Some additional data on Eicke.
~ Mike Miller
Eicke, Theodor (“Papa”)
und General der Waffen-SS
Born: 17.10.1892 in Hampont bei Hudingen / Kreis Chateau-Salines / Bezirk Lothringen / Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen.
Killed: 26.02.1943 over Artelnoje, 15 km east of Orelka / Kreis Dimitrowsk Orlowski / Gebiet Orel, Russia (shot down in his Fieseler “Storch” at approximately 1640 hours by Soviet ground fire).
NSDAP-Nr.: 114 901
SS-Nr.: 2 921
ca. 1916 Unterzahlmeister
15.02.1931 SS-Sturmbannführer (mit Wirkung vom 30.01.1931)
03.04.1933 [degraded to] SS-Mann
26.06.1933 [restored to rank of] SS-Oberführer (mit Patent vom 21.10.1933)
14.11.1939 Generalleutnant der Verfügungstruppen
20.04.1942 SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS
00.00.1897 – 00.00.1904 Attended Volkschule in Hampont.
00.00.1904 – 00.00.1909 Attended Realschule in Hampont (dropped out without obtaining a certificate).
00.00.1909 – 01.10.1913 Volunteered for service in Royal Bavarian Army, assigned to 23.Bayerischen Infanterie-Regiment "König Ferdinand der Bulgaren" (Base: Landau / Pfalz).
01.10.1913 – 02.08.1914 Assigned to 3.Bayerischen Chevaulegers-Regiment "Herzog Karl Theodor" (a light cavalry unit based at Dieuze) as Zahlmeisteraspirant (paymaster candidate).
02.08.1914 – 00.00.1916 Assigned to 22.Bayerischen Infanterie-Regiment "Fürst Wilhelm von Hohenzollern".
00.00.1916 – 00.00.1917 Assigned to 2.Bayerische Fussartillerie-Regiment.
00.00.1917 – 01.03.1919 Assigned to 6.Ersatz-MG.-Kompanie / II.Bayerischen Armee-Korps.
01.03.1919 Discharged from Reichswehr with the rank of Unterzahlmeister.
01.03.1919 – 00.09.1919 Attended the Technischen Hochschule at Ilmenau / Thuringen. He was forced to leave for financial reasons and because of his radical politics.
00.12.1919 – 01.07.1920 Entered service as Polizeianwärter (police candidate) and informant assigned to
the Polizeiverwaltung in Ilmenau.
01.07.1920 – 00.00.1921 Attended Schuzpolizeischule in Cottbus (passed the Polizei-Kommissar examination). He was dismissed for involvement in political agitation against the Weimar Republic.
00.00.1921 – 00.00.1921 Reentered Polizei service as an Offizier-Anwärter with the Schutzpolizei in Weimar. Served for approximately 14 days before being laid off.
Autumn 1921 Unsuccessfully applied for a position as Kripo-Hilfs-Beamter (Assistant Criminal Police Official) with the Polizei-Verwaltung in Sorau / Nieder-Lausitz.
00.00.1921 – 00.01.1923 Assigned as Polizeihilfsmeister (Master Police Assistant) with the Polizeiverwaltung in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. Again dismissed from police service due to subversive, anti-Weimar Republic political leanings.
01.02.1923 – 00.00.1925 Commercial agent with the firm I.G.-Farben in Ludwigshafen.
00.00.1925 – 06.03.1932 Deputy head of I.G.-Farben’s Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) with title of Sicherheitskommissar (responsible for combating industrial espionage).
28.08.1928 – 00.00.1929 Joined the SA, assigned to SA-Sturm Frankenthal.
01.12.1928 Joined the NSDAP (Ortsgruppe Ludwigshafen).
00.00.1929 – 29.07.1930 Assigned to SA-Sturm Ludwigshafen.
29.07.1930 – 27.11.1930 Transferred from SA to SS, assigned to SS-Sturm 147 (Base: Ludwigshafen).
27.11.1930 – 30.01.1931 Führer of SS-Sturm 147.
30.01.1931 – 21.12.1931 Führer of II.Sturmbann / 10.SS-Brigade.
07.11.1931 – 21.12.1931 Verwaltungführer of 10.SS-Standarte.
