Five thousand heads. Who had which role in the third Reich

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Five thousand heads. Who was what in the Third Reich is a biographical reference work on National Socialism that was written by the German police officer Erich Stockhorst.


On 461 pages, without claiming to be exhaustive, the book presents “around 5000 short biographies” of the group of people “who determined the era of the Third Reich”. It was first published in 1967 by the publisher Siegfriedkap-Hardenberg in Velbert, “blick + bild Verlag S. cap KG” . Three unchanged reprints have been published by the right-wing extremist Arndt Verlag since 1985 under the title 5000 heads. Who was what in the 3rd Reich . All publishing houses and publishers had / have profiled apologetic, revisionist literature on National Socialism in their program.

In the foreword, the author states that he “exclusively” used documents from the National Socialist era for the biographies , including the “Organization Book of the NSDAP” and the “National Socialist Yearbook”. Furthermore , the Nazi documents used as evidence for the International Military Tribunal to reach a verdict, which are summarized in the 42 volumes of the Blue Series , were also evaluated . No evidence is given in the biographical articles themselves. Stockhorst writes that he does not want to "defame or glorify" with his writing, but rather "register". In this context he points out that “an evaluation of actions was neither intended”, “nor did the documents used as sources permit such an evaluation”. The foreword is followed by fifteen pages with organizational schemes of the NSDAP, which, together with the associated legends, come from the NSDAP's organization book from 1937. For “documentary proof” corrections of the short biographies by the readers, a supplement or a new edition is planned.

Since the appearance of the 5000 heads in 1967, other biographical reference works on National Socialism that are much more well-founded have come onto the market: Robert Wistrich published the book Who's Who in Nazi Germany in 1982 (in German: Who was who in the Third Reich. Followers, Followers , Opponents from business, military, art and science , Munich 1983). A revised and expanded edition of Wistrich's work was published in 1983 by Hermann Weiß . In 1998, in contrast to his work on Wistrich's book, Weiß had his own Biographical Lexicon on the Third Reich , which contains 500 entries. In 2003, Ernst Klee published his personal dictionary on the Third Reich , which has been reprinted several times since then and lists 4,300 people.


In the review section of the magazine Bücherei und Bildung (BuB) a review by BuB editor-in-chief Hans Harald Breddin appeared in 1968, who described the work as "amateurish impostor". He criticizes the lack of numerous important personalities and shows by means of random samples that the information contained is often incorrect. Breddin sums up: "Even if you occasionally discover new - hopefully correct - information, the book still belongs in the trash".

In the Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft , the most important historical scientific journal in the GDR , Gerhard Becker certified the author in 1968 as having “done a thorough job and created a useful reference work”. Becker sees the work as a certain replacement for the brown book confiscated in the Federal Republic of Germany and criticizes the fact that the biographies did not go beyond 1945. He also criticizes the selection of the persons included ("quite a few gaps in the list of the murderer generals and Ribbentrop diplomats"). The reviewer considers Heinrich Albertz , the governing mayor of West Berlin , who had an entry in the book and at the time the book was published , to be a "somewhat meaningless pastor" and would have preferred Kurt Georg Kiesinger and Heinrich Lübke to be listed instead .

A review in the journal for geopolitics from 1968 also regretted that the author scrutinized only a few personalities in the contemporary Federal Republic. In the opinion of the reviewer Willy Brandt and Heinrich Lübke , Stockhorst could have safely added : “The dead are more fully represented than the living, whose previous lives might be of interest.” He also credits the work with the fact that even with 5000 entries, due to the large number of people to be recorded it was not possible to achieve completeness, but complains that the criteria according to which it was decided who was included should have been made clearer.

In the Political Studies , Klaus Reckling Stockhorst and his publisher admitted that they had remained loyal to their concern of “neither defaming nor glorifying”, but saw the usefulness of the individual entries as severely impaired by their scarcity. Numerous people are recorded with sparse data, personalities are so fragmentary that one wonders, "To whom this book really provides a 'contribution to contemporary history' that helps them further."

The US historian Dietrich Orlow evaluated Stockhorst's work in his book The Nazi Party 1919-1945. A Complete History from 1969 as “by far the most complete” then available “compilation of biographical data on the personnel of Nazism” (“by far the most complete compilation of biographical data on Nazi personnel”).

Hans Jürgen Rieckenberg said in the Archivalische Zeitschrift 1970 that the work would do justice to its task as a first source of information despite some shortcomings. He criticized the fact that the entries were often too short in relation to the importance of the person, and regretted that the period after 1945 was no longer taken into account. He attributes the inconsistency of the presentation to coincidences caused by the sources.

In 1992, Martin Moll described the reference work in the historical reports of the Ranke Society as "out of date".

Joachim Lilla , who relied on Stockhorst's book for his study of extras in uniform about members of the Reichstag during the Nazi era , rated it in 2004 as the “most comprehensive and ambitious attempt to date” of a work in which one “quasi Reichsweit ”about the lives of important personalities, not just the very first row of the Nazi era. However, he sees Stockhorst's book as hardly satisfactory, which is evident from the comparatively narrow list of sources that he uses. This could be the starting point, but not the sole basis of such a publication, especially since it is only about published material.


  • Erich Stockhorst: Five thousand heads. Who had which role in the third Reich. blick + bild Verlag S. cap KG, Velbert / Kettwig 1967, first edition, DNB 458 250 953 ; Reprint of this edition as 2nd edition. Arndt , Kiel 1985 ISBN 3-88741-116-1 . Further reprints 1998, 2000

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Erich Stockhorst: Five thousand heads. Who had which role in the third Reich. 1967, foreword pp. 7-11.
  2. ^ Robert B. Slocum: Biographical Dictionaries and related Works. An International Bibliography of Collective Biographies, Bio-Bibliographies, Collections of Epitaphs, Selected Genealogical Works, Dictionaries of Anonyms and Pseudonyms, Historical and Specialized Dictionaries, Biographical Materials in Government. Volume 1, 1978, p. 104.
  3. ^ Constitutional Protection Report 2008, p. 140, Constitutional Protection Report 2008 Schleswig-Holstein ( Memento of the original dated May 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 458 kB), p. 56. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Library and Education 20 (1968), 2, p. 37 f.
  5. Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft 16 (1968), 6, p. 827 f.
  6. ^ Journal of Geopolitics , Vol. 39 (1968), p. 93.
  7. Klaus Reckling: Political Studies , Vol. 20 (1969), p. 368.
  8. ^ Dietrich Orlow: The Nazi Party 1919-1945. A Complete History , New York 2008, p. 557.
  9. Archivalische Zeitschrift 66, 1970, p. 167 f.
  10. Martin Moll: The fall of old fighters. A new approach to the rule analysis of the Nazi regime. In: Historische Mitteilungen der Ranke-Gesellschaft 5 (1992), p. 6.
  11. ^ Joachim Lilla , Martin Döring, Andreas Schulz: extras in uniform. The members of the Reichstag 1933–1945. A biographical manual. Including the ethnic and National Socialist members of the Reichstag from May 1924. Droste, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-5254-4 , p. 9.