Kurt Daluege

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kurt Daluege
Daluege in 1936
Chief of Order Police
In office
26 June 1936 – 31 August 1943
LeaderHeinrich Himmler as Chief of German Police
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAlfred Wünnenberg
Deputy/Acting Protector of
Bohemia and Moravia
In office
5 June 1942 – 24 August 1943
Leader(Konstantin von Neurath as Titular Protector)
Preceded byReinhard Heydrich
Succeeded byWilhelm Frick
Personal details
Kurt Max Franz Daluege

(1897-09-15)15 September 1897
Kreuzburg, Upper Silesia, German Empire (now Poland)
Died24 October 1946(1946-10-24) (aged 49)
Pankrác Prison, Prague, Czechoslovakia
Political partyNazi Party
Käthe Schwarz
(m. 1926)
Alma materTechnical University of Berlin
Criminal conviction
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Known forLidice massacre
Criminal statusExecuted
Conviction(s)War crimes
Criminal penaltyDeath

Kurt Max Franz Daluege[1][2] (15 September 1897 – 24 October 1946) was a German SS and police official who served as chief of Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) of Nazi Germany from 1936 to 1943, as well as the Deputy/Acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia from 1942 to 1943.

Daluege served in the Prussian Army during the First World War on both fronts. He was severely wounded and received the Iron Cross Second Class for his bravery. After the war, he became a member of Gerhard Roßbach's Freikorps. In 1922, Daluege joined the Nazi Party and soon entered the service of the Sturmabteilung (SA), eventually becoming the SA leader in Berlin. He transferred to the SS in 1930 and was later elected as a Reichstag deputy. In 1933, Hermann Göring appointed Daluege to the Prussian Interior Ministry and placed him in charge of the Prussian police forces. In that role, he played an important role in carrying out the Night of the Long Knives, in which Ernst Röhm and other leading member of the SA were purged. By late 1934, his authority was extended to include all of Germany, and two years later Heinrich Himmler named him chief of the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) following the reorganisation of the German police force.

By the outbreak of the Second World War, Daluege's Orpo had as many as 120,000 active-duty personnel. The organisation took part in policing, deportations and mass murder throughout German-occupied areas and had an integral role in carrying out the Holocaust. Following Reinhard Heydrich's assassination in 1942, Daluege was named Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia and directed the German reprisal actions, including the Lidice massacre. At the end of the war, Daluege was arrested and extradited to Czechoslovakia, where he was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging in October 1946.

Early life and career[edit]

Daluege, son of a Prussian state official, was born in the small Upper Silesian town of Kreuzburg (now Kluczbork) on 15 September 1897.[3] He entered the Prussian Army in 1916 and served with the 7th Guards Infantry Regiment.[4] He served on the Eastern Front. In October 1917, he attended officers training in Doberitz. During his service on the Western Front, he was severely wounded in the head and shoulder. He was hospitalised and declared 25% disabled. Daluege was awarded the Iron Cross, second class (1918) and the Wound Badge in Black (1918).[5]


After World War I, Daluege became leader of Selbstschutz Oberschlesien (SSOS) - Upper Silesian Self Defense  — an Upper Silesian veterans' organization engaged in combat with the Poles in that region. In 1921, he also became active in the Freikorps Rossbach while studying engineering at the Technical University in Berlin, [3] where he eventually earned a civil engineering degree.[6] Two years later he joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and was assigned Party number 31,981.[7] He also joined the Greater German Workers' Party in the same year.[8] From 1924, he helped to organize the Berlin Frontbann, largely a front organization for the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA), since it and the Nazi Party were banned in Prussia at that time.[8] In 1926 he joined the SA directly, eventually becoming both the leader of Berlin's SA and Joseph Goebbels' deputy (Gauleiter, or Party leader) in Berlin.[9] Throughout the period of 1926—1929, Daluege led the Berlin-Brandenburg division of the SA.[6]

SS and police leader[edit]

Daluege in 1933

In July 1930, in accordance with Hitler's wishes, Daluege resigned from the SA and joined the SS with the rank of SS-Oberführer and membership number 1,119.[7] His main responsibility was to spy on the SA and political opponents of the Nazi Party.[10] Berlin SS headquarters was strategically placed at the corner of Lützowstrasse and Potsdamerstrasse, opposite the SA headquarters.[11]

In August 1930, when Berlin SA leader Walter Stennes had his men attack the Berlin Party headquarters, it was Daluege's SS men who defended it and put the attack down. Sometime afterwards in an open letter to Daluege, Adolf Hitler proclaimed "SS Mann, deine Ehre heißt Treue!" ("SS man, your honour is loyalty"). Then, the slogan "Meine Ehre heißt Treue" (My honour is loyalty) was duly adopted by the SS as its motto.[12] Hitler promoted both Daluege and Heinrich Himmler to SS-Obergruppenführer, with Daluege the SS leader of northern Germany while Himmler controlled the southern SS units out of Munich in addition to serving as national leader for the entire SS.

