Julius Schreck (13 July 1898 – 16 May 1936) was a senior Nazi
official and close confidant of Adolf Hitler.
Born in Munich, Schreck served in
World War I
World War I and shortly afterwards
joined right-wing paramilitary units. He joined the
Nazi Party in 1920
and developed a close friendship with Adolf Hitler. Schreck was a
founding member of the
Sturmabteilung ("Storm Detachment"; SA) and was
active in its development. Later in 1925, he became the first leader
Schutzstaffel ("Protection Squadron"; SS). He then served for a
time as a chauffeur for Hitler. Schreck developed meningitis in 1936
and died on 16 May of that year. Hitler gave him a state funeral which
was attended by several members of the Nazi elite with Hitler
delivering the eulogy.
1 Early life
2 Career in the SA
3 Career in the SS
Julius Schreck was born on 13 July 1898 in
Munich in Bavaria. He
served in the German Army during World War I. After the war ended in
November 1918, he became a member of
Freikorps Epp, a right-wing
paramilitary unit formed to combat the communistic revolution. Schreck
was an early member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party
(Nazi Party; NSDAP), having joined in 1920 and documented as member
#53. Schreck developed a friendship with the party's leader Adolf
Hitler during its early years.
Career in the SA
Schreck was a founding member of the
Detachment"; SA), being involved in its growth and development.
This was a paramilitary wing of the party designed to disrupt
political opponents and provide muscle for security tasks. Hitler, in
early 1923, ordered the formation of a small separate bodyguard
dedicated to his service and protection rather than an uncontrolled
mass of the party, such as the SA. Originally the unit was composed
of only eight men, commanded by Schreck and Joseph Berchtold. It
was designated the Stabswache ("Staff Guard"). The Stabswache were
issued unique badges, but at this point the Stabswache was still under
overall control of the SA, whose membership continued to increase.
Schreck resurrected the use of the
Totenkopf ("death's head") as the
unit's insignia, a symbol various elite forces had used in the past,
including specialized assault troops of
Imperial Germany in World War
I who used Hutier infiltration tactics.
In May 1923, the unit was renamed
Troop-Hitler"). The unit was solely responsible for Hitler's
personal protection. On 9 November 1923 the Stoßtrupp, along with
the SA and several other paramilitary units, took part in the Beer
Hall Putsch in Munich. The plan was to seize control of the city in
a coup d'état and then challenge the government in Berlin. The putsch
was quickly crushed by the local police and resulted in the death of
16 Nazi supporters and 4 police officers. In the aftermath of the
failed putsch both Hitler, Schreck, and other Nazi leaders were
incarcerated at Landsberg Prison. The
Nazi Party and all associated
formations, including the Stoßtrupp, were officially disbanded.
Career in the SS
After Hitler's release from prison on 20 December 1924, the Nazi Party
was officially refounded. In 1925, Hitler ordered Schreck to organise
the formation of a new bodyguard unit, the Schutzkommando ("Protection
Command"). Hitler wanted a small group of tough ex-soldiers like
Schreck, who would be loyal to him. The unit included old Stoßtrupp
Emil Maurice and Erhard Heiden. The unit made its
first public appearance in April 1925. That same year, the
Schutzkommando was expanded to a national level. It was also
successively renamed the Sturmstaffel ("Storm Squadron") and then
Schutzstaffel ("Protection Squadron"; SS) on 9 November
1925. Schreck became SS member #5. He was asked by Hitler to
command the bodyguard company. Schreck never referred to himself as
Reichsführer-SS, but the title was retroactively applied to him in
In 1926, Schreck stood down as commander and Berchtold took over the
leadership. Berchtold changed the title of the office position, which
became known as the Reichsführer-SS. Schreck remained on the SS
rolls as an SS-
Führer and worked as Hitler's private chauffeur after
Maurice until 1934. In 1930, after the SS had begun to expand
under Heinrich Himmler, Schreck was appointed an SS-Standartenführer,
but had little actual power. He continued to serve at Hitler's side
and they were on very good terms.
In 1936, Schreck developed meningitis and died on 16 May in
Munich. He was a well-liked man and Hitler was distraught when
Schreck died. His final rank was SS-Brigadeführer, a rank
equivalent to that of a Generalmajor in the Wehrmacht. Schreck was
accorded a Nazi state funeral with Hitler delivering his eulogy.
Schreck's funeral was attended by many senior Nazi officials,
including Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von
Ribbentrop, Konstantin von Neurath, Emil Maurice, Hans Baur, Heinrich
Hoffmann and Baldur von Schirach. Himmler referred to him as
"Adolf Hitler's first SS man." As with many other buried Nazi
Party members, Schreck's grave marker was removed after World War II
and there is a stone without inscription on the spot where he was
^ Hamilton 1984, pp. 172, 173.
^ a b c d Hamilton 1984, p. 172.
^ McNab 2009, pp. 14, 16.
^ a b Weale 2010, p. 16.
^ McNab 2009, p. 14.
^ a b McNab 2009, p. 16.
^ Wegner 1990, p. 62.
^ Weale 2010, p. 26.
^ Weale 2010, pp. 16, 26.
^ McNab 2009, pp. 10, 11.
^ Weale 2010, pp. 26, 27, 29.
^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 8.
^ McNab 2009, pp. 16, 17.
^ Weale 2010, p. 30.
^ a b c d Hamilton 1984, p. 173.
^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 330.
^ a b Schreck, Julius 2015.
^ Hoffmann 2000, p. 16.
Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third
Reich, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing.
Hoffmann, Peter (2000) . Hitler's Personal Security: Protecting
Führer 1921–1945. Da Capo Press.
McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd.
Weale, Adrian (2010). The SS: A New History. London: Little, Brown.
Wegner, Bernd (1990). The Waffen-SS: Organization, Ideology and
Function. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-14073-5.
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