Gustav Adolf Scheel

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Gustav Adolf Scheel

Gustav Adolf Scheel (November 22, 1907 in Rosenberg, Baden – March 25, 1979 in Hamburg) was a German physician and "multifunctionary" in the time of the Third Reich (SA and SS member, leader of the National Socialist Students' Federation, Organizer of the SD in the southwest, Superior SS and Police Leader in Salzburg, Gauleiter in Salzburg from November 1941). As the commander of the Security Police and the SD, he organized in October 1940 the deportation of Karlsruhe's Jews to the death camps in the east.

Life[edit]

Born as an Evangelical minister's son in Rosenberg in North Baden, Scheel went to the Karl-Friedrichs-Gymnasium in Mannheim. Even while still a schoolboy he became involved in rightwing circles of the German Youth Movement.

Beginning in the summer semester of 1928, he studied law, political economy and theology in Heidelberg to become a minister. He intensified his coöperation in rightwing student circles and in the winter semester of 1928-29 he became a member of the Verein Deutscher Studenten (VDSt), a German Studentenverbindung. A year later he was the club's chairman.

In 1929 he joined the National Socialist German Students' League (NSDStB), on 1 October 1930 the SA and on 1 December 1930 the NSDAP. He moved for a short time to Tübingen and began studies in medicine that he continued in Heidelberg.

Once he had come back to Heidelberg, he quickly rose to become one of the main Nazi propagandists at the college. As NSDStB College Group Leader (Hochschulgruppenführer) he led the Heidelberg Nazi student rallies against the pacifist Emil Gumbel (1891–1966) which led to the removal of Gumbel's teaching entitlement.

In 1933, Scheel became chairman of the Heidelberg General Students' Board (AstA). During this time, he also became Hanns-Martin Schleyer's mentor, getting him to join the NSDAP and the SS. Furthermore, Scheel exerted influence over the university's appointments and personnel policy in his capacity as the Heidelberg student leader and member of the vice chancellor's leadership staff.

In 1934, Scheel sat his State medical examination, was appointed to the NSDStB leadership, and (in July) became an SD member. He rose swiftly in this secret Nazi organization. Between 1935 and 1939 he led the SD Upper Division Southwest. As a former student official, he brought along with him to the SD a great many young Nazi academics who went on to mass murder. Among them were Dr. Walter Stahlecker, Dr. Martin Sandberger, Dr. Erwin Weinmann, Albert Rapp, Erich Ehrlinger, and Eugen Steimle, all of whom went into various divisions of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) to become leaders of murder squads of the various Einsatzgruppen.

Scheel, who was already fighting vehemently for the exclusion of "students of Jewish lineage" from the "benefits of social institutions at the university" became, in October 1940, the organizer of the deportation of Karlsruhe's Jews to their certain deaths in the east.

Scheel's further rise within the Nazi repression apparatus kept on unabated. In 1941, he was already an SS Brigadeführer and a Police Major General. In the same year, he was installed as Gauleiter and Reich Governor (Reichsstatthalter) in the Gau of Salzburg. After the discovery of resistance groups in Salzburg, he organized a widespread wave of arrests and had quite a few railwaymen put to death.

In 1943, he took a position against the White Rose (Weiße Rose) resistance group by declaring that its members should be "executed not as students", but rather as "antisocial former Wehrmacht members". Scheel's point of view was that these "criminals" should not be allowed to stain the student body's image. From this time also came Scheel's declaration:

"German student, it is not necessary for you to live, but, to be sure, to fulfil your duty to your people."

As a Nazi "multifunctionary", Scheel held the following functions (other than those mentioned above):

  • Leader of the Heidelberg Student Body
  • Honorary Senator of the University of Heidelberg
  • Leader of the Berlin SD School
  • Inspector of the Security Police and the SD in Stuttgart
  • Leader of the Nazi Old Gentlemen's Federation
  • Chairman of the Reich Student Works
  • President of the German Study Works for Foreigners
  • Member of the Reich Labour Chamber
  • Commander of the Security Police and the SD under Chief of the civil administration in Alsace
  • Member of the Reichstag
  • Leader of the SD Upper Division South (Munich)
  • Inspector of the Security Police and the SD under the higher SS and Police leaders South and Main
  • Higher SS and Police leader
  • Leader of the SS-Oberabschnitt Alpenland (Salzburg)

As Nazi Germany's defeat loomed in 1944-45, Scheel was furthermore made leader of the Volkssturm in the Gau of Salzburg. On 29 April 1945, Adolf Hitler, in his will, assigned Scheel to the position of Reich Minister for Science, Art, and National Education.

After 1945[edit]

After Salzburg's bloodless handover to the Americans on 4 May, Scheel fled but was arrested by the Americans and interned. After spending time in many camps and prisons, he was released on 24 December 1947. After once again being interned, he was transferred to Heidelberg to undergo Denazification. A local court sentenced him in 1948 to five years in a labour camp, and classified him as a Hauptschuldiger (literally "main culprit"). He was however released on 24 December 1948.

Afterwards, he first worked as a night worker at Hamburg Harbour, and as of summer 1949, he was a doctor in a Hamburg hospital, then an assistant doctor at Rautenberg Hospital in Hamburg.

After an appeal proceeding in 1952, Scheel was classified as a Belasteter ("bonded one"). From 1951 to 1953, he belonged, along with other Nazi leaders such as Werner Best, to the "Naumann Circle" and so was arrested in January 1953 by British police, who suspected him of building up a secret organization; he was later handed over to German authorities. He was released on 17 June 1953. On 3 December 1954, his trial was suspended for lack of any adequate suspicion of wrongdoing. From February 1954 to 8 April 1977, he was the owner of a medical practice in Hamburg.

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