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Shot after Liberation

A document in the ITS archives states that Josef Küstrin, a Yugoslavian forced labourer in agriculture, was shot dead “on 15 April 1945, probably by a SS man in the woods” near Twiste (eight km/5 miles from Arolsen) – that is several days after the US Army had freed the region. His mortal remains were not discovered until months later.

His partner Antonia Ticar from Czechoslovakia was found in Nieder-Waroldern, a place seven kilometres (4.5 miles) away. She had been murdered the same day. The two left a baby aged five months – fate unknown. Both crimes were investigated by the criminal investigations police at the time.

The document is part of the record group relating to forced labourers, a group that includes work books, insurance records, patients’ files and registration cards made out by local authorities, health insurance companies and employers. In December 1945 and January 1946 the High Commanders of the Allied forces in the (American, British and French) Western zones of Germany handed down order §163 to all German council authorities. Obeying to this order, they had to take hold of all evidence on military or civilian persons of the United Nations and on all other foreign persons, German Jews and stateless individuals who either were staying in, or had been deported to, Germany after 2nd September 1939.