Hans Schleif

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Hans Philipp Oswald Schleif (born February 23, 1902 in Wiesbaden - died April 27, 1945 in Berlin) was a German architect, architectural and classical archaeologist and member of the SS (member number 264,124), last occupying the rank of Standartenführer (since 30 January 1945). He was a member of the Nazi Party since 1937, with membership number 5,380,876.

Archaeological projects[edit]


In 1936 the government of Germany provided a considerable sum of money to reactive a moribund project of archaeological excavation on the site of Olympia, Greece. Schleif was chosen as one of the principal archaeologists in this prestigious project.[1] His Greek work produced a number of books, notably Alt-Olympia (1935), Alt-Athen (part one 1937; part two 1939) and Erechtheion (1942).


In 1939 Schleif worked as "General Trustee for securing of german cultural goods in the former Polish territory" together with Ernst Petersen in the plunder of the Warsaw archaeological museum in Łazienki Park.[2] He transported five crate loads, to Poznań on November 30, after Standartenführer Mühlmann had given the order for such activity to cease, and founded a new collection and museum in Poznań. He was suspended in September 1940 from the position of a general trustee in Poznań due to his misunderstanding of his function, because the Gestapo expected him to plunder public and private art and cultural objects, what he did not follow.


In contrast to some academics who were part of the Ahnenerbe Schleif enjoyed a strong international reputation, something he shared with a handful of fellow Nazi archaeologists such as Herbert Jankuhn.[3] Schleif was never comfortable in the Ahnenerbe, given the group's tendencies towards racial pseudo-science, and he conspired with Wolfram Sievers to delay indefinitely a scheme suggested by Gunther Kirchhoff and Karl Maria Wiligut, and endorsed by Heinrich Himmler, to excavate a valley near Kirchhoff's home town of Gaggenau after Kirchhoff had decided that it housed an ancient Teutonic religious complex.[4]


Schleif took his own life and the lives of his wife and twin sons 27 April around 11 pm.[5]


  1. ^ Stephen L. Dyson, In pursuit of ancient pasts: a history of classical archaeology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Yale University Press, 2006, p. 198
  2. ^ Heather Pringle, The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust, Hyperion, 2006, p. 202
  3. ^ Garrett G. Fagan, Archaeological fantasies: how pseudoarchaeology misrepresents the past and misleads the public, Routledge, 2006, p. 162
  4. ^ Bernard Thomas Mees, The Science of the Swastika, Central European University Press, 2008, p. 204
  5. ^ Julian Klein / Matthias Neukirch, "Hans Schleif", Deutsches Theater Berlin 2011, http://www.artistic-research.de/projects/current-projects/hans-schleif-2?lang=en