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August Heissmeyer

August Heissmeyer - born 11 January 1897 in Gellersen, nowadays part of Aerzen; died 16 January 1979 in Schwäbisch Hall) was a leading member of the SS. After the World War II, he was sentenced to a prison term as a war criminal.


After finishing school, Heißmeyer joined the Prussian military. In World War I he was a lieutenant and was decorated many times with, among other things, the Iron Cross, First Class.

Heissmeyer with Gertrud and their children
Heissmeyer with Gertrud and their children.

Previously married with six children in his custody, Heissmeyer married Gertrud Scholtz-Klink - the "Reich Women's Leader" ("Reichsfrauenführerin") - who had two previous marriages herself. After giving up his studies, he busied himself as a driving teacher. In 1923 he first came into contact with the Nazis, whom he joined in 1925. In early 1926, Heissmeyer also joined the SA in which he participated actively, was responsible for building up the SA-Gausturm Hannover-Süd, and was for a time the acting Gauleiter.

In January 1930, Heissmeyer applied to join the SS and was accepted as the 4370th member. From 1932, Heissmeyer was an associate at the SS main office and was promoted many times. From 1935, he was "Head of the SS Main Office", thus reaching a key position in the SS hierarchy, relieving Heinrich Himmler as the Office Head. On 9 November 1936, Heissmeyer was appointed SS Obergruppenführer and Inspector of the National Political Institutes of Education (NPEA).

In April 1939, Richard Schulze served as an adjutant to Heissmeyer until his transfer on June 8. Furthermore, in 1939, Heissmeyer was appointed SS Oberabschnittsleiter "East" and in 1940 "Higher SS and Police Leader Spree". He thereby oversaw the Berlin-Brandenburg area.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Heissmeyer now saw fit to set up the "Dienststelle SS-Obergruppenführer Heissmeyer" - his own bureau - and was thereby responsible for NPEA students' military training.

August Heissmeyer took over the General Inspection of the Strengthened SS Totenkopf Standard in 1940 from the outgoing Theodor Eicke, who in 1939 had begun commanding a front line division and therefore gave his supervision over the concentration camps back to the SS Main Leadership Office (SS-Führungshauptamt). Heissmeyer was provisionally in charge of this bureau until May 1942. Then, he left the position to the new "concentration camp inspector" SS Gruppenführer Richard Glücks.

On 14 November 1944, Heissmeyer was given the right to bear the title "General of the Waffen-SS" along with his regular SS rank, thereby affording him a prestigious position in the Waffen-SS. In April 1945, he was given command of Battle Group Heissmeyer, a collection of Volkssturm and Hitlerjugend tasked with protecting the Spandau airfield outside Berlin.

On February 29, 1948, Heissmeyer was captured by French authorities near Tübingen, and held for trial the following month. He served 18 months in prison before being released in 1949, but the following year he was sentenced by the de-Nazification appeals court to 3 years imprisonment as a "major Nazi offender" and forfeiture of property.

After his release, Heissmeyer went to live in Schwäbisch Hall. He became the director of the West German Coca-Cola bottling plant. He died on January 16, 1979, five days after his 82nd birthday.


August's nephew was the SS Doctor Kurt Heissmeyer
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