Arthur Nebe: Wikis


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Arthur Nebe
November 13, 1894 – March 21, 1945
Bundesarchiv Bild 101III-Alber-096-34, Arthur Nebe.jpg
Artur Nebe
Place of birth Berlin
Place of death Berlin
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Schutzstaffel
Rank Gruppenführer
Battles/wars World War I

Arthur Nebe (13 November 1894, Berlin – 21 March 1945) was a Gruppenführer in the Schutzstaffel (SS). Other positions included Berlin Police Commissioner in the 1920s, an early member of both the Sturmabteilung and President of Interpol (1942-1943).



Born in Berlin in 1894, the son of an elementary school teacher, Nebe volunteered for military service in the 17th Pioneer Battalion during World War I, where he was wounded twice by gas.

Shown from left to right in this 1939 propaganda photograph are Huber (a minor SS functionary), with Arthur Nebe, and then three of the people most responsible for the Holocaust: Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich "Gestapo" Müller. According to the apparently 1939 archival caption, these men are planning the investigation of the bomb assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on 8 November 1939 in Munich (later revealed to have been performed by Georg Elser).

In 1920 Nebe joined the Berlin detective force[1] Kriminalpolizei, or Kripo for short (literally, "Criminal Police", a similar organization to the United Kingdom's Criminal Investigation Department) and attained the rank of Police Commissioner in 1924. Nebe joined the Nazi party on July 1, 1931 and became a contributing member of the SS on the same day;[1] he became the Nazis' liaison in the Berlin criminal police, with links to the SS group led by Kurt Daluege. In early 1932 Nebe and other Nazi detectives formed the NS (National Socialist) Civil Service Society of the Berlin Police.[1]. Following the Nazi seizure of power, Daluege recommended Nebe, in April 1933 to be as Chief Executive of the State Police.

In October 1933 Nebe was ordered by Rudolf Diels, the then head of the Gestapo, to arrange the liquidation of Hitler's rival Gregor Strasser. This began the process of turning Nebe against the Nazis. When the Kripo was absorbed into the Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei) Nebe became an SS Gruppenführer. His aversion to Reinhard Heydrich and Himmler grew even though he continued to regularly lunch with them.[2]

In 1933 he came to know Hans Bernd Gisevius, then an official in the Berlin Police Headquarters and Gisevius introduced him to Hans Oster.

In July 1936, the Kripo became the Criminal Police Department for the entire Reich. It was mergered, along with the Gestapo into the Sicherheitspolizei (SIPO). At that point, Reinhard Heydrich was in overall command of the SIPO (Gestapo and Kripo) and the SD. Nebe was appointed head of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo). As head of the Kripo, Nebe reported to Heydrich. In September 1939, the Kripo would become the Criminal Police of Department V in the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt).

In 1938, Nebe joined forces with future fellow conspirator Dr. Karl Sack (Judge Advocate-General of the Wehrmacht) to spoil Himmler's plot against General Werner von Fritsch.[3] That same year, Hans Oster recruited Nebe into the conspiracy for the September 1938 coup attempt, a plot to overthrow Hitler if he went to war with Czechoslovakia over the Sudetenland. Nebe supplied the conspirators with information regarding SS strength, logistics, and safehouses throughout the Berlin area.

World War II

In 1941, just prior to Operation Barbarossa, Heinrich Himmler selected Nebe to command Einsatzgruppe B behind Army Group Center in the east. Of his work in the east, historian Gerald Reitlinger stated:

The headquarters of Nebe's extermination group were at Minsk and later Smolensk, where he was in touch with another old friend, Colonel Hans Oster, who was attached to Central Army Group headquarters. Nebe is said to have fought against Heydrich's orders and disclosed them to the Oster circle, who had used him as an information post for the past four years. No doubt that is why Heydrich's reports credit Nebe's stewardship with the quite modest score of 46,000 executions as against Stahlecker's 221,000.[4]

Foreseeing the crimes in which he would be involved, he tried to escape it by asking for a move to the International Police Commission but is said to have been persuaded by Ludwig Beck and Hans Oster to accept the appointment, which would place him in a position where he could give them information on what was happening inside the SS and the Gestapo.[5] He worked with Henning von Tresckow and Fabian von Schlabrendorff to reduce the atrocities committed, and often massaged the numbers reported to his superiors (including one claim that his task force was responsible for more than 45,000 killings).[6]

He returned from Russia convinced that the war would end with the military defeat of Germany.

