and of scholars, journalists, community of an in Nazi share interest the Germany, history laymen JL one of the most frequently discussed and persistently contro?
subjects of that era is the Waffen SS. Attempts to define what the to questions about the extent to which Waffen SS was lead invariably the Waffen SS was or was not an integral part ofthe overall SS organi?
and the degree to which it was or was not involved nal acts attributed to the SchutzstaffeL1
in the crimi?
In recent years, the proliferation of historical literature devoted to the in the subject, and has somewhat SS has intensified interest Waffen views sharpened the contrasting scholars2 and younger historians
Waffen SS. American and British and journalists in West Germany who
The author is indebted to the department of history of Vanderbilt University and to the Deutscher AkademischerAustauschdienstfor the generous financial assistance which made possible the European archival research for this essay. 1. When the Nuremberg Tribunal included the Waffen SS in its indictment and condemnation of the SS as a criminal organization, it established the basis from which the postwar debate over the Waffen SS has developed. See Trials ofthe Major War Criminals beforethe InternationalMilitary Tribunal,42 vols. (Nuremberg, 1948), xxn, 512-17, for the Tribunal's judgment against the SS. (Hereinafter cited as TMWC with volume and page or document numbers.) 2. To date, the best book in any language devoted to the Waffen SS is the American scholar George H. Stein's The Waffen SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War, 1939-194$ (Ithaca, N.Y., and London, 1966). In addition, the paperback edition of Gerald Reitlinger's The SS: Alibi ofa Nation, 1922-1945 (New York, 1968), issued with a new introduction, still contains a wealth of valuable information on the Waffen SS. More recently, three Ameri? can doctoral dissertations have examined in detail vital areas of Waffen SS history. These include: James J. Weingartner, Jr., "The Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, 1933-1945" (unpub. diss., Wisconsin, 1967); Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., "Totenkopf: A History ofthe Waffen SS Death's Head Division, 1939-1945" (unpub. diss., Vanderbilt, 1971); and Robert A. Gelwick, "Personnel Policies and Procedures ofthe Waffen SS" (unpub. diss., Nebraska, 1971). In West Germany, the Munin Verlag in Osnabriick has published a num? ber of Waffen SS unit histories. To date, the most significant are: Otto Weidinger, Divi? sion Das Reich, 1934-1941, 2 vols. (Osnabriick, 1967-69); Friedrich Husemann, Dieguten 339
340 have written
on the Waffen SS3 generally have concluded that the armed for its share of SS criminality, and was at least nomiofthe vast of organizations that part conglomerate
SS was responsible nally a functioning
made up the SS.4 This view
has been vociferously?and in West Ger? many quite effectively?challenged by a large, well-financed publishing an known as the Mutual Aid So? campaign sponsored by organization ciety of the Waffen SS (Hilfsorganization auf Gegenseitigkeit der Waffen SS, or HIAG). For nearly twenty years HIAG has lobbied vigorously for a full rehabilitation of the Waffen SS. with the Bonn government of an endless Toward that end, HIAG has underwritten the publication stream of tendentious memoirs and books by former SS generals and to the Waffen SS.5 academics sympathetic right-wing The thematic gist ofthe apologist literature has been that the Waffen and distinct from the SS; SS was an organization separate, independent, in contempt that Waffen SS officers held Himmler and frequently disobeyed his orders; and that the men of the armed SS, as front-line soldiers, were in no way associated with or responsible for the crimes committed by other SS agencies in the Reich and in occupied Europe. of the myth, widely believed in The result has been the establishment nonacademic
circles in West
that the Waffen SS was
Glaubenswaren:Der Weg derSS Polizei-Division, 1939-1942 (Osnabriick, 1971); Wilhelm Tieke, Tragodieum die Treue:Kampfund UntergangdesIII. (Germ.) SS Panzerkorps(Osna? briick, 1970); and Peter Strassner,EuropaischeFrehvillige:Die Geschichteder5. SS-Panzer Division "Wiking" (Osnabriick, 1969). 3. Two ofthe most significant recent works on the general subject ofthe SS are the products of West German research and writing. The collaborative work by Hans Buch? heim, Martin Broszat, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, and Helmuth Krausnick, Anatomie des SS Staates, 2 vols. (Olten and Freiburg i. Br., 1965), English ed., Anatomy ofthe SS State (New York, 1968), is a brilliant and powerful compendium and by far the most authoritative analysis ofthe SS that has yet appeared. Heinz Hohne's Der Ordenunterdem Totenkopf: Die Geschichteder SS (Gutersloh, 1967), English ed., The Orderofthe Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS (New York, 1971), is balanced and comprehensive and deals extensively with the functions ofthe Waffen SS within the overall structure ofthe SS. 4. The most cogent and illuminating discussion of the question of Waffen SS criminality is in Stein, The WaffenSS, ch. 10, "The Tarnished Shield: Waffen SS Criminality," pp. 250-81. 5. For a bibliographical summary ofthe apologist Hteratureup to 1965, see especially Stein, The Waffen SS, pp. 250-58; and the same author's "The Myth ofa European Army," Wiener LibraryBulletin, xrx, No. 2 (April 1965), 21-22. At present, the main outlet in West Germany for the dissemination of pro-Waffen SS literature is the Munin Verlag in Osnabriick. This house also publishes a monthly magazine entitled Der Freiwillige, which features articles about WaffenSS history, reminiscences by former SS gen? erals, news about activities and gatherings of local SS veterans' chapters, and obituaries of members with elaborate commentary about their wartime records.
purely a fighting force little different from the German Army, the men who served in the armed SS were "soldiers just
and that like
others."6 There is, of course, no effective way to disprove such a myth, since the general question of SS criminality is so complex, and since myths, once buttressed by public credibility, assume a veneer of historical truth and are more
easily enlarged upon than refuted.7 It would, moreover, be puerile to assume the reverse ofthe apologist thesis; namely that all or a majority ofthe officers and men who served in the Waffen SS were criminals. There were, no doubt, many decent men who joined the Waffen SS out of an honest sense of patriotism, just as there were thou? sands of bewildered and reluctant conscripts Volksdeutsche or (mainly ethnic Germans) from various parts of occupied Europe who found themselves fighting in the uniform ofthe Waffen SS. To conclude that all of these men were murderers or criminal lunatics who willingly inin atrocities would be as ludicrous as the efforts the dulged just by apologists to prove
that the Waffen SS really
was not part ofthe
6. The title and theme of Paul Hausser's Soldatenwie AndereAuch: Der Weg der Waffen SS (Osnabriick, 1966). Among the most important works of apologist literature are the books by former Waffen SS Generals Paul Hausser, Felix Steiner, and Kurt Meyer. Hausser, the ranking officer in the Waffen SS (still alive at the age of ninety-two), is also the author of Waffen SS im Einsatz (Gottingen, 1953), one ofthe earliest and most influ? ential apologist works demanding rehabilitation ofthe Waffen SS. The late Felix Steiner's books, Die Freiwilligen: Idee und Opfergang(Gottingen, 1958), and Die Armee der Geachteten (Gottingen, 1963), also were important in stressing the theme ofa purely military Waffen SS. Kurt Meyer's popular Grenadiere(Munich, 1957), is perhaps the boldest and most truculent of the apologist works, arguing flatly that the Waffen SS was never in? volved in the commission of criminal acts. Not all ofthe apologist literature, however, is so tendentious. Ernst-Gunther Kratschmer's Die Ritterkreuztrdgerder Waffen SS (Got? tingen, 1955) contains a wealth of biographical and statistical information, while Dr. K. G. Klietmann's Die Waffen SS: Eine Dokumentation(Osnabriick, 1965) is a useful compendium detailing the organization and battles of the individual Waffen SS units. 7. The rehabilitation effort also has had its impact in nonacademic circles in this coun? try. See especially Roger James Bender and Hugh Page Taylor, Uniforms, Organization and History ofthe Waffen SS, 2 vols. (Mountain View, Calif, 1969-71). These first two installments of a projected four-volume work lean heavily on apologist literature (the foreword to the first volume is by Otto Skorzeny), and are slanted toward the large crowd of World War II hobbyists and souvenir collectors more susceptible to the romanticized mythology of the Waffen SS. 8. Until recently, some ofthe most extreme charges aimed at the Waffen SS came from East German publications. To substantiate their claims ofa rebirth of Nazism in the Fed? eral Republic, the East Germans pointed directly at the apologists with hefty document collections. A good example is 55 im Einsatz: Eine Dokumentationiiberdie Verbrechender 55, Herausgegeben vom Komitee der Antifaschistischen Widerstandskampfer in der DDR (Berlin, 1960).
