ARTHUR NEBE (help ·info ) (13 November 1894 – 21 March 1945) was
a key functionary in the security and police apparatus of Nazi Germany
Nebe rose through the ranks of the
Following the war, Nebe's career and involvement with the 20 July plot were the subject of several apologetic accounts by the members of the plot, who portrayed him as a professional policeman and a dedicated anti-Nazi. The notions that Nebe's motivations were anything other than Nazi ideology have since been discredited by historians who describe him as an opportunist and an "energetic", "enthusiastic" and "notorious" mass murderer driven by racism and careerism.
* 1 Before World War II
* 1.1 Police career * 1.2 Head of National Criminal Police
* 2 World War II
* 2.1 Einsatzgruppe B
* 2.1.1 Mass killing operations * 2.1.2 New killing methods * 2.1.3 Mogilev conference and escalation of violence
* 3 Assessment
* 3.1 Apologetics
* 4 References
* 4.1 Citations * 4.2 Bibliography
BEFORE WORLD WAR II
Nebe was a "conservative nationalist", who embraced the shift of the
country "to the right in the 1930s". In July 1931, he joined the Nazi
Party (NSDAP number 574,307) and the
Schutzstaffel (SS number
280,152). Nebe became the Nazis' liaison in the
HEAD OF NATIONAL CRIMINAL POLICE
In July 1936, the Prussian Criminal Police became the central
criminal investigation department for Germany, the
Reichskriminalpolizeiamt . It was amalgamated, along with the secret
state police, the
Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), into the
Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo), with
Reinhard Heydrich in overall command.
Nebe was appointed head of the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt, reporting to
Heydrich. The addition of the
Kripo to Heydrich's control helped
cement the foundations of the police state. It also led to an
"overlap" of personnel from the SD,
On 27 September 1939, Himmler ordered the creation of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA); the new organisation encompassed the intelligence service, security services, secret state and criminal police. The RSHA was divided into main departments, including the Kripo, which became Department V of the RSHA. Department V was also known as the Reich Criminal Police Office (Reichskriminalpolizeiamt, or RKPA). Kripo's stated mission, which Nebe embraced, was to "exterminate criminality". Under his leadership, equipped with arbitrary powers of arrest and detention, the Kripo acted more and more like the Gestapo, including the liberal use of so-called protective custody and large-scale roundups of "asocials ".
In 1939, Nebe lent a commissioner in his Criminal Police Office, Christian Wirth of Stuttgart, to the euthanasia organisation , which ran the programme of involuntary euthanasia of the disabled. Also in 1939, as head of Kripo, he was involved in the discussions around the upcoming campaigns against the Sinti and Roma . Nebe wanted to include sending Berlin's Gypsies to the planned reservations for the Jews and others in the east. In October 1939, Nebe ordered Adolf Eichmann to put Gypsies with Jews on the transports to Nisko .
WORLD WAR II
Just prior to the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa , the Einsatzgruppen mobile death squads which had operated in Poland were reformed and placed once again under the overall command of Reinhard Heydrich. Nebe volunteered to command Einsatzgruppe B , which operated behind Army Group Center after the invasion of the Soviet Union. The unit's task was to exterminate Jews and other "undesirables", such as communists, Gypsies, "Asiatics", the disabled, and psychiatric hospital patients in the territories that the Wehrmacht had overrun. The Einsatzgruppen also shot hostages and prisoners of war handed over by the army for execution.
Mass Killing Operations
Around 5 July 1941, Nebe consolidated
Einsatzgruppe B near
In the 23 July report, Nebe advanced the idea of a "solution to the Jewish problem" being "impractical" in his region of operation due to "the overwhelming number of the Jews"; there were too many Jews to be killed by too few men. By August 1941, Nebe came to realize that his Einsatzgruppe's resources were insufficient to meet the expanded mandate of the killing operations, resulting from the inclusion of Jewish women and children since that month.
New Killing Methods
In August 1941, Himmler attended a demonstration of a mass-shooting
of Jews in
Nebe decided to try experimenting by murdering Soviet mental
patients, first with explosives near Minsk, and then with automobile
Mogilev . The idea of using gas was partly inspired by an
incident in Nebe's past. One night after a party, Nebe had driven home
drunk, parked in his garage, and fallen asleep with the engine
running, thus nearly dying of carbon monoxide poisoning from the
exhaust fumes. To conduct the experiments, he ordered chemist Albert
Widmann , a member of the criminal-technical institute of the RKPA, to
One of the bunkers was loaded with explosives and 24 mental patients were put into it. Nebe gave the signal to detonate, but the resultant explosion failed to kill the patients. Several of them emerged from the bunker covered in blood and screaming loudly. Thereupon more explosives were brought up, the wounded patients were forced back into the bunker, and a second explosion finally finished the job. The bunker had become quiet and parts of bodies could be seen hanging from nearby trees.
