The son of the domain tenant Adolf Bene attended the humanistic grammar school in Marburg . After completing a commercial apprenticeship with a cloth merchant in Frankfurt am Main, he worked in Canton (China) and Hamburg . Bene was a participant in the First World War . He signed up as a war volunteer in August 1914 and joined Field Artillery Regiment No. 45 on the Western Front at the end of October 1914 . There he was later appointed lieutenant in the reserve , and served from December 1916 to the dissolution of the regiment in January 1919 as an orderly officer in the regimental staff .
After the end of the war, Bene became an authorized signatory and partner in an export / import company in Hamburg and London . In 1923 he wrote a chronicle on behalf of the former members of his regiment. In London Bene came on December 1, 1931, the Nazi Party and became the international organization local branch of the NSDAP in London and from 1934 Landesgruppenleiter in the UK and Ireland . Since June 1, 1937, he had a position in the NSDAP as Gauamtsleiter. In the SS he was SS-Standartenführer in 1939 and advanced to SS-Brigadführer (General) in 1942 .
Access to the Foreign Office
The circumstances under which Bene, who did not have a university degree, overcame the high personnel requirements of the Foreign Office and found his way into the higher-level foreign service, can only be explored to a limited extent. In the context of the Schülerschen reform of 1921, applicants without a university degree also entered the foreign service, but this access option ended with an amendment of the new training regulations as part of this reform in 1924 (cf. Keipert XXXV / XXXVI); the high admission criteria of the AA continued to apply in the 1930s.
Since Bene immediately took office as Consul General in peacetime more than a year before completing the diplomatic-consular examination, it can be assumed that Bene's attitude was based on a certain hastiness - or the protection of a high-ranking party member or network within the NSDAP, which is likely. However, it has not yet been possible to say either with absolute certainty.
A connection with the appointment of Ernst Wilhelm Bohle as State Secretary and Head of the Foreign Organization at the Foreign Office, who in his function had a newly created veto on new appointments to the Foreign Office and helped a group of loyal candidates with a profile similar to that of Bene to the Foreign Office, leaves a connection not establish themselves. His appointment and commencement of service in the rank of State Secretary was made possible by Hitler's direct decree only three quarters of a year after Benes joined the Foreign Office, namely on January 30, 1937. It was only with Ernst Wilhelm Bohle in the Foreign Office that the NSDAP had a right to object to the start of service politically as unreliable diplomats created and anchored. Regardless of this, the biographies of Bene and Bohle show astonishing similarities. Both were early members of the NSDAP-AO, merchants, lived temporarily in England and had other stations abroad.
Activities for the Foreign Office in Italy and the occupied Netherlands
Since March 14, 1936 he was a member of the Foreign Service as consul general and from June 1937 in Milan . From 1939 to October 1, 1941 he was the Reich government representative for the resettlement of the South Tyroleans , and since January 1940 in the rank of envoy . On May 28, 1940, instead of the former Amsterdam consul Felix Benzler, he was the representative of the Foreign Office at the Reich Commissioner for the occupied Dutch territories, Reich Minister Arthur Seyß-Inquart, until the end of the war . Otto Bene was a member of the staff of Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart and, as the highest-ranking permanent representative of the AA, was on an equal footing with the Commissioners General, but without his own office. Politically uninfluential, he was only considered the "eye and ear" of Ribbentrop (according to Bene after the war).
There he developed his own initiatives for the expatriation and deportation of Dutch Jews. He provided the head of “Section III / Jewish Question, Racial Policy” Fritz Gebhardt von Hahn with a list of foreign Jews who were still in the Netherlands.
