharführer to the rank of Hauptsturmführer. Subsequently he worked for the SS-administration in Münster and Hamburg. In autumn 1938, he was promoted again, this time to the rank of SS-Standartenführer (colonel). After the invasion of Poland, he served as commander of the SS-section in Gnesen (Gniezno). In May 1941, he changed his name from Josef to Jürgen for ideological reasons.

Jürgen Stroop in Warsaw Ghetto
Jürgen Stroop in Warsaw Ghetto.

In April 1943, Heinrich Himmler replaced the chief of the SS and police in the Warsaw district, Obergruppenführer Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg, with Jürgen Stroop. A veteran of World War I, Stroop had more recently been involved in operations against Soviet partisans in the Ukraine and was familiar with the latest techniques in counter-insurgency warfare.

One of Stroop's most historically prominent roles was the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, an action which cost the lives of tens of thousands. As his forces were forced back by heavy resistance, he ordered the entire Ghetto burned down, building by building, and all of its inhabitants to be killed or deported to extermination camps.

What a wonderful sight! I called out Heil Hitler! and pressed the button. A terrific explosion brought flames right up to the clouds. The colors were unbelievable. An unforgettable allegory of the triumph over Jewry. -- Jürgen Stroop

Afterwards, in an elaborately prepared report to Himmler, now referred to as "The Stroop Report", he boasted that "the Warsaw Ghetto is no more". This report would later be used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials.

He was subsequently SS and Police Leader in Greece from September until November 1943. The local civilian administration found his methods and behaviour unacceptable and withdrew cooperation, forbidding the local Ordnungspolizei police to have anything to do with him, which made his position untenable. Consequently, he was removed and appointed SS and Police Leader in the Rhine area until the close of the war.

Trials and execution

Jürgen Stroop in Polish court in 1951.
Jürgen Stroop in Polish court in 1951.

After World War II he was put on trial at the Dachau International Military Tribunal, conducted by the U.S. military, for his summary executions of Allied airmen in Germany. On March 21, 1947, he was sentenced to death by that tribunal. However, that sentence was not carried out; instead, he was extradited to Poland to be tried by the Polish government. Upon extradition to Poland, Stroop was found guilty of war crimes and, on March 6, 1952, executed in Warsaw by the Polish authorities.

While in [Mokotow Prison] in Warsaw, awaiting trial, Stroop was placed in the same cell with Kazimierz Moczarski, political prisoner and former Polish resistance fighter. Moczarski later wrote a book about his time spent with Stroop, Rozmowy z katem (Conversations with an Executioner), which was staged in the latter 1970s at Warsaw's Teatr Powszechny. Moczarski's conversations with Stroop reveal a German general remarkable for his ignorance of basic scientific facts generally known to secondary school pupils.

In film

In the 2001 film Uprising, Jürgen Stroop is depicted by actor Jon Voight.

In the film The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Jürgen Stroop is portrayed by German actor Joachim Hansen (the character is simply referred to as "Herr Gruppenführer" and not by Stroop's actual name, although in the source novel by Jack Higgins, Stroop's name is used).


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