8 May 1894|
Straßburg, German Empire
10 May 1945 51) (aged|
Eggelsberg, Allied-occupied Austria
|Rank||SS-Obergruppenführe und General der Waffe-SS|
SS and Police Leader Ost|
SS Division Nord
World War II
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Other work||War crimes and crimes against humanity, including establishment of concentration camps, forced labor, and mass murder.|
Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger (8 May 1894 – 10 May 1945) was a Nazi official and high-ranking member of the SA and the SS. Between 1939 and 1943 he was the Higher SS and Police Leader in the General Government in German-occupied Poland and in that capacity he organized and supervised numerous acts of crimes against humanity and had a major responsibility for the Holocaust. At the end of the war, he committed suicide.
Krüger was born into a military family in Strassburg, Alsace-Lorraine, Germany (nowadays in France) in 1894; he left school before graduating to begin a military career as a cadet in military schools in Karlsruhe and Gross-Lichterfelde. In June 1914, Krüger was commissioned a second lieutenant in the German Army when World War I broke out. During the course of the war, he was wounded three times and awarded the 1st and 2nd class Iron Crosses. In August 1919, he joined the Freikorps von Lützow, which he left in March 1920. Afterwards he returned to civilian employment and got married.
Activities in SA and SS
While working at a refuse company, he probably met Kurt Daluege, who was an engineer at the company at that time. He later on became SS commander in Berlin and leader of the Ordnungspolizei ("order police") or Orpo. The two men soon formed a friendship. In November 1929, Krüger joined the NSDAP (as member 171,199) ; in February 1931, he also joined the SS (6,123), which he left in April to transfer to the SA. With the help of Daluege, Krüger instantly acquired the SA rank and the power necessary to conduct reforms of the SA Formation East. He was promoted to SA-Gruppenführer in 1932 and joined Ernst Röhm's personal staff.
In June 1933, Krüger was promoted to SA-Obergruppenführer and appointed chief of the Ausbildungswesen ("training", AW). Cooperating closely with the Reichswehr, he used his new position to school the SA's recruits (an estimated 250,000) to become unit leaders. Krüger was not caught in the Night of the Long Knives, in which Röhm and many other high-ranking SA members were killed, and it has been speculated that his switch from the SS to the SA was only for pragmatic reasons, especially in the light of Krüger transferring the SA armouries of which he was in charge to the Reichswehr as soon as the purge began. Afterwards, Krüger re-entered the SS while still keeping his SA rank. In February 1936, he was appointed inspector of border guard units as well as Adolf Hitler's personal representative at a variety of formal and informal NSDAP events.
Crimes in Poland
On 4 October 1939, Heinrich Himmler, appointed him to act as Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF East) (Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer) in the part of German-occupied Poland called the General Government. Krüger thus held one of the highest posts in occupied Poland.
On 11 November 1939, on the orders of Krüger, several hundred Jews were shot to death by German policemen at Ostrow Mazowiecki in northeastern Poland, after digging their own graves following a fire which Jews were blamed for starting; this “action” at Ostrow Mazowiecka was one of the first systematic mass murders of Eastern European Jews during the war.
Among other things, Krüger was responsible for eliminating rebellion in the extermination camps, setting up forced labour camps, the employment of police and SS in the deportations of Jews from Warsaw ghettos, the execution of Aktion Erntefest, the so-called "anti-partisan" fighting in the General Government, and the driving out of over 1,000,000 Polish farmers from the area around Zamość. Disagreements with governor general Hans Frank led to his dismissal on 9 November 1943. He was replaced by Wilhelm Koppe. The Polish Secret State ordered his death, but an assassination attempt on 20 April 1943 in Kraków failed when two bombs hurled at his car missed the target. Six months later, he wrote in a letter, "I have lost honour and reputation due to my four year struggle in the GG (General Government) (Ich habe für meinen vierjährigen Kampf im GG Ehre und Reputation verloren).
Later career and suicide
From November 1943 until April 1944 Krüger served with the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. While ostensibly engaged in anti-partisan actions in Yugoslavia, this unit became notorious for committing atrocities against the civilian population.
Later from June to August Krüger took over the command over the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord in northern Finland. From August 1944 until February 1945 Krüger was commanding general of the V SS Mountain Corps. In February 1945 he was Himmler's representative at the German southeast front and in April and May 1945 he was commander of a combat unit of the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo) at Army Group South (known as Army Group Ostmark after 1 May 1945). At the end of the war Krüger committed suicide in Upper Austria.
- Iron Cross of 1914 1st Class (17 February 1915)
- Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords (25 April 1918)
- War Merit Cross 2nd and 1st Class with Swords (20 April 1942)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (2 August 1943) & 1st Class (15 May 1944)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 22 October 1944 as SS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS and Police, and commander of the 6. SS-Gebirgs-Division "Nord"
- Döring 2001, p. 600.
- Birn 1986, p. 72.
- Bundesarchiv Freiburg, MSG/2/13583, Kriegstagebuch der Leutnant Fried.-Wilh. Krüger
- Thompson 2000, p. 324.
- Friedmann 1995, p. 2.
- Thilo Vogelsang, “Der Chef des Ausbildungswesens (Chef AW)”, in : Gutachten des Institus für Zeitgeschichte, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1966, page 154
- Harran, Marilyn, ed. (2000). The Holocaust Chronicle (1st ed.). Publications International. p. 178. ISBN 978-0785329633.
- Wulf 1961, pp. 225–238.
- Thompson 1967, p. 260.
- Thompson 2000, p. 320.
- Casagrande 2003, p. 270.
- Lester 2005, pp. 11–12.
- Thomas & Wegmann 1993, p. 462.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 478.
- Birn, Ruth Bettina (1986). Die höheren SS- und Polizeiführer. Himmlers Vertreter im Reich und in den besetzten Gebieten. Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf. ISBN 978-3-7700-0710-3.
- Casagrande, Thomas (2003). Die Volksdeutsche SS-Division 'Prinz Eugen'. Die Banater Schwaben und die National-sozialistischen Kriegsverbrechen. Campus Verlag. ISBN 978-3-593-37234-1.
- Döring, Martin (2001). "Parlamentarischer Arm der Bewegung", Die Nationalsozialisten im Reichstag der Weimarer Republik, Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf. ISBN 978-3-7700-5237-0.
- Friedmann, Tuviah (1995) Der Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer im Generalgouvernement, SS-Obergruppenführer Krüger. Haifa, Israel: [Institute of Documentation in Israel for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes]. OCLC 33053235
- Lester, David (2005). "Who Committed Suicide?". Suicide and the Holocaust. Nova Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59454-427-9. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1993). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VI: Die Gebirgstruppe Band 1: A–K [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part VI: The Mountain Troops Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2430-3.
- Thompson, Larry V. (1967). Nazi Administrative Conflict. The Struggle for Executive Power in the General Government of Poland 1939–1943, Dissertation, University of Wisconsin. OCLC 3417584
- Thompson, Larry V. (2000). "Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger. Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer Ost", in : Ronald Smelser, Enrico Syring (Hg.), Die SS : Elite unter dem Totenkopf. Paderborn. ISBN 978-3-506-78562-6.
- Wulf, Josef (1961). Das dritte Reich und seine Vollstrecker. Die Liquidation von 500 000 Juden im Ghetto Warschau, Arani Verlags GmbH, Berlin. OCLC 3466841