Rudolf Bamler

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Rudolf Bamler
Born (1896-05-06)6 May 1896
Osterburg (Altmark), Saxony-Anhalt
Died 13 March 1972(1972-03-13) (aged 77)
Groß Glienicke

 Nazi Germany
NKFD (to 1945)

 East Germany

Generalleutnant of the Wehrmacht

Generalmajor of the KVP
Commands held 12th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Other work Main Directorate for Reconnaissance

Rudolf Bamler (6 May 1896 – 13 March 1972) was a German general during the World War II. Although Bamler was a member of the Nazi Party[1] he would later serve as a leading member of the East German security forces.

Early life[edit]

Bamler was born in Osterburg (Altmark), Saxony-Anhalt, the son of Protestant clergyman Johannes Bamler (born 1864) and his wife Anna Garlipp (1873-1932).[2] He enlisted in the Prussian Army and served in the First World War with the 15th Division.[3]


Operations security propaganda poster

Bamler was attached to the Abwehr as the head of section III (counterespionage) and here he helped to encourage closer co-operation with the Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst (SD).[4] This role also meant that Bamler maintained a network of informers across German society rivalled only by that of the SD.[5] Although he had a difficult personal relationship with his superior Wilhelm Canaris the two co-operated closely in supporting Canaris' friend Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War.[6]

World War II[edit]

Following the outbreak of the Second World War Bamler was appointed Chief of Staff of Wehrkreis VII (Munich) before a transfer to the same role in XX (Danzig).[7] Bamler was then made Chief of Staff to the XXXXVII Panzer Corps in 1940.[7] From 1942 to 1944 he was Chief of Staff[8] to the German Army in Norway under Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, having risen to the rank of Lieutenant General.[9]

Bamler was then moved to the Eastern Front and from 1 to 27 June he was commander of the 121st Infantry Division, before being replaced by Helmuth Prieß.[10] He was simultaneously commander of the 12th Infantry Division, with Gerhard Engel his replacement.[11]

Bamler's commands ended as he had surrendered to the Red Army on 27 June 1944.[7] However embittered by what he saw as the sacrifice of his division Bamler defected to the Soviet Union that had captured him.[7]

Later years[edit]

Bamler settled in East Germany and worked as a Stasi police officer there from 1946 until his retirement in 1962.[7] He also held the rank of Major General in the Kasernierte Volkspolizei.[12] He died in Groß Glienicke aged 75.[13]


  1. ^ Michael Mueller, Geoffrey Brooks, Canaris: The Life and Death of Hitler's Spymaster, Naval Institute Press, 2007, p. 95
  2. ^ Rüdiger Wenzke, "Rudolf Bamler – Karrierebruch in der KVP" on Hans Ehlert, Armin Wagner (eds.), Genosse General! Die Militärelite der DDR in biografischen Skizzen, Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin 2003, p. 33
  3. ^ Jürgen Kraus, Handbuch der Verbände und Truppen des deutschen Heeres 1914–1918. Teil IX: Feldartillerie Band 1, Verlag Militaria Wien 2007, p. 266
  4. ^ George C. Browder, Foundations of the Nazi Police State: The Formation of Sipo and SD, University Press of Kentucky, 2004, p. 180
  5. ^ Peter Padfield, Himmler, Cassell & Co, 2001, p. 215
  6. ^ John H. Waller, The Unseen War in Europe: Espionage and Conspiracy in the Second World War, I.B.Tauris, 1996, p. 16
  7. ^ a b c d e Samuel W. Mitcham, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45, Stackpole Books, 2007, p. 39
  8. ^ Toppnazisten ble kommunist - sønnen ble spion [The top Nazi became a communist - the son became a spy]
  9. ^ Hans Fredrik Dahl, Quisling: A Study in Treachery, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 343
  10. ^ Samuel W. Mitcham, German Order of Battle Volume One, Volume 3, Stackpole Books, 2007, p. 173
  11. ^ Mitcham, German Order of Battle Volume One, Volume 3, p. 52
  12. ^ Walter Henry Nelson, Germany Rearmed, Simon and Schuster, 1972, p. 246
  13. ^ Wenzke, p. 52