This is the SS Soldbuch zugleich personalausweis from Meister der Gendarmerie Karl Gebhardt, born on 6 September 1897 in Erb. He died during a transport of Dutch Jewish- and resistence prisoners to the Westerbork concentrationcamp on 6 february 1945 in an attack by English bombers. The full story is under here.
Complete with Police uniformphoto on the inside of the cover. The photo double stamped with “Der Regierungspräsident in München”.
The Soldbuch was issued on 30 December 1944 and stamped and signed by “Der Kommandeur der Gendarmerie beim Regierungspräsident in München”.
Gebhardt earned the following medals that are all written down in the soldbuch:
As a Veteran of World War I:
- Iron Cross 2nd Class
- Bayern Militär Verdienst Kreuz Dritte Klasse
- Frontkämpfer Ehrenkreuz with swords
And later after joining the police and in World War II:
- Polizei Dienstauszeichnung Zweite Stuffe
- Polizei Dienstauszeichnung Erste Stuffe
- Kriegsverdienstkreuz Zweite Klasse Ohne Schwerter
Gebhardt died on 6 February 1944 in the Netherlands. On page 6 is written:
Am 6 Februar 1945 auf dem Strasse Holst den Nul* Provinz Overijssel durch Tieffliegerbeschuss gefallen. Amsterdam am 4 März 1945. [Meinser] SS-Stürmbahnführer und Major der Gendarmerie.
[On February 6, 1945, on the road to Holst den Nul in the province of Overijssel, fell by low-flying aircraft attack Karl Gebhard. Amsterdam on 4 March 1945. [Meinser] SS-Stürmbahnführer and Major of the Gendarmerie].
*This should be Olst den Nul, nowadays in 2020 known as Olst-Wijhe.
There is next to the written entry also a stamp from Der Reichskommissar f.d. besetzten Niederlämdischen Gebieten. Generalkommissar f.d. Sicherheitswesen.
Besides a few perforationholes the Soldbuch is in very good condition! In the back is also a seperate “Merkblatt”.
The Volksbund lists Karl Gebhardt (see included pictures) here:
Karl Gebhardt is buried in the Netherlands at the Kriegsgräberstätte in Ysselstein. Endgrablage: Block CT Reihe 7 Grab 171.
On the Dutch Findagrave.com website Gebhard is listed as well. There is also a photo of him and two pictures of his current grave.
As can be read on this site Gebhardt was first buried at the “Nieuwe Oosterbegraafplaats in Amsterdam”, but was reburied between 15/10/1947 and 22/03/1948 in Ysselsteyn.
The site also mentions that his son Karl Gebhardt,Jr. fell in Italy on July 1st 1944 at age 27.
If we look again at the entry on page 6, we can read that he fell by low flying aircraft attacks (“Tieffliegerbeschuss“). This is very interesting as this can be researched further. As a matter of fact, just recently, on march 9 2020, an article was published regarding the events during which Gebhardt fell, and it shows how he was as a German policeman responsible for one of the last trasports of Jewish- and resistence people to the Westerbork concentrationcamp. During this transport the attack during which he fell took place! The link to the article (in dutch) that tells in detail what happened that day:
We can read here that most people of this transport were imprisoned in Amsterdam as they were betrayed and had been put on transport at the “Amsterdamse Schouwburg” to the Westerbork camp. This was one of the very last transports to Westerbork!
An English Mosquito bomber, that was part of a group of 25 bombers that left on 03.51 hours from their base at Blackbushe, West of Londen, was together with six other bombers of their group, searching in the morning of 6 February 1945 in the Netherlands in the province of Overijssel for transports and launchinstallations of V1 and V2 rockets. It spotted on the dyke near Wijhe (Olst) a large truck driving toards the city of Zwolle. After firing several flares the pilot noticed the vehicle was a large German military truck. The bombers crew decided to attack and shot in several dives the truck from both the front and back.
The consequences were enormous and shocking! It was one of the last transports of Jewish prisoners and resistence people to Westerbork. Fourteen jewish people died that day: 7 died immediatly, one man (Willy Polak) died shorty after. On the way to the hospital 3 more people died of their wounds: Mozes Duis 50 years old, Benedictus Furth 55 years old, Samuel Kool 59 years old. That same day 2 heavily wounded people died in the hospital: Simon de Vries 51 years old, and jr. Isidoor Polk 36 years old. On 7 March Rachel Leisen 27 years old died also of her wounds. Later research learned that at least 40 people must have been in the truck when it was attacked.
Also among the “Ordnungspolizei/Grüne Polizei”, that accompanied the transport, were several killed and injured men. But accurate numbers are not known. It also turned out that the Germans, after arriving at the attacked transport, first cared for and transported their own people to the hospital in Zwolle and only then cared about the Jewish victims who were unable to flee. We now know that Karl Gebhardt was one of the German policemen who died during the attack!
More background about the aftermath of the attack and prisoners who tried to escape after the attack, can be read in the book by author Jan Veerman: “Wijhe voor en tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog”, deel 3.
Another website that tells the story of the attack is dedicated to Willy Polak, one of the Jewish victims that unfortunately died on 6 february 1945 in the attack:
This Soldbuch is an amazing timedocument, connected to a tragic and terrible event in Dutch wartime history. Reading up on the background makes one feel uneasy and aware of how terrible the war was. On a personal note i like to say that by preserving these items we keep history and the memories of the war alive. This is a very serious historical item and it should preferably be diplayed in a musum or used as a historical source for an article. The links above here show what a heavy and dark background is connected to it and to Dutch history. The soldbuch is only sold for historical purposes to museums or researchers as studymaterial.