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Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger
27 February 1894(1894-02-27) – 9 May 1945 (aged 51)
Place of birth Strasbourg
Place of death Steiermark (Suicide)
Allegiance Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Rank SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS und Polizei
Commands held Höhere SS und Polizeiführer Ost
6th SS Mountain Division Nord
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross
EK I
EK II
Other work Organized war crimes in Poland, including concentration camps, forced labor, and mass murder.

Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger (February 27, 1894 – May 9, 1945) was a Nazi official and high-ranking member of the SA and SS. Between 1939 and 1943 he was SS and Police Leader in the General Government in German-occupied Poland and in that capacity he organized and supervised numerous acts of war crimes.

Contents

Early life

Krüger was born into a military family in Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, Germany (nowadays in France) in 1894; he received elementary school education, but ultimately left school before graduating to begin a military career as a cadet in military schools in Karlsruhe and Gross-Lichterfelde. In June 1914, Krüger was commissioned a second lieutenant in the German Army when World War I broke out. During the course of the war, he was wounded three times and awarded the 1st and 2nd class Iron Crosses. After the war, Krüger first joined a naval brigade; in August 1919, he became a member of the Freikorps von Lützow, which he left again in March 1920. Returning to civil employment, he worked as a clerk in Berlin until 1923, then assumed another position as the director of a refuse company in 1924. He stayed in that position until 1928, then left the company and began a career as a self-employed entrepreneur. Krüger married in 1922; he and his wife had two children and also adopted three foster children.

Joins the Nazi party

While working at the refuse company, he probably also met Kurt Daluege for the first time; Daluege, who was an engineer at the company at that time, would later on become SS commander in Berlin and leader of the Ordnungspolizei ("order police"), and the two men soon formed a friendship. In November 1929, Krüger joined the NSDAP (as member 171199); in February 1931, he also joined the SS (6123), which he left again abruptly in April to transfer to the SA. With the help of Daluege, Krüger instantly acquired the SA rank and the power necessary to conduct reforms of the SA Formation East; he was promoted to SA-Gruppenführer (equivalent to major-general) in 1932 and joined Ernst Röhm's personal staff.

Career after Nazi seizure of power

In June 1933, Krüger was promoted again to SA-Obergruppenführer and appointed chief of the Ausbildungswesen ("training", AW). Cooperating closely with the Reichswehr, he used his new position to school the SA's best recruits (an estimated 250,000) to become officers. Krüger was not caught in the Night of the Long Knives, in which Röhm and many other high-ranking SA members were killed, and it has been speculated that his switch from the SS to the SA was only carried out due to pragmatic reasons, especially in the light of Krüger transferring the SA armouries of which he was in charge to the Reichswehr as soon as the purge began. Nevertheless, Krüger was left without a job temporarily, until he entered the SS again, still keeping his SA rank as well.

In 1935, Krüger was appointed SS-Oberabschnittsführer; his career was discussed by the SS leadership and Adolf Hitler, and on February 21, 1936, he was appointed inspector of border guard units as well as Hitler's personal representative at a variety of formal and informal NSDAP events. Krüger enjoyed continued promotions as a result of his loyalty to Nazism as well as his military, police and administration skills.

Forced labor, murder and other war crimes in Poland

On October 4, 1939, because of his ambition and his loyalty to the party, Heinrich Himmler, appointed him to as Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF East) (Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer) in the part of German-occupied Poland called the General Government. Krüger thus became one of the most powerful men in occupied Poland. Among other things he was responsible for crushing rebellion in the extermination camps, setting up forced labour camps, the employment of police and SS in the evacuations of the ghettos, in Warsaw ghettos, the execution Aktion Erntefest, the so-called "anti-partisan" fight in the General Government, and the driving out of over 100.000 Polish farmers from the area around Zamość. Authority quarrels with governor general Hans Frank led on 9 November 1943 to his dismissal. He was replaced by Wilhelm Koppe. The Polish Secret State ordered his death, but an assassination attempt on April 20, 1943 in Kraków failed when two bombs hurled at his car missed the target. Half a year later, he wrote in a letter "I have lost honour and reputation due to my four year struggle in the GG (General Government) (Ich habe für meinen vierjährigen Kampf im GG Ehre und Reputation verloren.)",

Later career and suicide

From November 1943 until April 1944 Krüger served with the 7th SS mountain infantry "Prince Eugen" division in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. While ostensibly engaged in anti-partisan actions in Yugoslavia, this unit became notorious for committing terrible atrocities against the civilian population.

Later from June to August Krüger took over the command over the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord in northern Finland. From August 1944 until February 1945 Krüger was commanding general of the Fifth SS Mountain Infantry Corps. In February 1945 he was Himmler's representative at the German southeast front, in April and May 1945 he was commander of a combat team of the Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) at Army Group South (known as Army Group Ostmark after May 1 1945). At the end of war Krüger committed suicide in upper Austria.[1]

References

  1. ^ Lester, David (2005). "Who Committed Suicide?". Suicide and the Holocaust. Nova Publishers. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781594544279. http://books.google.com/books?id=R1nkj-xSzYgC&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&source=bl&ots=qIgkU_4ta8&sig=WzQe1Hikdadwki5DRx_LmeDuyL4&hl=en&ei=g0s4SpL4LIn-sgOE_Iz-Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4. Retrieved 17 June 2009.  
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