Schellenberg, Walter Friedrich.

Back to all people

- Medals

File:DE Band mit RK (1).jpg  File:EK II 1914.jpg
germanySS BrigadeführerWaffen SSGestapo
Schellenberg, Walter Friedrich, born 16-01-1910 in Saarbrücken, the seventh child born to his parents and his father was a piano manufacturer and moved with their family to Luxembourg, when the French occupation of the Saar Basin after the First World War triggered an economic crisis in the Weimar Republic . Schellenberg returned to Germany to attend university, first at the University of Marburg  and then, in 1929, at the University of Bonn. He initially studied medicine, but soon switched to law. After graduating he joined the SS , nr. 124817, in May 1933, age 23. He met Reinard Heydrich
   and went to work in the counter/intelligencec department of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Security Service. From 1939 to 1942 he was Heinrich Himmler’s 
 here with SS Obergruppenführer  Karl Wolf, personal aide and a deputy chief in the Reich Main Security Office  under Heydrich who answered only to Himmler. In addition Himmler bestowed upon Schellenberg a unique position beyond that of a simple aide, making him his special-penitentiary, Sonderbevollmächtigter. Since Himmler held the position of general plenipotentiary to the whole Reich’s administration, Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung , this gave Schellenberg enormous influence within Nazi Germany. In summer 1939 Schellenberg became one of the directors of Heydrich’s foundation, the Stiftung Nordhav. The Stiftung Nordhav or Nordhav Foundation, was a front organization of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) founded in 1939 by Reinhard Heydrich to obtain and manage real estate for the SS. In November 1939 Schellenberg played a major part in the Venlo Incident, which led to the capture of two British agents,
Captain Sigismund Payne/Best Major Richard Henry Stevens . Best died in 21-09-1978 at the old age of 93 in Calne, Wiltshire, England and Stevens died age 73 of cancer, on 12-02-1967. Stevens ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance of the crematorium in Swindon. The Venlo Incident was a covert German SD-Security Service operation where two British SIS, Secret Intelligence Service, agents were abducted on the outskirts of the town of Venlo, the Netherlands, on 09-11-1939. The incident was later used by the German Nazi government to link Britain to Georg Elsner’s    failed assassination attempt on German Chancellor Adolf Hitler at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, on 08-11-1939 and to justify Germany’s invasion of the Netherlands,  while a neutral country, on 10-05-1940. Hitler awarded Schellenberg the Iron Cross for his actions. In 1940 he was charged with compiling the Informationsheft G.B, a blueprint for the occupation of Britain. A supplement to this work was the list of 2.300 prominent Britons to be arrested immediately after the successful invasion of  Britain. He also arranged many other plots of subterfuge and intelligence gathering, including the bugging of a Berlin brothel. In 1940 he was also sent to Portugal to intercept the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward III
and try to persuade them to work for Germany. Edward died age 77, on 28-05-1972 in Neuilly, near Paris. The mission was a failure; Schellenberg managed only to delay their baggage for a few hours. In March 1942, Heinz Jost, in the middle,
was fired from his position as RSHA Chief of Amt VI, SD-Ausland (SD foreign intelligence). Heinz Jost responsible for genocide in eastern Europe as commander of Einsatzgruppe A from March to September 1942. In 1951, Jost was released from Landsberg prison and then worked in Düsseldorf as a real estate agent. He died on 12-11-1964, age 60 in Bensheim. In his place, Schellenberg was appointed chief of SD-Ausland by Heydrich. According to his memoirs, Schellenberg had been a friend of Wilhelm Canaris the head of the Abwehr, Military intelligence. However in 1944, most of the sections of the Abwehr were incorporated into RSHA Amt VI SD/Ausland and therefore placed under Schellenberg’s command. He was infamous for his “office fortress” desk, which had two automatic guns built into it that could be fired by the touch of a button. By the time he led the hunt for the Soviet spy ring Red Orchestra, Schellenberg had become a Brigadeführer   in the Allgemeine SS (General-SS). Schellenberg had been involved in planning operations in neutral Ireland including Operation Osprey, a plan involving No.1 SS Special Service Troop. During early 1945, Schellenberg encouraged Himmler to overthrow Hitler in order to negotiate a separate peace with the Westen Allies, using as an excuse Hitler’s poor health; however, Himmler never took action toward doing it. At the end of the war, Schellenberg was able to persuade Himmler to try negotiating with the Western Allies through Graf Folk Bernadotte  and personally went to Stockholm in April 1945 to arrange their meeting. To foster goodwill Schellenberg organized the transport of 1.700 Jews out of German controlled territory    . Hitler found out and put a stop to further evacuations. Schellenberg was in Denmark attempting to arrange his own surrender when the British took him into custody in June 1945; the American, British, and Russian intelligence services had all been searching for him as a valuable intelligence asset. Captain Horace Hahn, a member of the OSS, was one of the few Americans allowed to interrogate General Schellenberg. During the postwar Nuremberg Trials, Schellenberg testified against other Nazis. In the 1949 Ministries Trial he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He was released in 1951 owing to incurable liver disease and took refuge in Italy. Coco Chanel paid for Schellenberg’s medical care and living expenses, financially supported his wife and family, and paid for Schellenberg’s funeral upon his death in 1952.
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel   the French fashion designer of women’s clothes and Founder of the Chanel brand, was a very close friend of Walter Schellenberg. Coco Chanel died 10-01-1971, age 81.

