Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
The Capture and Death of Odilo Globocnik
Statement by W.K. Hedley
Statement By W. K. Hedley
When the war ended the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars were ordered to move to Paternion in the Drau Valley. The officers were quartered in the Castle at Paternion with the lock-up 100 yards away.
As the only officer who spoke German reasonably fluently I was detailed to deal with all matters which could affect the local population. This assignment sounded rather drab, but, became more exciting when it became apparent that Dr Friedrich Rainer, the Gauleiter was hiding in the neighbouring mountains and was thought to be the figurehead around whom a Werewolf Resistance Group was forming.
In the course of my duties I arrested a number of SS officers and lodged them in a local lock-up. They were given minimum rations of water in the hope that hunger would loosen their tongues. This proved to be the case as on the night of the 30th of May, when a party was given in the Officers Mess one of the captured SS officers stated he wished to make a statement.
This was to the effect that SS- Obergruppenfuhrer Globocnik and certain members of his staff were hiding in a hut above the Weissensee. He had been acting as a food carrier and stated they could not be taken by day as they withdrew to a vantage point above the hut from which they could watch troops bathing in the lake below and any approach to the hut.
A party of troops was organised and was accompanied by a number of special service officers of the parachute regiment who were attending the party in the officers mess.
The hut was surrounded (after an arduous climb) shortly before 4am, 31st May. It was locked and after both doors had eventually been opened a number of men and women were hustled out of the rather dim interior. Some were rather reluctant “to get a move on” and were encouraged with a kick in the pants.
One of them said in German “Don’t treat me like that I am the Gauleiter.” Rainer was known to have a duelling scar on his cheek and was easily identified from this and his circulated description. His presence tended to distract attention from the others in the hut, approximately seven men and three women.
After a preliminary search of the building I decided to escort Rainer to Paternion and arrange for more vehicles to go to the bottom of the mountain as our bag had greatly exceeded expectations. I handed over to Major Ramsay of the Parachute Regiment, a fluent German speaker.
During the search Rainer was found to have a metal phial containing a suicide capsule as issued to all senior members of the Nazi hierarchy. Little attention was, at the time, attached to a similar empty phial found on the floor of one of the rooms.
Rainer was lodged in the local lock-up and the main body of prisoners arrived in Paternion at about 11 am. The SS informer had identified all the prisoners by name and gave details of their duties in Trieste.
With one exception they were all locked up, the exception stated, he was “a poor merchant from Klagenfurt frightened by the possible Yugoslav invasion.” He had almost convinced Major Ramsay of his innocence was walking up and down in the castle yard, very coolly, escorted by the regimental provost sergeant until his Klagenfurt references could be checked.
The informer insisted he was Globocnik. Major Ramsay and I decided that he (Ramsey) should sharply shout out the name Globocnik while I watched the captive’s reaction very closely. Then the name was called Globocnik’s step never falted, but his head moved fractionally.
I shouted to him (in German) “you have given yourself away, you moved your head very slightly “ and ordered Sowler to add him to the gang in the lock-up.
I then started to go to my room to have a bath only to hear shouts of “he’s dead, he’s dying.”
I ran downstairs to find Globocnik lying on the ground between the castle yard and the lock-up. He had held his suicide capsule under his tongue continually since his arrest and until using it about 11.25.
We had noticed at the time that he refused any form of food or drink. Captain M.M. Leigh RAMC, the Regimental Medical Officer, was quickly on the scene and he gave Globocnik two inoculations in the arm and one in the heart, but to no avail.
As soon as they saw his corpse Lerch, Hofle, Michaelsen and Helletsberger who had denied their identities admitted who they were and identified the corpse as their former commanding officer Globocnik. Rainer also identified the corpse as Globocnik.
Globocnik was subsequently buried by the regimental police in the presence of Captain G.P.M.C. Wheeler. I have tried to trace a number of photographs I have both of the corpse and the other prisoners but they are in a trunk, and I have not been able to find them.
If, very urgent I have no doubt I could produce them.
National Archives KEW
Hitler’s Man in the East – Odilo Globocnik by Joseph Poprzeczny, published by McFarland and Company Inc 2004
Globocnik suicide photo from the genuine ARC website www.deathcamps.org (Courtesy of the legal Copyright holders ARC www.deathcamps.org)
Copyright CW/CL H.E.A.R.T 2007