21.12.1931 – 03.04.1933 Führer of 10.SS-Standarte "Pfalz" (Base: Neustadt / Weinstrasse). Succeeded
Fritz Berni and succeeded by Willy Schmelcher. This period saw the beginning of what would become a long and violent quarrel between Eicke and the Saarpfalz Gauleiter, Josef Bürckel. Eicke claimed the feud began with Bürckel’s supporting the Police in forbidding an SS parade in Ludwigshafen. In fact, the conflict arose early in 1931 because Gauleiter Bürckel saw himself as de facto commander of all SA and SS units in his Gau. Eicke refused to obey orders issued by Bürckel but was too proud and arrogant to complain to Himmler. Eicke was involved with Fritz Berni and others in illegally procuring high explosives and conspiring to carry out assassinations of political opponents; when Berni was arrested he denounced Eicke, who was arrested on 06.03.1932. He was held in solitary confinement at Pirmasens Prison from 06.03.1932 until 07.07.1932 when he was sentenced by a Bavarian court to 2 years’ imprisonment. Due to the intervention of the Bavarian Minister of Justice (and soon to be Reich Minister of Justice) Franz Gürtner, he was given a 6-week temporary parole from 16.07.1932 to “regain his health” (he later claimed to have feigned illness). He immediately returned to 10.SS-Standarte in Ludwigshafen, which had been run by Willy Schmelcher during his absence, and continued his anti-Government activities. The local police soon became aware of his reemergence, and his temporary parole was therefore cancelled. He then absconded and found refuge with Nazi comrades in a castle at Landau, Schmelcher again taking temporary command of the Standarte during this period. Himmler eventually sent a courier to retrieve him, and he was ordered to report to the Reichsführer-SS in München. There Himmler ordered him to go to Italy and take charge of an SS refugee camp.
18.09.1932 – 14.02.1933 Leiter of SS-Flüchtlingslager Malcesine on Lake Garda, Italy, responsible for assisting Austrian Nazis fleeing from Austria.
26.10.1932 – 14.02.1933 Führer of Standarte "J" (“J” = “Italien”; unit of SS men in Italy). Retained titular command of 10.SS-Standarte. When Eicke was away in Italy, Bürckel spread the rumor that he had been dismissed from the NSDAP. In letters to his SS comrades in Ludwigshafen (written 1932/1933), Eicke asked that they inform Bürckel of his vow that “I shall protect my honor with every means should he [Bürckel] continue his Jesuit tactics against me in our movement.” He stated that, if necessary, he would use “the old methods” [i.e assassination] against Bürckel. While in Italy, Eicke again embarrassed Himmler by leading a closed formation of uniformed SS men in a demonstration marking the 10th anniversary of the fascist “March on Rome”. The demonstration was held jointly with fascist Militia and regular Italian Army units at the Italian Victory Monument in Bolzano. This inflamed Austrian press agitation over the South Tyrol and the local Austrian Party leadership, under Franz Hofer, wrote to Hitler, Röhm, and Himmler asking that the Party Court impose the most severe punishment on Eicke. He was never punished, however, and the affair was forgotten.
14.02.1933 – 03.04.1933 Assigned as Führer z.b.V. to 46.SS-Standarte (Base: Dresden).
16.02.1933 Returned to Germany. Because he had not been amnestied by the authorities in Ludwigshafen, he was forced to stay in Thüringen.
10.03.1933 Granted permission to return to his family in Ludwigshafen, on the condition that he behave himself. Once there, despite his promises to Himmler that he would have no further contact with Bürckel, he and his men stormed the Gau headquarters in Neustadt, locking Bürckel in a janitor’s closet and arresting the local Kreisleiter. Bürckel’s loyalists called the local Schutzpolizei and Eicke was arrested and imprisoned in Ludwigshafen with his men on 21.03.1933. The angry Gauleiter had Eicke arrested and found “mentally ill and a danger to the community”. Eicke was then sent for an indefinite period of psychiatric observation to the Nervenklinik in Würzburg on 23.03.1933. A furious Heinrich Himmler dismissed him from the SS because he had “not kept the word of honor he had given the Reichsführer-SS”; his name was stricken from the SS Dienstalterliste on 03.04.1933. While confined, Eicke befriended his psychiatrist, the later-infamous Prof. Dr. Werner Heyde (a leading figure in the “euthanasia” program and future SS-Standartenführer); Dr. Heyde wrote to Himmler on 22.04.1933, stating that “[Eicke] has conducted himself in an exemplary manner and by his quiet, self-controlled character has left a very pleasant impression and by no means appears to be an intriguing [i.e. troublemaking] personality”. Eicke was released from the clinic in Würzburg on 26.06.1933, and reinstated in the SS with no loss of seniority at his original rank of Oberführer. A Party court raised no objections to his release, provided he not return to the Saarpfalz district.
