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Saturday, June 7, 2014


On this date, 7 June 1951, 4 of the 24 defendants at the Einsatzgruppen trial who were sentenced to death were executed by hanging at Landsberg Prison. I will post the information about The Commander of Einsatzgruppen D, Otto Ohlendorf from Wikipedia and other links.

SS-Brigadeführer Otto Ohlendorf

4 February 1907
Hoheneggelsen, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
7 June 1951 (aged 44)
Landsberg Prison, Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria
Years of service
1925 — 1945
SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei
Commands held
World War II

Otto Ohlendorf (4 February 1907 – 7 June 1951) was a German SS-Gruppenführer and head of the Inland-SD (responsible for intelligence and security within Germany), a section of the SD. Ohlendorf was the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe D, which was accused of conducting mass murder in Moldova, south Ukraine, the Crimea, and, during 1942, the north Caucasus. As such, Otto Ohlendorf was a Holocaust perpetrator and mass murderer. He was convicted of and executed for war crimes committed during World War II.


Early life

Born in Hoheneggelsen (part of Söhlde; then in the Kingdom of Prussia), the son of farm owners, he joined the Nazi Party in 1925 (member 6631) and the SS (member #880) in 1926. Ohlendorf studied economics and law at the University of Leipzig and the University of Göttingen, and by 1930 was already giving lectures at several economic institutions. He studied at the University of Pavia, where he gained his doctor's degree in jurisprudence; and as a career man he had successfully worked himself up to a research directorship in the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (at that time Institut für Weltwirtschaft und Seeverkehr - Institute for World Economy and Maritime Transport). By 1938 he was also Hauptgeschäftsführer in the Reichsgruppe Handel, the German trade organization. While Ohlendorf had joined the party in 1925, the SS in 1926, and the SD in 1936, he regarded his party activities, and even his position as chief of SD-Inland, as a sideline of his career. Actually, he devoted only four years (1939–43) to full-time activity in the RSHA, for in 1943 he became a Ministerialdirektor and deputy to the Staatssekretär (state secretary) in the Reichswirtschaftsministerium (Reich ministry of economic affairs).

Otto Ohlendorf (1907-1951), German SS-General of the Einsatzgruppen killing squads. This photograph of Ohlendorf was taken by US Army photographers on behalf of the Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes (OCCWC) during Nuremberg Trial IX (Einsatzgruppen Trial / Einsatzgruppen-Prozess).
Third Reich

In early 1936, he became an economic consultant to the SD, attached to the SS with the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer. In May 1936, he was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer and took a senior post. In 1939, he was once again promoted to SS-Standartenführer and appointed as head of Amt III Inland-SD, of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, a position he kept until 1945. In addition, from 1943 onwards, Ohlendorf was appointed as deputy director general of the Reich Ministry of Economic Affairs, and promoted once more in 1944 to Gruppenführer.

In June 1941, Reinhard Heydrich appointed Ohlendorf to be commander of Einsatzgruppe D which operated in southern Ukraine and Crimea. Ohlendorf's Einsatzgruppe would be responsible for the 13 December 1941 massacre at Simferopol where at least 14,300 people, mostly Jews, were killed. Over 90,000 murders are attributed to Ohlendorf's command, who testified to this effect during his trial at Nuremberg.

At the end of 1943, Ohlendorf, in addition to his other jobs, became deputy secretary of state in the Reichsministerium für Wirtschaft (Reichs-Ministry for Economics). He coordinated plans to rebuild the German economy after the war, a war he and others believed to be lost. Such planning for the post-war time was strictly forbidden, on one side. On the other side, Heinrich Himmler, who detested the state interventionist regime of Albert Speer as "totally bolshevik" and was himself hoping for a career in a militarily defeated Germany, protected the working group around Ohlendorf and Ludwig Erhard and other experts, who planned how to introduce the new German currency Deutsche Mark, among other things. Ohlendorf himself spoke out for "active and courageous entrepreneurship (aktives und wagemutiges Unternehmertum)", which was intended to replace bureaucratic state planning of the economy after the war.

Because of Ohlendorf's work in this field, many petitions for leniency were filed after he was sentenced to death by hanging. These, however, were turned down by the Allies.

Defendant Otto Ohlendorf testifies on his own behalf at the Einsatzgruppen Trial.

Description: Two principal German defendants of the Einsatzgruppen "commandoes" trial in Nuernberg are SS Major General Otto Ohlendorf and SS Brigadier General Heinz Jost (front to rear) shown in the dock preparing their final pleas during a court recess. "The Einsatzgruppen units," the prosecution stated, "were special task forces whose primary purpose was to accompany the German army into the Eastern territories and exterminate Jews, Gypsies, Soviet officials and other civilians regarded as 'racially and politically undesirable' ". Ohlendorf, as commander of the Einsatzgruppen D, which operated mainly in Southern Russia, and Jost, as commander of Einsatzgruppen A operating mainly in the Baltic region, have admitted ordering the execution of several hundred thousand civilians. They are charged with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and membership in the SS and SD, adjudged criminal organizations by the International Military Tribunal. [Original Descriptive Caption] Date: 9 Feb. 1948 Provenance: From Public Relations Photo Section, Office Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Nuernberg, Germany, APO 696-A, US Army. Photo No. OMT-IX-D-56. Citation: Telford Taylor Papers, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University Law School, New York, N.Y. : TTP-CLS: 15-2-2-113.
Nuremberg War Trials

Ohlendorf took part into Himmler's flight from Flensburg and was arrested with him near Lüneburg, where Himmler committed suicide.

During the trial against Einsatzgruppen leaders, Ohlendorf was the chief defendant, and was also a key witness in the prosecution of many other indicted war criminals. Ohlendorf's frank, apparently reliable testimony was attributed to his distaste for the corruption that was rampant in Nazi Germany and a stubborn commitment to duty. He expressed no remorse for his actions, telling prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz at the trial that the Jews of America would suffer for what the prosecutor had done, and seemed to have been more concerned about the moral strain on those carrying out the executions than those actually being executed.

Otto Ohlendorf was sentenced to death and hanged at the Landsberg Prison in Bavaria shortly after midnight on 8 June 1951.

In popular culture
  • Ohlendorf appears at length in Jonathan Littell's docudrama Les Bienveillantes.
  • He was played by Christopher James in the 2006 British television docudrama Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
  • He was portrayed by Nigel Hawthorne in the miniseries "Holocaust" (1978)

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