Two days later, Nebe and Widmann carried out another killing experiment: five psychiatric patients from Mogilev were placed in a hermetically sealed room, with pipes leading to the outside. At first, exhausts from a passenger vehicle were vented into the room, so that the carbon monoxide would kill those inside. However, this method failed to kill the patients, so a truck was added; the patients were dead within 15 minutes. Nebe and Widman concluded that killing with explosives was impractical, while gassing "held promise", as vehicles were readily available, and could be used as needed.
After these experimental killings, Nebe thought of remodelling a vehicle with a hermetically sealed cabin for killing. The carbon monoxide from the vehicle's exhaust would be channelled into the sealed cabin in which the victims stood. He discussed the technical aspects of the idea with a specialist from Kripo's Technology Institute and together they brought the proposal before Heydrich, who adopted it.
Mogilev Conference And Escalation Of Violence
Main article: Mogilev conference
The Wehrmacht's aggressive rear security doctrine, and the use of the "security threat" to disguise genocidal policies, resulted in close cooperation between the army and the security apparatus behind the front lines. Nebe, as the Einsatzgruppe B commander, participated in a three-day field conference at Mogilev in late September 1941. Organised by General Max von Schenckendorff , chief of Army Group Centre's rear area, the conference was to serve as an "exchange of experiences" for the Wehrmacht rear unit commanders.
Participating officers were selected on the basis of their
"achievements and experiences" in security operations already
undertaken. In addition to Nebe, the speakers included: Higher SS and
Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski ; Max Montua, commander of
Police Regiment Center;
Hermann Fegelein , commander of the SS Cavalry
Brigade ; and
Under Nebe's command,
Einsatzgruppe B committed public hangings to
terrorise the local population. An
Einsatzgruppe B report, dated 9
October 1941, stated that, due to suspected partisan activity near
Demidov, all male residents aged fifteen to fifty-five were put in a
camp to be screened. Seventeen people were identified as "partisans"
and "Communists" and five were hanged in front of 400 local residents
assembled to watch; the rest were shot. Through 14 November 1941,
Einsatzgruppe B reported the killing of 45,467 people; thereafter,
Nebe returned to
PRESIDENT OF INTERPOL AND STALAG LUFT III MURDERS
Following the assassination attempt on Heydrich, Nebe assumed the
additional post of President of the International Criminal Police
Commission, the organization today known as
In March 1944, after the "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft III
prisoner-of-war camp, Nebe was ordered by Heinrich Müller , Chief of
1944 PLOT AGAINST ADOLF HITLER
Nebe was involved in the
July 20 plot against
Historians have a uniformly negative view of Nebe and his motives, despite his participation in the 20 July plot. Robert Gellately writes that Nebe's views were virulently racist and antisemitic. Martin Kitchen casts Nebe as an opportunist, who saw the SS as the police force of the future, and as an "energetic and enthusiastic mass murderer, who seized every opportunity to undertake yet another massacre". Yet, according to Kitchen, he "was clearly unable to stand the strain and was posted back to Berlin".
Comprehensive reports filed by the Einsatzgruppen have been analyzed by historian Ronald Headland as "historical 'Messages of Murder'" that provide insights into the worldview of its leadership. Headland writes that the reports "bear witness to the fanatic commitment of the Einsatzgruppen leaders to their mission of extermination"; their ideology and racism are evident in the "constant debasement of the victims" and "ever present racial conceptions concerning Jew, Communists, Gypsies and other 'inferior' elements". Headland concludes that Nebe was an ambitious man who may have volunteered to lead an Einsatzgruppe unit for careerist reasons, to get a "military decoration", and to curry favor with Heydrich. Any misgivings he may have entertained as to the feasibility of the undertaking failed to prevent him from overseeing the murder of close to 50,000 people in the five months he spent as commander of his unit.
Gerald Reitlinger describes Nebe's reasons for joining the
Einsatzgruppen as "placation" and a desire to hold on to his position
in the Criminal Police Department, which, since 1934, had been
"invaded by amateur
Alex J. Kay writes that "the role, character and motivation of those involved both in planning—and in some cases carrying out—mass murder and in the conspiracy against Hitler deserve to be investigated more closely". He places Nebe in this category, with Franz Halder , chief of the OKH, and Georg Thomas , head of the Defence, Economy and Armament Office in the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) (English: Supreme Command).
