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Martin Sommer, Nazi SS Officer known as the Hangman of Buchenwald. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of prisoners during World War 2.

This is the testimony of a Buchenwald survivor, Andreas Pfannenberger, during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials:

"Another punishment was to hang prisoners from trees by their arms, which were tied behind their backs .. SOMMER hanged 30 to 40 prisoners daily in this manner, leaving them swaying about one foot off the ground for several hours.

Among his victims were men as old as 65 years. In the pain of their torture, these old men would cry for their wives and children some even for their mothers and fathers, in spite of their own advanced age and the fact that they were, many of them, grandfathers themselves.

Others appealed to the Virgin Mary or to the Saviour. It was a horrible scene to witness. And while it was going on SOMMER and his henchmen would walk among the trees making fun of the spectacle, and with their clubs they would smash the faces of their helpless victims."

Another Buchenwald survivor, Willy Apel, later recalled:

"I was sentenced to hanging for half an hour .. I was led up to the tree. The hanging is carried out as follows: the arms are tied with rope behind the back, and afterwards the prisoner is raised up to the column and the rope is tied onto a large nail fixed at a height of two meters, so that the prisoner's feet are off the ground. All the body's weight is concentrated on the wrists.

The result of this was often fractures in the shoulder bones, involving horrible pain .. the screams of pain filled the forest.

SS Sergeant Sommer would even beat the legs, faces, and genitals of the hanging prisoners. The torture brought the hanging prisoners to the point of insanity. Many pleaded with the SS men to shoot them out of their misery .." 

In July 1958 Martin Sommer was tried in Bayreuth, charged and convicted of 38 murders and was sent to life imprisonment.

His excuse of poor health was finally brushed aside ..




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