Josef Meisinger

Josef Albert Meisinger ( Munich , 14 of September of 1899 – Warsaw , 7 of March of 1947 ) was a police colonel, SS-Standartenführer and war criminal German .


Son of Josef Meisinger and his wife Berta Volk, Meisinger studied four courses in the Volksschule in Munich, to then pass to the Luitpold-Gymnasium and Realgymnasium. On December 23, 1916 he enlisted as a volunteer in a Minenwerfer reserve battalion . During World War I , 17 of July of 1917 was sent to the western front, to form part of the 30 reserve infantry regiment and in the 230 company of Minenwerfer .

After a serious wound of war that left him a disability of 30%, was licensed with the degree of Vizefeldwebel ( sergeant or sergeant major) on January 18, 1919. He was awarded for his value in World War I Iron Cross Of class II and the cross to the Bavarian military merit. 19 of April of 1919 entered in the Freikorps of Franz Ritter von Epp , with which it fought against the Soviet Republic of Bavaria .

From July 1919 to September 30, 1920 he worked at the Bayrischer Handelsbank. In the Ruhr Uprising he participated as a volunteer in the German army from March 13 to April 20, 1920, reason why, according to his own statements, he could not continue working in the bank. 1 He worked from 1 October to 30 September 1922 as inspector of the second provincial hearing in Munich. He was transferred on 1 October 1922 to the Munich Police Directorate. As head of the 3rd platoon of the II Freikorps Oberland company , he participated in the Putsch in Munich on 8 and 9 November 1923.

Career in the police

It entered the 5 of March of 1933 in the SS (n ° 36,134), at the same time that it requested its entrance in the Nazi Party . On March 9, 1933, he was transferred to the Bavarian political police ( Bayrische Politische Polizei or BayPoPo), and thus to have contact with Reinhard Heydrich (who obtained from Epp and Himmler a command post in the Bavarian police towards Same time). He got into the Nazi Party on May 1, 1933 with member number 3,201,697. The 28 of June of 1933 was promoted to head of tropa of the SS. He was awarded the Order of the Nazi Blood (No. 374) on November 9, 1933. He married Martha Zirngibl (born August 16, 1904 in Fürth ) on April 3, 1934.

He was promoted to SS- Obertruppenführer on April 20, 1934. Heydrich, after being transferred to Berlin , took with him the workers of his confidence: Heinrich Müller , Franz Josef Huber and Josef Meisinger, also known as the “Bajuwaren- Brigade “(Bavarian brigade). Thus changed the 1 of May of 1934 to the Geheime Staatspolizeiamt ( Gestapa ) in Berlin, the same day in which it was promoted to Kriminalrat . There he took the leadership of the Dezernat II 1 H and II H 1 (Nazi party, abortions , § 175 and Rassenschande or “betrayal of the race”). The Dezernat had the following functions:

  • Discovery of Adolf Hitler’s opponents within the Nazi Party ( Dezernat II 1 H),
  • Persecution of homosexuals ,
  • Prosecution of abortion cases ,
  • Prosecution of offenses against the prohibition of intimate relations of non-Jews with Jews .

The promotion to SS- Untersturmführer of May 9, 1934, became valid with retroactivity from May 1, 1934. On June 24, 1934 was commissioned to observe the Catholic action leader Erich Klausener in the Katholikentag (” Day of Catholics “) in Berlin. He informed Heydrich that Klausener had made statements against the State, as a result of which Klausener was placed by Heydrich on a list of people opposed to Nazism who were to be killed. Klauser was shot dead in his office on June 30, 1934 by an SS gunman.

In 1935 Meisinger also managed the direction of the Sonderdezernat II S Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und Abtreibung (“Fight against homosexuality and abortion”). 2 The 16 of December of 1935 was given to him like recognition Julleuchter of the SS. From 1939 Meisinger became head of the Referat PP II H Angelegenheiten der NSDAP, ihrer Gliederungen und angeschlossenen Verbände ( “affairs of the Nazi party, its structure and its associated groups”) and PP II S Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und der Abtreibung ( “fight Against homosexuality and abortion “) at the headquarters of the Sicherheitspolizei . On April 23, 1936 he was promoted to SS- Sturmbannführer with effect on April 20, 1936.

From 1936 to 1938 he directed the Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung der Homosexualität und Abtreibung (“Reich Central for the fight against abortion and homosexuality”) within the Gestapa. On January 30, 1937 he was promoted to SS- Obersturmbannführer . That same year he was appointed a government advisor. When Army Captain General Werner von Fritsch was involved in July 1936 in the Blomberg-Fritsch scandal , in which he was accused of homosexuality, the investigation fell under Meisinger’s responsibility. The main witness was a certain Otto Schmidt, who was moving in the underworld. Meisinger conducted the interrogation of Schmidt, where he saw his great hour coming, as he knew that Heinrich Himmler and the SS saw homosexuality as a danger to the Nazi regime.