It does seem possible, however, to rebut certain points in the apolowith observations about the history ofthe gist position Waffen specific SS Totenkopfdivision In particular, the cir? (SS Death's Head Division). pertaining to the origins ofthe Totenkopfdivision, the move? of personnel between it and other SS agencies, and the extent of its administrative subordination to the SS are of special interest in light cumstances
of the apologist arguments. The SS Totenkopfdivision was one ofthe divisions
original three Waffen SS field in the autumn of 1939.9 Approapproval the Totenkopfdivision was born officially on the grounds
created with Hitler's
priately enough, of the Dachau concentration
camp near Munich. In its original form, was largely the product of the prewar concentra? of the and commander The founder, organizer, Head Division until his death in combat in Russia in February
the Totenkopfdivision tion camp system.10 Death's
1943 was Theodor Eicke.11 Prior to the war, Eicke had been one ofthe
most important figures in of Dachau in 1933, he built the camp into the the SS. As commandant and extermination model upon which the entire concentration camp system
was based. Many
9. Stein, The WaffenSS, pp. 27-34, f?r the organization ofthe first WaffenSS divisions after the Polish campaign. A complete organizational listing ofthe armed SS at this point in the war is in the Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Akten des Reichsfuhrers SS und Chef der deutschen Polizei, Personlicher Stab, NS-7/426, "Einstellungsbedingungen fiir die Waf? fen SS," an unsigned, undated chart drafted sometime early in 1940. (Hereinafter cited as BAKO, NS-7/426, with individual document identification.) The manuscript collections in the Bundesarchiv examined for this study consist of materials from the captured Ger? man documents microfilmed at Alexandria, Virginia, and then restituted to the Federal Republic of Germany. Microfilm copies ofthe documents now deposited at Koblenz can be located in the National Archives publication Guides to the GermanRecordsMicrofilmed at Alexandria, Va. (Washington, D.C., 1958- ), especially Guides Nos. 32 and 33, Parts I and II, Microcopy T-175. 10. Materials dealing with the founding ofthe Totenkopfdivisionare in the Bundesarchiv-Militararchiv, Freiburg im Breisgau, Splitterakten der 3. SS Panzer-Division "Totenkopf," especially III SS, 41/2, Anlagenband 1 zum KTB Nrs. 1-4; III SS, 41/8, Bd. 1, Sonderbefehle und Tagesbefehle, 12. Oktober 1939-18. Juli 1940; and III SS, 42/1, Verwaltungsdienste, KTB Nr. 1. (Hereinafter cited as BAMA, III SS, with individual vol? now deposited ume and document identification.) The records ofthe SS Totenkopfdivision at Freiburg may also be obtained on microfilm from the National Archives. These ma? terials are identified in Guidesto the GermanRecordsMicrofilmedat Alexandria, Va., Guide No. 27, Microcopy T-3 54. 11. United States Document Center, West Berlin, SS Personalakte Eicke, handwritten "Lebenslauf" by Eicke, and a Diensdaufbahn, or summary list of his assignments, promotions, and transfers in the SS. (Hereinafter cited as USDC, SS Personalakte Eicke, with specific document identification.)
Charles tion volved
camp commanders in the destruction
and a good ofthe
of the key SS officers in? Jews were men who had been
European by Eicke during the early years of the camp system.12 More? Eicke had been en? of Himmler, over, as an utterly reliable subordinate Rohm during the Ernst trusted with the task of personally shooting These in services, turn, earned Eicke purge of June 30-July 1, 1934.13 by Hitler in July 1934 to the newly created post of "Inspec? promotion
Camps and Leader of SS Guard Units" (Inspekteur und Fiihrer der SS Wachverbande). Eicke thereby der Konzentrationslager task of building a whole network of concentra? received the formidable tor of Concentration
tion camps to hold "the enemies ofthe state" and of recruiting, equipSS Death's Head Units designated ping, and training the subsequently that guarded them.14 (SS Totenkopfverbande) success as the By the spring of 1938, Eicke had achieved unqualified around which the SS and police terror architect ofthe central institution for the whole camp system and apparatus was built. With responsibility all its SS guard units, Eicke ruled with a heavy hand over a concentra? near Weimar, tion camp empire based on Dachau, Buchenwald Sachat Oranienburg north of Berlin, the Mauthausen camp near Linz.15 senhausen
12. The best discussion of Eicke's prewar SS career is Martin Broszat's chapter on the concentration camp system in Buchheim et al., Anatomy ofthe SS State, pp. 399-459. In addition, the recent study by the French scholar Olga Wormser-Migot, Le Systeme ConcentrationnaireNazi, 1939-1945 (Paris, 1968), esp. pp. 31-137, discusses in detail Eicke's central role in the development ofthe prewar concentration camp system. Only recently has this rather significant contribution by Eicke to the construction of the Nazi terror apparatus been put into proper perspective. See Raul Hilberg, The Destructionofthe Euro? pean Jews (Chicago, 1960), pp. 555-56, 577-86; Eliot Barculo Wheaton, The Nazi Revolution 1933-1935: Prelude to Calamity (New York, 1969), pp. 497-99; and KarlDietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship (New York, 1970), pp. 359-61. 13. Hohne, The Order ofthe Death's Head, pp. 143-44. 14. USDC, SS Personalakte Eicke, Lebenslauf. A detailed personal account by Eicke of the early years ofthe camp system is in BAKO, NS-i9/neu-i925, letter from Eicke to Himmler, dated Aug. 10,1936. An excellent study which devotes considerable attention to the relationships between the growing concentration camp system and the other SS and police agencies is Shlomo Aronson, Heydrichund die Anfdnge des SD und der Gestapo, 1931-1935 (diss., Free University of Berlin, 1967), most especially pp. 140-42, 151-91, 383-85, for the significance of Eicke's success with the Dachau camp. (Since the completion of this essay, Aronson's important work has been published as Heydrichund die Fruh? geschichtevon Gestapo und SD [Stuttgart, 1971].) 15. Materials detailing Eicke's methods and policies as Inspector of concentration camps are in BAKO, NS-3/448, "Befehlsblatter und Rundschreiben des Inspekteurs der Konzentrationslager und Fiihrer der SS Totenkopfverbande," a series of weekly circular letters from Eicke to his camp commandants for Feb. and Mar. 1937; and in USDC, SS Personalakte Eicke, letter from Himmler to Eicke dated Nov. 3, 1937.