He reported both on the course of the persecution of the Jews in the occupied Netherlands and on the domestic political development there with a view to the hoped-for self-Nazification of the Dutch population:
Kabel Otto Benes ex The Hague to the Foreign Office:
To the Department of Jews in the Germany Department of the Foreign Office of November 16, 1942 on the status of the "final solution" of the Jewish question :
“... baptized Jews can of course not be viewed as Christian believers and, for example, exempted from being deported. They will unroll over time like everyone else. "
Report to the Inland II Department of the Foreign Office of July 10, 1944 on the deportation of Jewish citizens from the Netherlands:
“For the Netherlands, the Jewish question can be said to have been resolved after the majority of Jews have been removed from the country. The Jews still here are in camps or are otherwise under constant control. Almost every day, some of the Jews who went into hiding are dug up and taken to camps. Only 11 of foreign Jews with Argentine citizenship still live in the country. It would be desirable if these could also be deported, although they do not cause any difficulties and behave cautiously. As things stand today, the numbers are as follows: (...) "
post war period
Bene was imprisoned in the Netherlands from 1945 to February 11, 1948 under harsh conditions, but no trial took place. Nothing is known about his denazification in the Federal Republic. At the beginning of the 1960s, the public prosecutor in Hamburg was still undergoing preliminary investigations into involvement in the crimes.
After the war, Bene worked for the well-known Rüdesheim brandy manufacturer Asbach Uralt .
Otto Bene completed his commercial training at a cloth merchant in Frankfurt am Main, where the then unknown Hans Albers also completed a commercial training. At the time they were both well acquainted with each other, and there were various joint ventures.
- Maria Keipert (Red.): Biographical Handbook of the German Foreign Service 1871–1945. Published by the Foreign Office, Historical Service. Volume 1: Johannes Hürter : A – F. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2000, ISBN 3-506-71840-1 , p. 102f.
- Christopher R. Browning : The "Final Solution" and the Foreign Office: Section D III of the Germany Department 1940–1943 . Knowledge Buchges, Darmstadt 2012, ISBN 978-3-534-22870-6 (publications by the Ludwigsburg Research Center of the University of Stuttgart 16)
- Christopher R. Browning: The final solution and the German Foreign Office. A study of referat D III of Department Germany 1940–43. Holmes & Meier, New York NY et al. 1978, ISBN 0-8419-0403-0 .
- Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei, Peter Hayes and Moshe Zimmermann: The Office and the Past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic . Karl Blessing Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-89667-430-2 .
- The Lauenburg Field Artillery Regiment No. 45 , Oldenburg i. O.: Gerh. Stalling, 1923.
- Five-volume manuscript, 1952. Preserved in the Koblenz Federal Archives
- Persecution of Jews in the Netherlands 1940–45 uni-muenster
- Eichmann process nizkor
- Otto Bene estate at the Federal Archives
- Hans Jürgen Döscher: The Foreign Office in the Third Reich. Diplomacy in the shadow of the "final solution". Siedler Verlag, Berlin 1987, p. 160
- cf. Gerhard Hirschfeld: Foreign rule and collaboration. The Netherlands under German occupation 1940–1945 . Studies on Contemporary History Volume 25. DVA Stuttgart 1984, p. 211 (footnote 81).
- Christopher R. Browning: The final solution and the German Foreign Office. A study of referat D III of Department Germany 1940–43. New York 1978, p. 88.
- Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei, Peter Hayes and Moshe Zimmermann: The office and the past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic . Munich 2010, p. 240.
- Wolfgang Schumann, Ludwig Nester, et al. (Ed.): Europe under the swastika. The occupation policy of German fascism (1938–1945). Eight-volume document edition. VEB German publishing house of the sciences. For the volume ISBN 3-326-00296-3 . Berlin 1990, p. 194
- Wolfgang Schumann, Ludwig Nester, et al. (Ed.): Europe under the swastika. The occupation policy of German fascism (1938–1945). Eight-volume document edition. VEB German publishing house of the sciences. For the volume ISBN 3-326-00296-3 . Berlin 1990, p. 254
- Eckart Conze, Norbert Frei, Peter Hayes and Moshe Zimmermann: The office and the past. German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic . Munich 2010, p. 666.
- "Small acquisitions 27–1 / 5". Four of the five volumes consist of copies of reports, letters, documents, comments etc .; More here .
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German diplomat|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 20, 1884|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Altenberg (Bergisches Land)|
|DATE OF DEATH||April 16, 1973|
|Place of death||Hamburg|