Recihsleiter -- Who's Who

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Mark Costa
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Recihsleiter -- Who's Who

Post by Mark Costa » 19 Oct 2002 19:10

There seems to be some confusion as the exact number of persons promoted to the highest Party rank of Reichsleiter. In some references the number range from 12 to 20. There were in fact 22 men who were elevated to the rank during the Third Reich 1933-45. With a further 4 men who may have been.

On June 2, 1933 Hitler promoted the following 16 men to that rank:
13 were members of the Party Departments and 3 Heads of the Party's independent formations.

PARTY DEPARTMENTAL CHIEFS:
Rudolf Hess
Max Amann -- Head of Party Publishing.
Franz Xaver Schwarz -- Party Treasurer.
Phillipp Bouhler -- Chief of Hitler's Personal Chancellery.
Alfred Rosenberg -- Head of Party Ideology and Foreign Policy.
Dr. Hans Frank -- Chief of the Party's Legal Office.
Dr. Robert Ley -- Chief of Party Organization.
Karl Fiehler -- Chief of Party Municipal Policy.
Walter Buch -- Chief Judge of the Supreme Party Tribunal.
Wilhelm Grimm -- Chief /Second Chamber of the Supreme Party Tribunal.
Dr. Josef Goebbels -- Chief of Party Propaganda.
Walther Darre -- Chief of the Party Agrarian Office.
Dr. Otto Dietrich -- Party Press Chief.

FORMATION CHIEFS:
Ernst Roehm -- Stabchef der SA.
Heinrich Himmler -- Reichsfuhrer SS
Baldur Von Schirach -- Reichsjugendfuhrer HJ.

Between June and October 1933 three more men were added to the list:

Franz Ritter Von Epp -- Chief of the Party Colonial Office.
Dr. Wilhelm Frick -- Chief of the Party's Reichstag Faction.
Martin Bormann -- Chief of Staff to the Deputy Fuhrer (Hess)

On October 10, 1933 Hess was "kicked upstairs" to Deputy Fuhrer for Party Matters. Henceforth, Hess never again used his titles of Reichsleiter nor SS Obergruppenfuhrer (honorary). Nor did he ever wear the SS uniform again.

In 1934 Roehm was purged in the Night of the Long Knives. His replacement as Stabchef der SA was :

Viktor Lutze.

Between 1936 - 1938 two more men were promoted to Reichsleiter der NSDAP:

Konstantin Hierl 1936 -- Reichsarbietfuhrer RAD
Adolf Huhnlein 1938 -- Korpsfuhrer NSKK.

Possible further Promotions:

In 1940 Baldur von Schirach was deemed too old to be the head of the Hitler Youth. After much debate it was decided to give him the Gauleitership of Vienna. Although technically a demotion (Gauleiter ranks below Reichsleiter) Von Schirach was allowed to retain his Reichsleiter title and uniform with a nebulous new title of "Reichsleiter for Youth Education". His replacement in the Hitler Youth was Berlin Obergebietsfuhrer Artur Axmann. Although the new Reichsjugendfuhrer wore collar tabs identical to Reichsleiter Himmler, Lutze and Huhnlein, he does not seem to have inherited the title of Reichsleiter. Some wartime sources list him as such but the Party Yearbook is distinctly absent with the title.

In June of 1942 Adolf Huhnlein died after a lengthy illness, his replacement was NSKK Obergruppenfuhrer Erwin Kraus. Kraus too inherited the Korpsfuhrer title and collar insignia but again does not seem to have been given the title "Reichsleiter der NSDAP". Again some sources list him as a Reichsleiter but the official Party yearbooks do not.

In May of 1943 Viktor Lutze was killed in a car accident. At first Hitler was reluctant to name a new SA Stabchef. From May through November 1943 Wilhelm Schepmann was "acting Stabchef". For this short period of time he wore special collar tabs denoting his "acting" rank. These were slightly different than the tabs of the other heads of the Party formations. In November 1943 we was finally confirmed as Stabchef. But again does not inherit the Reichsleiter title, at least according to the Party Yearbooks.

One other possible promotion occured in April of 1945. Hitler named Gauleiter Karl Hanke as the new Reichsfuhrer SS in replace of the disgraced Himmler. It is doubtful if Hanke ever learned of his promotion as he went into hiding and was executed by Czech Partisans.

If anyone has further information regarding the 4 unconfirmed Reichsleiters: Axmann, Kraus, Schepmann and Hanke that may shed light on their promotions please contact me or post it here. Thank you for all your interest and help.

regards,

Mark

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 19 Oct 2002 19:21

Interesting post, thanks.

/Marcus

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Reichsleiters 1939-1945

Post by fjr02 » 22 Jul 2007 16:06

Marc,
Great information - thanks for posting it.

I've recently made the plunge on a layaway for a Reichsleiter armband & 4th pattern single collar tab as a set.
The insignia has been issued, it's not new.
The 4th pattern collar tabs were worn starting in 1939.

