Otto Ohlendorf

Dr. Otto Ohlendorf ( Hannover , 4 of February of 1907 – Landsberg , 7 of June of 1951 ) was an SS Gruppenführer (General Division) and head of the SD .

As a Nazi officer

Born in Hoheneggelsen, near Hildesheim , Hanover, Ohlendorf was the son of a farmer. In 1925 he joined the Nazi Party with the number 6,631 and the following year was enrolled as a member of the SS with the number 880.

Despite his humble origin, he studied economics and law at the universities of Leipzig and Gottingen , and in 1930 got a job teaching in different institutions. At the beginning of 1936 he was appointed economic advisor to the Security office belonging to the SD. In 1936 he is promoted and placed in front of the office III of the Central Security Office of the Reich or RSHA according to its acronym in German.

In 1943 he is named Secretary of State of Economy and promoted to General of Division of the SS , the 9 of November of 1944 .

Commander of special groups

In June 1941, Reinhard Heydrich names Ohlendorf commander of the Einsatzgruppe D operating in the south of the Eastern front, especially in Ukraine and Crimea , in the extermination of Jews and the repression of the partisan groups and the activities of the Russian resistance. In carrying out this charge it appears that Ohlendorf is responsible for the Simferopol massacre, where at least 14,300 people, mostly Jews, were executed. In total, more than 90,000 executions are attributed to Ohlendorf’s special command. This charge lasted until July 1942.

In the ministry of Economy

Among the positions he held in the Ministry of Economy was particularly important his work for the structural modernization of Germany , post-war reconstruction plans (many of them later executed in practice) and the all-out struggle he fought against The bureaucratization of politics and economics. He was also one of the leaders of the economic trend of modernization of production, advocate of the mixed system, which advocated economic planning in production and wholesale trading coexisting with free capitalist enterprise in distribution and retail manufacturing.

Promotions in the SS

  • SS- Gruppenführer .u.Gen.Lt.d.Pol .: Division General – November 9, 1944.
  • SS- Brigadeführer .u.Gen.Maj.d.Pol .:; Brigadier General
  • SS- Oberführer : General – November 9, 1941.
  • SS- Standartenführer : Colonel – January 1, 1940.
  • SS- Obersturmbannführer : Lieutenant Colonel – November 9, 1938.
  • SS- Sturmbannführer : Mayor – April 20, 1937.
  • SS- Hauptsturmführer .: Captain – July 9, 1936.


At the end of the war, he remained with the staff group SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler and witnessed his arrest on 20 of maypole of 1945 in Luneburg.

During the proceedings for the crimes of the special groups, Ohlendorf defended himself and other defendants, while at times he was a witness to the accusation. His testimony, with frightening coldness and frankness, brought him to the gallows at the same time as some of his former companions. Ohlendorf declared himself terribly disgusted by the corruption that had been experienced in the Third Reich and by the moral depravity of the leaders. On the other hand, he showed no remorse for his actions, nor the least compassion for the victims.

Otto Ohlendorf was sentenced to death on 19 April 1948 and hanged on 7 of June of 1951 , in the fortress of Landsberg, after the ” trial of the Einsatzgruppen “.

In fiction

According to an interview with Thomas Harris , this is the character inspired by Dr. Hannibal Lecter, from his novel The Silence of the Lambs , although in the later installments of the series about the same character that wrote the same author the parallelism disappears .

He is one of the most important characters in the Holocaust novel by Gerald Green , which tells the story of a Jewish and German family during the Holocaust of World War II .