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Erich Ehrlinger

Erich Ehrlinger (sometime before 1945)
Born 14 October 1910
Giengen an der Brenz
Died 31 July 2004
Alias(es) Erich Fröscher
Motive Nazism
Conviction(s) Crimes against humanity in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, and Russia.
Penalty Twelve years imprisonment, later partially remitted.

Erich Ehrlinger (b. 14 October 1910, Giengen an der Brenz, Germany; d. 31 July 2004, Karlsruhe, Germany) was a member of the Nazi SS who, as commander of Special Detachment (Sonderkommando, also known as Einsatzkommando or EK) 1b, was responsible for mass murder in the Baltic states and Belarus. He was also the commander of the Security Police and the Security Service (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD (BdS)) for central Russia and simultaneously an office leader in the National Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA). He did not hold a doctorate degree, as is sometimes reported. Ehrlinger eventually held the rank of SS-Brigadeführer.


Youth and education

Ehrlinger was the son of the mayor of Giengen an der Brenz, a small town in southwestern Germany, in what is now the state of Baden-Württemberg. In 1928 he completed high school (Abitur) in Heidenheim, then studied law in Tübingen, Kiel, Berlin (where in 1931 he joined the SA) and then back at Tübingen. The nationalist and xenophobic atmosphere at the University of Tübingen (already by 1931 there were no longer any Jewish professors there) fit in well with his later legal career in the SD, the RSHA, and the Einsatzgruppen.

As a student functionary, Ehrlinger was active not only at the university. According to his SA certificate of good conduct, "Ehrlinger was one of the few Tübingen-connected students, who even before the seizure of power put himself regularly where he was needed with the propaganda or other service."

Career after the Nazi takeover of power

After he completed an SA leadership training course in 1934, Ehrlinger gave up his legal career and became a full time SA functionary. He was the leader of an SA sport school at Rieneck Castle and then a functionary with the title of Training Chief ("Chef AW" for SA-Ausbildungswesen). After that, in May 1935, he redirected himself towards the SD. By September 1935 he had been assigned to the main office of the Berlin SD. Ehrlinger was with the SD in 1938 during the Nazi takeovers in Austria and in April 1939 in Prague.

Crimes during World War II

Ehrlinger was with the headquarters staff of Einsatzgruppe IV during the German attack on Poland in September 1939. In August 1940 he went to Norway for the build up of the Waffen-SS there under his later chief, Franz Walter Stahlecker. In April 1941, he took over leadership of Special Commando (Sonderkommando) 1b, which was part of Einsatzgruppe A, of which Stahlecker was overall commander.

After the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, on June 22, 1941, Ehrlinger's unit, 70 to 80 men strong, followed behind Army Group North in the Baltic states and the area south of Leningrad. Ehrlinger led the mass murder of Jews behind the front, in particular in the ghettos of Kovno, Dünaburg and Rositten.

For example, on July 16 1941, the SD entered Dünaburg. Ehrlinger reported that "[a]s of now the EK 1b has killed 1,150 Jews in Dünaburg."[1] Ehrlinger himself oversaw these shootings, euphemistically called "actions," as a "hardened SS perpetrator who stood at the shoot pit and led the killers in the shooting."[2]

In December 1941, after the completion of the work of Einsatzkommando 1b, Ehrlinger was promoted to commandant of the Security Police and SD (Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolize und des SD or KdS) for central Russia and Belarus, where under his orders many executions were carried out. During shootings, when he felt the pace was lagging, he personally picked up a weapon and started killing people.

In September 1943 Ehrlinger was promoted to SS-Standartenführer and went to Minsk where he became the liaison man of SD chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner to the commanding generals of the security troops of Army Group Center, as well as taking over the offices of the Einsatzgruppe B chief and the Commander of the Security Police and the SD (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD or BdS) for central Russia and Belarus. There he was involved with the murder of the remaining Jews of Minsk. He insisted that other officers take part, as he would not allow anyone to lead in the SS who was not willing to do some of the shooting himself.

In 1944, Ehrlinger went back to Berlin and, on 1 April 1944 became chief of the Main National Security Office (Reichsicherheitsamt or RSHA), Department I (Personnel). In November 1944 Ehrlinger became a special delegate from Ernst Kaltenbrunner to Heinrich Himmler.

After 1945

After the end of the war Ehrlinger hid out in Schleswig-Holstein under the name of Erich Fröscher. In October 1945 he went to Roth, near Nuremberg. In 1950 he moved with his family to Konstanz and worked under a false name as a host in the local casino. In 1952, he married so the second time, and in so he started using his real name, but suffered no adverse consequences and 1954 worked as a foreman in a Volkswagen factory in Karlsruhe.

In December 1958, he was arrested. In December 1961 he was sentenced by the State Court of Karlsruhe (Landsgericht Karlsruhe) to twelve years imprisonment. The case was appealed and eventually returned to the public prosecutor's office. However, because of "disability", his sentence was remitted in 1969. By then he had already been out of prison since 1965.


  1. ^ Memorandum (Ereignismeldung) UdSSR Nr. 24, as excerpted and reprinted in Ezergailis, Andrew, The Holocaust in Latvia, at pages 272-273.
  2. ^ (German) Wildt, Michael, Erich Ehrlinger - Ein Vertreter „kämpfender Verwaltung“


  • Ezergails, Andrew, The Holocaust in Latvia 1941-1944: The Missing Center, ISBN 9984-9054-3-8
  • (German) Stadlbauer, Peter, Eichmanns Chef: Erich Ehrlinger. Exzellente SS-Karriere und unterbliebene strafrechtliche Sühne. Eine Fallstudie, unveröffentl. Magisterarbeit, Wien 2005
  • (German) Wildt, Michael, Generation der Unbedingten – Das Führungskorps des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3930908751
  • (German) Wildt, Michael, Erich Ehrlinger - Ein Vertreter „kämpfender Verwaltung“. In: Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Gerhard Paul: Karrieren der Gewalt. Nationalsozialistische Täterbiographien. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2004, ISBN 3-534-16654-X.

See also

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