A Sobibor inmate Moshe Bahir described Gustav Wagner
“I saw such terrible scenes that they give me nightmares to this day. He would snatch babies from their mother’s arms and tear them to pieces in his hands.
I saw him beat two men to death with a rifle, because they did not carry out his instructions properly, since they did not understand German.
I remember that one night a group of youths aged fifteen or sixteen arrived in the camp. The head of this group was one Abraham. After a long and arduous work day, this young man collapsed on his pallet and fell asleep. Suddenly Wagner came into our barrack, and Abraham did not hear him call to stand up at once before him. Furious, he pulled Abraham naked off his bed and began to beat him all over his body. When Wagner grew weary of the blows, he took out his revolver and killed him on the spot. This atrocious spectacle was carried out before all of us, including Abraham’s younger brother.”
After World War II, Gustav Wagner was sentenced to death in absentia, but escaped with Franz Stangl to Brazil.
It is speculated that the Vatican helped Wagner to flee to Syria and then to Brazil Wagner was admitted as a permanent resident on April 12, 1950.
He lived in Brazil under the pseudonym Günther Mendel until he was exposed by Simon Wiesenthal and arrested on May 30, 1978.
Extradition requests from Israel, Austria and Poland were rejected by Brazil’s Attorney General. On June 22, 1979, the Brazilian Supreme Court also rejected a West German extradition request.
Wagner, in a 1979 BBC interview, showed no remorse for his activities in running the camp, remarking:
“I had no feelings…. It just became another job. In the evening we never discussed our work, but just drank and played cards.”
In October 1980, Wagner was found with a knife in his chest in São Paulo. According to his attorney, Wagner committed suicide. His date of death was determined to be October 3, 1980
That was no suicide folks.
The very hands that tore babies apart, those same hands steeped in bloodletting couldn’t get it up to thrust a knife into its own chest; no guarantee of a quick painless death, poison or a slit-wrist, slit-neck would indicate a suicide but he wasn’t ready to cash it in. Gustav Franz Wagner, the terror of Sobibor was a coward who ran from death when it came to his own — as he ran from death by justice. It was no suicide.
What it was, was 250,000 screaming souls — Tomas Kulka and his parents, every Russian Jew, Polish Jew, Dutch Jew, French Jew, 250,000 Jews in total that perished at Sobibor death camp had their hand around that knife as an Israeli assassin plunged the blade into Wagner chest. Justice, that’s how it went down. Chances are that’s how it went down.
The Kulka’s Family Life Story
Tomas’ parents were Jewish. His father, Robert Kulka, was a businessman from the Moravian town of Olomouc. His mother, Elsa Skutezka, was a milliner from Brno, the capital of Moravia. The couple was well-educated and spoke both Czech and German. They married in 1933 and settled in Robert’s hometown of Olomouc.
1933-39: Tomas was born a year and a day after his parents were married, May 25, 1934. When Tomas was 3, his grandfather passed away and the Kulkas moved to Brno, which was his mother’s hometown. On March 15, 1939, a few weeks before Tomas’ fifth birthday, the Germans occupied Bohemia and Moravia, including Brno.
1940-42: On January 2, 1940, Tomas and his parents and grandmother were evicted from their house by the Germans. Hoping to save the family business, Tomas’ father decided to remain in Brno. Because Tomas was Jewish, he was not allowed to begin school. A year later, Tomas’s parents were forced to sell the business to a German for a 200 Czechoslovak crowns, or less than $10. On March 31, 1942, Tomas and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto in western Czechoslovakia.
In May, Tomas and his maternal grandmother were deported to Sobibor, where they were gassed upon arrival. Tomas was two weeks short of his eighth birthday. That same year his parents died in the Ossova labor camp in Ukraine.
A yahrzeit candle for Tomas and family.
(also known as a memorial candle, also a soul candle)
I will burn a yahrzeit candle on the day
Tomas and his grandmother were gassed
at the Sobibor death camp.
The candle burns for 24 hours.
Every May 9th I shall remember Tomas and his family,
evoke their presence from their omission,
morn for them, call out their names,
suffer their death
and light the yahrzeit candle.
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GUSTAV FRANZ WAGNER MAKES HEADLINES