Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Early Nazi Leaders
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Friedrich- Wilhelm Krüger
Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger was born in Strassburg on 8 May 1894. The son of a Oberst Albert Krüger who was later killed as a Regimental commander in World War One.
Friedrich – Wilhelm graduated as a cadet and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in March 1914. He served also in World War One with the Infanterie – Regiment “Von Lutzow”, serving as a platoon and company commander adjutant.
After the war in 1919 he became a staff officer with the 20th Infanterie – Division, and from August 1919 to May 1920 he served in the Freikorps and won both classes of Iron Cross and the Wound Badge in Silver, leaving the army in 1920 as an Oberleutnant.
He married in 1922 and had five children: two from his wife and three foster children. In 1924 he served as a director for a refuse company but left after in 1928 because he found the company corrupt. From this date he became a self-employed businessman.
He joined the Nazi Party in mid-November 1920 and the SS in August 1930. Commissioned as an SS- Sturmfuhrer on 16 March 1931, he served as a specialist duties officer with Abschnitt lll from mid-March 1931 to January 1935.
Krüger joined the SA on 3 April 1931 as an SA-Gruppenfuhrer, he served briefly as Stabsfuhrer of SA Gruppe “Ostland” and then commanded the Gruppe until the start of July 1932.
From July 1932 to July 1933, he was chief of the Special Duties Staff of the commander of the SA. He then commanded the training section and SA border units until August 1934, being promoted to SA- Obergruppenfuhrer in 1934.
From 1933 until the end of the war Krüger was a member of the Reichstag and returned to the SS on 25 January 1935, and was immediately promoted to SS-Obergruppenfuhrer. He had no post until March 1936.
From March 1936 to October 1939 he commanded the SS Border Units and was also Inspector of Allgemeine –SS mounted units from May 1938 to October 1939 when he became Higher SS and Police Leader “Ost” based in Krakow.
He served as HSSPF Ost for the General Government until transferring to Himmler’s staff in early November 194, and he became a General der Polizei on 8 August 1941 and later a General der Waffen-SS on 20 May 1944. He also commanded Oberabschnitt “Ost” from mid-September 1939 to October 1943, as well as being deputy Reichskommissar for the General Government from April 1942, until his departure from Poland.
After losing the power struggle with Dr. Hans Frank he requested a combat assignment and trained for a divisional command with “Prinz Eugen” from November 1943 to April 1944. From May to August 1944, he led the 6 SS Gebirgs- Division “Nord” and then commanded the V.SS Freiwilligen – Gebirgs- Korps until mid- February 1945.
During the remainder of the war he was assigned to the HSSPF command area in East Prussia. He was awarded the Knights Cross on Himmler’s recommendation on 22 October 1944 for his command of the “Nord” Division, the clasp to his Iron Cross 1st Class in 1944 , both classes of the War Service Cross with Swords in May 1942, the Gold Party Badge on 30 January 1939 , the SA Sports Badge in Gold and the German Horseman’s Badge in Silver.
Krüger’s friendship with Ernst Rohm and high pre-war rank in the SA and SS made him controversial among other SS leaders – the power struggle with Frank was legendary and he appeared to be a competent divisional commander, as it was an Army commander who recommended him as a corps commander.
The actions of his time as HSSPF “Ost” command resulted in massive suffering for both Jews and Poles, it was Krüger who was charged by Himmler to complete the destruction of Polish Jewry, and it was to Krüger that Stroop sent his daily reports on the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto during April – May 1943.
There were several assassination attempts on his life during his time in the General Government, which he survived, but Krüger took his own life in Libau, Courland on 9 May 1945
Allgemiene –SS – The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS by Mark C Yerger, published by Schiffer Military History Atglen PA 1997
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