The coming ofthe war, however, appeared to bring new opportuni? ties for broadening his SS career even further. In October 1939 Himm? ler picked Eicke to command one ofthe three SS field divisions authorized by Hitler for the anticipated campaign against the western powers. To insure the speediest possible organization of Eicke's new armed SS three Himmler transferred entire Death's Head regiments division, men) from duty in the concentration camps to as infantry regiments in the new Totenkopfdivision. In addition, Eicke brought all but one of the SS officers for his division staff, the and battalion commanders, and most of his majority of his regimental (about service
transport, supply, and support guard units ofthe concentration
the Inspectorate staff and The camp system.16 remaining person? came from volunteers, and from men trans? units
nel for the Totenkopfdivision ferred from other SS and police agencies. Thus equipped and staffed, Theodor Eicke became one ofthe founders ofthe Waffen SS.17 The World
Totenkopfdivision s subsequent performance War rightfully earned it a contemporary
units in the German
reputation as one of forces. In the French
powerful campaign of 1940 and in the assault on the Soviet Union spring, the Totenkopfdivision performed with considerable
the following distinction in
i6. To tighten the internal security ofthe Reich during the Czech crisis, Hitler in Au? gust 1938 promulgated a top-secret decree that permitted the subsequent enlargement of the number and size of the Death's Head Units commanded by Eicke. The decree pro? with sizable new medical, transport, communications, and vided the Totenkopfverbande support units, and allocated Eicke enough trucks and armored cars to make the Death's Head Units fully motorized. A "police strengthening" (Polizeiverstdrkung)implemented by Himmler after the Czech crisis, and a full-scale call-up on the eve ofthe war brought Eicke a flood of new recruits from the Allgemeine SS, the SA, and the Nazi Party, and to nearly 24,000 men in September 1939. swelled the ranks of the Totenkopfverbande BAKO, NS/i9-neu-i652, photostatic copy ofthe Fiihrer Decree of Aug. 17,1938; ibid., NS-3/138, "Gliederung and Starkenachweisung der Polizeiverstarkung, SS Totenkopf? verbande," an undated unit-strength list signed by Eicke; and ibid., SS Erlasssammlung, "Einberufung der Verstarkung der SS Totenkopfstandarten," dated Aug. 30, 1939. 17. This direct and significant link between Eicke, the concentration camp system, and the Waffen SS is a fact all the apologist writers understandably have chosen to ignore. This view is also reflected, deliberately or unintentionally, in other current West German military Hterature,where the WaffenSS is depicted as largely the product of the prewar SS Verfugungstruppe(SS Special Service Troops). A good example is Alfred Schickel, "Wehrmacht und SS," Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau,xrx, No. 5 (May 1969),241-65. The fourteen reserve Death's Head Regiments (Totenkopfstandarten) organized after Au? gust 1938 were posted to guard concentration camps or to serve as occupying police forces in the Protectorate and (after September 1939) in conquered Poland. All even? tually were incorporated into field divisions of the Waffen SS.
From June 1941 until May 1945, with the sole in late 1942, three-month respite for rest and rebuilding battles.
ofa exception the Death's Head Division the battle
exclusively against the Red Army. on the Donetz and at Kharkov, pocket,
Demyansk the battles of Kursk and Warsaw, maintained the Totenkopfdivision record
as one of the most
and finally in the defense of Budapest, a consistent and exemplary combat and units to effective determined, fanatical,
fight in the war.18 This record of combat
was easily matched by however, achievement, divisions for The massacre wartime brutality. Totenkopf reputation by its units ofa hundred British prisoners at Le Paradis during the battle of France was the first recorded combat atrocity by a Waffen SS divi? the
s own records, moreover, indicate that its Totenkopfdivision and murdered Moroccan soldiers later during the Senegalese and reveal that Eicke's men zealously carried out Hit? French campaign,
Commissar Order (the directive for of all captured Political of the Commissars the first year ofthe Russian war.20 In throughout while still engaged in the Demyansk salient, units tion
the summary Red Army) the summer ofthe
execuat least of 1942,
18. Compilations of the Totenkopfdivision'swar record are in BAMA, III SS, 41/11, Zusammenstellung der Kampfe der SS "T" Div., 1939-1943; Klietmann, Die Waffen 55, pp. 109-15; with a fuller narrative in Sydnor, "Totenkopf," pp. 148-466. One of the most impressive features of the Totenkopfdivision1 s history was its significant personnel contribution to the expansion of the Waffen 55. The additional SS divisions created in 1942 and 1943 needed seasoned staff officers and unit commanders in order to become combat-ready. As a result, at least nine senior Totenkopfofficers who served with Eicke early in the war subsequently became commanders of SS divisions. Three of these men (Helmuth Becker, Heinz Lammerding, and Max Simon) had served with Eicke in the Three from the group of nine (Max Simon, Hermann Priess, prewar Totenkopfverbdnde. and Georg Keppler) also rose to command ofa Waffen 55 corps, while one (Heinz Lam? merding) became Chief of Staff to Himmler's Army Group Vistula in the spring of 1945. USDC, SS Personalakte of Otto Baum, Helmuth Becker, Georg Bochmann, Georg Keppler, Matthias Kleinheisterkamp, Heinz Lammerding, Hermann Priess, Max Simon, and Karl Ullrich. 19. Stein, The Waffen 55, pp. 76-77; Reitlinger, The 55, pp. 148-49; Sydnor, "Toten? kopf," pp. 175-80; and Cyril Jolly, The Vengeanceof Private Pooley (London, 1956), pp. 19-39 and 151-232, for a complete eyewitness account by the two British soldiers who survived the massacre. Fritz Knochlein, the SS officer who ordered the shootings, was caught, tried, and executed by the British after the war. 20. BAMA, III SS, 46/1, KTB Nr. 4, pp. 105-8; III SS, 41/4, Anlagenband 3 zum KTB Nrs. 1-4, pp. 2, 8-9. One instance involving the shooting of a captured Soviet Commissar is in III SS, 41/7, Anlagenband 2 zum KTB Nr. 7, pp. 217-18.
sion also assisted in selecting and deporting the Reich for forced labor.21
Equally significant, and indeed more important in view ofthe apolobetween the Toten? gist claims, were the extensive wartime connections kopfdivision and other branches ofthe SS, most especially those SS agen? and criminal activities. The nature and ex? cies engaged in nonmilitary tent of these relations reveals much about the multipurpose potential of of personnel within the armed SS, and a good deal about the movement the overall
charges made against the Waffen SS is the claim that men from its ranks served with the infamous Einsatzgruppen One
of the most
(the mobile killing units that operated behind the Russian front and shot or gassed nearly half a million Jews and suspected partisans).22 In the specific case ofthe Totenkopfdivision this allegation is true. In August the 1941 Einsatzgruppe A, whose territorial jurisdiction encompassed Baltic States, began extensive killing operations in the rear area of Army Group North. At that time, the total strength ofthe Einsatzgruppe was to a unit of whom were Waffen SS soldiers belonging 990 men?340 Waffen SS Battalion zur besondere Verwendung. In October designated the Totenkopfdivision s losses became serious and the need when 1941, from the battalion serving for replacements acute, a whole company with Einsatzgruppe A was transferred to the Totenkopfdivision and in-
21. Ibid., III SS, 42/2, Tagesbefehle, Telegrammen, und besondere Anordnungen fiir die Versorgung, pp. 301-6. Interesting also is the atrocity record among Eicke's proteges who commanded their own Waffen SS divisions. The cases of Max Simon and Heinz Lammerding are perhaps best known. Simon was condemned by Soviet and British tribunals for ordering the murder of civilians while commander first ofthe Totenkopfdivision and then the 16th SS Ranzergrenadierdivision "Reichsfuhrer55." He subsequently served less than eight years in prison, and in 1954 was released by the British. As commander of the SS Das Reich division, Lammerding in June 1944 ordered the savage reprisalsagainst the French villages of Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane. At Oradour, 642 men, women, and children were shot or burned to death by SS soldiers because a lone sniper allegedly killed an SS officer. The French never succeeded in bringing Lammerding to justice, although a demand for his extradition was still pending at the time of his death in January 1971. See USDC, SS Personalakte of Simon and Lammerding, summary lists of transfersand promotions; Stein, The Waffen 55, pp. 273-76, 278-81; Reitlinger, The 55, pp. 245n., 4001, 450; and Time: The Weekly News Magazine, Jan. 11,1971, p. 22, for an account ofthe French case against Lammerding at the time of his death. 22. See especially Hilberg, The Destructionofthe Europeanfews, pp. 177-256; Stein, The Waffen SS, pp. 263-64; and Joseph Tenenbaum, "The Einsatzgruppen," Jewish Social Studies,xvn (1955), pp. 43-64.
