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Otto Rasch

Otto Rasch
Otto Rasch at the Einsatzgruppen Trial
Born 7 December 1891
Friedrichsruh, German Empire
Died November 1, 1948(1948-11-01) (aged 56)
Wehrstedt, Allied-occupied Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Schutzstaffel
Rank Brigadeführer
Other work Lawyer, Mayor

SS-Brigadeführer Emil Otto Rasch (7 December 1891 — 1 November 1948) was a high-ranking Nazi official in the occupied Eastern territories, commanding Einsatzgruppe C (northern and central Ukraine) until October 1941. As a commanding officer, he was a Holocaust perpetrator and mass murderer.


  • Biography 1
  • In fiction 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4


Rasch was born in Friedrichsruh, northern Germany. He fought in the First World War as a naval lieutenant. He studied philosophy, law, political science, and received doctorates in law and political economy. With two university doctorates, Rasch was known as "Dr. Dr. Rasch", in accordance with German academic tradition. He became a lawyer in 1931 in Dresden and practiced law in the private sector. In 1933 he became mayor of Radeberg and in 1935 lord mayor of Wittenberg.

Rasch joined the NSDAP on 1 October 1931 with membership number 620,976. He joined the SA in 1933 and the SS on 10 March 1933; with membership number 107,100. Beginning in 1936 he was employed full-time by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). On 1 October 1937, as commissioner, Rasch assumed leadership of the State Police (Stapo) in Frankfurt am Main. In March 1938, again as commissioner, Rasch became director of security (based in Linz) for Upper Austria. In June 1938, Rasch was assigned various responsibilities within the RSHA and was appointed chief of the Security Police (SiPo) and SD in Prague.

In November 1939, as inspector of the SiPo and SD, Rasch was transferred to Soldau concentration camp in the winter of 1939/40 as a Durchgangslager (Dulag), or transit camp, for deportations to the General Government, and where Polish intelligentsia could be secretly executed.[2]

In June 1941, shortly before the invasion of the Soviet Union (Babi Yar massacre, which saw the murder of over 33,000 Jews.

According to the post-war affidavit of Erwin Schulz, commander of Einsatzkommando 5 (part of Einsatzgruppe C):

Rasch made sure that all Einsatzgruppen personnel, including the commanding officers, personally shot Jews, so that all members were culpable.

Around 10–12 August 1941, Hitler gave the Fundamental Order (Führerbefehl) for the extermination of entire populations in the Eastern territories. The commando leaders subordinate to Rasch met with him to discuss this order. Paul Blobel later testified that Rasch basically quoted what had been stated by Friedrich Jeckeln, that "the measures against the Jewish population had to be sharper and that he disapproved of the manner in which they had been carried out until now because it was too mild". In other words, the order was to shoot more Jews. Erwin Schulz confirmed this:

Rasch was discharged from his position in October 1941, and at the beginning of 1942, he became the director of Continental Oil, Inc. in Berlin.

Rasch was indicted at the Einsatzgruppen Trial at the end of September 1947 but the case against Rasch was discontinued on 5 February 1948 because he had Parkinson's Disease and associated dementia.[5] Otto Rasch died later that year on November 1 in Nürnberg.

In fiction


  1. ^ Browning, p. 34
  2. ^ Friedlander, p. 139
  3. ^ Rhodes, p. 223
  4. ^ Rhodes, pp. 124-25
  5. ^ Rhodes, p. 275


  • Christopher Browning (2004). 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.
  • Henry Friedlander (1995). The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4675-9
  • Richard Rhodes (2002). Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40900-9
  • Zenter, Christian and Bedürftig, Friedemann (1991). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, New York: Macmillan, p. 754. ISBN 0-02-897502-2
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