Erhard Heiden

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Erhard Heiden, ca. in 1927.

Erhard Heiden (b. Weiler, 23 February 1901 – c. September 1933) was an early member of the Nazi Party and the third commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS). Heiden was a Nazi stormtrooper who, in 1925, joined a small stormtrooper bodyguard unit known as the Schutzstaffel. Heiden was an early advocate of separating the SS from its master organization, the Sturmabteilung (SA), and in March 1927 he was appointed Reichsführer-SS in an attempt to keep the SS from being disbanded under SA desires.

Under Heiden’s leadership the SS declined in membership from 1000 to 280, with SA desires made public that the SS should be disbanded. As Heiden attempted to keep the tiny group from going under, he hired Heinrich Himmler to serve as his deputy. Heiden regarded Himmler as a "keen young clerk" but did not see him as leadership material. Heiden fell into disgrace after allegations surfaced that parts of his uniform were customized by a Jewish tailor. On 5 January 1929 he was dismissed by Adolf Hitler and succeeded by Heinrich Himmler as Reichsführer-SS.

In April 1933 Erhard Heiden was arrested on orders of Heinrich Himmler by members of the SS-Sicherheitsdienst (SD, Security Service). He was killed shortly after, presumably at SD Headquarters in Munich. His corpse was found in September 1933 and he was buried on 15 September 1933.

Government offices
Preceded by
Joseph Berchtold
Reich Leader of the SS
1927 – 1929
Succeeded by
Heinrich Himmler