In April 1932, Daluege was elected a Nazi Party deputy to the Landtag of Prussia where he served until its dissolution in October 1933.[13] In June 1933, he was appointed the Deputy Plenipotentiary for Prussia to the Reichsrat where he served until its abolition on 14 February 1934.[14] On 11 July 1933, Prussian Minister President Hermann Göring appointed Daluege to the recently reconstituted Prussian State Council.[15] In September 1933, Göring moved Daluege to the Prussian Interior Ministry, where he took over the nonpolitical police with the rank of Generalmajor der Landespolizei. On 12 November 1933, he was elected to the Reichstag representing the Potsdam II (later, Berlin–East) electoral district, a seat he retained until 1945.[14] Intrigues created by Göring, Himmler and Heydrich surrounding Ernst Röhm led to Daluege's playing an important role in the infamous "Night of the Long Knives". In that operation Röhm along with other leading members of the SA were killed between 30 June and 2 July 1934, thus neutralizing the SA and shifting the balance of power within the party to the SS.[16][17][18]

Evidence of Daluege's ruthlessness goes beyond his intrigue against his former SA comrades, and is discernible in his remarks about anyone he considered a threat to society. He once argued that "the consciously asocial enemies of the people (Volksfeinde)" must be eliminated by state intervention "if it hopes to prevent the outbreak of complete moral degeneration."[19] Historian George Browder claims that Daluege "bragged that the Police Institute for detective training had especially been reorganized according to NS viewpoints", and that advancement within this organization was contingent to a considerable degree on the internalization of Nazi ideology.[20]

By November 1934, Daluege's authority over the uniformed police was extended beyond Prussia to include all of Germany.[21] That meant he commanded municipal police forces, the rural gendarmerie, traffic police, the coastguard, the railway police, the postal protection service, fire brigades, the air-raid services, the emergency technical service, the broadcasting police, the factory protection police, building regulations enforcement, and the commercial police.[22]

Daluege (right) in Cracow in 1939, shaking hands with Heinrich Himmler (left). Hans Frank (center) stands between them.

In 1936, the entire German police force was reorganized with the administrative functions previously exercised by the now largely defunct federal states reassigned to the nominal control of the Reich Interior Ministry, but under the actual control of Himmler's SS.[23] Making the most of his police expertise and coinciding with his appointment, Daluege wrote and published a book entitled National-sozialistischer Kampf gegen das Verbrechertum (NS Struggle against Criminality).[17] That same year, Himmler appointed Daluege as chief of the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo), which gave him administrative, though not executive, authority over most of the uniformed police in Nazi Germany.[24][25][26] He commanded the Orpo until 1943, rising to the rank of SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Generaloberst der Polizei. Reinhard Heydrich, who took control of the SiPo (Security Police) at the same time that Daluege took control of the Orpo, thought very little of Daluege, as he was a former rival in the early struggle for power, and was contemptuously referred to by Heydrich as 'Dummi-Dummi', or 'the idiot'. [27]

By August 1939, the strength of the Orpo under Daluege's command and control had reached upwards of 120,000 active-duty personnel.[28] Further indications of the brutality coming from Daluege's office (Chief of the Ordnungspolizei), are shown in a report dated 5 September 1939, outlining the methods to be employed during pacification operations in Poland. Regarding uniformed police battalions for planned reprisal actions around the Polish town of Czestochowa, the report gave the following instructions: "[t]he leader of this battalion is ordered to take the most drastic actions and measures such as those in the upper Silesian industrial area, the hanging of Polish franc-tireurs from light poles as a visible symbol for the entire population."[29]

During the war in 1941, he attended a mass shooting of 4,435 Jews by Police Battalion 307 near Brest-Litowsk and a mass shooting of Jews in Minsk. Furthermore, in October 1941 Daluege signed deportation orders for Jews from Germany, Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, to Riga and Minsk.[30] On 7 July 1942, he attended a conference led by Himmler which discussed the "enlargement" of Operation Reinhard, the secretive Nazi plan to mass-murder Polish Jews in the General Government district of occupied Poland, and other matters involving SS and police policies in the east.[31]

Massacre of Lidice[edit]

Memorial in the Czech Republic to children of Lidice murdered on Daluege's orders

In 1942 Daluege became the Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, following the assassination of Deputy Protector Reinhard Heydrich.[32][33] There seemed to be almost no logic behind Hitler appointing Daluege beyond the fact that he was a senior SS officer and was already in Prague at the time, where he had arrived on the day of Heydrich's assassination for medical treatment. Hitler originally wanted to appoint Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski but Himmler persuaded Hitler not to do so, arguing that Bach-Zelewski could not be spared because of the military situation on the Eastern front. [34] Although Konstantin von Neurath was nominally Protector he had been stripped of his authority in 1941, so Daluege was Acting Protector in all but name. In June 1942, along with Karl Hermann Frank and other SS operatives, he ordered the villages of Lidice and Ležáky razed to the ground in reprisal for Heydrich's death. All the men in both villages were murdered, while many of the women and children were deported to Nazi concentration camps.[16][35]

