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Ernst Wilhelm Bohle

Ernst Wilhelm Bohle (July 28, 1903 - November 9, 1960) was leader of the Foreign Organization of the German Nazi Party (NSDAP) from 1933 until 1945.


He was born in Bradford, England, the son of Hermann Bohle (1877-1943), a college teacher and engineer who emigrated to England. In 1906 Bohle came to Cape Town, where his father was appointed to a professorship of electrical engineering, and attended a high school there. Bohle studied political sciences and business administration in Cologne and Berlin and graduated in business management at the Handelshochschule, Berlin, in December 1923. He married Gertrud Bachmann on November 14, 1925. Bohle was employed as branch manager and agent in the import-export business for several enterprises in the Rheinland from 1924 until 1930 and established and directed hereafter a big automotive firm in Hamburg from 1930 to June 1933.

Bohle joined the NSDAP on March, 1 1932 (membership number 999.185) and on September, 13 1933 he entered additionally the SS (membership number 276.915) at the rank of SS Major General (German: Brigadeführer). Bohle was promoted SS Lieutenant General (German: Gruppenführer) on April 20, 1937 and SS General (German: Obergruppenführer) on June 21, 1943.

In December 1931 he became a volunteer assistant of Dr. Hans Nieland, the leader of the Foreign Organisation of the NSDAP (German: NSDAP Auslands-Organisation (NSDAP/AO)), responsible for South and Southwest Africa and later North America. This organisational unit was founded on May 1, 1931 at Hamburg and Reich Organisation Leader Gregor Strasser appointed Nieland Chief. After Dr. Nieland resigned from office on May 8, 1933 (because he had become head of the Hamburg police authorities in the meantime and later on a member of the Hamburg provincial government) Ernst Wilhelm Bohle was charged with the leadership of the Auslands-Organisation in the party rank of a Gauleiter. Bohle's father Hermann was NSDAP/AO Landesgruppenleiter (English: Leader of the National Committee) in the Union of South Africa from 1932 until 1934 and he was president of the Berlin based Deutsch-Südafrikanischen Gesellschaft (English: German South-African Society).

From November, 12 1933 till the end of the Third Reich he was member of the Reichstag for the constituency "Württemberg" and from 1937 to 1945 he was State Secretary in the Foreign Office. Moreover he belonged to the Staff of the Führer's Deputy Rudolf Hess since October 3, 1933.

Bohle was sentenced to five years of confinement in the so called "Ministries Trial" (German: "Wilhelmstraßen-Prozeß"), one of the Nuremberg follow-up trials, on April 11, 1949. Nevertheless, he was pardoned by U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy already on December 21, 1949. Afterwards he acted as a merchant in Hamburg. He died in Düsseldorf.

In the postwar period Ernst Wilhelm Bohle gave impulse to the refoundation of an organisation for the development of German South-African interstate commerce. Through some stages, to whom belonged so called Südafrikanische Studiengesellschaften (English: South-African Study Societies) in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich and Düsseldorf since the beginning of 1950 (the Düsseldorf Circle was led by Third Reich's Press Chief Otto Dietrich) the Deutsch-Südafrikanischen Gesellschaft (DSAG) arose again in 1965.


  • Kriegsverdienstkreuz (KVK) I. Klasse ohne Schwerter (Engl.: "War Merit Cross, 1st Class without Swords)
  • Kriegsverdienstkreuz (KVK) II. Klasse ohne Schwerter (Engl.: "War Merit Cross, 2nd Class without Swords)
  • Goldenes Parteiabzeichen der NSDAP (Engl.: "Golden Party Award of the NSDAP)
  • Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP für 10 Dienstjahre (Bronze) (Engl.: "Long-Service Award in the NS-Party, 10 years, Bronze")
  • SS-Ehrenring (Totenkopfring) (Engl.: "SS Honour Ring - Death's head ring")
  • Ehrendegen des Reichsführers-SS (Engl.: "Honor Sword of the SS Field Marshal")

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