Erich von dem Bach

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I was the only SS leader in Russia who was not assassinated or upon whom an assassination was never attempted. I could walk anywhere without a bodyguard.

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski (March 1, 1899March 8, 1972), born Erich Julius Eberhard von Zelewski, was a Nazi official and a member of the SS, in which he reached the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer. In exchange for his testimony against his former superiors at the Nuremberg Trials, von dem Bach never faced trial for any war crimes. In 1961, he received an additional sentence of ten years imprisonment. None of the sentences referred to his role in the East and his participation in the massacres, though he openly admitted to having murdered Jews. He died in a Munich prison on March 8, 1972. It has been said that Hitler particularly admired von dem Bach's ruthlessness and ingenuity.

Sourced[edit]

Germany could not win this war because it was in league with the devil. This war would not have ended without revolution.
  • I was the only SS leader in Russia who was not assassinated or upon whom an assassination was never attempted. I could walk anywhere without a bodyguard.
    • To Leon Goldensohn (14 February 1946) from The Nuremberg Interviews (2004) by Leon Goldensohn and Robert Gellately
  • From May until August, I went on a search for Himmler. Finally, I gave myself up voluntarily in August 1945. I went from one village to another looking for Himmler in order to kill him. I also wanted to find my family, whose whereabouts I did not know. I didn't know what the future held in store for me. At that time, I thought it was certain that since I was an SS general, I would be taken prisoner and executed at once.
    • To Leon Goldensohn (14 February 1946) from The Nuremberg Interviews (2004) by Leon Goldensohn and Robert Gellately
  • Germany could not win this war because it was in league with the devil. This war would not have ended without revolution.
    • To Leon Goldensohn (14 February 1946) from The Nuremberg Interviews (2004) by Leon Goldensohn and Robert Gellately
  • I am the only living witness but I must say the truth. Contrary to the opinion of the National Socialists that the Jews were a highly organized group, the appalling fact was that they had no organization whatsoever. The mass of the Jewish people were taken completely by surprise. Never before has a people gone so unsuspectingly to its disaster. After the first anti-Jewish actions of the Germans, they thought now the wave was over and so they walked back to their undoing.
    • Quoted in Survivors, Victims, and Perpetrators : Essays on the Nazi Holocaust (1980) by Joel E. Dimsdale, p. 35

About Bach-Zelewski[edit]

  • Von dem Bach is so clever he can do anything, get around anything.
    • Adolf Hitler, as quoted in The Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II (1978) by Thomas D. Parrish and Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall, p. 45
  • I hardly recognize him here. He was very egocentric, tried to get ahead without considering others.
  • Bach-Zelewski is a liar and a criminal — a terrible man. I repeat, he is a liar, a criminal, and a killer. I have proof of what I am saying about myself, but I know that Bach-Zelewski is a frightful liar.
  • But to go back to Bach-Zelewski — I think Bach-Zelewski has the kind of personality that can't differentiate between the truth and lies. He gets himself so much into the whole thing he can't differentiate. He convinces himself and believes he has gone so far that he has to die for the cause. Originally it was not the truth, but he so convinces himself — he's ready to die for it.
  • That Swine.
    • Herman Goering upon seeing Von Dem Bach about to testify at the Nuremberg Trials.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

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