Diels, Rudolf, born on 16-12-1900 in Berghausen, Taunus, a cousin of Hermann Goering, was a German politician and SS Oberführer. A protégé of Hermann Goering. Diels was one of the group SA members who killed Albrecht “Ali” Höhler a criminal carpenter
and an active member of the local Communist Party branch who was sentenced to six years imprisonment for the shooting of the SA Sturmführer, Horst Wessel
on 23-02-1930. Diels was in charge of the Gestapo from 1933 to 1934. During the Second World War there were 45.000 members of the Gestapo. However, it is estimated they also employed 160.000 agents and informers. He served in the Army during World War I and when Adolf Hitler
(did you know
) (see Alois Hitler
) (see parents
) (see William Hitler
) came to power, Diels was head of the Prussian Political Police in Berlin, Josef Goebbels
was the Gauleiter of Berlin. Hermann Goering
(did you know
) was made minister for Prussia in 1933 and was impressed with Diels’ work and new commitment to the Nazi party. Goering appointed him as chief of the new Prussian state police department. On 27-02-1933 the Reichstag fire occurred, and Diels was the main interrogator of the principal accused, Marinus van der Lubbe
. He heard Hitler shouting through the fire “these sub-humans do not understand how the people stand at our side. In their mouse-holes, out of which they now want to come, of course they hear nothing of the cheering of the masses.” He also ordered SS Gruppenführer Arthur Nebe
to arrange the killing of Gregor Strasser
in October 1933; ironically Strasser, age 42, was later killed during this night of the Long Knives in which Diels himself was almost killed. Nebe was sentenced to death by the Volksgericht, People’s Court and according to official records, was executed in Berlin at Plötzensee Prison on 21-03-1945, age 50, by hanging with piano wire from a meat hook.
Nebe was involved in various plots including the 20 July 1944, bomb plot against German dictator Adolf Hitler. Diels soon attracted the attention of political rivals including Heinrich Himmler
and Reinhard Heydrich
. Effectively smeared, he narrowly avoided, helped of Goering, execution during the Night of the Long Knives, SA leaders Ernst Julius Röhm
, Edmund Heines
and August Schneidhuber
was killed, fleeing his post for five weeks.
When the German Army occupied countries they were accompanied by the Gestapo. When on foreign duties they wore civilian clothes or SS uniforms. They were responsible for rounding up communists, partisans and Jews and others who were considered to be a threat to German rule. The Gestapo quickly developed a reputation for using brutal interrogation methods in order to obtain confessions. Diels maintained his association with Goering, marrying a cousin of his protector. Goering saved him from prison on a number of occasions, notably once in 1940 when he declined to order the arrest of Jews and more vitally after the 20-07-1944.
He presented an affidavit for the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials but was also summoned to testify by Goering’s defense lawyer.
Death and burial ground of Diels, Rudolf.
He later served in the post-war government of Lower Saxony from 1950 and then in the Ministry of the Interior until his retirement in 1953. He died, at the age of 56, on 18-11-1957, following an accident, possible murdered, while hunting. He is buried with his family on the small cemetery of Berghausen, near Katzenelnbogen.
The authorities of Berghausen were not so enthusiastic in the beginning to give me the grave location. Alas the gravestone is removed, not the one of his brother Hermann.
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