Oberführer

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Joachim Rumohr, as an SS-Oberführer of the Waffen-SS

Oberführer was an early paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party dating back to 1921. Translated as “senior leader”, an Oberführer was typically a Nazi Party member in charge of a group of paramilitary units in a particular geographical region.[1] From 1921 to 1925, the phrase Oberführer was used as a title in the Sturmabteilung (SA), but became an actual SA rank after 1926.

Oberführer was also a rank of the Schutzstaffel (SS, at that time a branch of the SA), established in 1925 as Gauführer, a rank for SS officers in charge of SS personnel in the several Gaue throughout Germany; in 1928 the rank was renamed Oberführer, and used of the commanders of the three regional SS-Oberführerbereiche. In 1930, the SS was reorganized into SS-Gruppen and Brigaden, at which time Oberführer became subordinate to the higher rank of Brigadeführer. By 1932, Oberführer was an established rank of the SA, SS and NSKK.[1][2] It was considered at that time to be the first general officer rank, approximately the equivalent to a brigadier.

Oberführer wore two oak leaves on the uniform collar rank patch, along with the shoulder boards and lapels of a general officer.[3] In 1938, the status of SS-Oberführer began to change with the rise of the SS-Verfügungstruppe which would later become the Waffen-SS. Since Brigadeführer was rated equal to a Generalmajor, and Standartenführer to an Oberst, Oberführer had no military equivalent and quickly became regarded as a senior colonel rank.[4] This distinction continues in historical circles with most texts referring to Oberführer as a senior colonel rank[4][5] while some others state it has a military equivalent to a British Army brigadier.[6]

Notable recipients[edit]

One of the more famous holders of the rank of Oberführer was Julian Scherner, immortalized in the film Schindler's List as the cold and calculating SS and Police Leader of Kraków[citation needed]. Emil Maurice, the actual founder of the SS in 1925 held the rank of Oberführer. Another notable holder was Ferdinand Porsche.[7]

See also[edit]

Junior Rank
Standartenführer
SS rank and SA rank
Oberführer
Senior Rank
Brigadeführer

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b McNab (II) 2009, p. 15.
  2. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 29, 30.
  3. ^ Flaherty 2004, p. 148.
  4. ^ a b Yerger 1997, p. 235.
  5. ^ Miller 2006, p. 521.
  6. ^ McNab 2009, p. 186.
  7. ^ von Preradovich, Nicolas (2004). Die Schutzstaffel der NSDAP: eine Dokumentation (in German). Druffel & Vowinckel-Verlag. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1 84447 073 3. 
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 1906626499. 
  • McNab (II), Chris (2009). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8. 
  • Miller, Michael (2006). Leaders of the SS and German Police, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 9-32970-037-3. 
  • Yerger, Mark C. (1997). Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-0145-4.