Rudolf Diels

Rudolf Diels ( Berghausen , Rhineland 16 of December of 1900 – Katzenelnbogen , 18 of November of 1957 ) was a lawyer and official German who served as first head of the Gestapo , 1933-1934. 1 Member of the Schutzstaffel , obtained the rank of SS-Oberführer , and was a personal protégé of Hermann Göring .


Early years

Diels was born in Berghausen of the Taunus , in the bosom of a family of farmers. 2 Served in the Imperial Army during World War I and later, from 1919, he began to study law at the University of Marburg . In the university environment soon gained the reputation of being a drinker and a womanizer. 3 During these years he received several facial scars as a result of the academic duels he had with young Germans and Austrians High Class to demonstrate their virility. Nevertheless, the scars did not suppose a great damage to him of its good appearance and in fact it continued to have a rather striking appearance. 4

Head of the Gestapo

In 1930 he joined the Prussian Interior Ministry and two years later was promoted to the position of adviser to the Prussian Police, with the mission of investigating both the communists and the Nazis . 2 When Adolf Hitler came to power, Diels was appointed head of the Prussian Secret Police . Göring became Minister-President of Prussia in 1933, and soon was impressed with the work of Diels and his new commitment with the Nazi Party. Diels became a protégé of Göring. 2 In April 1933, Göring was appointed head of the new Department 1A of the Prussian State Police, responsible for political crimes. 5Department 1A was soon renamed as Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police), or Gestapo . 6

On 27 February 1933 the Reichstag Fire occurred and Diels was the interrogator of the main accused, Marinus van der Lubbe . 2 He later informed Hitler that he believed that the fire had been initiated by van der Lubbe alone. However, Hitler was convinced that the real culprits were the Communists. 2 Shortly after the incident the Reichstag, in October 1933, Diels ordered Arthur Nebe organize the assassination of former Nazi leader Gregor Strasser , but eventually the plan was not carried out.

Diels soon attracted the attention of political rivals, including the head of the SS , Heinrich Himmler , and his deputy, Reinhard Heydrich . Between 1933 and 1934, Himmler and Heydrich were taking over the German political police of each state, region after region. Soon, the only secret police outside her control was the Prussian. 7 8 Concerned that Diels was not being ruthless enough to counter effectively the power of the Sturmabteilung (SA) Goring handed control of the Gestapo to Himmler on 20 April 1934. Also that same day, Hitler appointed Himmler Head of all German police agencies outside Prussia. Heydrich, appointed by Himmler as head of the Gestapo on April 22, 1934, continued as head of the SS ( Sicherheitsdienst or SD) security service. 9 Despite being discredited, with the help of Göring, Diels managed to avoid being executed in the summer of 1934 during the so-called ” Night of the Long Knives “. Previously he had briefly become deputy chief of police in Berlin. Shortly after he was appointed Regierungspräsident local government of Cologne . 2

Last years and postwar

Diels maintained its relation with Göring, and got to marry with a cousin of its protector, Ilse Göring. 2 In 1940 Hermann Göring saved him from being put in prison after having refused to order the arrest of several Jews. However, in 1944, after the July 20 bombing that attempted to assassinate Hitler, he was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned, although he survived. 2

During the Nuremberg trials , Diels filed an affidavit with the prosecuting party, although he would also be summoned to testify by Göring’s defense counsel. After 1950 he served in the post-war government of Lower Saxony 2 and later in the Home Office, until he retired from active duty in 1953. Diels died on 18 November 1957 while he was hunting, when his rifle was accidentally discharged . 2 10


The memoirs of Diels, Lucifer Ante Portas: Von Severing bis Heydrich , were published in 1950 .

After his retirement he published another much less cautious work: Der Fall Otto Johns (“The Case of Otto John “, 1954 ).


  1. Back to top↑ Larson, 2011 , pp. 117-118, 138-140.
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e f g h i j Hamilton, 1984 , p. 258.
  3. Back to top↑ Larson, 2011 , p. 64.
  4. Back to top↑ Larson, 2011 , p. 116.
  5. Back to top↑ Miller, 2006 , p. 433.
  6. Back to top↑ Miller, 2006 , p. 502.
  7. Back to top↑ Larson, 2011 , p. 138.
  8. Back to top↑ Flaherty, 2004 , p. 66.
  9. Back to top↑ Williams, 2001 , p. 61.
  10. Back to top↑ Larson, 2011 , p. 362.