duty.23 Far more
s wartime associations the Totenkopfdivision and extermination camp system. In the spring of home administration to handle problems involving were
with the concentration 1941,
was pay, and benefits for soldiers in the Totenkopfdivision in the Dachau camp and housed there for the remainder of the war.24 The records ofthe contain numoreover, Totenkopfdivision,
personnel, established merous
to the receipt of a wide variety of supplies, most from the workshops in the concentration camps at
especially clothing, Dachau and Oranienburg. In addition, the reserve Death's Head units to the concentration ofthe organized guard camps after the formation as a were used source of replacements for Totenkopfdivision frequently Death's Head Division and for other SS field divisions.25 The movement of SS personnel of all ranks back and forth between the Totenkopfdivision and the concentration camps during the war apIn the period before the invasion of the pears to have been constant. Soviet
of the men
23. Identification ofthe Waffen SS company transferred from EinsatzgruppeA to the Totenkopfdivisionis made in Unsere Ehre Heisst Treue: Kriegstagebuchdes Kommandostabes RFSS: Tdtigkeitsberichteder i. und 2. 55 Inf Brigade und von Sonderkommandosder 55, Zeitgeschichte in Dokumenten (Vienna, Frankfurt, Zurich, 1965), pp. 231-33. At the time the Waffen 55 company was transferred to the Totenkopfdivisionfrom the killing operations, EinsatzgruppeA had liquidated over 125,000 Jews. A man who at one point was a batallion commander in the Totenkopfdivision,SS Standartenfiihrer Herbert Wachsmann, later served as a Kampfgruppeleader in the First SS Infantry Brigade during that unit's big antipartisan sweeps and killing operations in northern Russia during the winter of 1941-42. USDC, SS Personalakte Wachsmann, Dienstlaufbahn. 24. BAKO, NS-7/437, "Errichtung einer Heimatverwaltung fiir die SS-T. Div.," dated Mar. 11, 1941. 25. BAMA, III SS, 42/1, pp. 73-76; III SS, 42/2, pp. 121, 465-78; and BAKO, NS-19/370, order from the SS Fuhrungshauptamtheaded "Aunosung des SS Inf. Rgts. 14," dated June 17,1941. See also BAKO, NS-19/374, circulars from Himmler to all SS units dated Nov. 2 and 23, 1940, announcing the dissolution of SS TotenkopfRegiments 9 and 15, and the transfer of SS TotenkopfRegiment 14 from Buchenwald to the occupied Netherlands. Upon the disbanding of Regiments 9 and 15, one battalion from each was detailed for concentration camp guard duty to replace men being sent to the Totenkopf? division. SS TotenkopfRegiment 14, which moved from Holland to Poland in the spring of 1941, murdered a number of Jews and Polish civilians in the Lublin district in June 1941 while conducting expropriations of farm animals and agricultural produce. When this regiment was dissolved in late June 1941, many of its men were sent to the Totenkopf? division as combat replacements. BAKO, NS-19/370, SS IR i4(mot.), "Erfahrungsbericht iiber zwangsweise Eintreibung von Getreide, KartorTeln,usw. . . . im Distrikt Lublin," dated June 10, 1941.
guard units in the camps were transferred for individual reasons?usually Transfers from the concentration as punishment.26 camps to the Toten? this same were less period frequent and generally kopfdivision during small groups or individuals who possessed certain skills (mechanics, radio operators, doctors, etc.) required by the units ofthe To? tenkopfdivision. The exact number of men transferred to the Death's involved
from the camps, or vice versa, cannot be determined the war, the 1939 and 1945. Throughout exactly for period between in the Totenkopfdivision s records, and transfers were listed individually
of such information?if ever undertaken? no systematic compilation has survived among the records ofthe division. On the other hand, it is based on surviving possible to make a reasonably accurate estimation, the Toten? of between as to the number transfers material, documentary kopfdivision war.
and the concentration
October 1939 and March 1941, for example, an incomplete SS list compiled by Eicke's staff notes a total of twenty-two the to concentration from the officers sent camps.27 In Totenkopfdivision of transfers of other officers, non? addition, individual announcements Between
records for officers, and SS men listed in the surviving trans? men were at another that least indicate same the fifty-five period ferred from Eicke's division to the various concentration camps.28 Since
of the Totenkopfdivision
for these years are incomplete,
26. Eicke's practice of sending SS officers from the Totenkopfdivisionback to the guard units in the concentration camps as punishment ran counter to official SS policy about the camp system and its wartime role. In the autumn of 1939, SS publications stressed at length the view that guard duty in the camps was no less important or soldierly than service in the front lines. The SS Totenkopfunits, moreover, were depicted as heroic de? tachments filled with exemplary SS men performing an invaluable service by protecting Germany from the internal enemies incarcerated in the concentration camps. Institut fiir Zeitgeschichte, Munich, newspaper collection, Das Schwarze Korps (the official SS tabloid), issue for Dec. 21,1939, pp. 9-10. (Materialsfrom this repository hereinafter cited as IFZ with individual collection and document identification.) 27. BAKO, NS-19/370, SS Totenkopf-Division Ila, "Zusammenstellung iiber die von der SS Totenkopf-Division an andere Einheiten der Waffen SS abgegebene Fiihrer," dated Mar. 5,1941. 28. The figure of fifty-five was determined by the author on the basis ofa hand count of the transfer announcements for NCO's and SS men scattered throughout the Toten? in? kopfdivision'srecords for the period from Oct. 1939 to Mar. 1941. These volumes clude: BAMA, III SS, 41/5, KTB Nr. 5 und Anlagenband zum KTB Nr. 5, 7- Oktober 1940 bis 31. Mai 1941; III SS, 41/8, Bd. 1; III SS, 42/1; III SS, 42/2; and III SS, 44/2, Nachschubdienst, Tagesbefehle, 25. Oktober 1939-25- August 1940.
figure of seventy-seven approximate estimate. be taken as a conservative After
Sydnor,Jr. men transferred
s first summer
to the camps may
in the Russian
campaign, demand for replacesoaring casualty figures of the personnel the Toten? between ments, the direction of men?some? the numbers SS and kopfdivision camps changed. Larger Totenkopfdivision
an urgent movement
Totenkopftegimaits guarding to fill camps were transferred to the Totenkopfdivision had so units. Eicke taken combat 1942, many men By August depleted that units the were from the concentration being filled guard camps a of and Nazi from SS wide variety with older SS men dragooned the concentration
Party agencies.29 and The SS Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt (Main SS Economic the SS that controlled the or Administrative Office, WVHA), agency concentration camp system, replaced the drafts from the camps, as the acrimonious
correspondence lightly wounded
transferring Head Division
in the Totenkopfdivision s files indicates, by or convalescing soldiers from the Death's
units in the camps. Once there, the individual invariably refused to give them back to the Toten?
camp commandants kopfdivision. In August
1942, when Eicke was home on leave and Max Simon was the latter wrote a long letter to the Totenkopfdivision, commanding the multitude of difficulties then facing the division. Eicke describing to Simon, was the manOne ofthe most serious problems, according recamp commandants' power shortage caused by the concentration fusal to return Totenkopf soldiers who had been transferred to the camps Simon fumed, ignored for temporary duty. The camp commanders, and the pleas ofthe both the persistent demands ofthe Totenkopfdivision men in question, most of whom preferred to return to front-line about the volume In addition to the fragmentary information and the camps, between the Totenkopfdivision sonnel movement
duty.30 of per? there is
29. Ibid., III SS, 41/9, Lageberichte und Meldungen aus Kessel Demjansk, 10. April 1942 bis 12. September 1942, pp. 140-41, a letter from Heinz Lammerding to Max Simon of Aug. 8,1942, describing the composition ofa new infantry regiment being created for the Totenkopfdivision. 30. Ibid., III SS, 41/9, p. 127, a personal letter from Max Simon to Theodor Eicke written on Aug. 2,1942. The relevant portion ofthe letter, in the original, reads as fol? lows: "Soweit mir bekannt ist, befinden sich viele genesene Angehorige der Division in den Wachsturmbannen der K.L. [Konzentrationslagern] und werden da von den betreffenden Kommandeuren zuriickgehalten, obwohl sie gern an die Front mochten."
officers data on individual a good deal of biographical Head Division who were transferred to the concentration
in the Death's or extermina?
these men received after camps. An analysis of the assignments links between the Toten? more the the front reveals even about leaving kopfdivision and the camp system. In particular, the careers of four men tion
and Kaindl, Paul-Werner Hoppe, between that SS officers were exchanged for a number of reasons.