However, Meisinger’s work was judged to be bad by his superiors. Heydrich called it ” Widerling ” (repulsive person), Heinrich Müller constantly complained about it and Werner Best called it a primitive man with brutal methods. 3 In the interrogations Meisinger made basic errors in a police investigation, such as when he showed photos of Fritsch to identify the main witness, a known liar, whose inscriptions the witness was able to obtain data that he later introduced in his statements. When Meisinger, in his arrogance, concealed the investigation report from his direct superior and delivered it directly to Himmler, who immediately introduced it to Hitler, his career in the Gestapa was virtually over. At the trial, the accusations collapsed against Fritsch, who had been the victim of confusion. All other lines of investigation were not able to find accusatory evidence. For example, Meisinger traveled with Commissioner Eberhard Schiele to Egypt to investigate whether Fritsch had had homosexual contacts during his vacation in November / December 1937, a fact that could not be proved. 4

Activity in Warsaw

As a result of Meisinger’s failure and his office, he and other collaborators were deposed, forcibly transferred or dismissed. From 1938 to 1939 he was transferred to the archive of the main office of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), to be appointed in September 1939 deputy commander of the SD- Einsatzgruppe IV in Poland . From 23 October 1939 to 1 March 1941 he held the post of commander of the Sicherheitspolizei and SD in the district of Warsaw . On 1 January 1940 he was appointed SS- Standartenführer .

Meisinger was the successor of Lothar Beutel , who had been dismissed for corruption. Meisinger persecuted with extreme violence to Poles and Jews . So he mass-shot 1,700 people in the Palmiry forest . 5 In reprisal for the murder of a Polish policeman, he murdered the 55 Jewish inhabitants of a house on 22 November 1935 and 20 December 1939, 107 Poles in retaliation for the murder of two Germans. Heydrich had described these provisions in July 1940 as “extremely radical”. Meisinger had such a bad reputation that he earned the nickname “Butcher of Warsaw”. 6 Walter Schellenberg wrote in his memoirs, 7 that he had delivered to the Gestapo chief Müller information on Meisinger’s “bestial performances” (according to Schellenberg) in Warsaw in response to a plot by Meisinger against him. After an investigation of the facts, Himmler decided (according to Schellenberg) to judge him in a martial court and to shoot him, but was saved by Heydrich, who sent it to Japan .

In his later court proceedings in Warsaw, Meisinger claimed that he was no longer in the city in October 1940, but his participation in the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto at that time was likely. Referring to Fig.

Activity in Tokyo and Shanghai

In February 1941 he married his secretary, who had also been secretary to Himmler. In March 1941 he briefly worked at the Central Security Office of the Reich , from 1 April 1941 to May 1945 Polizeiverbindungsführer (‘police liaison director’) and Sonderbeauftragter (‘special envoy’) from the SD of the German embassy In Tokyo . He was also liaison officer with the Japanese secret service . Among his obligations in Japan was the observation of the Soviet correspondent and secret agent Richard Sorge , 9 of whom he was beginning to suspect in Berlin – nevertheless he became his drinking companion and one of his best sources of information. 10 Schellenberg pointed out in his memoirs that Meisinger, instead of devoting himself to his duties, “devoted himself to the good life and suddenly assumed the role of the good bourgeois” 11 – on Sorge he had only good things to report. After the Japanese detained Sorge in October 1941, Meisinger and the German ambassador Eugen Ott tried to hide the affair. When Ivar Lissner finally revealed to Berlin the proportions of the betrayal, which caused Ott to be dismissed, Meisinger was one of the main promoters of his denunciation of the Japanese and of the attempt to have him arrested. His relentless methods of eliminating his enemies were soon apparent in the German communities of Shanghai and Tokyo. For example, he sent them from Japan to Germany with convoys that were to break the sea blockade, which was linked to great risks, and also urged the captain to assassinate the “delinquent” if there was danger to the ship. Another method was to deliver the annoying adversary to the Japanese security forces. 12

Meisinger was also known in Tokyo as a passionate poker player who, at least once, persuaded his fellow opponents to continue playing at gunpoint. In one of those matches he killed a German merchant navy captain, which he could hide by bribing the Japanese intelligence officer in charge of the investigation (a Kempeitai captain ). When the matter was later announced, the officer became harakiri . 13

