Wilhelm Gideon

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Wilhelm Gideon (born 15 November 1898 in Oldenburg – died 23 February 1977) was a Schutzstaffel officer and Nazi concentration camp commandant.

A native of Oldenburg, Gideon began work as a trainee engineer but had his studied ended by the outbreak of World War I when he volunteered for service in the German Imperial Army.[1]

Gideon enlisted in the SS in 1933 (as member number 88,657) and the Nazi Party itself in 1937 (member 4,432,258).[2] He had a varied career in the SS, initially being stationed with the 9th SS-Reiterstandarte (cavalry) from 1934 to 1939. Following this he was moved to the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf until 1942 following which he was briefly attached to the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt and then served for a short spell at Neuengamme concentration camp and as administrator of the 88th SS-Standarte in Hamburg.[2]

Gideon had been identified by Oswald Pohl as a reliable SS officer and was promoted to Hauptsturmführer by the concentration camp chief.[3] He was appointed commandant of Gross-Rosen concentration camp on 16 September 1942 in succession to Arthur Rödl and held the post until 10 October 1943 when Johannes Hassebroek succeeded him.[4] His final post was on staff of the SS and Police Leader in occupied Denmark until the surrender in 1945.[2]

Gideon was last known to be alive in 1975 when Israeli historian Tom Segev interviewed him for his book Soldiers of Evil, a study of the concentration camp commandants. However, after initially co-operating Gideon terminated the interview when he suddenly claimed that he was a different person who happened to be named Wilhelm Gideon rather than the former commandant of Gross-Rosen.[5]


  • Orth, Karin: Die Konzentrationslager-SS. dtv, München 2004, ISBN 3-423-34085-1.
  • Tom Segev: Die Soldaten des Bösen. Zur Geschichte der KZ-Kommandanten. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-499-18826-0.
  • Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich: Wer war was vor und nach 1945. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005. ISBN 3-596-16048-0.


  1. ^ Tom Segev, Soldiers of Evil, Berkley Books, 1991, p. 68
  2. ^ a b c Wilhelm Gideon
  3. ^ Michael Thad Allen, The Business of Genocide: the SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps, University of North Carolina Press, 2002
  4. ^ Belah Guṭerman, A Narrow Bridge to Life: Jewish Forced Labor and Survival in the Gross-Rosen Camp System, 1940-1945, Berghahn Books, 2008, p. 75
  5. ^ Segev, Soldiers of Evil. p. 219