Walter Schellenberg

Walter Schellenberg : Nazi Germany

Walter Schellenberg was born at Saarbruecken, Germany on 16th January, 1910. His family moved to Lxembourg after France occupied the Saar in 1918.

Schellenberg entered the University of Bonn in 1929 where he studied medicine and law. In May 1933 he joined the Schutz Staffeinel (SS). He impressed Heinrich Himmler and he quickly moved up the hierarchy and was active in counter-intelligence operations. This included an attempt to capture the former Edward VIII.

After the invasion of Czechoslovakia Schellenberg worked closely with Reinhard Heydrich. He also led the fight against the Soviet spy ring, the Red Orchestra.

He hoped to succeed Reinhard Heydrich, as head of RSHA after his assassination but the post went instead to Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

When it became clear that Germany would be defeated Schellenberg went to Stockholm where he attempted to start peace negotiations. He was arrested in June, 1945 and he saved himself from a long-term imprison by testifying against other Nazis at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.

Schellenberg also provided information to Allen Dulles on the Soviet Union. In April, 1949, he was sentenced to six years in prison where he wrote his memoirs, The Labyrinth. He was released after two years because he was suffering from a serious liver condition. Walter Schellenberg died in Turin, Italy on 31st March, 1952.

Primary Sources

(1) Ernst Hanfstaengel first met Anton Drexler in 1922.

Anton Drexler, the original founder of the Party, was there most evenings, but by this time he was only its honorary president and had been pushed more or less to one side. A blacksmith by trade, he had a trade union background and although it was he who had thought up the original idea of appealing to the workers with a patriotic programme, he disapproved strongly of the street fighting and violence which was slowly becoming a factor in the Party's activities and wanted to build up as a working-class movement in an orderly fashion.