Quiet Life Belied Man's Nazi Past, Officials Say Exhausting Search Led to Gunfight in Kansas

By Kim Bell Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 3, 1997 | Go to article overview

Quiet Life Belied Man's Nazi Past, Officials Say Exhausting Search Led to Gunfight in Kansas


Kim Bell Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


A 79-year-old balding man who tended a small garden here and never got so much as a parking ticket is the latest target of the U.S. Justice Department's 17-year hunt for Nazis.

Historians with the department's Office of Special Investigations allege that Michael Kolnhofer was a Nazi concentration camp guard. They tracked him through a paper trail of tattered records that include captured German documents, rosters of prison guards, immigration lists and tax records.

The office's director, Eli Rosenbaum, said the hulking 240-pound widower, who spent an uneventful 46 years in the United States and worked construction jobs in the Kansas City area, had a hideous past as a member of the Waffen-SS responsible for torturing and murdering Jews and others prisoners during World War II. And, unlike the Hollywood stereotype of a survivor recognizing the guard on a public street, the secrets did not unfold in such a dramatic way. It took years of research, Rosenbaum said. Some cases take up to three years from the time a Justice Department historian first plugs the name found in prison guard records into a computer. "This era of Nazi-hunters is not done James Bond style," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "It's done in the world archives with meticulous paperwork." The allegations against Kolnhofer delighted some in the Jewish community as word spread across the country. Kolnhofer was kept under police watch Thursday at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He was in critical condition, suffering from a bullet wound to the leg. A policeman shot him Tuesday night on his front porch after Kolnhofer waved a gun and fired at police and reporters. The showdown came just hours after the government filed papers seeking to strip Kolnhofer of his citizenship for lying on his application to enter this country by concealing his wartime activies. According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Kolnhofer took part in the Nazi-sponsored persecution of war prisoners while at two camps: Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. At the Sachsenhausen camp, at the age of about 26, Kolnhofer was an armed guard of prisoners until January 1944. He was admitted into the Waffen-SS in 1942. He was transferred to Buchenwald near Weimar, Germany, in 1944. Court papers allege that Kolnhofer was transferred out of camp service and placed in a combat unit in Hamburg by early 1945. At Sachsenhausen, 30,000 Jews, Soviets and other prisoners of war were killed by shooting, hanging, gassing, beatings and other means. At Buchenwald, about 43,000 were killed or died at the camps from exposure, exhaustion, lethal injection and medical experimentation. The affidavit says members of the SS Death's Head Battalions, including Kolnhofer himself, "ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise practiced in the persecution of prisoners because of race, religion, national origin or political opinion." `He Never Hurt Anybody' Kolnhofer was born on March 6, 1917, in Preslatinci, Croatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and later part of Yugoslavia. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Quiet Life Belied Man's Nazi Past, Officials Say Exhausting Search Led to Gunfight in Kansas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.