August Heissmeyer

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August Heißmeyer

August Heißmeyer (or Heissmeyer – 11 January 1897 in Gellersen, nowadays part of Aerzen – 16 January 1979 in Schwäbisch Hall), was a leading member of the SS. After World War II, Heissmeyer was sentenced to a prison term as a war criminal. His nephew, Kurt Heissmeyer, an SS physician, was as well.

Life[edit]

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

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 Nazi Party, which 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 and relieving Heinrich Himmler from that specific position. 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.

Post-war[edit]

On 29 February 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. The following year he was sentenced by the de-Nazification appeals court to 3 years imprisonment and forfeiture of property as a "major Nazi offender".

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 16 January 1979, five days after his 82nd birthday.

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