Grunewald?suggest the division and the camps Friedrich Hartjenstein joined
in March 1940 the Totenkopfdivision in a reserve Totenkopf regiment. By October 1941 duty and staff officer in he had served successively as a company commander after extensive
the division and had risen to the rank of SS Sturmbannfuhrer (Major). As a result of the heavy losses among the officer corps of the Totenkopf? Eicke gave division during the first summer of the Russian campaign, of the division's Third Infantry him command of the First Battalion The results were disastrous. Hartjenstein proved singularly Regiment. unfit to command an infantry battalion, and the severe mauling his unit suffered during the spring of 1942 was due mainly to his incompetence. In late August 1942 Eicke managed to have him relieved of his com? and transferred to camp duty.31 ofthe SS guard denew assignment was the command Hartjenstein's
In this new capacity he evidently managed to on for March himself, 10,1943, he was advanced to the position main killing of commandant ofthe Birkenau extermination camp?the com? remained center within the Auschwitz complex. Hartjenstein tachment
a reward for mandant at Birkenau until May 1944, when Himmler?as the large slave him to command his outstanding service?transferred in Alsace.32 labor camp of Natzweiler 3i. USDC, SS Personalakte Hartjenstein, especially the efficiency report on Hartjenstein written by Oswald Pohl, the Chief ofthe WVHA, and dated June 8, 1943. See also Stein, The WaffenSS, p. 262; Hilberg, The Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, pp. 57475; Wormser-Migot, Le Systeme Concentrationnaire, pp. 241-42, 366, 499, 531-33, 576, 580; and Hermann Langbein, ed., Der Auschwitz Prozess: Eine Dokumentation,2 vols. (Vienna, 1965), n, 601, 615, and 632, for additional details of Hartjenstein's tenure in Birkenau and his activities as commandant at Natzweiler. 32. USDC, SS PersonalakteHartjenstein, Dienstlaufbahn; Langbein, ed., Der Auschwitz Prozess, n, 995; and Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, p. 707. Hartjenstein was captured by the French in 1945 and condemned to death by a military tribunal for the mass murder of prisoners in Natzweiler. While his case was still under appeal in 1954, Hartjenstein died ofa heart attack in prison in Metz. See especially Adalbert Riickerl, ed., NS-Prozesse: Nach 2$JahrenStrafverfolgung: (Karlsruhe, Moglichkeiten-Grenzen-Ergebnisse 1971), p. 127.
a bit different.
on the staff ofthe
he had and then
camps Inspectorate in October to the Totenkopfdivision 1939 as the ofthe new division. Kaindl remained a member
chief personnel officer of Eicke's staff until October moved
back to the Inspectorate of the camp guard paymaster Totenkopfdivision At a time when
had him 1941. At that time, Himmler of concentration to chief become camps units. Kaindl was transferred from the
of his obvious
of the SS field
qualifications. were draining sorely needed
system, Himmler personnel from the camp administrative and competence. SS officers with Kaindl's experience Kaindl's term with the camp Inspectorate, was brief.33 however,
In August 1942, after a financial scandal involving the commandant had caused a stir throughout at Sachsenhausen the concentration camp and Himmler sent the reliable honest Kaindl to clean system, up the mess in the huge camp. Until the end ofthe war, Kaindl served as com? mandant of Sachsenhausen, earning in the process a reputation among his superiors as a scrupulously reliable camp com? correct, thoroughly mander.34 In addition, how desirable
the case of Paul-Werner
clearly were as candidates for Totenkopfdivision in the concentration SS the important jobs camp system. Hoppe joined in February 1933 and by the beginning ofthe war had become a key member of Eicke's staff in the Inspectorate of concentration camps. In officers
1939 he was among September Eicke helped plan the organization lowing division
the select ofthe
of SS officers
Totenkopfdivision, the Inspectorate to the new SS months of eighteen personal service
as Eicke's adjutant. After his boss, he was rewarded in April 1941 with command But during the heavy fighting near Lake fantry company. with
and the fol?
of an in? Ilmen
33- USDC, SS Personalakte Kaindl, Dienstlaufbahn; Dienstalterslisteder Schutzstaffel derN.S.D.A.P., Standvomi.Juli 1943 (Berlin, 1943), p- 9; Reitlinger, The SS, p. 259; and Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, p. 559. 34. USDC, SS Personalakte Kaindl, efficiency report on Kaindl written by Oswald Pohl on Mar. 23,1944; Nazi Conspiracyand Aggression, 8 vols. (Washington, 1946), vn, 209, a written deposition by Kaindl concerning his tenure as commandant at Sachsenhausen; TMWC, xxi, 608-9, 611; and Wormser-Migot, Le Systeme Concentrationnaire, pp. 146, 232, 319. Kaindl was tried as a war criminal by the Russians in 1946, and on Nov. 1,1947, sentenced by a Soviet tribunal to life in prison. He died in a Soviet prison several years later. Riickerl, ed., NS-Prozesse, p. 127.
Russia in the spring of 1942, Hoppe was severely wounded in the leg. As a result, he was forced to take a convalescent leave, and after recovery found himself transferred in July 1942 to the concentration camp system as commander
in Auschwitz.35 of an SS guard detachment for Hoppe's transfer was made quite plain in a circular later written by Richard Gliicks, Eicke's wartime successor as Inspector of concentration to the camps, recommending Hoppe for promotion The reason
rank of SS Sturmbannfuhrer. According to Gliicks, Hoppe's wound had allowed the camp system to acquire the services ofa man with a unique ofthe entire concentration Citing Hoppe's knowledge camp network. in Gliicks in late July 1942 the prewar experience camp Inspectorate, ofthe Stutthof concentra? suggested that he be appointed commandant was confirmed, tion camp near Danzig. This appointment subsequently to his new post and in September 1942 Hoppe moved from Auschwitz at Danzig,
until the end of the war.36
SS career of Adam Grunewald presents an in? of transfers be? to the observed pattern teresting previously and the camp system. Prior to the war, tween the Totenkopfdivision ofthe detention center at Dachau, Grunewald had served as commander officer in the Totenkopfbande. With the and as a staff and administrative Finally,
outbreak of war, Grunewald was transferred to the new Totenkopfdivi? this He performed sion and given command of the bakery company. ofthe division's to command assignment well enough to be promoted from with the Totenkopfdivision service, and remained procurement he that time was At November until October 1942. 1939 reassigned to center at Oranienburg?a of the detention camp duty as commander post he held until June 1943. From Oranienburg ofthe to the bigger assignment of commandant center in occupied tion camp and deportation
moved up concentra?
huge Vught Holland. His tenure
After an SS investigation early in Vught became unusually notorious. treat? brutal had sanctioned 1944 revealed that Grunewald especially in the camp's de? ment of prisoners and had allowed such overcrowding killed a number of women tention cells that the unsanitary conditions 35- USDC, SS Personalakte Hoppe, summary of materials in Hoppe's SS service rec? ords listing assignments, transfers, and promotions. 36. Ibid. See especially the copy of Gliicks's letter of recommendation for Hoppe's promotion and assignment as a concentration camp commandant, dated July 24, 1942, and signed by Oswald Pohl with an appended note of approval. As of this writing (Dec. 1972), the author has been unable to uncover any information about Hoppe's postwar fate.