26.06.1933 – 04.07.1934 Reinstated in the SS, attached as Führer z.b.V. to SS-Oberabschnitt “Süd” and assigned as Führer of Konzentrationslager Dachau. He was also made a member of the Hilfspolizei [auxiliary police] during this period to give his draconian actions as head of the concentration camp some semblance of legality. Officially named Kommandant on 09.03.1934, with his command being made independent of SS-Oberabschnitt “Süd” from that date. He succeeded Hilmar Wäckerle who had been dismissed in disgrace in 06.1933, and was succeeded by Norbert Scharf. As Kommandant of Dachau, Eicke formulated an unwritten code of conduct for staff and guards in the concentration camps, as well as comprehensive written regulations concerning discipline and punishment of inmates. “The code of conduct for the SS guards was based upon Eicke’s demand for blind and absolute obedience to all orders from SS superior officers, and upon his insistence that each prisoner be treated with fanatical hatred as an enemy of the State. By drilling his SS guards constantly to hate the prisoner, and simultaneously buttressing this hatred with the legality of orders [which enabled the guards to mete out the harshest punishments to prisoners], Eicke invented what subsequently became the standard SS formula for mistreating all concentration camp inmates.” [excerpted from Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., Soldiers of Destruction] ).
20.06.1934 – 04.07.1934 Assigned to the Stab Reichsführer-SS (temporary appointment for duties in connection with the purge against the SA leadership). Accompanied by his deputy, then-SS-Sturmbannführer Michael Lippert and SS-Gruppenführer Ernst Heinrich Schmauser, Eicke shot SA-Stabschef Ernst Röhm in Cell 474 at Stadelheim Prison, München on 01.07.1934. As he entered Röhm’s cell, Eicke announced, “You have forfeited your life. The Führer gives you one more chance to draw the conclusions.” Eicke and his colleagues then stepped out of the cell, Eicke leaving a loaded revolver beside the sweating SA leader. The three SS officers waited in the corridor for 15 minutes, then stormed in. Eicke shouted, “Stabschef, get ready.” He then directed Lippert, whose hand was trembling, to “Aim slowly and calmly”. Two shots brought Röhm to the floor, where he groaned, “My Führer, my Führer.” Eicke replied, “You should have thought of that earlier; it’s too late now.” At 1800 hours the coup de grace was then fired by either Eicke or Lippert.
04.07.1934 – 15.11.1939 “Inspekteur der Konzentrationslager” (Inspector of Concentration Camps)(HQ:
München- 04.07.1934 – 00.00.1935; Friedrichstrasse 128 in Berlin N.W. 7- 00.00.1935 - 02.08.1936; and finally at KL-Oranienburg. First holder of this post. Succeeded by August Heissmeyer.
01.04.1935 – 15.11.1939 “Führer der SS-Wachverbände” (Leader of SS Guard Units [redesignated SS-
Totenkopfverbände on 29.03.1936, then SS-Totenkopfstandarten on 12.09.1939]). First holder of this post. He was succeeded by August Heissmeyer.
30.01.1937 – 26.02.1943 Member of the Reichstag (Wahlkreis 30, Chemnitz-Zwickau).
[01.12.1937] – 26.02.1943 Member of the Lebensborn Society.
10.09.1939 – 04.10.1939 “Höherer SS- und olizeiführer für die besetzten Gebieten
Armeeoberkommando 8 und 10” (Higher SS and Police Leader for the Occupied Regions of 8. and 10.Armee High Command in Poland [this later became HSSPF “Lodsch” (Lodz), then redesignated HSSPF Ost with HQ: in Krakow]; command created to control SS and Polizei units following the Army’s advance into Poland). Succeeded by Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger.
14.11.1939 – 25.02.1943 Kommandeur of SS-Totenkopf-Division (formed at SS training depot at Dachau from members of the SS-Totenkopf-Standarten, 16.10.1939 - 01.11.1939; upgraded / redesignated as SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Totenkopf”, 09.11.1942). Commanded the Division in France during the Western Campaign of 05./06.1940 and later in Russia. Seriously injured on 06.07.1941 when his command vehicle struck a mine at Soachino on the northern sector of the Russian Front; he suffered nerve damage to his right leg and a shattered right foot. Matthias Kleinheisterkamp and Georg Keppler served as successive substitutes during his absence from 07.07.1941 - 20.09.1941. Officially succeeded as divisional commander by Max Simon who had already exercised temporary command while Eicke was on a long leave for health reasons from 00.07.1942 to 00.10.1942.
