Encyclopedia

Weiss, Martin

(1903-?), SS-Hauptscharfuhrer assigned to the Vilna ghetto, the so-called "Boss of Ponary." For a time he was the SS liaison in charge of a Lithuanian executioner unit. This unit, consisting of 45 to 150 volunteers, was responsible for killing at least 48,000 Jews at Ponary.

There are numerous stories of Martin Weiss' sadism and sarcastic sense of humor. Abraham Sutzkever testifed at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial in February 1946, of his killing Gitele Tarlo, an eleven year old girl. Sutzkever also wrote of Weiss's torture killing of young Tzerna Morgenstern in "Geto Vilna,"and a similar story is told in Martin Gilbert's "The Holocaust." Another account, the story of Weiss' assisting his girlfriend in the killing of singer Liuba Levitska, is told in "Yes, We Sang!" In February 1950, Martin Weiss was tried before a court in Wurzburg, Germany and was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Sources: Arad, Ghetto in Flames; Ran, Jerusalem of Lithuania; Sutzkever, Getto Vilna; Kalisch, Yes, We Sang!; Gilbert, The Holocaust; Letter 10/31/97 from Satu Haase-Webb, Researcher, Office of the Historian at USHMM.


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