24 April 1897|
Schönwald, Kingdom of Bavaria
|Died||1 September 1969
|Allegiance|| German Empire (to 1918)
Weimar Republic (to 1922)
|Years of service||1914-1945|
|Commands held||SS-Freiwilligen Legion Flandern
10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
|Awards||Honour Roll Clasp of the Army
EK II with 1939 Clasp
Michel Hans Lippert or Michael Lippert (24 April 1897 – 1 September 1969) was an SS Standartenführer, Police officer and a German soldier who served in both World War I and World War II. During World War II Lippert commanded several concentration camps, including Sachsenhausen, before becoming a commander of the SS-Freiwilligen Legion Flandern and the 10. SS-Panzer-Division Frundsberg. He is probably best known for murdering SA leader Ernst Röhm on 2 July 1934.
Lippert was born on 24 April 1897 in Schönwald in Upper Franconia, a small town on the border with Bohemia. He was the fifth child of Johann and Margaret Lippert. Following his secondary education, the 17-year-old Lippert volunteered for service in the Army. In November 1914, he joined the Kgl. Bayerisches 1. Chevaulegers-Regiment Kaiser Nikolaus von Rußland, part of the III. Kgl. Bayer. Armeekorps. Lippert served on both the Western and Eastern fronts, and returned home in October 1917 after being awarded the Iron Cross Second Class and the Bavarian Merit Cross 3. Class with Swords. He began military pilot training at the Second Flying School in Neustadt[disambiguation needed], and received his pilot's license on 20 October 1918. However, Lippert never flew in combat as the war ended and he was promptly discharged from the military. After the war, he found work in the ceramic industry and in October 1921 began working as a police officer in Regensburg. In June 1930, Michael Lippert joined the NSDAP (Mitglieds-Nr. 246,989). Nine months later, on 10 March 1931, he joined the SS (Mitglieds-Nr. 2,968).
Career in the SS
On 15 November 1931, Lippert was commissioned an SS second lieutenant with the SS Group South, 2nd Company, III Battalion, 31st Death's Head Regiment. The 31st Regiment was one of many regiments that was bestowed a commemorative or honorific name associated either with Nazi members killed during the Putsch or in the struggle against communism, or geographical names.
From 19 June to 5 July 1933, Lippert attended an SS Officer's Course at the German Hochschule für Leibesübungen, held in Berlin-Grünwald at the German Stadion.
Execution of Ernst Röhm
On 1 July 1934, just after the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler gave the order that the imprisoned Ernst Röhm was to be liquidated. Himmler communicated Hitler's order to SS-Brigadeführer Theodor Eicke, ordering that Röhm be shot, and that he first be offered the chance to commit suicide. Accompanied by Lippert in his capacity as Eicke's adjutant, and along with SS Gruppenführer Heinrich Schmauser, Eicke travelled to Stadelheim Prison in Munich where Röhm was being held.
After telling Röhm that he had forfeited his life and that Hitler had given him a last chance to avoid the consequences, Eicke laid a pistol on a table in Röhm's cell and told him that he had 10 minutes in which to use the weapon to kill himself. Eicke, Lippert and Schmauser left and waited in the corridor for 15 minutes, during which time no shot was heard. Finally Eicke and Lippert drew their pistols and re-entered Röhm's cell. Both fired at the same time, and Röhm fell to the floor. One of the two then crossed to Röhm and administered a coup-de-grace, firing a bullet through Röhm's heart at point-blank range.
In 1956, the Munich authorities began an investigation into the Night of the Long Knives and in August arrested Lippert and Sepp Dietrich for their part in it. They were bailed, and the trial itself did not commence until 6 May 1957. They were represented by the lawyer Dr Alfred Seidl who had defended Rudolf Hess at the Nuremberg Trials. Lippert and Dietrich were charged with manslaughter, in Lippert's case for the death of Röhm. Lippert asserted that he had remained outside Röhm's cell, and only Theodor Eicke had gone in. On 10 May the case was summed-up and the prosecutor demanded a two-year sentence for Lippert. On 14 May the President of the Court found both Lippert and Dietrich guilty and sentenced both men to 18 months. He described Lippert as "filled with a dangerous and unrepentant fanaticism".
Summary of military career
- Hauptwachtmeister der Landespolizei - 1920
- SS-Truppführer - 10 March 1931
- SS-Sturmführer - 15 November 1931
- SS-Sturmhauptführer - 5 August 1933
- SS-Sturmbannführer - 9 November 1933
- SS-Obersturmbannführer - 20 April 1934
- Oberleutnant der Reserve (Luftwaffe) - 1 December 1939
- SS-Obersturmbannführer der Reserve der Waffen-SS — 4 January 1940
- SS-Standartenführer der Waffen-SS - 20 April 1943
Awards and decorations
- Honour Roll Clasp of the Army (5 January 1945)
- Iron Cross of 1914, 2nd Class
- Iron Cross of 1939, 1st and 2nd Class
- Bavarian Merit Cross, 3rd Class with Swords (WW 1 award)
- Infantry Assault Badge
- Wound Badge in Silver
- Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
- NSDAP Long Service Award in Bronze and Silver
- German Reich′s Sport Badge in Silver
- German Equestrian Badge in Silver
- SS Honour Ring
- Honour Sword of Reichsführer-SS
- Honour Chevron for the Old Guard
- Sydnor, Charles W. (1990). Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945. Princeton University Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-691-00853-0.
- Messenger, Charles (2005). Hitler's Gladiator: The Life and Wars of Panzer Army Commander Sepp Dietrich. Conway. pp. 204–205. ISBN 978-1-84486-022-7.