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|Alma mater||University of Freiburg|
|Employer||Government of Nazi Germany / SS|
|Known for||organizing the deportation of Jews in France|
Instrumental in the Holocaust in France, Zeitschel, as the desk officer for Jewish affair (Judenreferent) at the German Embassy in Paris, was one of the organizers of the deportations[b] of Jews from occupied France.
Early life and education
He was the son of pharmacy owner, Franz Zeitschel, and his wife, Ella van Hees. From 1911, he studied medicine at the University of Freiburg and from 1914 to 1917, during World War I, served as an assistant doctor in the rear area military hospital of Freiburg. He graduated in 1918.
At the end of World War I Zeitscel was discharged from military service. From 1919 to 1920, he was a member of the Freikorps Reinhard in Berlin, working at the same time as medical assistant at Klinikum im Friedrichshain, the oldest hospital in Berlin. Later, as a full-fledged doctor, he served at various sanatoria in the Black Forest.
Zeitschel, a staunch anti-Semite, joined the Nazi party in very early times (1923). For a decade (1925-35) he found employment as a naval surgeon. In 1935 he came to be employed at Section II – Propaganda and Section VII - British India and the Far East in the Propaganda Ministry; he served also in the colonial policy department at the Nazi party headquarter.
Towards the end of 1937 he moved to the Foreign Ministry (Auswärtiges Amt or AA), , even before Hitler's reshuffle of the Government with the appointment of Joachim von Ribbentrop as foreign minister on 4 February 1938. There he served as legation councillor in the political department. For a brief period in June 1939 he was the German consul in the British colony of Nigeria.
World War II
When the Germans invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, Zeitschel was commanded to Warsaw where he dealt in looting politically valuable documents and art treasures from diplomatic missions of enemy as well neutral states. He was then a member of the Sonderkommando Künsberg, the special unit controlled by the Foreign Office and in particular by the Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop which systematically pillaged cultural and art treasures and any other item of political interest from the territories occupied by Germany. In 1940 Zeitschel followed the ‘’Sonderkommando Künsberg’’ in its move to the western front.
First he worked in the Foreign Office liaison desk to the military commander of France. He was then tasked by ambassador Abetz in looting and then closing the foreign missions in Paris, as well as in plundering Jewish art collections and galleries, and ferrying the booty "to the custody of the German embassy".
Desk officer for Jewish Affairs
From September 1940, he was promoted as commissioner for Jewish affairs and Masonic affairs liaison with the commander of the state police and the SD (Security Office) and was parallel to his career in the diplomatic service for Sturmbannführer. On 5 September 1941, he and Dannecker led the opening in Paris of the exhibition Le Juif et la France (The Jew and France).[page needed] As Judenreferent, he was one of the forces behind of the Final Solution in France, the deportation and murder of Jews.
The participation of the German Ambassador in the Jewish measures was necessary, both in unoccupied France with the Vichy government as well as in occupied France. In a document submitted in the Eichmann trial, the close cooperation between the German intelligence service (Sicherheitsdienst, or SD) in France, with the German embassy comes up with the BdS Helmut Knochen, and Theodor Dannecker as its representative in Paris on the one hand, and on the other hand expressed (Ernst Achenbach, later FDP foreign policy and almost German-EEC Commissioner, takes part here):
In August 1941, Zeitschel put pressure on Abetz, so this is "personally" the commitment caught by Heinrich Himmler, "that the Jews present in the concentration camp can be deported to the East, once this permit transport"[full citation needed] and then put the pressure on Dannecker.
Zeitschel was informed in top secret processes and knew about the Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942. He applied the minutes of the proceedings from junior state secretary Ernst Woermann to the deportation of French Jews.[c]
In the Nuremberg trials a letter by Zeitschel from 5 February 1946 was read:
The Independent Commission of Historians - Foreign Office presented in the book Das Amt 2010, in response to the book clear that the role of the Embassy in Paris and the Foreign Office has been underestimated in driving the Holocaust in France so far. Zeitschel gave Abetz to late summer of 1941 in which he proposed a memorandum on the way to Berlin.
In Berlin, Abetz met this Memorandum with Ribbentrop and Hitler, immediately before Hitler's decision to deport Jews from Germany.