Several apologetic accounts produced by the conspirators behind the
20 July plot
Historian Christian Gerlach , writing about the 20 July conspirators and their complicity in War crimes of the Wehrmacht , refers to Nebe as a "notorious mass murderer". He discusses the role of Henning von Tresckow and his adjutant Fabian von Schlabrendorff , who were members of the resistance, and writes:
Schlabrendorff claimed that he and Tresckow had convinced themselves that "under the mask of the SS leader lurked a committed anti-Nazi..., who invented pretexts for sabotaging Hitler's murderous orders. We succeeded in saving the lives of many Russians. The Russian population often expressed their thanks to us". According to Schlabrendorff, Tresckow personally brought Nebe to the army group . Nothing was said about the 45,467 murder victims of Einsatzgruppe B by November 1941, the point at which Nebe returned to Berlin.
Gerlach doubts that Nebe falsified Einsatzgruppe B reports, to "sabotage Hitler's murderous orders". Gerlach puts Schlabrendorff's claims in the context of bomb plotters' memoirs and "existing discourse" on the opposition group within the high command of Army Group Center: "Especially with reference to the murder of the Jews, 'the SS' had deceived the officers by killing in secret, filing incomplete reports or none at all; if general staff offices protested, the SS threatened them. (...) This is, of course, nonsense."
The historian Waitman Wade Beorn writes: "...some have argued that
deliberately inflated the numbers of Jews he reported killed. Yet all
evidence indicates that he was quite content to play his role in Nazi
genocide and that his subsequent displeasure with the regime may have
stemmed from the imminent Nazi defeat but not opposition to the
* ^ Lewy 2000 , p. 204. * ^ A B C Browder 1990 , p. 57. * ^ A B Zentner & Bedurftig 1997 , p. 641. * ^ A B Biondi 2000 , p. 10. * ^ Browder 1990 , p. 125. * ^ Friedlander 1995 , p. 55. * ^ Browder 1990 , pp. 240, 241. * ^ Gellately 2001 , p. 75. * ^ Gellately 2001 , pp. 45–46. * ^ Reitlinger 1957 , p. 279. * ^ Gellately 2001 , pp. 107–108. * ^ A B C D E Lewy 2000 , pp. 204–208. * ^ Beorn 2014 , p. 98. * ^ Headland 1992 , pp. 62–70. * ^ Headland 1992 , p. 74. * ^ Beorn 2014 , p. 110. * ^ Headland 1992 , p. 197. * ^ Headland 1992 , pp. 199–201. * ^ Beorn 2014 , p. 190. * ^ Longerich 2012 , p. 547. * ^ Gerwarth 2011 , p. 199. * ^ Heberer 2008 , p. 232. * ^ Rees 2006 , p. 53. * ^ Dederichs 2009 , p. 106. * ^ Arad 1987 , pp. 10–11. * ^ Beorn 2014 , pp. 95–96. * ^ Förster 1998 , pp. 1204–1205. * ^ Blood 2006 , p. 167. * ^ Beorn 2014 , pp. 99–101. * ^ Beorn 2014 , pp. 101–106. * ^ Headland 1992 , pp. 57–58. * ^ Headland 1992 , p. 94. * ^ A B Deflem 2002 . * ^ Andrews 1976 , p. 67. * ^ Balfour 1988 , p. 164. * ^ Shirer 1960 , p. 1393. * ^ Gellately 2001 , p. 46. * ^ Kitchen 2008 , pp. 235–236, 254. * ^ Müller -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;">
* Andrews, Allen (1976). Exemplary Justice. London: Harrap. ISBN
* Arad, Yitzhak (1987). Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation
Reinhard Death Camps. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN
* Balfour, Michael (1988). Withstanding Hitler in Germany,
Routledge . ISBN 0-415-00617-1 .
* Biondi, Robert, ed. (2000) . SS Officers List: (as of 30 January
1942): SS-Standartenfuhrer to SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer: Assignments and
Decorations of the Senior SS Officer Corps. Atglen, PA: Schiffer. ISBN
* Beorn, Waitman Wade (2014). Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht
* v * t * e
Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos
Commanders of Einsatzgruppen
* Horst Böhme
* Arthur Nebe
Franz Walter Stahlecker
Commanders of Einsatzkommandos, Sonderkommandos
Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski
* Walter Blume
* Fritz Dietrich
Gustav Adolf Nosske
* v * t * e
Army Group Rear Areas during the German–Soviet War , 1941–45
ARMY GROUP REAR AREA
* North * Centre * South
* 201st * 203rd * 207th * 213th * 221st * 281st * 285th * 286th * 403rd * 444th * 454th * 707th
* Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 * Hitler\'s War in the East 1941−1945 * Hitler\'s Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe
* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 57415209 * LCCN : no2002091904 * ISNI : 0000 0000 4161 4333 * GND : 118999672 * SUDOC : 074744046 * BNF : cb145769