Gideon enlisted in the SS in 1933 (as member number 88,657) and the Nazi Party itself in 1937 (member 4,432,258). He had a varied career in the SS, initially being stationed with the 9th SS-Reiterstandarte (cavalry) from 1934 to 1939. Following this he was moved to the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf until 1942 following which he was briefly attached to the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt and then served for a short spell at Neuengamme concentration camp and as administrator of the 88th SS-Standarte in Hamburg.
Gideon had been identified by Oswald Pohl as a reliable SS officer and was promoted to Hauptsturmführer by the concentration camp chief. He was appointed commandant of Gross-Rosen concentration camp on 16 September 1942 in succession to Arthur Rödl and held the post until 10 October 1943 when Johannes Hassebroek succeeded him. His final post was as SS and Police Leader in occupied Denmark until the surrender in 1945.
Gideon was last known to be alive in 1975 when Israeli historian Tom Segev interviewed him for his book Soldiers of Evil, a study of the concentration camp commandants. However after initially co-operating Gideon terminated the interview when he suddenly claimed that he was a different person who happened to be named Wilhelm Gideon rather than the former commandant of Gross-Rosen.
- Tom Segev, Soldiers of Evil, Berkley Books, 1991, p. 68
- Wilhelm Gideon
- Michael Thad Allen, The Business of Genocide: the SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps, University of North Carolina Press, 2002
- Belah Guṭerman, A Narrow Bridge to Life: Jewish Forced Labor and Survival in the Gross-Rosen Camp System, 1940-1945, Berghahn Books, 2008, p. 75
- Segev, Soldiers of Evil. p. 219
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