Zeitschel and Rudolf Rahn arrived almost simultaneously at the Tunis bridgehead on 13 November 1942. Rahn was a representative of the Federal Foreign Office of the Afrika Korps from 15 November 1942 to 10 May 1943. He[who?] left the bridgehead after Rommel's defeat and the Axis surrender in the Tunisian Campaign in May 1943. In Tunisia the Einsatzkommando of Walter Rauff began on 24 November 1942. On 6 December 1942, Rauff agreed in a meeting with the General Walther Nehring and Rahn, on the use of Jewish forced laborers and instituted a system of labor camps, organized by Theo Saevecke. Vichy France, Italy and the leadership of the Afrika Korps, between which the "zbV envoy" had to convey to Rahn, that the demands of the SS men were rejected in his own words, because otherwise it would have affected Tunisia and Italian Jews.
Until July 1944 Zeitschel was back at the German Embassy in Paris. He also worked out a project for the reorganization of the Paris police in the service of the occupier. After the dissolution of the Embassy in Paris, he was on 1 August 1944, at the headquarters of the SS Oberabschnitts Spree, whose director was Obergruppenführer August Heissmeyer.
Death and posthumous sentencing
During the trial of Abetz, and in the much later judicial proceedings concerning the Jews deported from France, Zeitschel's name was mentioned repeatedly by the defendants and their witnesses to make a main culprit responsible.
- Browning, Christopher (2014) . The Origins Of The Final Solution. London UK: Random House. ISBN 9781448165865. OCLC 897885190.
- Dreyfus, Jean-Marc (2015). L'Impossible Réparation: Déportés, biens spoliés, or nazi, comptes bloqués, criminels de guerre [Impossible Reparation: Deportees, Confiscations, Nazi Gold, Blocked Accounts, Criminals of War] (in French). Flammarion. ISBN 9782081357129. OCLC 938245724.
- Hirschfeld, Gerhard; Marsh, Patrick (1989). Collaboration in France: politics and culture during the Nazi occupation, 1940-44 (Conference publication). New York: Berg. ISBN 978-0-85496-237-2. OCLC 62372520. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Kapel, Schmuel René (1986). Un rabbin dans la tourmente (1940-1944): dans les camps d'internement et au sein de l'Organisation juive de combat [A Rabbi in Turmoil: In the Internment Camps and With the Armée Juive] (in French). Paris: Éditions du Centre. ISBN 9782902041022. OCLC 233672340.
- Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust - The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-019280436-5.
- Marrus, Michael Robert; Paxton, Robert O. (1995). Vichy France and the Jews. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804724999. OCLC 174555275.
- Seibel, Wolfgang (2016). Persecution and Rescue: The Politics of the "Final Solution" in France, 1940-1944. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472118601.
- Thalmann, Rita (1991). La mise au pas: idéologie et stratégie sécuritaire dans la France occupée [Falling in Line: Ideology and Security Strategy in Occupied France] (in French). Paris: Fayard. ISBN 9782213026237. OCLC 243706428.
- Browning, Christopher (2006) . Die Entfesselung der "Endlösung" Nationalsozialistische Judenpolitik 1939–1942 [Origins of the Final Solution: Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy 1939–1942]. Berlin: Propyläen. ISBN 3-549-07187-6.
- Brunner, Bernhard (2004). Der Frankreich-Komplex: die nationalsozialistischen Verbrechen in Frankreich und die Justiz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [The France-Complex: Nazi Crimes in France and Justice in the German Federal Republic]. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89244-693-4. OCLC 469551351.
- Conze, Eckart; Frei, Norbert; Hayes, Peter; Zimmermann, Moshe (2010). Das Amt und die Vergangenheit: Deutsche Diplomaten im Dritten Reich und in der Bundesrepublik [The Ministry and the Past: German Diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic]. Collaborators: Annette Weinke and Andrea Wiegeshoff (3rd ed.). Karl Blessing Verlag. ISBN 978-3-641-05091-7. OCLC 770555988. Retrieved 28 March 2017.[d]
- Isphording, Bernd; Keiper, Gerhard; Kröger, Martin (2000). Biographisches Handbuch des deutschen Auswärtigen Dienstes 1871-1945: Band 5: T-Z [Biographical Handbook of the German External Action Service 1871-1945 Vol. 5 T-Z]. Paderborn, Munich: F. Schöningh. ISBN 978-3-506-71844-0. OCLC 634251508.
