Emil Maurice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
SS-Oberführer Emil Maurice wearing the Blood Order.

Emil Maurice (19 January 1897, Westermoor – 6 February 1972, Munich) was an early member of the National Socialist German Workers Party and one of the founders of the SS. Together with Erich Kempka, he also served as one of Hitler's personal drivers—despite having Jewish ancestry.

Early life and association with Hitler[edit]

A watchmaker by trade, Maurice was a close early associate of Adolf Hitler; their personal friendship dated back to at least 1919 when they were both members of the German Workers Party (DAP).[1] With the founding of the Sturmabteilung in 1920, Maurice became the first Oberster SA-Führer (Supreme SA Leader).

In 1923 Maurice also became a member of the Stabswache (Staff Guard), a small separate bodyguard dedicated to Hitler's service rather than "a suspect mass" of the party, such as the SA.[2] It was given the task of guarding Hitler at Nazi parties and rallies. Later that year, the unit was renamed Stoßtrupp (Shock Troop) 'Adolf Hitler'.[3] Maurice, Julius Schreck, Joseph Berchtold, and Erhard Heiden, were all members of the Stoßtrupp.[4] On 9 November 1923 the Stoßtrupp, along with the SA and several other paramilitary units, took part in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. In the aftermath of the putsch Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Maurice and other Nazi leaders were incarcerated at Landsberg Prison.[5] While in prison with Hitler, Maurice took down part of the dictation for Mein Kampf and is mentioned in the book.[1] During that time, the Nazi Party and all associated formations, including the Stoßtrupp, were officially disbanded.

After Hitler's release from prison, the Nazi Party was officially refounded. In 1925, Hitler ordered the formation of a new bodyguard unit, the Schutzkommando (protection command).[6] It was formed by Julius Schreck and included old Stoßtrupp members, Maurice and Heiden.[4][7] That same year, the Schutzkommando was expanded to a national level. It was renamed successively the Sturmstaffel (storm squadron), and finally on 9 November the Schutzstaffel (abbreviated to SS).[8] Hitler became SS member No. 1 and Emil Maurice became SS member No. 2.[1] At that time, Maurice became an SS-Führer in the new organization, although the leadership of the SS was assumed by Schreck, the first Reichsführer-SS.[9] Maurice became Hitler's chauffeur. He reportedly had a brief relationship with Geli Raubal, Hitler's niece; this led to his dismissal as Hitler's chauffeur.[10]

When the SS was reorganized and expanded in 1932, Maurice became a senior SS officer and would eventually be promoted to the rank SS-Oberführer. While Maurice never became a top commander of the SS, his status as SS member #2 effectively credited him as an actual founder of the organization. Heinrich Himmler, who ultimately would become the most recognized leader of the SS, was SS member #168.[11]

Conflict with Himmler over Jewish roots[edit]

After Himmler had become Reichsführer-SS, Maurice fell afoul of Himmler's racial purity rules for SS officers when he had to submit details of his family history before he was allowed to marry in 1935. Himmler stated, "without question...Maurice is, according to his ancestral table, not of Aryan descent".[10] All SS officers had to prove racial purity back to 1750, and it turned out that Maurice had Jewish ancestry: Charles Maurice Schwartzenberger (1805–1896), the founder of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, was his great-grandfather.

Himmler recommended that Maurice be expelled from the SS, along with other members of his family. To his annoyance however, the Führer stood by his old friend.[10] In a secret letter written on 31 August 1935, Hitler compelled Himmler to make an exception for Maurice and his brothers, who were informally declared "Honorary Aryans" and allowed to stay in the SS.

Later life[edit]

In 1936 he became a Reichstag deputy for Leipzig and from 1937 was the chairman of the Munich Chamber of Commerce.

From 1940 to 1942, he served in the Luftwaffe as an officer.[10] After the war in 1948, he was sentenced to four years in a labor camp. He died on 6 February 1972.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hamilton 1984, p. 160.
  2. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 14, 16.
  3. ^ McNab 2009, p. 16.
  4. ^ a b McNab 2009, pp. 10, 11.
  5. ^ Hamilton 1984, pp. 160, 161, 172.
  6. ^ Lumsden 2002, p. 14.
  7. ^ Weale 2010, pp. 16, 26.
  8. ^ Weale 2010, p. 29.
  9. ^ Hamilton 1984, p. 172.
  10. ^ a b c d e Hamilton 1984, p. 161.
  11. ^ Biondi 2000, p. 7.

References[edit]

  • Biondi, Robert, ed. (2000) [1942]. SS Officers List: (as of 30 January 1942): SS-Standartenfuhrer to SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer: Assignments and Decorations of the Senior SS Officer Corps. Atglen, PA: Schiffer. ISBN 978-0-7643-1061-4. 
  • Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0-912138-27-0. 
  • Lumsden, Robin (2002). A Collector's Guide To: The Allgemeine — SS. Ian Allan Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-7110-2905-9. 
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5. 
  • Weale, Adrian (2010). The SS: A New History. London: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1408703045. 
Political offices
New office Leader of the SA
1920 - 1921
Succeeded by
Hans Ulrich Klintzsche