and courthe was removed from his command detainees, political martialed at Himmler's As Grunewald was order. punishment, express in to rank to a the of SS and sentenced degraded April 1944 private lengthy term of combat duty with the Totenkopfdivision.37 The wald ofthe
of Hartjenstein, and Grune? Kaindl, Hoppe, ofa were not ofthe certainly majority typical experiences SS officers and men in the Totenkopfdivision. In all probability,
these however, several thousand Head came
cases were not isolated exceptions. the Among SS officers who passed through the ranks ofthe Death's Division many who during the war, there were undoubtedly from or were sent to some type of duty in the concentration
of these four examples, it would seem, camps. The broader significance concerns the rationale for transferring men to and from the camp sys? tem. In each case, the reason for reassignment to or from the camps was different: Hartjenstein was sent as a result of his incompetence, Kaindl because ofa definite need for his talents and experience, a when Hoppe serious
service, and military as punishment for his brutal performance at Vught. These four examples, in sum, may well document in microcosm what were the general rules governing the transfer of men between the Totenkopf? division and the concentration camps. Grunewald
that points to instituvein, there is substantial evidence relations between the Totenkopfdivision and SS agencies enin an even wider variety of criminal activities. A case in point is
gaged the Totenkopfdivision
s association with the Higher SS and Police Lead? ers (Hoheren SS und Polizei Fiihrer, or HSSPF) in the occupied terri? tories.38 During the first year of the war Himmler sent several men for service as HSSPF to the Totenkopfdivision for a period of designated them were two SS officers who military training. Among high-ranking
37- USDC, SS Personalakte Griinewald, "SS- und Polizeigericht Den Haag, Feldurteil, Beglaubigte Abschrift," dated Mar. 6, 1944; and Griinewald's Dienstlaufbahn. See also, Helmut Heiber, ed., Reichsfuhrer!. . . Briefe an und von Himmler (Stuttgart, 1968), Doc. No. 301, p. 254; and Jacob Presser, The Destruction of the DutchJews (New York 1969)? pp- 464-78, for a description of life and conditions in the Vught camp at the time Griinewald was commandant. After being sent back to the Totenkopfdivisionas a private, Griinewald was killed in action on Jan. 22,1945, while fighting with the division in Hun? gary. Ruckerl, ed., NS-Prozesse, p. 126. 38. The best analysis ofthe place and functions ofthe Higher SS and Police Leaders within the structure ofthe SS is the extremely important article by Hans Buchheim, "Die Hoheren SS und Polizei Fiihrer," VierteljahrsheftefurZeitgeschichte,xi (1963), 362-91.
spent the spring of 1940 with Eicke learning how to command troops in notorious for their activi? the field, and who later became conspicuously East. ties as Higher SS and Police Leaders in the German-occupied Ernst The first important SS (General) Obergruppenfuhrer guest, Schmauser, joined Eicke's staff in March 1940 and spent one training with the Totenkopfdivision. After leaving the division, he became HSSPF of Upper Silesia and in that capacity ruled as the su?
preme SS authority was located. Much with the logistical in Auschwitz.39
in the region in which Auschwitz time after 1942 was spent dealing of Schmauser's created by the immense killing operations problems under Himmler
The other SS celebrity who served briefly with the Totenkopfdivision and who retained close ties long after his departure, was SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Jeckeln. For six weeks during the spring of
ofthe first 1940, Jeckeln was assigned to Eicke's division as commander In the spring of 1941, of the Second Infantry Regiment. battalion Himmler appointed Jeckeln HSSPF of southern Russia, a post which killing unit staffed (Order Police) and the Waffen SS. by men from the Ordnungspolizei zeal, Einsatzgruppe C murdered more than 100,000 Spurred by Jeckeln's in Russia during July and August 1941. southern people (mostly Jews) As a result of Jeckeln's gruesome success, Himmler transferred him in command
1941 to the more challenging post of HSSPF jointly ofthe States and northern Russia. Here he was given the task of elimiin the forested region behind menace" nating the "Jewish-partisan led an immense "cleansing and in North, 1942 February Army Group November
sympathizers.40 At his palatial
to find in Riga Jeckeln also managed headquarters conthe from of amount tribute a time to amass staggering enough taken he had late December domain. in his new 1941 By quered subjects in Riga and had begun to store of warehouses over a whole complex
39. USDC, SS Personalakte Schmauser, Dienstkufbahn; BAMA, III SS, 41/8, Bd. 1, p. 332; and Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, pp. 333, 585. 40. USDC, SS PersonalakteJeckeln, "Vorschlag ... fiir die Verleihung des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold," dated May 23, 1944, for a description of Jeckeln's period of combat duty with the Totenkopfdivision.See also Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, pp. 193, 196, 238n., 250-51, for an account of Jeckeln's activities in Russia up to 1942.
and money. clothing, Despite his not with was Jeckeln stingy booty acquisitiveness, helped supply his old friend Eicke and the hard-pressed sion?then locked in ferocious winter fighting near Lake watches,
his insatiable and willingly Totenkopfdivi? Ilmen. From
sent ship1942, Jeckeln periodically fur wool food boots, socks, skis, cognac, clothing, and other necessities to the Totenkopfdivision from the wellpackages, in Riga. The result for the soldiers ofthe Toten? stocked SS warehouses ments
1941 of winter
kopfdivision sian winter The more
was at least a partial mitigation ofthe inflicted upon the Wehrmacht.41
that the Rus?
and Jeckeln Totenkopfdivision to the mountain accessibility
became of loot
in Riga more direct?when Eicke transferred one of his staff officers to in June 1942. This SS officer was Sturmbannfuhrer Jeckeln's command in (Major) Hugo Klapsch. In Riga, Klapsch became an administrator of which by then were so glutted with warehouses, Jeckeln's complex of every
that the HSSPF began using them as partial description for the SS supply dumps agencies and Waffen SS field divisions operatin northern The Russia. as it turned out, did not ing Totenkopfdivision, since heavy losses during long enjoy the benefits of Klapsch's patronage, goods
the summer Russia
of 1942 led to the division's the following October.42
41. BAMA, III SS, 42/2, pp. 444, 465, 478; III SS, 41/10, Funksprucke und Telegrammen, Bd. 3, p. 469. Vital supplies such as clothing and shoes were not the only valuables collected from murdered Jews and sent to the Totenkopfdivisionduring the war. In May 1943 Hans Frank, the Governor General of Poland, shipped 500 watches collected in Auschwitz to the Totenkopfdivisionfor distribution among the men as gifts. The Leib? standarteSS Adolf Hitler and Das Reich SS divisions also received allotmentsof 500 watches from Frank, who promised Himmler that he would send each of the three Waffen SS divisions 1,000 watches from among the 94,000 that had already been collected in Au? schwitz. Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, p. 616; and Artur Eisenbach, "Opera? tion Reinhard: Mass Extermination ofthe Jewish Population in Poland," Polish Western Affairs, in (1962), 80-124, esp. p. 109. 42. USDC, SS Personalakte Klapsch, summary of assignments, transfers, and promotions in Klapsch's SS service records. Klapsch succumbed quickly to the degenerate influ? ence of Jeckeln, became an alcoholic, and subsequently was demoted to an insignificant SS administrative post in Cracow. The spirit of amicability and cooperation between Eicke and Jeckeln was not exactly typical of the tenor of relations between Waffen SS commanders and the Higher SS and Police Leaders. All Waffen SS units not in the front lines theoretically were under the jurisdiction ofa HSSPF, who in turn was directly subordinate to Himmler as the commander of all SS and police in his assigned region or Wehrkreis.The HSSPF thus served to preserve Himmler's authority against the tendency by many vigorous Waffen SS commanders to try to exercise independent control over
One ofthe most illuminating examples ofthe versatility demonstrated by Eicke's SS officers when serving in other branches ofthe SS is the Prior to the creation of the career of SS Oberfuhrer Erich Tschimpke. served with Eicke as chief supply officer Tschimpke Totenkopfdivision, camps. In October 1939 he trans? a similar title and responsibilities. and administrative abilities were consid?
for the Inspectorate of concentration ferred to the Totenkopfdivision with
organizational Tschimpke's erable, and in the spring of 1941 his talents attracted the personal atten? to the In April the Reichsfuhrer SS posted Tschimpke tion of Himmler. Einsatzstab Reichsfiihrers SS (Himmler's operational staff for coordinat?
