After finishing school, August Heißmeyer joined the Prussian military. In World War he was a leutnant and was decorated with, among other things, the Iron Cross , First Class.
Previously married with six children in his custody, Heißmeyer married Gertrud Scholtz-Klink – the “Reich Women’s Leader” (Reichsfrauenführerin) –
who had two previous marriages herself. After giving up his studies, he busied himself as a driving teacher. In 1923 he first came into contact with the NSDAP which he joined in 1925. In early 1926, Heißmeyer also joined the SA in which he participated actively, was responsible for building up the SA-Gausturm Hannover-Süd, and was for a time the acting Gauleiter.
In January 1930, Heißmeyer applied to join the SS and was accepted as the 4370th member. From 1932, Heißmeyer was an associate at the SS main office and was promoted many times. From 1935, he was “Head of the SS Main Office”, thus reaching a key position in the SS hierarchy and relieving SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler from that specific position. On 9 November 1936, Heißmeyer was appointed SS-Obergruppenführer and Inspector of the National Political Institutes of Education (NPEA) .
In April 1939, SS Obersturmbannführer Richard Schulze-Kossens served as an adjutant to Heißmeyer until his transfer on 8 June. Furthermore, in 1939, Heißmeyer was appointed SS Oberabschnittsleiter “East” and in 1940 “Higher SS and Police Leader Spree”. He thereby oversaw the Berlin-Brandenburg area.
Schulze-Kossens later commanded the 38th Division Nibelungen, SS Junkerschule Bad Tolz
. He was awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Finnish Order of the Cross of Liberty. Schulze-Kossens died of lung cancer on 3 July 1988, age 73. More than 100 former SS members attended his funeral, with many wearing the insignia of an SS veterans association, and his casket was draped with tributes from former SS units.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, Heißmeyer now saw fit to set up the “Dienststelle SS-Obergruppenführer Heissmeyer” – his own bureau – and was thereby responsible for NPEA students’ military training.
August Heißmeyer took over the General Inspection of the Strengthened SS Totenkopf Standard in 1940 from the outgoing Theodor Eicke, who in 1939 had begun commanding a front line division and therefore gave his supervision over the concentrationcamps back to the SS Main Leadership Office (SS-Führungshauptamt). Heißmeyer was provisionally in charge of this bureau until May 1942. Then, he left the position to the new “concentration camp inspector” SS-Gruppenführer Richard Glücks..
On 14 November 1944, Heißmeyer was given the right to bear the title “General of the Waffen-SS” along with his regular SS rank, thereby affording him a prestigious position in the Waffen SS In April 1945, he was given command of Kampfgruppe Heißmeyer, a collection of Volkssturm and Hitlerjugend who were given the task of protecting the Spandau airfield outside Berlin.
On 29 February 1948, Heißmeyer was captured by French authorities near Tübingen, and held for trial the following month. He served 18 months in prison before being released in 1949. The following year he was sentenced by the de-Nazification appeals court to 3 years imprisonment and forfeiture of property as a “major Nazi offender”.
After his release, Heißmeyer went to live in Schwabisch Hall. He became the director of the West German Coca-Cola bottling plant. He died on 16 January 1979, five days after his 82nd birthday. His nephew, Kurt Heissmeyer, an SS physician, was involved in medical experimentation on concentration camp inmates including children. His experiment was conducted on 20 Jewish children at Neuengamme concentration camp. The children, along with their four adult caretakers, were murdered by being hanged in the basement of Bullenhuser Damm School in Hamburg. Sergio de Simone, born November 1937, a 7 years old Jewish Italian boy was killed at the Bullenhuser Damm School on April 20, 1945. He was able to have the facilities made available and to test his subjects as a result of personal connections: his uncle, SS Obergruppenführer August Heissmeyer and his close acquaintance, SS Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl.
After the war, Kurt Heissmeyer escaped detection and returned to his home in Magdeburg in postwar East Germany and started a successful medical practice as a lung and tuberculosis specialist. He was eventually found out in 1959. In 1966, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. At his trial he stated, “I did not think that inmates of a camp had full value as human beings.” When asked why he didn’t use guinea pigs he responded, “For me there was no basic difference between human beings and guinea pigs.” He then corrected himself: “Jews and guinea pigs”. Kurt Heissmeyer died on 29 August 1967, age 61.