Walther Bierkamp also spelled, Walter Bierkamp (17 December 1901 – 15 May 1945) was a German jurist of the Third Reich who was born in Hamburg. He served as Chief of the Sicherheitspolizei or SiPo (Security Police) and Sicherheitsdienst or SD (Security Service) in Düsseldorf. Later he held the same position for Belgium and Northern France. Bierkamp was involved in war crimes. He took command of Einsatzgruppe D, which was later known as Kampfgruppe Bierkamp, named after him when Bierkamp was its leader. He rose to the rank of SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of Police. He committed suicide in Scharbeutz on 15 May 1945.
Biography[edit | edit source]
He joined the Nazi Party on 1 December 1932 and joined the Schutzstaffel (SS) on 1 April 1939. He was employed from February 1937 to February 1941 as head of the criminal police department (Kripo) in Hamburg. From February 1941 to September 1941 he worked as chief of the SiPo (Security Police) and SD (Security Service) in Düsseldorf. From there he was sent to Paris as head of the SiPo and SD for Belgium and Northern France; along with being appointed Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer or HSSPF (Higher SS and Police Leader) "Southeast". Bierkamp remained there until April 1942.
From 30 June 1942 to 15 June 1943, he was commander of Einsatzgruppe D, a SS paramilitary death squad which was responsible for mass killings, (typically by shooting) in the Soviet Union. Later Einsatzgruppe D was known as Kampfgruppe Bierkamp (battle group Bierkamp). On 21 and 22 August 1942, 500 Jews from Krasnodar were shot. The same happened on 1 September 1942 in Mineralnye Vody. The Jews of Pyatigorsk were killed in gas vans. More than 6,000 Jews were killed. Additional Jews were murdered in January 1943 in Kislovodsk. The overall death toll of the SS unit during that period amounted to about 10,000 Jewish victims.
Bierkamp was then sent to Kraków as chief of police and security services until February 1945. In this capacity, as well as overseeing the "cleansing of the Jews" in Cracow, he organized the evacuation before the advancing Soviet forces. In his famous circular of 20 July 1944, he ordered the evacuation of prisoners from the prisons and the Jews from the armaments industries. If, he wrote, unforeseen circumstances have made it impossible to transport the inmates, they were to be killed on the spot and they would have to make the bodies disappear by burning them, by blowing up the sheds, or by other means.
In the final weeks of the Third Reich, Bierkamp was in Stuttgart and then in Breslau. He committed suicide in Scharbeutz on 15 May 1945.
Notes[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Andrej Angrick: Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord. Die Einsatzgruppe D in der südlichen Sowjetunion 1941-1943, Hamburg: Hamburger Edition 2003, ISBN 3-930908-91-3.
- Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Fischer, aktualisierte 2. Auflage, Frankfurt am Main 2007. ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8.
- Helmut Krausnick/Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm: Die Truppe des Weltanschauungskrieges. Die Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD 1938-1942. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-421-01987-8.
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