I guess it's correct to say that one of the men on your list wore the insginia?
Very exciting piece of history.

Thanks for the help.
- Kevin S.
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Post by Mark Costa » 22 Jul 2007 17:16

Kevin:

These are a great set. The armband is rarer than the tab but certainly the cream of any collection. And yes, they would have been worn by one of them. The question is which one of them. You can ponder that question every time you hold them. But I can say, that only 15 Reichsleiters actually did wear these insignias. So take your pick:

Max Amann
Philipp Bouhler -- I have seen only one photo EVER of him wearing the 1939 style- He always opted for SS after 1939.
Franz Xaver Schwarz
Alfred Rosenberg
Hans Frank -- but only from 1939-1942 -- He was fired as a Reichsleiter in 1942. He rarely wore the 1939 uniform.
Wilhelm Frick
Robert Ley
Karl Fiehler
Walter Buch
Wilhelm Grimm for only 1 year. After 1940 he wore the ultra rare BLACK Reichsleiter tabs.
Martin Bormann
Walther Darré
Otto Dietrich
Franz von Epp
Baldur von Schirach

Josef Goebbels and Rudolf Hess never wore insignias. The other Reichsleiters always wore the insignias of the independent organizations (ie SA SS NSKK etc).

Enjoy your acquisition -- I am envious.

Mark Costa

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 22 Jul 2007 17:20

Mark, THANKS for this thread!!!

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Re: Recihsleiters -- Who's Who

Post by Roderick » 24 Jul 2007 03:19

Mark Costa wrote:
In 1940 Baldur von Schirach was deemed too old to be the head of the Hitler Youth. After much debate it was decided to give him the Gauleitership of Vienna.


too old? why? as far as I know, Schirach himself went to the Western front before being called to Hitler in July1940 and appointed Gauleiter of Vienna. I think it was a promotion.

Roderick

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 24 Jul 2007 05:37

Well... in 1940, Baldur was 33 years old and Artur Axmann was 27 years old... I think is not much the diference... What Do you think?

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Post by Mark Costa » 24 Jul 2007 12:22

The removal of von Schirach was basically an excuse to remove another Reichsleiter from the center of power and by appointing him as a gauleiter he took a demotion in a sense. Retained his uniform and title but had little to do in the Reichsleitung. It sort of backfired as Axmann was not a Bormann man. Lauterbacher was Bormann's man for the HJ Reichsjugendfuhrer job, but he waited too late. He then managed to get Lauterbacher a gauleitership when Rust stepped down. In fact most of the gauleiters appointed after 1939 were Bormann men: Scheel, Hoffmann, Gerland, Holz, Wegener, Stohr.

In 1938 Bormann as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Fuhrer was making his move to streamline the top heavy Reichsleitung. Many of the departments headed by Reichsleiters were deemed unimportant (at least by Bormann) and he encouraged Hess to start making changes. His first success was to send the obscure non-essential Wilhelm Grimm into retirement which took place sometime in late 1939 or early 1940. He had already succeeded in replacing him in the party court in 1938. Grimm had his uniform and title but no job. Von Schirach was next. In 1942 Reichsleiter Hans Frank was fired from the Reichsleitung. Reichsleiter von Epp had his Party Colonial Office closed in early 1943. Reichsleiter Darre was replaced as Head of the Party Agrarian office and Reichsminister of Agriculture by Backe but Backe did not receive the Reichsleiter title. Wilhelm Frick was sent to Bohemia and Moravia as Reichsprotector as he no longer had a use as a Reichsleiter of the Reichstag Faction -- It hadn't met in a year. Reichsleiter Buch still had a job as Supreme Party Judge but had been replaced as head of the First Chamber Court -- He had a title and uniform but no real power.

Hence by 1943, when Bormann took the title of Secretary of the Fuhrer, he was already Head of the Party Chancellery (suceeding Hess) and in total control of the Gauleiters and had literally sent home several Reichsleiters. Of the 16 departmental Reichsleiters, only 9 remained in office plus Bormann himself. And of the 5 Organization Reichsleiters, Bormann had replaced Adolf Huhnlein with his own man Erwin Kraus as NSKK Korpsfuhrer. He replaced Viktor Lutze with another of his men Wilhelm Schepmann as Stabchef der SA. Even as late as November 1944 Bormann was still trying to find ways to rid the reichsleitung of Amann, Fiehler, and Otto Dietrich. Bouhler had his office closed in 1944 and basically had nothing to do either.

It was basically a consolidation plan by Bormann to put the entire party apparatus under his immediate control.

Mark Costa

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 24 Jul 2007 14:05

Great explication, thanks Mark!

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Post by Roderick » 26 Jul 2007 01:27

Helly Angel wrote:Well... in 1940, Baldur was 33 years old and Artur Axmann was 27 years old... I think is not much the diference... What Do you think?


same like you, Helly! that's the reason I thought strange, there's no difference...

felicidades,

>Rod

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