Arthur Nebe


1894, November 13th (Berlin, Germany)




Police officer and soldier: Reichsfuehrer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), Chef der Deutschen Polizei and Head of the RSiHA, or Reichssicherheitshauptamt, from 1944.





A veteren of World War I, Nebe became a police officer with the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) in 1920, reaching the rank of Police Commissioner in 1924. Nebe joined the NSDAP in 1931, and was made Chief Executive of the State Police in 1933, and overall Chief of the Kripo in 1936. He also served as President of Interpol between 1942 and 1943.

Nebe served on the Eastern Front between 1942 and 1944. In the Summer of 1944 Nebe was instrumental in thwarting and investigating the attempted SS putsch led by Heinrich Himmler. Nebe was personally responsible for arresting Himmler as he fled toward the border with Sweden.

Though it was Friedrich Fromm who first moved against the attempted coup, he relied on Nebe to investigate and eliminate the coup plotters. Having discovered the involvement of Emil Maurice and Rudolf Lange, Nebe soon realised that Himmler himself was involved, and that he had, along with Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden, been plotting an alliance with elements of the Bolshevik regime of Russia to establish a exclusively SS state.

General Hans von Kluge, Supreme Field Commander in the West, arrested implicated SS and army officers in the Occupied West. General Joachim von Kortzfleisch, vital in thwarting the coup in Berlin, was charged with carrying out the necessary purges there, assisted by General Karl Freiherr von Thungen. General Walter Warlimont was responsible for investigating his immediate superiors, Alfred Jodl and Wilhelm Keitel (all three men had been present and injured during the attempted assassination of Hitler). SS General Heinrich Muller, who had warned Himmler of a plot as early as 1943 and had been dismissed, took control of investigating the Abwehr. Major Otto Ernst Remer (promoted to Colonel the night of the coup) and General Eduard Wagner (Quartermaster General of the Army) were also instrumental in putting down the coup.

As a result of the purging of many of his superiors, Nebe became the sixth head of the SS (Reichsfuehrer-SS) in 1944, after the brief leadership of Karl Hanke. This made Nebe one of the most powerful men in Germany. Though nominally subordinate to the Interior Ministry, Nebe had virtually all police power in the state concentrated in his hands. He oversaw the reorganisation of the SS, separating the organisation's police, military and political functions, notably turning over control of the Waffen-SS to a newly created Volksmarschall. Nebe would eventually join the Government of National Concentration cabinet as Interior Minister in 1964, aged 70. He would retired five years later, in 1969.