In August 1943 the Nazis killed 86 jewish men and women in the gas chambers of the Natzweiler-Struthof (Alsac) Concentration Camp. The order to kill these previously selected individuals came from a Nazi scientific organisation called “Ahnenerbe“ (Ancestral Inheritance). The purpose of the executions was to provide skeletons that could be displayed as evidence for Nazi “Rassenideologe“ (Human Race Ideology) in an exhibition organized by the Institute for Anatomy at the Reichsuniversity Strassburg. However the Anatomy Professor who organized the exhibition, August Hirt, and his colleagues did not manage to finish the project before the war ended. The remains of the 86 bodies were buried in a mass grave after the war.
In the book, “Die Namen der Nummern“ (The Names of the Numbers), published in August 2004 by Hoffmann und Campe (and 2007 by Fischer), Hans-Joachim Lang describes this mass murder. He also recounts in detail the story of how he was able to determine the identities of the 86 victims 60 years after they were murdered. The short biographies of the victims that are included in the book are re-published here on this website in the hopes that relatives or friends might be able to fill in some of the gaps in the biographical information. It has already been possible to identify the 86 victims and bring light to their stories. We will continue to update these biographies as we receive additional information.
Translated by Rachel Gordon and Joachim Zepelin, Berlin 2007