Gehlen, Reinhard, born 03-04-1902 in Erfurt, the son of a Prussian officer who in the first war was fighting for the empiror Wilhelm II, joined the Reichswehr in 1920. He attended the German Staff College, graduating in 1935, after which he was promoted to Hauptmann and attached to the Army General Staff. Under the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler, he was on the General Staff during 1935-1936. In 1939, Gehlen was promoted to Major. At the time of the 1939 German attack on Poland he was a staff officer of an infantry division. In 1940, Gehlen became liaison officer to Army Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal, Walther von Brauchitsch.
He was later transferred to the Staff of Army Chief of Staff Generaloberst der Infanterie, Franz Halder
. In July 1941, Gehlen was promoted to the rank of Oberst, sent to the Eastern Front and assigned to the German General Staff, FHO or Foreign Armies East as a senior intelligence officer.
It was in this post he had created a right-wing group made up of anti-Soviet Ukrainians and other Slavic nationalists into small armies and guerrilla units to fight the Soviets. The War Department Identity Card issued to “Hans Holbein,” the cover name of Generalmajor Reinhard Gehlen. The group carried out some of the most extreme atrocities that took place during the war. Gehlen was responsible for a brutal torture interrogation program of Soviet prisoners of war that resulted in the murder of three to four million Soviet prisoners.
This special treatment extended to included SS Brigadeführer Franz Six
Nazi racial expert and SS intelligence specialist, who had led Einsatzgruppen mobile killing squads on the Eastern Front. Six survived the war and died age 65 on 09-07-1975 in Bolzano, Italy. Convicted of mass murder by an American military tribunal in 1948, Six was nonetheless given clemency in order to return to work for Gehlen’s Organization. The Gehlen Organization was also used to help Nazi war criminals escape to South America.
In the watershed year of 1942, according to Gehlen’s memoir, he was approached by Oberst, Henning von Tresckow, Oberst der Kavallerie, Graf Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg
and Generaleutnant der Wehrmacht, Adolf Heusinger.
Heusinger died age 85, on 30-11-1982, in Cologne, to participate in an assassination attempt on German dictator Adolf Hitler (see Alois Hitler)
(Paula). His role was to be minor. When the plot culminated in the failed bomb plot of 20-07-1944, Gehlen’s role was covered up and he escaped Hitler’s brutal retaliation against the conspirators. Throughout his years at FHO, Gehlen allowed determined anti-Nazis to hold conspiratorial discussions inside his section and he was present at Berchtesgaden in the final days before 20 July when details of the assassination attempt were discussed. During the war, Gehlen’s organization accumulated a great deal of information about the Soviet Union and the battlefield tactics of the Red Army. When the Iron Curtain went up in 1946, leaving the Western Allies with virtually no intelligence sources in the East, Gehlen’s vast store of knowledge made him very valuable. Gehlen made preparations to insure his own survival after the fall of the Third Reich . On 22-05-1945, Gehlen surrendered to the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps in Bavaria. Ten years after the end of World War II, on 01-04-1956, the Gehlen Organization was officially handed over to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the new Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. It formed the nucleus of the newly-created Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND or Federal Intelligence Service. He was married to Herta von Seydlitz-Kurzbach. Reinhard Gehlen here with his wife Hertha in his living room in 1975 and his brother Johannes Hertha died 15-10-1983, age 99, in Bremen. Hertha was a sister of General der Artillerie, Walther Kurt von Seydlitz-Kurzbach
Death and burial ground of Gehlen, Reinhard.
Gehlen died in 1979 at the age of 77, in Berg am Starnberger See and is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Berg. Close by the grave of the actor/singer Heinz Rühmann.
Gehlen visiting Halder’s funeral in Oberhausen near Weilheim.