Karl Friedrich Otto
- Wolff, Karl Friedrich Otto
SS Obergruppenführer and General SS. SS and Polizei Führer in Italy. Adjutant of Himmler.
- 13-05-1900, Darmstadt, Hessen.
- 17-07-1984, old age, 84, Rosenheim.
- Prien, Stadtfriedhof.
Wolff, Karl Friedrich Otto
Karl Wolff, born 13-05-1900 to a privileged family in the city of Darmstadt, Germany. During the First World War, Wolff was commissioned an officer in 1918 and served in the Hessian Infantry Regiment. Lieutenant Wolff was one of the youngest officers ever commissioned, having received his rank at the age of 17, and had also been awarded the Iron Cross First Class. In 1920, Wolff left the now demobilized German Army and became a small Time businessman. In 1931, drawn by Nazi ideals of a reborn and again powerful Germany, Wolff joined the Nazi Party and also applied for membership in the SS. He was accepted as a member in July of 1931 and assigned the SS number 14235. Wolff served in an SS mustering formation in Munich, quickly rising through the enlisted ranks and being commissioned an SS-Sturmfüher in February 1932. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Wolff was promoted to SS-Captain and briefly served as an SS military liaison officer to the German Army. In June of that year, Wolff was personally recruited by the SS Commander Heinrich Himmler (see Himmler) to head the new office of the Reichsführer's Personal Staff. Wolff became Himmler's adjutant on 15-06-1933 and received an unprecedented number of promotions through his new position. By the start of 1937, Wolff had risen to the rank of SS-Gruppenführer and was considered as third in command of the entire SS. During the Second World War, Wolff remained in his job as Himmler's adjutant, but soon began losing authority and power as disagreements developed with Himmler and also Wolff began to fall under the shadow of the number two man in the SS, Reinhard Heydrich (see Heydrich). In 1942, Wolff was made a full SS-General, Obergruppenführer but dismissed by Himmler as Chief of Staff to the Reichsführer. Wolff, however, did manage a comeback as Adolf Hitler personally granted him equivalent General's rank in the Waffen-SS and assigned him as an SS adjutant to the Italian Government in 1943. When Italy surrendered to the Allies later that year, Germany occupied the country and Wolff became the Supreme SS and Police Leader of Italy. At the start of 1945, Wolff (who was now acting military commander of Italy) extended secret negotiation requests to the Allies and thus hastened the end of the war in Italy by surrendering the country to the Allies on 02-05-1945. Wolff was taken into American custody, although was allowed to escape trial as an SS-General and leading Nazi, by providing evidence against his fellow Nazis at Nuremberg, in 1946. In 1947, Karl Wolff retired to private life, however the West German government soon arrested Wolff for war crimes in 1949, sentencing him to four years in prison. Wolff was again arrested in 1964, after evidence presented at the Adolf Eichmann trial, in Israel, had revealed that Wolff had organized the deportation of Italian Jews to the Nazi death camps in 1944. Wolff was sentenced to fifteen years in prison but only served half of this term and was released in 1971. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Karl Wolff became very popular amongst historical and academic groups as Wolff frequently lectured on the internal workings of the SS and his life as a personal associate of Heinrich Himmler. As one of the only surviving top SS-Generals from World War II, Wolff can also be seen on several documentary films, such as the "The World at War"(1973) miniseries and several 1980s documentaries on the History of the SS. Wolff was also portrayed as 'General Max Helm' in the motion picture The Scarlet and the Black (1983) (TV), staring Gregory Peck, he died old age of 87, on 12-02-2003, in California. Karl Wolff died,
old age of 84, on 17-07-1984, in Rosenheim, and is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Prien near the Chiemsee, Bavaria.