Rickhey, a doctor of engineering, joined the Nazi Party in October 1931 as member number 664,050. During the Second World War he held a number of positions with the Reichsministerium für Bewaffnung und Munition (Reich Ministry for Armament and Munitions) before becoming manager of Demag, a tank production company, in 1942.
He became head of Mittelwerk GmbH in Dora-Mittelbau from April 1944, overseeing production of the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket. His work on these weapons saw him awarded the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross along with Walter Dornberger and Wernher von Braun.
Arrested in 1945, he was taken by the U.S. Army to live at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio where he worked under the terms of Operation Paperclip. He was subsequently indicted as part of the Dachau Trials of 1947 under accusations that he had worked closely with the SS and Gestapo and witnessed executions. A lack of evidence however saw Rickhey acquitted. He did not return to his work in the United States.
- Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich: Wer war was vor und nach 1945., Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 496
- Jens-Christian Wagner: Produktion des Todes: Das KZ Mittelbau-Dora, Göttingen 2001, p. 198f
- Peenemünde in 1944
- Vgl. Robert Sigel: Im Interesse der Gerechtigkeit. Die Dachauer Kriegsverbrecherprozesse 1945-48., Frankfurt am Main 1992, pp. 16 ff., pp. 99f.
- Piszkiewicz, Dennis (2007). "The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War". Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. p. 232. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
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