Ernst Wilhelm Bohle

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Bohle on trial, 1947.

Ernst Wilhelm Bohle (28 July 1903 – 9 November 1960) was the leader of the Foreign Organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP; Nazi Party) from 1933 until 1945.

Early life[edit]

Bohle was born in Bradford, England, the son of Hermann Bohle (1876–1943), a college teacher and engineer who emigrated to England. In 1906 Bohle moved to Cape Town, where his father was appointed to a professorship of electrical engineering, and attended a high school there. Bohle studied political sciences and business administration in Cologne and Berlin and graduated in business management at the Handelshochschule, Berlin, in December 1923. He married Gertrud Bachmann on November 14, 1925. Bohle was employed as branch manager and agent in the import-export business for several enterprises in the Rheinland from 1924 until 1930 and established and thereafter directed a large automotive firm in Hamburg from 1930 to June 1933.

National socialism[edit]

Bohle joined the NSDAP on 1 March 1932 (membership number 999,185) and on 13 September 1933 he joined the SS (membership number 276,915) at the rank of SS-Brigadeführer. Bohle was promoted SS-Gruppenführer on 20 April 1937 and SS-Obergruppenführer on 21 June 1943.

In December 1931 he became a volunteer assistant of Hans Nieland, the leader of the Foreign Organisation of the NSDAP (NSDAP Auslands-Organisation; NSDAP/AO), responsible for South and Southwest Africa and later North America. This organisational unit was founded on 1 May 1931, in Hamburg and "Reich Organisation Leader" Gregor Strasser appointed Nieland as the chief. Nieland resigned from office on 8 May 1933 (because he had become head of the Hamburg police authorities and later on was a member of the Hamburg provincial government), Bohle was charged with the leadership of the Auslands-Organisation in the party rank of a Gauleiter. Bohle's father Hermann was NSDAP/AO Landesgruppenleiter (Leader of the National Committee) in the Union of South Africa from 1932 until 1934 and he was president of the Berlin-based Deutsch-Südafrikanischen Gesellschaft (German South-African Society).

From 12 November 1933 till the end of the Nazi Germany, he was a member of the Reichstag for the constituency "Württemberg" and from 1937 to 1945 he was State Secretary in the Foreign Office. The influence of the Foreign Office was greatly exaggerated to the extent that the subject was mentioned in the foreign press as a likely successor to Joachim von Ribbentrop.[1] He was also a confidant and on staff of Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer until Hess' failed peace mission to England in May 1941.

Trial and conviction[edit]

Bohle was tried as a defendant in the "Ministries Trial" ("Wilhelmstraßen-Prozeß"), one of the Nuremberg follow-up trials. He was sentenced to five years confinement on 11 April 1949. However, he was pardoned by U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy on 21 December 1949. Subsequent to his release, he worked as a merchant in Hamburg. He also advocated for the reformation of an organization for the development of German South-African interstate commerce. He died in Düsseldorf.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McKale, Donald M. (1977). The Swastika Outside Germany. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. p. 118. ISBN 0-87338-209-9.


  • Literature by Ernst Wilhelm Bohle in the catalogue of the "Deutsche Bibliothek" (the German National Library in Frankfurt on the river Main and Leipzig)
  • Ehrich, Emil: Die Auslands-Organisation der NSDAP. - Berlin: Junker u. Dünnhaupt, 1937. - 32 pp. - (Schriften der Deutschen Hochschule für Politik : 2, Der organisatorische Aufbau des Dritten Reiches; 13)
  • Jong, Louis de: The German fifth column in the Second World War / translated from the Dutch by C.M. Geyl. - Rev. ed. - London : Routledge, 1956. - 308 p. : maps. - (Translation of: De duitse vijfde colonne in de tweede wereldoorlog)
  • McKale, Donald M.: The swastika outside Germany. - Kent, Ohio : Kent State Univ. Press, 1977. - xvi, 288 p. - ISBN 0-87338-209-9
  • Müller, Jürgen: Nationalsozialismus in Lateinamerika : die Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP in Argentinien, Brasilien, Chile und Mexiko, 1931 - 1945. - Stuttgart : Akademischer Verlag Heinz, 1997. - 566 p. : ill. - (Historamericana ; 3). - ISBN 3-88099-672-5. - (Originally presented as the author's thesis (doctoral) - Heidelberg, 1994/95). - EUR 34,50
  • Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders Of The Nazi Party And Their Deputies, 1925-1945 (Herbert Albrecht-H. Wilhelm Huttmann)-Volume 1 by Michael D. Miller and Andreas Schulz R. James Bender Publishing, 2012

External links[edit]