|“||...for once, some seventeen years ago, his name was Gunther Lutze. He held the rank of a captain in the SS. He was a black-uniformed strutting animal whose function in life was to give pain, and like his colleagues of the time, he shared the one affliction most common amongst that breed known as Nazis... he walked the Earth without a heart.||„|
|~ The opening narration, describing Captain Lutze.|
Captain Gunther Lutze is the villainous protagonist of The Twilight Zone episode "Deaths-Head Revisited". He is a former SS captain who is returning to the Nazi death camp he was once the leader of to admire his handiwork there, only to find himself put on trial and tormented by the ghosts of the people he tortured and slaughtered there.
He was portrayed by the late Oscar Beregi, Jr., who also played another villain from The Twilight Zone, Mr. Farwell.
He is a cruel, remorseless and despotic camp leader, who took delight into killing and torturing innocent people in the past, even though he did not personally execute them. He was so sadistic that he even conducted experiments on certain people - experiments that usually, if not always, ended in the death of his victims.
Lutze has an astounding lack of empathy, referring to the Holocaust as a "little mistake." When confronted with his crimes, Lutze makes every effort to try and deny them, proving himself little more than a cowardly sadist.
We first see Lutze checking into a hotel in Dachau, Bavaria, under the name "Schmidt". The receptionist seems to recognize him as the Nazi war criminal that he is, but he insists that he spent the war serving on the Eastern Front. After forcing the woman to explain what the Nazis were doing in Dachau, he returns to the ruins of Dachau concentration camp to recall his time as its commandant during World War II. As he strolls around the camp, he revels in the recollections of the torment he inflicted on the inmates.
However, Lutze's walk of sadistic nostalgia is cut short when he sees to his horror Alfred Becker, one of the camp's former inmates and a man who Lutze enjoyed focusing an especially large amount of cruelty on. At first, Lutze assumes that Becker is now the caretaker of the camp. The two converse, with Becker taking Lutze to task over his monstrous treatment of the inmates, to which Lutze attempts to invoke the "just following orders" excuse. Eventually becoming agitated with Becker, Lutze tries to leave, but finds the gate locked. In one of the camp buildings, Becker and several other inmates put Lutze on trial for crimes against humanity and find him guilty. Becker is about to pronounce the sentence when Lutze finally remembers that he had actually killed Becker 17 years ago on the night American troops came close to Dachau, revealing that Becker and the other inmates have been vengeful ghosts this entire time.
As punishment for his vile deeds, Lutze is made to undergo the same horrors he had imposed on the inmates in the form of tactile illusions. He screams in agony and collapses. Before departing, Becker's ghost informs him, "This is not hatred. This is retribution. This is not revenge. This is justice. But this is only the beginning, Captain. Only the beginning. Your final judgment will come from God."
Lutze is found and taken to a mental institution for the criminally insane, since he continues to experience and react to his illusionary sufferings, all the while the men who found him wondering how he could have gone insane in just two hours.
- Lutze is one of only three Twilight Zone (1959) villains to be pure evil.
- Lutze's alias of "Mr. Schmidt" is noteworthy, as the real name of the Red Skull (a sadistic, Pure Evil Nazi villain like Lutze), is Johann Schmidt.