6 May 1896|
Osterburg (Altmark), Saxony-Anhalt
|Died||13 March 1972
Generalleutnant of the Wehrmacht
|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 he would later serve as a leading member of the East German security forces.
Bamler was born in Osterburg (Altmark), Saxony-Anhalt, the son of Protestant clergyman Johannes Bamler (born 1864) and his wife Anna Garlipp (1873-1932). He enlisted in the Prussian Army and served in the First World War with the 15th Division.
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). This role also meant that Bamler maintained a network of informers across German society rivalled only by that of the SD. 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.
World War II
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). Bamler was then made Chief of Staff to the XXXXVII Panzer Corps in 1940. From 1942 to 1944 he was Chief of Staff to the German Army in Norway under Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, having risen to the rank of Lieutenant General.
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. He was simultaneously commander of the 12th Infantry Division, with Gerhard Engel his replacement.
Bamler's commands ended as he had surrendered to the Red Army on 27 June 1944. However embittered by what he saw as the sacrifice of his division Bamler defected to the Soviet Union that had captured him.
Bamler settled in East Germany and worked as a Stasi police officer there from 1946 until his retirement in 1962. He also held the rank of Major General in the Kasernierte Volkspolizei. He died in Groß Glienicke aged 75.
- Michael Mueller, Geoffrey Brooks, Canaris: The Life and Death of Hitler's Spymaster, Naval Institute Press, 2007, p. 95
- 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
- Jürgen Kraus, Handbuch der Verbände und Truppen des deutschen Heeres 1914–1918. Teil IX: Feldartillerie Band 1, Verlag Militaria Wien 2007, p. 266
- George C. Browder, Foundations of the Nazi Police State: The Formation of Sipo and SD, University Press of Kentucky, 2004, p. 180
- Peter Padfield, Himmler, Cassell & Co, 2001, p. 215
- John H. Waller, The Unseen War in Europe: Espionage and Conspiracy in the Second World War, I.B.Tauris, 1996, p. 16
- Samuel W. Mitcham, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45, Stackpole Books, 2007, p. 39
- Toppnazisten ble kommunist - sønnen ble spion [The top Nazi became a communist - the son became a spy]
- Hans Fredrik Dahl, Quisling: A Study in Treachery, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 343
- Samuel W. Mitcham, German Order of Battle Volume One, Volume 3, Stackpole Books, 2007, p. 173
- Mitcham, German Order of Battle Volume One, Volume 3, p. 52
- Walter Henry Nelson, Germany Rearmed, Simon and Schuster, 1972, p. 246
- Wenzke, p. 52