and SD units in Russia), and ing the activities of the Einsatzgruppen of the him task the solving supply and logistical problems of assigned the SS and police units that were to operate in the rear areas once the flawlessly in keeping performed campaign began. Tschimpke and units of the SD and police supplied, and re? the Einsatzgruppen mained with Himmler's Einsatzstab until September 1942. At that time, with a titular to the Ordnungspolizei, Himmler transferred Tschimpke Russian
to the position of Police President ofthe city of Chemnitz.43 promotion soon grew restless behind his The energetic Tschimpke, however, desk and in the winter of 1942 began to pester Himmler to transfer him the Reichsfuhrer SS consented back to the field. After some hesitation, 1943 secured for Tschimpke through Alfred Rosenberg's Territories for the Eastern Occupied (Ostministerium) an ad?
and in March Ministry ministrative
was appointed a GeTschimpke the of the under bietskommissar (District Commissioner) jurisdiction Reichskommissar for the Ukraine, Erich Koch. Due to a procedural mixposition
in the Ukraine.
had to be reassigned up, Tschimpke and SS garrison commander Captain)
as a Gebietshauptmann (District in the Ukraine, but at Hegewald
their own commands. See especially BAKO, NS-i9/neu-i665, copy of a teleprinter dated Mar. 5, 1942, in which the message from Flimmler to the SS Fuhrungshauptamt ReichsfuhrerSS expresses his concern about SS control over the WaffenSS and issues in? structions for tightening the authority ofthe HSSPF over Waffen SS units in the occu? pied territories. These conclusions and the same document are in Buchheim, "Die Hoheren SS und Polizei Fiihrer," pp. 362-66, 380-82, and p. 383; and the same teleprinter directive is also reproduced in Heiber, ed., Reichsfuhrer!,pp. 107-9. 43. USDC, SS Personalakte Tschimpke, summary list of assignments, transfers, and promotions; BAMA, III SS, 42/2, pp. 20-21; and BAKO, NS-i9/neu-i842, circular order firom Himmler to Chef der Ordnungspolizei, SS Personalhauptamt,and the SS of Sept. 19, 1942; and NS-i9/neu-i842, letter of Nov. 28, 1942, from Fuhrungshauptamt the SS Personalhauptamtto Himmler concerning Tschimpke's appointment.
subsequently the autumn
of 1943.44 remained a member of Koch's Ukrainian administration Tschimpke until the spring of 1944, when the Soviet advance rolled over his fieffrom the Ukraine. With dom and forced a general German withdrawal his job erased by the Red Army's offensive, Tschimpke requested to return him to front-line service with a Waffen SS division. Himmler as he obviously considered however, demurred, Himmler, Tschimpke ability and past experience qualified him for more sig? As a result, the Reichsfuhrer SS in April 1944 assigned as a special officer to the staff ofthe Higher SS and Police
as a man whose nificant
Tschimpke Leader in Italy?at that time SS Obergruppenfiihrer Karl Wolff, the for? mer chief of Himmler's main duties with personal staff. Tschimpke's liaison work with the Fascist militia of Mussolini's Wolff involved and the arming and training of an Italian SS legion "Salo Republic," In this capacity, Tschimpke was organizing. spent the remaining year of the war.45 Wolff
there were several other high-ranking Aside from Tschimpke, SS officers who moved into important positions in other branches ofthe SS after serving for varying periods with the Totenkopfdivision. SS Hauptwho was an officer in the sturmfuhrer (Captain) Alfred Franke-Gricksch, SS Death's Head Units from 1935 to 1939, joined the Totenkopfdivision in October 1939 and worked as an intelligence officer until March 1941. At that point, he was transferred to the Hauptamt ofthe Sicherheitsdienst, he remained until returning to active Waffen SS duty in August the SS Polizeidivision. The appearance of kidney stones forced with 1942 Franke to return to a desk job, and in January 1943 he was assigned to
the SS Personalhauptamt (Central Personnel Office). Here Franke spent the rest of the war engaged in personnel and administrative work.46 "Der Reichskommissar fiir die Festigung Deutschen 44- BAKO, NS-i9/neu-i842, Volkstums, Stabshauptamt, an RFSS, Personlicher Stab," dated Mar. 12,1943; ibid., copy ofa teleprinter message from Tschimpke to Himmler of May 25, 1943; and copy ofa letter from Tschimpke to Himmler, dated July 7, 1943. Rudolf 45. Ibid., NS-i9/neu-i842, letter of July 24,1943, from SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Hans Adolf Priitzmann, Brandt, Himmler's personal adjutant, to SS Obergruppenfuhrer the Higher SS and Police Leader for southern Russia; and copy ofa teleprinter message from Tschimpke to Himmler of Mar. 29, 1944. See also USDC, SS Personalakte Tschimpke, summary of SS service records. 46. USDC, SS Personalakte Franke-Gricksch, Dienstlaufbahn. Franke-Gricksch became a key member ofthe SS Personalhauptamtstaff during the last years ofthe war, and was regarded by his boss, SS GruppenfuhrerMaximilien von Herff, as the second best officer in
Franke's transfer from the Totenkopf? surrounding in SD March are to the division 1941 especially interesting, and illustrate of giving capable SS officers experi? Himmler's intention graphically in rear area ence both in combat and in those SS agencies involved The circumstances
to the SD, for Franke evidently questioned his reassignment 23, 1941, he received a personal letter from SS Obersturmbann-
onjuly adjutant. Brandt assured Franke that fiihrer Rudolf Brandt, Himmler's nor an indica? his transfer to the SD was neither a form of punishment tion of Himmler's displeasure, but rather was in line with the Reichs? fuhrer SS's policy of rotating so each could have combat
SS officers between
the front and the rear
This policy was reaffirmed a experience. issued a general order directing an extensive
year later when Himmler exchange of officers between
the SS administrative,
and the Waffen SS.47 The career of SS Hauptsturmfiihrer
provides another good example of how well this policy of personnel rotation worked, in the Waffen SS was front-line experience and shows how effectively had before the war in served applied in SS rear area services. Hellerich Ernst Hellerich
of SS the SS Totenkopfverbande, and was among the original contingent officers transferred to the Totenkopfdivision in October 1939. From then officer until November 1942 Hellerich served as the chief administrative in the Death's Head Division's engineer battalion. When the division for rest and refitting, Hellerich was pulled out of combat temporarily was transferred to the staff ofthe HSSPF Russland Stid in Kiev with the office had been (SS Wirtschafter). This important created by Himmler in June 1942 for all the HSSPF in Russia and the Balkans. The SS Wirtschafter, as the deputy ofthe HSSPF, coordinated
title of SS economist
(including conducted and the running of concentration by SS camps) the of the territorial within and units jurisdiction operating agencies HSSPF.48 individual executions
the entire SS personnel organization. His obvious abilities prompted Gottlob Berger, Chief ofthe WaffenSS Recruiting Office, to try repeatedly?and unsuccessfully?to draft Franke-Gricksch back into the WaffenSS. Ibid., letter from Maximilien von Herff, Chief ofthe SS Personalhauptamt,to Gottlob Berger dated Nov. 13, 1943. 47. Ibid., letter from Brandt to Franke-Gricksch of July 23,1941. Himmler's directive is in BAKO, Au-NS-19/415, "Austausch von SS Fuhrern zwischen Front und Heimat," and is dated Apr. 10, 1942. 48. USDC, SS Personalakte Hellerich, "SS WVHA, Amt A V, Beforderungen in der Waffen SS," dated Dec. 7, 1942. See also Buchheim, "Die Hoheren SS und Polizei Fiihrer," pp. 387-88; and Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, p. 557.