00.00.1941 Reprimanded for his Division’s penchant of not taking prisoners by Erich von Manstein, who ordered: “Conduct yourself henceforward according to military rules”.
07.07.1941 – 12.09.1941 Hospitalized at the Chirurgische Universitätsklinik (University Surgical Clinic) at Charité Hospital, Berlin.
12.09.1941 – 20.09.1941 Convalescent leave in his private residence.
20.09.1941 – 26.02.1943 Returned to duty as Kommandeur of SS-Totenkopf-Division.
14.04.1942 – 27.04.1942 Führer of SS-Totenkopf-Kampfgruppe “Eicke”.
05.05.1942 – 26.06.1942 Führer of Korpskommando "Eicke" (consisting of surviving troops from
290.Infanterie-Division, SS-Totenkopf-Division, and Artillerie-Kommandeur 105 [Arko 105] fighting in defensive operations under 16.Armee in the western sector of the Demjansk Pocket).
26.02.1943 – 27.02.1943 Just after release from hospital, Eicke was told that the unit of his son-in-law, Karl Leiner, had been cut off by Soviet forces. He set out in his Fieseler “Storch” to search for Leiner and his plane was shot down by enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire at approximately 1640 hours. Killed along with Eicke were SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Friedrich (Staff, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Totenkopf”) and the planes pilot, Oberfeldwebel Michael Werner. On 27.02.1943, Max Simon ordered a search for the remains of Eicke and the others in his destroyed Fieseler Storch; a group consisting of two assault guns, three armored cars, and two motorcycle contingents under SS-Hauptsturmführer Arzelino "Lino" Masarie was dispatched at 0515 hours to recover the bodies. Eicke’s remains were retrieved, under heavy fire, by a platoon led by SS-Untersturmführer Walter Becker.
Decorations & Awards:
20.04.1942 Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Nr. 88), as SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS and Kommandeur of SS-Totenkopf-Division, Eastern Front (immediate award for bravery and leadership in defending the Demjansk Pocket. Award recommendation submitted by General der Infanterie Walter Graf Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt)
26.12.1941 Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes, as SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS and Kommandeur of SS-Totenkopf-Division / X.Armee-Korps / 16.Armee / Heeresgruppe Nord, Eastern Front (for leadership of the Division during heavy fighting on the Lowat and Pola Rivers, at Lushno, and in the Valday Hills from 09.1941)
31.05.1940 1939 Eisernes Kreuz I.Klasse
26.05.1940 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
00.00.191_ 1914 Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse
21.10.1942 Mentioned in the daily The daily Wehrmachtbericht
00.00.1941 Verwundetenabzeichen, 1939 in Silber
00.00.1942 Medaille “Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42”
00.00.19__ Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938
00.00.19__ Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13. März 1938
00.00.191_ Braunschweigisches Kriegs-Verdienstkreuz II.Klasse am Band für Kämpfer
00.00.191_ Bayerische Militär-Verdienst-Kruez II.Klasse
00.00.191_ Bayerische Militär-Verdienst-Kreuz III.Klasse
00.00.193_ Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
30.01.1940 Goldenes Ehrenzeichen der NSDAP
00.00.194_ Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP in Silber
00.00.194_ Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP in Bronze
00.00.19__ SA-Sportabzeichen in Bronze
[01.12.1937] Ehrendegen des Reichsführers-SS
[01.12.1937] Totenkopfring der SS
00.00.193_ SS-Zivilabzeichen Nr. 1 538
16.12.1935 Julleuchter der SS
00.00.1933 Ehrenwinkel für Altekämpfer
* Youngest of 11 children of the railway stationmaster Heinrich Eicke (died 13.06.1926) and his wife Josefina, née Henning (died 07.11.1935). His father was a devout Protestant and an intense German patriot and his mother was a devout Catholic and Francophile. This led to tension in the family with some of his brothers fighting for France in the Great War.
* Married on 26.12.1914 to Bertha Schwebel (born 16.04.1893 in Riesthal bei Hagenau). Frau Eicke was his sister-in-law’s sister and her family was not happy with the marriage. The couple had one daughter (Irma, born 05.04.1916; married to SS-Sturmbannführer Karl Leiner) and one son (Hermann, born 04.05.1920 / killed in action as a Leutnant on 02.12.1941).
* After Eicke’s death, the Panzer Regiment of “Totenkopf” was granted the title “Theodor Eicke” by Hitler.
* Height: (173 cm.)
"I am a historian before I am a Christian; my object is simply to find out how the things actually occurred."
~Leopold von Ranke, 19th Century German Historian