SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz

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SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Toelz-5228-08, Bad Tölz, SS-Junkerschule.jpg
Main gates of the school, 1942
CountryNazi Germany
RoleSS officer training
Part ofSchutzstaffel
CommandersLothar Debes (1942–43)
Fritz Klingenberg (1944–45)
Richard Schulze-Kossens (1945)
Bernhard Dietsche (1945)
Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg

SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz was an SS-Junker School, an officers' training establishment for the Waffen-SS. The school was founded in 1937 and constructed by Alois Degano, in the town of Bad Tölz which is about 30 miles south of Munich and the location was seemingly chosen because it had both good transport links and was in an inspiring location. The design and construction of the school was intended to impress the staff, students, visitors and passers-by. A sub camp of the Dachau concentration camp was located in the town of Bad Tölz which provided labour for the SS-Junkerschule and the Zentralbauleitung (Central Administration Building). The School operated until the end of World War II in 1945 and after the war the site was used as the base of the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group until 1991.[1]

Early history[edit]

In 1934, the armed branch of the Schutzstaffel (SS) then known as the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT), started to recruit officers into its ranks. The German Army and its Prussian heritage looked for officers of good breeding, who had at least graduated from secondary school. By contrast the SS-VT offered men the chance to become an officer no matter what education they had received or their social standing.[2]

In 1936 Himmler selected former Lieutenant General Paul Hausser to be appointed Inspector of the SS-VT with the rank of Brigadeführer, he set about transforming the SS-VT into a creditable military force that equaled the regular army and transformed the officer selection system.[3][4] The school was opened in 1936 by Adolf Hitler and would use the regular army training methods and used former army officers as instructors to train their potential officers to be combat effective.[5] Because of their backgrounds, some of the cadets required basic training in non-military matters. The cadets were issued books on etiquette that contained instructions on table manners "Cutlery is held only in the fingers and not with the whole hand" and even the correct way to close a letter "Heil Hitler! yours sincerely XXXX".[2] Instruction was also given on Nazi ideology during lectures, with a mixture of athletics and military field exercises.[2]

The SS spared no expense in building the school, the facilities included a football stadium surrounded by an athletics track; building dedicated to boxing, gymnastics, indoor ball games, a heated swimming pool and a sauna.[6] The instructors matched the facilities and at one time eight of the twelve coaches were the German National champions in their fields.[6]


Cadets taking part in a classroom exercise in 1942/43

Instruction at the school ranged from the playing of war games to studying Hitler's Mein Kampf.[7] Many Cadets had already served in the Hitler Youth and brought up under the Nazi propaganda machine.[7] Nazi ideology was an important part of the curriculum.[7] Political and ideological indoctrination was part of the syllabus for all SS cadets, but there was no merger of academic learning and military instruction like that found at West Point in the United States.[8] Instead, personality training was stressed, which meant future SS leaders/officers were shaped above all things by a National Socialist worldview and attitude. Another goal of the school was to produce officers with knowledge of combat tactics. Classes were given in assault tactics, which built on the mobile tactics introduced to the German Army at the end of World War I.[6]

The timetable of the School was as follows: tactics, terrain and map reading, combat training and weapons training, General practical service (weapons technology, shooting training, war exercises), religious education, military, SS and police, administration, physical training, weapons doctrine, pioneer teaching, current events, tank tactics, vehicle maintenance, sanitary engineering, air force doctrine.

38th SS Division[edit]

In March 1945, staff and students from the school were used to form the SS Division Nibelungen.[9] The Division never achieved anything near the strength of a full division but did actually see some combat. The 38th SS Division was at first named Junkerschule because of its formation from the members of the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz. The division first saw action in the Landshut area of Upper Bavaria. The engagement was against American troops. The 38th then saw brief action in the Alps and Danube areas before surrendering to the Americans on 8 May 1945, in the area of the Bavarian Alps near Oberwössen, close to the Austrian border.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Edward Victor. "Alphabetical List of Camps, Subcamps and Other Camps". Archived from the original on 2012-02-22.
  2. ^ a b c Flaherty, p 132
  3. ^ Flaherty, p 146
  4. ^ Windrow, pp 7–8
  5. ^ Flaherty, p 145
  6. ^ a b c Flaherty, p 36
  7. ^ a b c Flaherty, p 134
  8. ^ Weale 2012, p. 209.
  9. ^ O'Donnell 2001, p. 99.


Coordinates: 47°45′32.57″N 11°34′59.13″E / 47.7590472°N 11.5830917°E / 47.7590472; 11.5830917