Death and burial ground of Schellenberg, Walter Friedrich.

After the war, Schellenberg was arrested by British military police and eventually stood trial in Nuremberg.   To spare himself from a long prison sentence, during the postwar Nuremberg Trials, Schellenberg testified against the SS organisation and the Nazi leaders in its fold. During the Ministries Trial, he wrote his memoirs, The Labyrinth. Historian Robert Gerwarth describes certain content of Schellenberg’s memoirs as “questionable.” On 04-11-1949, he was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the murder of Soviet POWs who were utilized as agents in Operation Zeppelin. He was released from prison after two years on the grounds of ill-health, due to a worsening liver condition, and moved to Switzerland,
Operation Zeppelin was a top secret German plan to recruit Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) for espionage and sabotage operations behind the Russian front line during World War II. Active from mid-1942 to the end of the war in spring 1945, the operation initially intended to send masses of agents to Soviet Russia to collect military intelligence and to counterbalance sabotage activities carried out by the Soviet partisans. To that end, Germans recruited thousands of Soviet POWs and trained them in special camps. However, this approach had to be abandoned in favor of more targeted operations due to a lack of reliable Soviet recruits and dwindling resources, such as aircraft fuel. Operation Zeppelin was particularly important for intelligence gathering in the Eastern Front, but its more ambitious missions yielded little results. It had some success in the Caucasus where the various peoples of the Caucasus aspired to become independent from the Soviet Union, but other missions, such as sabotage of power plants near Moscow or a plot to assassinate Joseph Stalin, were abandoned or failed. A particular failure was the desertion of the Brigade SS Druzhina in August 1943. The Brigade was under command of Vladimir Vladimirovich Gil ; born 11-06-1906, Vileyka – died 14-05-1944, Nakol], also known by the pseudonyms I.G. Rodionov or Radionov  was a colonel of the Red Army and the founder and leader of the German-backed Union of Russian Nationalists u] and the 1st Russian Waffen-SS “Druzhina”. This unit later went over to the Soviet partisans, still under Gil’s command.
In the years after World War II, Gil became the subject of many legends that his son, Vadim, has repeatedly rebuked. Rumors like that Gil was a Soviet agent covertly inserted into German-occupied Soviet territory persisted and was noted by Soviet historian Mikhail Tokarev. Tokarev discovered that the NKGB had quickly infiltrated the 1st Russian Waffen-SS and that Gil’s first lieutenant was an informer.
Walter Schellenberg died at the Clinica Fornaca in Turin, Italy of liver cancer on 31-03-1952, age 42. He was buried in “Campo Commune “, a burial place for those not buried by their families. He stayed buried there for 10 years, a period in which they expect the family to claim the remains of the deceased. His body was not claimed by relatives, and he was then moved to “Ossario Commune de la Grande Croce” in Turin, Italy, a common burial place.

Share on :