Paul Wegener (Nazi)

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Paul Wegener
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1986-052-27, Paul Wegener.jpg
Gauleiter of Weser-Ems
In office
1942–1945
Preceded by Carl Röver
Succeeded by None
Reichsstatthalter of the Free State of Oldenburg
In office
1942–1945
Prime Minister Dietrich Klagges
Preceded by Carl Röver
Succeeded by None
Reichsstatthalter of the Free City of Bremen
In office
1942–1945
Preceded by Carl Röver
Succeeded by None
Personal details
Born (1908-10-01)October 1, 1908
Varel, German Empire
Died May 5, 1993(1993-05-05) (aged 84)
Wächtersbach, Germany
Political party National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)

Paul Wegener (1 October 1908 in Varel – 5 May 1993 in Wächtersbach) was a German Nazi Party official.

Early career[edit]

Wegener joined the Nazi Party in 1930 and the Sturmabteilung (SA) in 1931. He became Kreisleiter for Bremen in 1933 and a delegate to the Reichstag for Weser-Ems that same year.[1] Wegener served as a party bureaucrat employed at the Office of the Deputy Führer where his efficiency impressed Martin Bormann.[2] When Wilhelm Kube was removed as Gauleiter of Gau March of Brandenburg after clashing with Walter Buch, he was replaced by Emil Sturtz with Wegener appointed as deputy Gauleiter.[2]

Wegener switched from the SA to the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1940 obtaining the rank of SS-Gruppenführer in 1942 and SS-Obergruppenführer two years later. He also saw active service with the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler during the Balkans Campaign in Greece in 1941.[1]

Norway[edit]

On 20 April 1940 Josef Terboven, newly appointed as Reichskommissar for the occupied Norwegian territories, selected Wegener to serve as his deputy.[3] From the start Wegener was hostile to the notion that Vidkun Quisling should take a leading role in the new government, instead favouring the idea that the Nazis should establish their own administrative system in Norway.[4] Eventually when it was decided to include Quisling he established the Einsatzstab Wegener, which placed pro-Wegener men in each branch of the Nasjonal Samling, both to improve the organisation of what had been a minor party and to ensure complicity with the demands of the governing Nazis.[5] He left Norway in 1942 when Hans-Hendrik Neumann took over as Terboven's number two.[6]

Gauleiter[edit]

Carl Röver died in May 1942 after a stroke and a few weeks later Wegener was chosen to succeed him as Gauleiter of Weser-Ems.[7]

Soon after his appointment Wegener produced an internal document, the "Wegener Memorandum", in which it was said that the Nazi Party should be purged of much of its vast membership and instead be reorganised as an elite group to provide leadership for future generations of Germany. To this Wegener proposed a reorganisation of the Hitler Youth to bring it under the control of the party bureaucracy rather than the state. This new Hitler Youth would provide all the future membership of the Nazi Party with most existing party members absorbed into the Sturmabteilung, which was to be reconstituted as a veterans organisation.[8] His plan also included a strengthening of the role of the Nazi Party Chancellery and this occurred in the following months as Wegener's old mentor Bormann was given greater power at the expense of first the Reichsleiters and then members of the cabinet.[9]

In July 1944, when Joseph Goebbels was made Plenipotentiary for Total War, Wegener was made his head of administration. This made him one of only two permanent staff members appointed at national level (the other being Werner Naumann as head of planning activities).[10]

Post-war[edit]

Wegener spent time in prison for his involvement in civilian deaths during his time in Bremen before finding work as a salesman in Sinzheim and then Wächtersbach. According to British secret service files Wegener was also involved with an underground group of ex-Nazi Party members, organised by Werner Naumann, which was involved in attempts to infiltrate the Free Democratic Party.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ernst Klee, Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Zweite aktualisierte Auflage, Frankfurt am Main, 2005, p. 659
  2. ^ a b Dietrich Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party Volume 2 1933-1945, David & Charles, 1973, p. 181
  3. ^ Paul M. Hayes, Quisling: The Career and Political Ideas of Vidkun Quisling 1887-1945, David & Charles, 1971, p. 247
  4. ^ Hayes, Quisling, p. 249
  5. ^ Hans Fredrik Dahl, Quisling: A Study in Treachery, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 214
  6. ^ Dahl, Quisling, p. 279
  7. ^ Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party Volume 2, p. 352
  8. ^ Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party Volume 2, pp. 353-354
  9. ^ Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party Volume 2, pp. 355-356
  10. ^ Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party Volume 2, p. 469