Personal life[edit]

On 16 October 1926, Daluege married Käthe Schwarz (born 23 November 1901) who later became a member of the Nazi Party (member no. 118,363).[36] In 1937, Daluege and his wife adopted a son. Afterwards, Daluege's wife bore three biological children, two sons born in 1938 and 1940 and a daughter born in 1942.[36]

In May 1943, Daluege became seriously ill after a massive heart attack. In August, he was relieved of all of his day-to-day responsibilities and spent the rest of the war living on a property in western Pomerania, given to him by Hitler.[37]

Arrest, trial, conviction and sentence[edit]

In May 1945, Daluege was arrested by British troops in Lübeck and interned in Luxembourg and then at Nuremberg, where he was charged as "a major war criminal".[31] In September 1946 after being extradited to Czechoslovakia, he was tried for his many crimes against humanity committed in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[31] Throughout his trial, Daluege was unrepentant, claiming he was beloved by "three million policemen", only following Hitler's orders, and had a clear conscience.[38] He was convicted on all charges and sentenced to death on 23 October 1946. Daluege was hanged in Pankrác prison in Prague on 24 October 1946.[32][39]

Summary of SS career[edit]

Dates of promotion

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Bert Hoppe and Hildrun Glass: Sowjetunion mit annektierten Gebieten I: Besetzte sowjetische Gebiete unter deutscher Militärverwaltung, Baltikum und Transnistrien, page 145, Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationasozialistische Deutschland 1933-1945 Band 7, Oldenbourg Verlag, München 2011
  2. ^ Kurt F. Rosenberg: "Einer, der nicht mehr dazugehört": Tagebücher 1933-1937, page 219, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2012
  3. ^ a b Wistrich 2001, p. 35.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Miller 2006, p. 216.
  5. ^ Miller 2006, pp. 216, 224.
  6. ^ a b Longerich 2012, p. 133.
  7. ^ a b Miller 2006, p. 215.
  8. ^ a b Friedrich, Thomas (2013) Hitler's Berlin: Abused City Spencer, Stewart (trans). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-16670-5. pp. 68–69
  9. ^ Read 2005, pp. 154–155.
  10. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 133–134.
  11. ^ Koehl 2004, p. 55.
  12. ^ Weale 2012, pp. 59–61.
  13. ^ Miller 2006, p. 217.
  14. ^ a b Miller 2006, p. 218.
  15. ^ Lilla 2005, pp. 198, 297.
  16. ^ a b Stackelberg 2007, p. 189.
  17. ^ a b Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 180.
  18. ^ For more details on this event see: Höhne (2001). The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS, pp. 93–131.
  19. ^ Rabinbach & Gilman 2013, p. 335.
  20. ^ Browder 1996, pp. 99–100.
  21. ^ Weale 2012, p. 86.
  22. ^ Weale 2012, p. 133.
  23. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 204.
  24. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 240.
  25. ^ Bracher 1970, p. 353.
  26. ^ MacDonald 1990, p. 29.
  27. ^ MacDonald 1990, p. 175.
  28. ^ "Vortrag ueber die Deutsche Ordnungspolizei, Gehalten am 2. September 1940," T580 (Captured German Documents Microfilmed at the Berlin Document Center. Collection of the National Archives)/Roll 96. Cited from Edward B. Westermann, "Friend and Helper: German uniformed police operations in Poland and the general government, 1939–1941", The Journal of Military History 58 no.4 (Oct 1994): 643.
  29. ^ "Der Chef der Ordnungspolizei, Berlin, den 5. September 1939," T580/Roll 96. Cited from: Edward B. Westermann, "Friend and Helper: German uniformed police operations in Poland and the general government, 1939–1941", The Journal of Military History 58 no.4 (Oct 1994): 643.
  30. ^ Miller 2006, pp. 219, 221, 223.
  31. ^ a b c Miller 2006, p. 223.
  32. ^ a b Snyder 1994, p. 61.
  33. ^ Bracher 1970, p. 347.
  34. ^ MacDonald 1990, p. 174.
  35. ^ Burian, Michal; Aleš (2002). "Assassination — Operation Arthropoid, 1941–1942" (PDF). Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  36. ^ a b Miller 2006, p. 225.
  37. ^ McKale 2011, p. 104.
  38. ^ McKale 2011, pp. 104–105.
  39. ^ Some sources state he was hanged on 23 October 1946. Miller (2006) p. 215; Zentner & Bedürftig (1991) p. 180.
  40. ^ a b c d e f Miller 2006, p. 224.


External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Reinhard Heydrich
(Acting Protector)
Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia
(Acting Protector)

5 June 1942 – 24 August 1943
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Frick