Friedrich Panzinger

Friedrich Panzinger
Born 1 February 1903
Munich, German Empire
Died 8 August 1959(1959-08-08) (aged 56)
West Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Sturmabteilung, Schutzstaffel and Sicherheitsdienst
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Oberführer (senior colonel)
Commands held Einsatzgruppe A

Friedrich Panzinger (1 February 1903 – 8 August 1959) was a German SS officer during the Nazi era. He served as the head of Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) Amt IV A, from September 1943 to May 1944 and the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe A in the Baltic States and Belarus. From 15 August 1944 forward, he was chief of RSHA Amt V, the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo; Criminal Police), also known as the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt (RKPA). After the war he was a member of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND; Federal Intelligence Service). He committed suicide after being arrested for war crimes.


Panzinger attended night school and began studying law. He took part in a recruitment test for the police and was admitted as a police officer in the civil service. As a police officer in Bavaria, Panzinger worked with Franz Josef Huber, and Josef Meisinger, both future Schutzstaffel (SS) officials.[1] He finally completed a law degree in 1932. In the summer of 1933 Panzinger joined the Sturmabteilung (SA). He joined the Nazi Party with the number 1,017,341.

In April 1937, Panzinger joined the SS with member number 322,118. He was then employed as a Kriminalkommissar (Chief Inspector) in the state police headquarters in Berlin. On 29 June 1940 he began working in the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; Security Police) in Sofia, Bulgaria. In August 1940 he assumed the position of Secretary of Section IV A (Enemies) of the Gestapo, where he performed the task of fighting communism, Marxism and enemy propaganda within Nazi Germany until 4 September 1943.[2] Panzinger's office consisted of the following subdivisions:

  • IV A 1 (Communism, Marxism and subsidiary organizations, war crimes, illegal and enemy propaganda):[2] SS-Sturmbannführer and Kriminaldirektor Josef Vogt, from August 1941 SS-Hauptsturmführer Günther Knobloch
  • IV A 2 (Sabotage defense, counter-sabotage, political-police officer defense, political forgery):[2] SS-Hauptsturmführer and Kriminalkommissar Horst Kopkow
  • IV A 3 (Reactionaries, opposition, legitimism, liberalism, emigration, treacherous affairs and opposition):[2] SS-Sturmbannführer and Krimininaldirektor Willy Litzenberg
  • IV A 4 (Protection service, assassination attempts, monitoring, special order, investigation squad):[2] SS-Sturmbannführer and Kriminaldirektor Franz Schulz

From 4 September 1943 to 6 May 1944 Panzinger succeeded Humbert Achamer-Pifrader as the commander of the three Einsatzkommandos of Einsatzgruppe A, which oversaw the Security Police matters in the area of Army Group North in the Baltic states and Belorussia as part of the Einsatzgruppen. Panzinger's unit carried out the killing of potential opponents and those deemed "racially inferior". During this time Panzinger was also Commander of the Security Police and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) in Riga. Panzinger was assigned to the headquarters of the SD and Gestapo in Ukraine.

A reorganization of Amt IV of the RSHA in March 1944 led to a breakdown of territory divisions between Panzinger and Achamer-Pifrader. While Panzinger took over leadership of sub-office IV A, he also served under Achamer-Pifrader in sub-office IV B. Panzinger's group now stood as follows:

  • IV A 1 (Opposition): Panzinger
  • IV A 2 (Sabotage): Horst Kopkow
  • IV A 3 (Abwehr): SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Huppenkothen
  • IV A 4 (Ideological opponents): SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann
  • IV A 5 (Special cases): SS-Standartenführer and government director Rudolf Mildner
  • IV A 6 (Index, files, protective custody): SS-Sturmbannführer, government and police superintendent Dr. Emil Berndorff

In July 1944, after the 20 July plot to kill Hitler, Panzinger was appointed Chief of the Headquarters of the Gestapo, reporting directly to SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller. Shortly thereafter, Panzinger was appointed Chief of RSHA Section V, the Kripo.[3] He held that position until the end of the war.[3] He succeeded Arthur Nebe, who was denounced and executed subsequent to the failed July assassination attempt on Hitler.[4] He collaborated directly with Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the RSHA chief. Panzinger was responsible for the murder of prisoner of war French general Gustave Marie Maurice Mesny on 19 January 1945 near the village of Nossen.[5]

Post-war and criminal charges

After the war Panzinger, considered a war criminal, was arrested in 1946 and imprisoned by the Soviet Union. In Moscow on 22 March 1952 he was twice sentenced to 25 years of forced labor. As a so-called Nichtamnestierter ("non-amnestied"), he was released in September 1955 and repatriated to Germany. He worked for a time on the staff of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND: Federal Intelligence Service) under Reinhard Gehlen and later, in 1959, he was employed by a trust company. In 1959, when charges were brought against Panzinger for the murder of Maurice Mesny, Panzinger committed suicide in his cell on 8 August 1959.



  1. Weale 2010, p. 132.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 McNab 2009, p. 160.
  3. 1 2 Friedlander 1995, p. 55.
  4. Shirer 1960, p. 1393.
  5. Sebastian Weitkamp: "Mord mit reiner Weste". Die Ermordung des Generals Maurice Mesny im Januar 1945, in: Timm C. Richter (Hg.): Krieg und Verbrechen. Situation und Intention: Fallbeispiele. Meidenbauer, München 2006 S. 31-40 ISBN 3-89975-080-2


  • Friedlander, Henry (1995). The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0807822081. 
  • McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 1906626499. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0. 
  • Weale, Adrian (2010). The SS: A New History. London: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1-4087-0304-5. 
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