In late 1942 after the Wannsee Conference, Nebe informed his fellow conspirators of Himmler's plans for the so-called Final Solution.

In March 1944, after the 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III POW camp, Nebe was ordered by Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo (Amt IV, or Department 4, of the RSHA), to choose 50 of the 73 captured prisoners to be executed. It is reputed that this selection caused Nebe distress.[7]

Guenter Lewy, however, in his book The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies, describes a different picture of Nebe. He describes how Nebe held a demonstration, on Himmler's request, of a mass-shooting of 100 people in Minsk. On learning it was distasteful to the troops, Himmler wanted Nebe to come up with something less distressing. Nebe decided to try experimenting by murdering Soviet mental patients first with explosives near Minsk and then with automobile exhaust at Mogilev.[8]

Lewy also lays out other issues with the question of Nebe's innocence. Among other things:[8]

  • "As head of the RKPA," (the Kripo, or Criminal Police), "Nebe played a leading role in the formulation of Gypsy policy".[9]
  • Nebe told Eichmann to put Gypsies with the Jews on the transports to Nisko, in October 1939
  • In 1944, Nebe suggested to Grawitz that the Gypsies interned at Auschwitz would be good people to use for medical experiments at the Dachau concentration camp (Himmler had asked Grawitz for advice on the question)
  • In Sep 1941, Nebe helped give a course named 'The Jewish Question with special attention to the partisan movement', which included the murdering of 32 people at Mogilev.
  • Bernd Wehner of the RKPA claimed Nebe was worried the Allies would punish him for his crimes, and that this was the only reason he joined the resistance.

1944 plot against Adolf Hitler

Arthur Nebe was involved in various plots including the July 20, 1944, bomb plot against German dictator Adolf Hitler. As part of the plot, Nebe was to lead a team of 12 policemen to kill Himmler but the signal never reached him.[10] Historian Reitlinger characterized Nebe as "a very questionable member of the Resistance Circle at the time of the great bomb plot."[4] After the failure of the assassination attempt he went into hiding on an island in the Wannsee but was later arrested after a rejected mistress betrayed him. Nebe was sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof (People's Court) and according to official records, was executed in Berlin at Plötzensee Prison on March 2, 1945, by hanging with piano wire from a meat hook [11] as that was the punishment ordered by Hitler - who wanted the July 20 conspirators to be "hanged like cattle" [12].


  • Hans-Bernd Gisevius: Wo ist Nebe? Erinnerungen an Hitlers Reichskriminaldirektor. Zuerich, Droemer, 1966

In fiction

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c Browder, George C. (1990). Foundations of the Nazi Police State -- The Formation of SIPO and SD. University of Kentucky. pp. 57, 62, 86, 87, 90, 116, 119, 121–122, 125, 191, 233–237, 241–242,. ISBN 0-8131-1697-X. 
  2. ^ Balfour, Michael Leonard Graham (1988). Withstanding Hitler in Germany, 1933-45. Routledge. ISBN 0415006171. 
  3. ^ von Schlabrendorff, Fabian (1994). The Secret War Against Hitler. Westview Press. ISBN 0813321905. 
  4. ^ a b Reitlinger, Gerald (1957). The SS -- Alibi of a Nation 1922-1945. Viking Press. pp. 182–183. ISBN 0-306-80351-8. 
  5. ^ Hoffman, Peter (2005). German Resistance to Hitler. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674350863. 
  6. ^ Heer, Hannes; Klaus Naumann (2004). War Of Extermination: The German Military In World War II. Berghahn Books. pp. 129. ISBN 1571812326. 
  7. ^ Carroll, Tim (2004). The Great Escapers. Mainstream Publishers. ISBN 1-84018-904-5. 
  8. ^ a b Lewy, pages 204-208
  9. ^ Lewy, page 207
  10. ^ Balfour, p. 164
  11. ^ In the Name of the Volk: Political Justice in Hitler's Germany by H. W. Koch page 291
  12. ^ William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,pp 1393
Government offices
Preceded by
Reinhard Heydrich
President of Interpol
1942 - 1943
Succeeded by
Ernst Kaltenbrunner

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