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Hilmar Wäckerle

hilmar wäckerle, hilmar wäckerle dachau
Hilmar Wäckerle 24 November 1899 – 2 July 1941 was a commander in the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II He was the first commandant of Dachau concentration camp


  • 1 War service
  • 2 Political involvement
  • 3 Dachau
  • 4 Waffen-SS
  • 5 References

War service

The son of a Munich notary public, Wäckerle was sent to the Bavarian Army officer school at the age of 14 in order to pursue his chosen career[1] Having completed his three years as a cadet he was assigned to the Bavarian Infantry Battalion in August 1917 and by the following year was a Sergeant on the Western Front[2] Seriously wounded in September 1918 he was not able to return to the front before the armistice and as such his chance to matriculate and become an officer was lost[2]

Political involvement

Unable to continue in the army, Wäckerle enrolled in the Technical University Munich to study agriculture Like his classmate Heinrich Himmler, he joined the anti-communist Freikorps Oberland and was an early member of the Nazi Party[3] Wäckerle was present during the Beer Hall Putsch, as well as the January 1924 assassination attempt on Franz Josef Heinz, the prime minister of the French-administered Saar[2] After his graduation aged 25, Wäckerle scaled back his direct involvement in Nazi politics to become manager of a cattle ranch[4] He rejoined the Nazi Party in 1925, however, following its reorganisation and he regularly attended party rallies whilst also helping to draft Nazi agricultural policy[4] He also signed up with the SS volunteer regiment based in Kempten[5]


In 1933 he was picked by his old ally Himmler to be commandant of the newly established Dachau concentration camp[6] Under orders from Himmler, he established 'special' rules for dealing with prisoners, ruled that instituted terror as a way of life at the camp[7] His initiatives included execution of prisoners for 'violent insubordination' and 'incitement to disobedience'[8] for which he was charged criminally He left the post a few months later, with Theodor Eicke taking his place[9]


He was an early member of the units that became the Waffen-SS and finally came to be an officer with this group, serving in the Netherlands He led his SS-battalion during the breakthrough of the Dutch Grebbe-line and was wounded in the process He also served in the Soviet Union[6] His service was spent with the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking[10] He had reached the rank of Standartenführer by the time he was killed in action near Lviv in 1941[6]

Following Wäckerle's death, his widow Elfriede moved in with another man, instead of mourning her dead husband Outraged by this break from protocol, Himmler had the man sent to a concentration camp[11]


  1. ^ Tom Segev, Soldiers of Evil, Berkley Books, 1991, p 64
  2. ^ a b c Segev, Soldiers of Evil, p 65
  3. ^ Segev, Soldiers of Evil, p 66
  4. ^ a b Segev, Soldiers of Evil, p 67
  5. ^ Segev, Soldiers of Evil, pp 67-68
  6. ^ a b c Segev, Soldiers of Evil, p 68
  7. ^ Harold Marcuse, Legacies of Dachau: The Uses and Abuses of a Concentration Camp, 1933-2001, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 22
  8. ^ Charles W Sydnor, Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945, Princeton University Press, 1990, p 9
  9. ^ Segev, Soldiers of Evil, p 115
  10. ^ Terry Goldsworthy, Valhalla's Warriors: A History of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945, Dog Ear Publishing, 2010, p 130
  11. ^ Segev, Soldiers of Evil, pp 80-81

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