Bruno Streckenbach

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Bruno Streckenbach
Bruno Streckenbach.jpg
SS-Gruppenführer Bruno Streckenbach
Born (1902-02-07)7 February 1902
Hamburg, German Empire
Died 28 October 1977(1977-10-28) (aged 75)
Hamburg, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1922)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1918–1945
Rank SS-Gruppenführer Collar Rank.svg SS-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS and Polizei
Commands held 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer
19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Oak Leaves
German Cross in Gold
Close Combat Clasp in Silver
EK I
EK II
Heinrich Himmler and Bruno Streckenbach

Bruno Heinrich Streckenbach (7 February 1902 – 28 October 1977) held the rank of SS-Brigadeführer (Major General), when he was the head of Amt I (Department I): Administration and Personnel of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office or RSHA), but eventually achieved the rank of SS-Gruppenführer (Lieutenant General) both in Allgemeine-SS and Waffen-SS. He was responsible for many thousands of murders committed by Nazi mobile killing squads known as Einsatzgruppen.

He served in the last year of World War I and was a member of the Freikorps between the wars.

Career in Allgemeine-SS[edit]

Streckenbach was chosen in 1933 to run the Hamburg political police after it had been swallowed by the SS as Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich took over one state police force after another in their plan to control the national police of Nazi Germany.

He was transferred to Poland after the Nazi occupation of 1939; being concerned with the arrest of the professors at Cracow University, and was one of the architects of the effective implementation of the Extraordinary Pacification Action. When Streckenbach's work was finished in Poland, he was ordered to return to Berlin for administrative duties.

Without warning, Streckenbach received a top secret order to proceed immediately to the police barracks at Pretzsch on the Elbe. He was met there by hand-picked members of the SD, the Gestapo and the Orpo police.

Bruno Streckenbach was tasked with the training and indoctrination of these men before the onset of the Russian campaign. Veterans of German atrocity in Poland became members of one of four newly constituted Einsatzgruppen destined for Soviet Russia.

Streckenbach detailed the mission of the Einsatzgruppen, they were to seize and destroy all political and racial enemy groups, such as Bolsheviks, gypsies, partisans and Jews. In addition, the Einsatzgruppen were to report on and evaluate material gained in every field of Russian operations and collect information from agents and spies from among the Russian population.

SS-Brigadeführer Streckenbach further ordered that all enemies of the Third Reich were to be deported to concentration camps and executed. Jews were especially singled out for Sonderbehandlung ("special treatment"), meaning extermination.

On 9 November 1941 he was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei.

Career in Waffen-SS[edit]

Streckenbach then requested to join a fighting unit, and in September 1942 he was transferred to the Waffen-SS as an SS-Obersturmführer ( First or senior Lieutenant) der Reserve - members of Allgemeine-SS (General SS) weren't necessarily allowed to keep their ranks in the Waffen-SS. He trained with anti-tank units and joined the SS Kavallerie Division as SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) in March 1943.

By April 1943 he was in command of the division's anti-tank battalion, SS Panzerjägerabteilung. In that position he was able to prove his bona fide talents as a military leader, receiving rapid promotions to SS-Sturmbannführer (Major), SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) and SS-Standartenführer (Colonel), this last in August 1943. Later in the autumn he replaced Hermann Fegelein as a divisional commander, and was promoted to SS-Oberführer (Brigadier General) on 30 January 1944.

On 13 April 1944 he was appointed commander of the 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian), taking over from deputy commander SS-Standartenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock (former leader of the unit, SS-Oberführer Hinrich Schuldt, had been killed in action when visiting the frontlines in March). Streckenbach held this post to the end of the war, and in battles of 1944 - 1945 on Eastern Front serving with his crack Latvian unit enabled him to earn further advancement in rank to SS-Brigadeführer in July and finally to SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS in November '44. General Streckenbach was awarded the Knight's Cross, and later the Oak Leaves.

Post-war[edit]

Streckenbach was taken prisoner by the Soviets and, in 1952, he was sentenced to serve twenty-five years in prison, but was released on 10 October 1955. During the Nuremberg trial, defendant SS-Brigadeführer Otto Ohlendorf stated that Streckenbach, in mid-June 1941, had transmitted the extermination order, at a meeting concerning the missions of the Einsatzgruppen.

The West German government eventually brought Streckenbach to trial in 1973 but the case was dismissed due "to the defendant's poor health". He died on 28 October 1977, at home, in his birthplace Hamburg.

Awards[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
Commander of 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer
13 September 1943 - 22 October 1943
Succeeded by
SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
Preceded by
SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
Commander of 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer
1 January 1944 - 13 April 1944
Succeeded by
SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Lombard
Preceded by
SS-Standartenführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock
Commander of 19th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Latvian)
13 April 1944 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by
none