Hermann Fegelein was born in Ansbach, Germany, in 1906. In his youth he worked as a stable boy for Christian Weber , one of the original members of the German Nazi party. Weber died in 1945 after being arrested by the US Army in Berlin. He was one of a number of prisoners being carried in an open-backed lorry when the vehicle overturned. Weber suffered terminal injuries in the accident. His body was interred in a mass grave at Heilbronn Fegelein enlisted in the German army in 1925, staying for three years, and when his service was up he joined the Bavarian State Police and was posted to Munich. In his capacity as a policeman he came into contact with many members of the Nazi party, found the party’s philosophy to his liking, and quit the state police to join the party in 1930. In 1931 he a daring cavalryman type, was transferred to the SS. His rise through the ranks of the SS was impressive, and in 1937 he was appointed by Heinrich Himmler as head of the SS Riding School , a prestigious institution restricted only to members of German royalty and wealthy industrialists (who, not coincidentally, were major financial backers of the Nazi party) On 9th March 1940, Himmler received information from the Gestapo alleging that Fegelein had sent goods looted in Poland back to SS cavalry school in Riem, from where many items had found their way to members’ homes. A search of the school had disclosed “a lorry, a six-cylinder Mercedes trimmed in black, another in dark brown, a two-seater Stoda cabriolet, 50 lb of coffee, fourteen packets of cocoa, a chest of tea, two chests of chocolate, clothes, fur and other goods”. Fegelein told Himmler that he was the victim of a persecution campaign by Friedrich Karl von Eberstein . In 1943 he was briefly posted to the Russian front–where his unit was accused of massacring thousands of civilians–but, after being wounded, he was transferred back to Germany and went to work as Himmler’s personal assistant. Fegelein’s unit initially killed 13.788 Jews and in August another 3.500 men were murdered. Himmler rewarded Fegelein by promoting him to the rank of SS-Oberführer
In 1944 Fegelein married Gretl Braun,
the sister of Adolf Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun. Fegelein was a known playboy and had many extramarital affairs. Hitler’s secretaries, Christa Schroeder and Traudl Junge-Humps, state Fegelein was popular socially, particularly with women. He could be funny, amusing, and charming. After his marriage to Gretl, Eva was glad to have someone in the entourage with whom she could dance and flirt, as Hitler was distant in social situations and refrained from publicly showing affection. Thereafter, Fegelein worked hard to develop a friendship with Hitler’s powerful private secretary, Martin Bormann. Fegelein “never missed” Bormann’s drinking parties. He was clever but ruthless, and had some very attractive qualities, such as the honesty with which he admitted that at heart he was a terrible coward, and had won his decorations doing heroic deeds out of pure fear. He also frankly admitted that nothing was as important to him as his career and a good life.” and told Traudl Junge
that the only things that mattered were “his career and a life full of fun.”
It was apparently a marriage of political and career expediency for Fegelein, as Hitler had been trying to marry off Gretl for some time so as to have a legitimate reason to present Eva to visitors and have her accompany him to official functions; Gretl had a reputation for being extremely promiscuous, and it was getting more and more difficult for Hitler to find a man who would want anything to do with her (she was, in fact, pregnant with another man’s child when she married Fegelein). Now that Fegelein had performed such a valuable favor for “Der Fuhrer”, though, his personal stock went up with Hitler and his professional stock went up with Himmler.
However, as the war began to turn against the Nazis, Fegelein’s duties as commandant of the SS horse farm, headquartered in Fischhorn Castle near Zell am See, began to include the distribution to various high Nazi officials of large amounts of gold, works of art, jewellery and other valuables looted from most of occupied Europe, along with new ID papers that would allow them to escape capture after Germany’s defeat and make their way to countries outside Europe. In April of 1945 Himmler, Fegelein’s boss, tried to negotiate a secret surrender to the Allies, with himself as leader of post-war Germany. The Allies would have nothing to do with Himmler or his offer, but Hitler found out what Himmler had done and ordered his arrest. Although Himmler escaped capture by the SS, Fegelein didn’t; he was caught by the SS Obersturmbannführer Peter Högl trying to escape to Sweden with large amounts of cash and forged passports and brought back under arrest to the Chancellery bunker where Hitler and the remnants of his Nazi regime were making their last stand. Högl, age 47, later died from wounds received during the break-out on 2 May 1945.
A military tribunal was ordered by Hitler to court martial Fegelein. Waffen-SS General Wilhelm Möhnke presided over the tribunal which included Generals Johann “Hans” Rattenhuber, General Hans Krebs and General Wilhelm Burgdorf . Although he was certain Fegelein was “guilty of flagrant desertion”, Mohnke persuaded his fellow judges to close the proceedings and turned the defendant over to General Rattenhuber and his security squad. Fegelein drunk at the moment was taken to the Führer bunker garden and shot by his SS partners without any compassion.
Generals Hans Krebs, age 47, and Wilhelm Burgdorf, age 50, committed suicide on 02-05-1945.