with the HSSPF
Sydnor,Jr. of southern
Russia, SS Obergrupautumn offensive of
until the Soviet penfuhrer Hans Adolf Priitzmann, from the Ukraine. 1943 forced a German withdrawal Hellerich
efficiency reports, schafter, and was chiefly responsible for organizing tion of all the SS units from the Dnepropetrovsk Priitzmann
area. His success with
led to Hellerich's
to According an outstanding Wirt? the successful evacua?
transfer as SS Wirtschafter to the staff ofthe a suc? Meer early in 1944, where he again organized ofthe SS units strung along the extreme southern
B I (food supplies) the war.49
In October SS WVHA,
1944 Hellerich was posted to Amt and served there for the rest of
the senior medical officers who served with the Totenkopf? Among there were very few who at one time during the war were not division, attached to some other SS or police agency. SS Brigadefuhrer (Brigadier for example, came to the Totenkopfdivi? General) Dr. Bruno Rothardt, sion from
SS Verfilgungstruppe in October 1939 as the chief physician ofthe Death's Head Divi?
sion until January 1941. From then until November 1942 he worked in the medical office ofthe Waffen SS, and from November until 23,1942, to was the medical staff ofthe State with duty August 15,1943, assigned Then, in the autumn of 1943, Rot? Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei). hardt returned to the Waffen SS for the duration of the war?serving as the chief physician to the VII and IV SS Panzerkorps.50 successively The first chief
then SS Standartensurgeon ofthe Totenkopfdivision, Karl also came Eicke with Genzken, ftihrer (Colonel) directly from the of concentration Prior to the war, Genzken served Inspectorate camps. as the chief medical quent timely.
staff, and his subseInspectorate in October most 1939 proved Totenkopfdivision At Oranienburg, and another SS doctor, SS SturmGenzken
a number of successful exbannfiihrer Dr. Edwin Jung, had conducted for Word of these activities criminals. sterilizing professional periments came to the attention of officials in the Reich Ministry of Justice in the summer of 1939, and an investigation was begun into the medical ex49. USDC, SS Personalakte Hellerich, efficiency report on Hellerich signed by Priitzmann on Oct. 20,1943; letter of Sept. 18,1944, from the former HSSPF Schwarzes Meet, Richard Hildebrandt, to Oswald Pohl; and a SS WVHA transfer noObergruppenfuhrer tice for Hellerich dated Oct. 10, 1944. 50. USDC, SS Personalakte Rothardt, Dienstlaufbahn; and summary of the other materials in Rothhardt's SS service records.
in the camps. Himmler was able to have the inquiry quashed that the experiments had taken place, while at the same by admitting time transferring both Genzken and Jung (who became the chief sur-
to the Totenkopfdivision. This pre? geon of Eicke's artillery regiment) Genzken and vented officials in the Ministry of Justice from questioning declared, both were on active military duty Jung, since, as Himmler with the Totenkopfdivision at the front.51 The long SS medical career of Brigadefiihrer Dr. Oskar Hock con? Before joining the Totenkopf? tained a similar pattern of movement. division in February 1941, Hock had worked on the medical staffs at and in the medical office ofthe Waffen SS in Dachau and Sachsenhausen Berlin.
From February 15, 1941, until November 9, 1942, Hock prachis reticed as a regimental surgeon in the Totenkopfdivision. Following lease from SS military duty, he was sent to the medical staff of the Ordnungspolizei in Berlin and kept there until the acute shortage of SS medical personnel forced his return to the Waffen SS in mid-1944. For the last nine months ofthe Second World War Dr. Hock, like his for? mer colleague Bruno Rothardt, served as an SS corps physician?first to the III SS Army Corps and then with the powerful II SS Panzerkorps.52 In sum, the materials drawn together here compel at least some tentaabout the Totenkopfdivision s relations with other agen? as a key Waffen SS unit, cies ofthe SS, and the extent of its integration, within the general structure ofthe Schutzstaffel. To begin with, there is tive observations
nothing in the history or experience of the Totenkopfdivision that the division and the men who served in it belonged to an structure ofthe separate and distinct from the institutional organization absolutely to suggest
SS. From the day of its creation until the end ofthe war, the Totenkopf division remained bound by the general political, racial, and administra? to action and under tive laws ofthe SS. Even when it was committed the operational
of the Army,
51. IFZ, microfilm collection, roll MA-293, frames 2550872-73, 2550882-84, letter of May 3, 1939, from Eicke to Karl WolfF, chief of Himmler's personal staff; and a letter from Glucks to Wolff dated Dec. 2,1939. See also BAMA, III SS, 46/1, Divisions Arzt, KTB Nr. 3, pp. 6-7, for the arrival of Genzken and Jung in the Totenkopfdivision;and USDC, SS Personalakte Genzken, Dienstlaufbahn, for Genzken's transfers and promotions after leaving the Totenkopfdivision.Genzken left the Death's Head Division on Mar. 31, 1940, and transferred to the Medical Inspectorate ofthe WaffenSS, and subsequently became the wartime chief ofthe entire WaffenSS medical service. In 1946 he was convicted as a war criminal and sentenced to life imprisonment by a U. S. Military tribunal. Hilberg, Destructionofthe EuropeanJews, pp. 601, 706. 52. USDC, SS Personalakte Hock, summary of materials in Hock's SS service records.
and administrative of the authority subjected to the disciplinary as has been SS shown, and, frequently depended upon other Reichsfuhrer and replacements.53 SS agencies for supplies, equipment,
the officers, noncommissioned Moreover, officers, and SS among there men who fought in the ranks ofthe were many Totenkopfdivision who had come from or later went to SS agencies or affiliates engaged in the SS Totenkopfdivi? between tasks. Personnel exchanges nonmilitary sion and the extermination
centers, the concentration camps, the Ein? SS the staffs ofthe the units, antipartisan satzgruppen, Higher SS and domestic Police Leaders, the SD, the police forces ofthe Reich, the ad? agencies ofthe occupied territories, and the main medical, staffs ofthe SS, all are a matter of documenand operational personnel, in There record. were, addition, almost as many different reasons tary as there were SS agencies to which they why men were transferred transfers to and from the went. In the case of the Totenkopfdivision, ministrative
and physical infirmity, personal antipathy and as a result of friendly intervention
of need for men with
incompetence, jealousy, Personnel favoritism. movement, the rational and irrational, logical of people
in short, was generated by most of and illogical factors that govern the the agencies of a vast, bureaucratized in?
stitution. the criminal importantly, men from the Totenkopfdivision?in More
for combat criminal
of a large number
of personal responsibility or by service in branches of the SS engaged in also a matter of documented substance. Fritz
and Hermann Priess (not Simon, Heinz Lammerding, all for were the Eicke) responsible unjustified killing of either civilians or prisoners of war; while Friedrich Hartjenstein, Anton and an undetermined Kaindl, Paul Werner Hoppe, Adam Grunewald, Knochlein, to mention
became active cogs in the Totenkopfdivision of human destruction in the history of man-
53- Himmler's constant efforts to keep Eicke and the Totenkopfdivisionunder his au? thority are reflected in the frequent and sharp rebukes by the ReichsfuhrerSS that punctuate his wartime correspondence with Eicke. A good example is BAKO, NS-19/370, letter from Himmler to Eicke of Jan. 30,1941, in which the ReichsfuhrerSS expresses displeasure with Eicke's command policies, and orders him to revise the disciplinary procedures used in the Totenkopfdivision.
To conclude, based on the example of the Totenkopfdivision, that all the other units in the Waffen SS shared similar experiences in the move? of personnel course, be sound
and the involvement
or legitimate. between SS agencies
in criminal conclusions
acts, would not, of about personnel
and affiliates and the Waffen SS in gen? eral must await either similar analysis in other Waffen SS unit histories or a comprehensive of manpower. study ofthe general SS utilization
case of the
merit at does, however, Totenkopfdivision In its origins, its military record, its war? and in its sources and uses of SS personnel, the experi?
least one tentative
time functions, one of the original and best Waffen SS ence of the Totenkopfdivision, to the apologist thesis divisions, provides a rather striking contradiction of and disassociated from of a purely military Waffen SS independent the political,