After arriving in Tokyo, Meisinger had demonstrated his incompetence so clearly that Ribbentrop subsequently used this to reclaim the power of the SD in the embassies – especially bothered by the police attaches. Meisinger, who was always concerned with improving prospects for career advancement, even with activities that were far beyond his capabilities, maintained contact with Berlin with the Buddhist “abbot” Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln (whom he had met in Shanghai , Where Meisinger had consolidated a network of agents), in order to organize an uprising in Tibet . Meisinger knew that these fantastic ideas were followed in the circle around Himmler, in the Ahnenerbe , but he was not aware that Trebitsch-Lincoln was known as a kind of trickster. As a result, Meisinger was completely discredited in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which complained to Himmler, 14 but was not deposed. Consequently, Meisinger decided not to reuse the official channels of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his communications with Berlin. fifteen

Meisinger also dedicated himself even in Japan to the persecution of the Jews. In 1941 he attempted to influence the Japanese bureaucracy and ordered them to assassinate the approximately 18,000 Jews fled from Austria and Germany who were in Shanghai occupied by the Japanese. His proposals included, inter alia, the creation of an extermination camp on the island of Tsungming in the Yangtze delta or starvation on ships off the Chinese coast. The Japanese Admiralty, which administered Shanghai, did not yield to the pressure of the German ally. However, the Japanese built a ghetto in the Hongkew neighborhood – which had already been planned in Tokyo in 1939, before Meisinger had set foot in Asia – a dump with about twice the population of Manhattan , which remained strictly isolated by soldiers Japanese under the orders of the sadistic officer Ghoya, and that the Jews could only leave with special permission. Some 2,000 Jews died in the Ghetto of Shanghai. 16

Despite his involvement in the Sorge affair (of which Ambassador Ott was blamed for much of his misinformation), he was appointed police colonel on January 25, 1943. 17

Last years

US military detained him on 6 September 1945 in Yokohama , to deliver it in 1946 to the Polish authorities. On 17 December he was accused, along with Ludwig Fischer and Max Daume , of war crimes . The Supreme Court in Warsaw on March 3, 1947, sentenced him to death, after which he was hanged on March 7, 1947 at Warsaw’s Mokotov Prison.

In fiction

Meisinger appears in the novel The Benevolent of the Literature Franco-American Jonathan Littell .

As a police sergeant during the Weimar Republic , he appears in a very prominent role in La Crin de Damocles , by Javier Pérez Fernández , Azorín Prize for Novel 2006. He also appears in the novel La Espina de la Amapola by the same author.


  1. Back to top↑ Freyeisen Shanghai und das Deutsche Reich , 2000, p.463
  2. Back to top↑ [1] – Schaubild der Aufgliederung des Geheimen Staatspolizei Amts (Gestapa)
  3. Back to top↑ Janßen and Tobias 1994, p. 95.
  4. Back to top↑ Janßen and Tobias 1994, p. 160.
  5. Back to top↑ Michael Wildt : Generation des Unbedingten – Das Führerkorps des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes . Hamburg 2003. ISBN 3-930908-87-5 . P. 478.
  6. Back to top↑ According to the memoirs of the musician Eta Harich-Schneider Charaktere und Katastrophen (Editorial Ullstein, 1978) in Tokyo he was called in sneaky “Verdugo of Warsaw”. He characterizes it as “a man from a backyard with livid eyes on a fat face” and writes that he understood himself wonderfully with Ott. (Page 203)
  7. Back to top↑ Schellenberg Aufzeichnungen , Moewig Verlag 1981, p.182s
  8. Back to top↑ Freyeisen, p.466
  9. Back to top↑ Janusz Piekalkiewicz Weltgeschichte der Spionage , Weltbild Verlag p.369
  10. Back to top↑ Memories of Schellenberg, quoted by Piekalkiewicz, loc.cit. P.369
  11. Back to top↑ Schellenberg, loc.cit. P.183
  12. Back to top↑ Freyeisen, p.469
  13. Back to top↑ Heinz Höhne, postfacio to Ivar Lissner Mein gefährlicher Weg , Knaur 1975, p.253
  14. Back to top↑ Freyeisen, p.467
  15. Back to top↑ Freyeisen, p.474
  16. Back to top↑ Ernest G. Heppner, Shanghai Refuge – A Memoir of the World War II Jewish Ghetto , 1995.
  17. Back to top↑ Freyeisen, p.475, Meisinger was supposed to present in Berlin the creation of the Shanghai Ghetto, which occurred shortly after, as its own success.