- Klarsfeld, Serge (1977). Die Endlösung der Judenfrage in Frankreich: deutsche Dokumente 1941-1944 [Final Soluiton of the Jewish Question: German Documents 1941-1944]. Paris: Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation. OCLC 464804159. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Klarsfeld, Serge; Meyer, Ahlrich (2007) . Vichy - Auschwitz: die "Endlösung der Judenfrage" in Frankreich [Vichy - Auschwitz: the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question"]. Veröffentlichungen der Forschungsstelle Ludwigsburg der Universität Stuttgart (New ed.). Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (WBG). ISBN 978-3-534-20793-0. OCLC 315262755.
- Klee, Ernst. Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945? [Biographical Dictionary of the Third Reich. Who's Who Before and After 1945?]. Frankfurt: S. Fischer. ISBN 3-596-16048-0.
- Mayer, Michael. Staaten als Täter. Ministerialbürokratie und "Judenpolitik" in NS-Deutschland und Vichy-Frankreich. Ein Vergleich [States As Perpetrators: Ministerial Bureaucracy and "Jewish Policy" in Nazi Germany and Vichy France, A Comparison]. Munich: R. Oldenbourg. ISBN 978-3-486-58945-0. OCLC 690825237.
- Meyer, Ahlrich (2005). Täter im Verhör: die "Endlösung der Judenfrage" in Frankreich 1940-1944 [Examining the Perpetrator: the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" in France 1940-1944]. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. ISBN 978-3-534-17564-2. OCLC 799585583. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Poliakov, Léon; Wulf, Joseph (1989). Das Dritte Reich und seine Diener [The Third Reich and Their Servants]. Wiesbaden: Fourier. ISBN 3-925037-45-4. OCLC 26449078.
- Ray, Roland (2000) . Annäherung an Frankreich im Dienste Hitlers? Otto Abetz und die deutsche Frankreichpolitik 1930–1942. Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag. ISBN 3-486-56495-1. OCLC 845897545.
- Thalmann, Rita (1999) [1st pub. 1991 in French]. Gleichschaltung in Frankreich 1940–1944 [Falling In Line: France 1940–1944]. Translated by Eva Groepler. Hamburg: Europäische Verlagsanstalt. ISBN 9783434500629. OCLC 43038151.
- Also attested in German or English sources or both, are: Carl-Theodor, Carl Theodor, Karl-Theodor, and Karl Theodor.
- In early 1942, at the time of the Wannsee Conference, the deportation to the east for compulsory labour deployment became more and more a fiction whereas instant mass murder on arrival became increasingly a reality, thus, in Nazi parlance and in the context of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, the word “deportation” turned into the disguised and edulcorated synonym of mass murder.
- After 1945, his superiors Ribbentrop, Weizsäcker, Woermann and Abetz  denied all knowledge of this.
- "Das Amt, here translated as "The Ministry", refers to the German Foreign Office (Auswärtige Amt or AA).
- Kapel 1986, p. 216.
- Klee 2003.
- Ray 2000, p. 370.
- Marrus 1995, p. 78.
- Browning 2014, p. 198.
- Dreyfus 2015, p. needed.
- Longerich 2010, p. 310.
- Ray 2000, chap.10 §4.
- Klarsfeld 1977, p. 25.
- Meyer 2005, p. 30.
- "Universitätsarchiv der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg - Diplome aller Fakultäten" (in German). Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
- Longerich 2010, p. 329.
- Seibel 2016, p. 87.
- Ray 2000, p. 371.
- Seibel 2016, p. 86.
- Conze 2010.
- Poliakov 1989, p. 118.
- Poliakov 1989, pp. 123-26.
- "Kriegsverbrecher Zeitschel" [War Criminal Zeitschel]. Aufbau (in German). Vol. XII no. 3. New York City: New World Club. 18 January 1946. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
- Thalmann 1999, p. needed.
- Hirschfeld 1989, p. 87.
- Brunner 2004, p. 42.
- Dokument VEJ 5/285
- Poliakov 1989, p. 120.
- Browning 2006, p. 466.
- Poliakov 1989, p. 121.
- Ray 2000, p. 372.
- Aufzeichnung, 21.
- Unabhängige Historiker Kommission (10 December 2010). "Unser Buch hat einen Nerv getroffen" [Our Book Hit A Nerve]. Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Suddeutsche Zeitung GmbH. Archived from the original on 15 January 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
- Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Martin Cüppers: Halbmond und Hakenkreuz.
- Paul Seabury: Die Wilhelmstrasse.
- Rudolf Rahn: Ruheloses Leben: Aufzeichnungen und Erinnerungen.
- Brunner 2004, p. 43.
- Ray 2000, p. 373.