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Erwin Schulz

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Erwin Schulz

Erwin Schulz
Erwin Schulz at the Einsatzgruppen Trial
Born 27 November 1900
Berlin, German Empire
Died 11 November 1981(1981-11-11) (aged 80)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Schutzstaffel and Sicherheitsdienst
Years of service 1935–1945
Rank Brigadeführer (brigadier general)
Unit Einsatzgruppe C
Commands held Einsatzkommando 5
Other work Lawyer

Erwin Schulz (27 November 1900 in Berlin – 11 November 1981) was a German member of the Gestapo and the Nazi SS-Brigadeführer promoted during Operation Barbarossa. He was the leader of Einsatzkommando 5 killing squad in Einsatzgruppe C attached to the Army Group South in the invasion of Poland, under the command of Brigadeführer Otto Rasch.[1]


Schulz never received a doctorate in law although some Nazis called him Dr. Schulz. He studied law only for two semesters in Berlin but left university to join the Freikorps in 1922.[1] For a time, he worked in a bank and relocated to Hamburg in 1923. He joined the Schutzpolizei in Bremen,[1] and was appointed a police lieutenant in 1926. In 1931 he was an informant for the SS. He officially joined the Nazi Party in May 1933 and in November was appointed head of the Gestapo of Bremen. In 1935 he joined the SS and SD. In March 1938 he was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer and Councillor of State in the state of Bremen. In April 1940 he was inspector-instructor of cadets of the SiPo and SD at Charlottenburg.

Schulz was appointed chief of Einsatzkommando 5 in May 1941. He directed the execution of thousands of Jews in Lvov, Zhytomyr, Dubno and Berdychiv between June and late August 1941. When he convened with Otto Rasch at Zhytomyr in mid August 1941, Rasch informed him that on the orders of Adolf Hitler, more Jews needed to be shot. Friedrich Jeckeln ordered that all Jews not engaged in forced labor, including women and children, were to be slaughtered.[2] Schulz summarized the meeting:

After about two weeks' stay in Berdichev the commando leaders were ordered to report to Zhitomir, where the staff of Dr. Rasch was quartered. Here Dr. Rasch informed us that Obergruppenführer Jeckeln had been there, and had reported that the Reichsführer-SS had ordered us to take strict measures against the Jews. It had been determined without doubt that the Russian side had ordered to have the SS members and Party members shot. As such measures were being taken on the Russian side, they would also have to be taken on our side. All suspected Jews were, therefore, to be shot. Consideration was to be given only when they were indispensable as workers. Women and children were to be shot also in order not to have any avengers remain. We were horrified, and raised objections, but they were met with a remark that an order which was given had to be obeyed.[3]

Shortly thereafter he questioned both Bruno Streckenbach and Reinhard Heydrich on this point; it was confirmed that this order had come from Hitler. Schulz asked to be relieved of his post, citing that he was not made for this kind of mission in the East.[4] At the end of August, he left Zhytomyr for Berlin and was promoted to SS-Oberführer for his good service. He was appointed deputy to Erwin Rösener, the SS and Police Leader of SS-Oberabschnitt Alpenland from 1 May to 28 May 1944.

Arrested by the Allies, Schulz wrote a letter to Lucius D. Clay, representative of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, requesting clemency.[2]

At the Einsatzgruppen Trial, the Tribunal acknowledged that he had acted to oppose the "intolerable" situation that was put to him but found him guilty of committing mass murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. This sentence was commuted to 15 years in prison in January 1951. On 9 January 1954 Schulz was released from the prison for war criminals in Landsberg on probation.[5]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ a b Christopher Browning. The Origins of the Final Solution : The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942 (With contributions by Jürgen Matthäus), Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 2004, p. 663. ISBN 0-803-25979-4
  3. ^
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  5. ^ This article incorporates information from the corresponding article in the French WorldHeritage
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