Julian Scherner (centre), with Karl Hermann Frank (left), and Otto von Oelhafen (right)
23 September 1895|
Bagamoyo, German East Africa
|Died||28 April 1945
|Allegiance|| German Empire (to 1918)
Weimar Republic (to 1922)
|Years of service||1932–1945|
|Rank||SS-Oberführer (Senior Colonel)|
|Commands held||SS-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 11 Reinhard Heydrich
SS and Police Leader of Kraków
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Iron Cross, 2nd class
War Merit Cross First Class with Swords
War Merit Cross Second Class with Swords
Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
Julian Scherner (September 23, 1895 – April 28, 1945) was a Nazi Party official who served in the SS as an SS-Oberführer (senior colonel). Scherner is most notorious for his career as SS and Police Leader of Kraków, Poland.
Life and death
Born in colonial Bagamoyo, German East Africa, Scherner attended a Kadettenschule or military cadet school in Imperial Germany from 1905 to 1914. In 1914, he joined the Reichsheer or Imperial army. After retiring from the military in 1920, he joined the Freikorps Oberland, and in 1923 he took part in the Hitler-Ludendorff Putsch. In 1932 he joined the SS and the Nazi Party. In 1937, he became head of the Dachau SS-Führerschule or SS officers school. From September 1939 to 11 November 1939 he was regimental commander of the SS-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 11 "Reinhard Heydrich". From summer to the winter of 1940, he was commander of the 8 Totenkopf-Standarte. As an SS garrison commander of Prague, between January to September 1941 Scherner supervised preparations for the establishment of a Waffen-SS training area at Beneschau, Bohemia.
On 4 August 1941, Scherner was appointed SS- und Polizeiführer (SS and Police Leader) in Nazi occupied Kraków. As such, he was responsible for the deportations to the Bełżec extermination camp, the mass shootings in Tarnów and all 'evacuations' that took place during his time there - including Aktion Krakau. He liquidated Kraków Ghetto by deporting its inhabitants to Auschwitz.
His position afforded him a great deal of authority in many areas, as the title of SS and Police Leader was conferred to high-ranking Nazi Party members, reporting directly to Himmler's deputy. Like Amon Göth, Scherner was far too interested in the confiscated goods from the Plaszow camp. Scherner was transferred to Dachau in April 1944 and appeared before an SS Court (the dreaded Hauptamt SS-Gericht) on 16 October 1944. As a result, Scherner was demoted from SS-Oberführer der Reserve in the Waffen-SS to SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve and transferred to the Dirlewanger Brigade (formally the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS) under SS-Oberführer Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger.
Scherner's rank in the Allgemeine SS was not changed.
Summary of his military career
Dates of rank
- SS-Sturmführer - July 31, 1933
- SS-Obersturmführer - December 24, 1933
- SS-Sturmhauptführer - March 1, 1934
- SS-Sturmbannführer - August 12, 1934
- SS-Obersturmbannführer - January 1, 1935
- SS-Standartenführer - January 30, 1936
- SS-Oberführer - September 12, 1937
Scherner was never advanced beyond the rank of Oberführer in the Allgemeine-SS, holding this rank for nearly eight years while many of his SS counterparts passed into the ranks of SS-generals. Scherner's SS service record gives no explanation as to why he was passed over for promotion, although disfavor with Heinrich Himmler (who exercised heavy authority pertaining to Allgemeine-SS general officer promotions) is suspected. In the Waffen-SS, Scherner served as an SS-Haupsturmführer.
- Iron Cross (1914), 2nd class
- SS Honour Ring ("Totenkopfring")
- War Merit Cross, 1st and 2nd class with Swords
- Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
- Wound Badge in Black (1918)
- Coburg Badge
- Blood Order
- Sword of honour of the Reichsführer-SS
In popular culture
In the film Schindler's List, Julian Scherner's character was played by Polish actor Andrzej Seweryn. Oskar Schindler was carrying out his work in the area under Scherner's supervision, and the two knew each other formally. In the film he is portrayed as a cold and calculating man, if somewhat coarse, and the extent of their relationship is detailed in the movie.
- Yerger, Mark C. Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units, and Leaders of the General SS, Schiffer Publishing (1997). ISBN 0-7643-0145-4
- Gordon Williamson, Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients 1941-45 (Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2006) ISBN 1-84176-643-7.
- Christopher Ailsby, SS: Roll of Infamy ISBN 1-897884-22-2 (1997).
- Gerald Reitlinger, The SS : Alibi of a Nation 1922-1945 (1981)
SS-Standartenführer Johann Maier
|Commander of 1. SS-Standarte Julius Schreck
January 1, 1934 - January 9, 1935
SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Butchner
SS-Standartenführer Heinrich Jürs
|Commander of SS-Abschnitt XIV
January 1, 1937 - October 1, 1937
SS-Oberführer Kurt Ludwig
|Commander of SS-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 11 Reinhard Heydrich
September 1939 - November 11, 1939
SS-Oberführer Bernhard Voss
SS-Oberführer Wilhelm Claasen
|Commander of SS-Totenkopf-Standarte 8
January 1940 - January 10, 1941
SS-Obersturmbannführer Heimo Hiertes
|Commander of SS-Truppenübungsplatz Böhmen
January 20, 1941 - August 4, 1941
SS-Oberführer Bernhard Voss
SS-Oberführer Hans Schwedler
|SS und Polizeiführer Kraków
August 4, 1941 - March 4, 1944
SS-Brigadeführer Theobald Thier