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Richard Glucks high-ranking Nazi official

Richard Glucks (April 22, 1889 - May 10, 1945) was a high-ranking Nazi official. He attained the rank of a SS-Gruppenfuhrer and a Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS and was from 1939 until the end of World War II as the head of Amt D: Konzentrationslagerwesen of the WVHA the highest-ranking "Inspector of Concentration Camps" in Nazi Germany. Close to Himmler, he was directly responsible for the forced labour of the camp inmates, and was also the supervisor for the medical practices in the camps, ranging from human experimentation to the implementation of the Endlosung, in particular the mass murder of the inmates by gassing with Zyklon-B. When the Nazi regime fell and Germany capitulated, Glucks committed suicide by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule.

Early life

Glucks was born 1889 in Odenkirchen, in the Rhineland near Monchengladbach. Having completed the gymnasium in Dusseldorf, he worked in his father's business, a fire insurance agency. In 1909, Glucks joined the army for one year as a volunteer, serving in the artillery. In 1913, he was in England, and later moved to Argentina as a trader. When World War I broke out, Glucks returned to Germany under a false identity as a sailor on a Norwegian ship in January 1915 and promptly joined the army again. During the war, he eventually became the commander of a motorized artillery squad and was awarded the Iron Cross I and II. After the war, he became a liaison officer between the German forces and the Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control, the allied body for controlling the restrictions placed upon Germany in the Treaty of Versailles regarding re-armament and strength of their armed forces. Until 1924, he stayed in that position, before joining the staff of the 6th Prussian Division. He also served in the Freikorps.

Rise under the Nazi regime

Glucks joined the NSDAP in 1930 and two years later also the Schutzstaffeln. In the SS, he was from September 6, 1933 to June 20, 1935 a member of the staff of the SS-Group "West" and rose to the rank of a SS-Sturmbannfuhrer. Subsequently, he became the commander of the 77th SS-Standarte of the Allgemeine SS with the rank of a SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer. On April 1, 1936, he became the head of staff of Theodor Eicke, then Inspector of Concentration Camps and the head of the SS-Wachverbande, first with the rank of a Standartenfuhrer and later rising to Oberfuhrer. When Eicke became field commander of the SS-Division Totenkopf, which had been created following his instigation, Glucks was promoted and named Eicke's successor as Inspector of Concentration Camps by Heinrich Himmler on November 18, 1939. On April 20, 1941, Glucks was promoted to the rank of a SS-Brigadefuhrer, and on March 29, 1942, he became the head of Amt D: Konzentrationslagerwesen of the newly formed SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt (WVHA), the Economics and Administrative Department of the SS. On July 23, 1943, Glucks was made SS-Gruppenfuhrer and a Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS.

Inspector of concentration camps

Glucks has been described by Rudolf Hoss as a static administrator and bureaucrat, afraid of Himmler and mostly occupied with maintaining the concentration camps as Eicke had put them in place. At the same time, Hoss described Glucks as man unable to grasp the consequences of his directives, and claimed Glucks had risen to his high position (and stayed there) only as a protege of Eicke and Oswald Pohl, the head of the WVHA.

Glucks's responsibilities at first mainly covered the use of concentration camp inmates for forced labour. In this phase, he urged camp commanders to lower the death rate in the camps, as it went counter to the economic objectives his department was to fulfill. Other orders of his were to ask for the inmates to be made to work continuously. At the same time, it was Glucks who recommended on February 21, 1940, Auschwitz, a former Austrian cavalry barracks, as a suitable site for a new concentration camp to Himmler, Pohl, and Heydrich. The camp opened on June 14, 1940, and Glucks was quick to provide slave labor from the camp to the new coal-oil and rubber plant erected nearby by I.G. Farben.

From 1942 on, Glucks was increasingly involved in the administration of the Endlosung, along with Oswald Pohl. In July 1942, he participated in a planning meeting with Himmler on the topic of medical experiments on camp inmates. From several visits to the Auschwitz concentration camps, Glucks must have been well aware of the dire conditions, and he certainly was aware of the mass murders and other atrocities committed there. Orders for the extermination went through Glucks' office and hands; and he specifically authorized the purchase of Zyklon B for gassing in Auschwitz.


When the WVHA offices in Berlin were destroyed by Allied bombing on April 16, 1945, the WVHA was moved to Born on Darss in Nordvorpommern on the Baltic sea. Owing to the advances of the Russian forces, Glucks and his wife fled to Flensburg at the end of April. It is known that Glucks met Himmler for the last time there. After the capitulation of Germany, he is believed to have committed suicide on May 10, 1945 by swallowing a capsule of potassium cyanide at the Murwik naval base in Flensburg. Since there are no official records or photos to confirm Glucks' suicide, some historians believe that he escaped in the same manner as other Nazis such as Franz Rademacher and Odilo Globocnik (see the article on Odilo Globocnik for reference to historical forgeries regarding this version).

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