Wilhelm Spengler

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Wilhelm Spengler (born March 19, 1907 in Bühl am Alpsee ; † April 1, 1961 in Oldenburg ) was a German SS-Standartenführer , head of the main departments "Press and Literature" and "Cultural Life" of the security service , head of Office Group III C ( Culture) of the Reich Security Main Office and editor of the Gerhard Stalling publishing house , Oldenburg, and from 1951 a member of the board of “ Stillen Hilfe ”, an aid organization for National Socialists convicted as war criminals .

School and study

Wilhelm Spengler was born on March 19, 1907 in Bühl am Alpsee in the Allgäu (today part of Immenstadt ) as the son of a Catholic elementary school teacher. He attended elementary school in Memmingen . In 1923 Spengler entered the boarding school of the Benedictines in Augsburg . His original wish to study mechanical engineering, he gave up in favor of studying German and German history in Munich . Looking back, he justified this decision in his résumé of July 13, 1936 with the experiences he had made in this boarding school , which not only divided him with Catholicism , but prompted him to study the humanities with an ideological orientation instead of a technical career record.

In 1927 Spengler moved to Leipzig , where he met a student group around Heinz Gräfe , who called himself “Black Hand”, through his fellow student Ernst Kaußmann . Its members - along with Graefe and Kaußmann Erhard Mäding , Friedrich Maetzel and Hans Pieper - were a group of young students who were active in the economic self-help of the student body and discussed social and political issues. Gräfe, Mäding and Pieper, like Spengler, were later to occupy significant positions in the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) (Gräfe as head of office group VI C - Russian-Japanese area of ​​influence -, Mäding as head of office group III A 3 - constitution and administration - and Pieper as head the office of Office IV).

In April 1929, Spengler took part in a 14-day conference in Miltenberg organized by Gräfe . a. as a speaker the sociologist Hans Freyer (1887–1969) spoke. Topics were terms such as “ people ”, “ state ”, “ democracy ” and “ parliamentarism ”. In 1930 another conference took place, this time in Wertheim , at which the sociologist Gunther Ipsen (1899–1984) discussed the subject of “ capitalism and the modern social order” with the students.

At that time Spengler was already publishing in the journal Volk im Werden , edited by Ernst Krieck , the leading interpreter of National Socialist pedagogy .

In January 1932 Spengler passed the state examination for the higher teaching post for the subjects of German , history and philology with the grade "I". His doctorate as Dr. phil. he achieved “ summa cum laude ” with a dissertation on The Drama Schillers . His Genesis in July 1932. Then Spengler worked at the Königin-Carola-Gymnasium in Leipzig . As a part-time job, he devoted himself to academic self-help by helping to set up the labor service, settlement, job placement and young teacher assistance departments.

At the security service of the Reichsführer SS

In November 1933 Spengler became a volunteer member of the security service (SD) before his friends Graefe and Mading. Lothar Beutel , the head of the SD Upper Section Saxony and later leader of Einsatzgruppe IV in Poland , had already organized the development of the SD in Saxony since autumn 1932 and was also interested in Spengler in this service. Already on March 15, 1934, he decided to work full-time for the SD and to quit school. He became the first Germanist in the SD and remained the highest in his division until 1945.

Briefly entrusted with the subject area “denominational currents”, Spengler built up the literature department of the SD as early as June 1934. The Leipzig location was extremely favorable for their task, as the Deutsche Bücherei had existed here since 1912 , which as the central collection point for all German publishers had to hand in a copy of all their publications free of charge, so that a unique overview of all German-language literature could be obtained here. Spengler was able to win over numerous German scholars to work in the SD, such as Walter von Kielpinski and Hans Rößner . The employees of the SD literature department, from which the future head of Office VII in the RSHA ("Weltanschauiche Schulung") Paul Dittel and Waldemar Beyer , who later headed Section VII A 1 ("Library") of the RSHA, were all involved to review new publications received by the Deutsche Bücherei with regard to the party's ideological guidelines and to prohibit deviating publications. At Spengler's instigation, for example, Frans Masereel's woodcut collection with the title The Passion of Man was indexed because of an obvious Marxist tendency.

In April 1936, at the instigation of Dr. Franz Six moved from Leipzig to Berlin , enlarged by the "Press" area of ​​responsibility and integrated into Central Department I 3 of the SD main office under Six. In Leipzig, however, there was still one connection point. In Berlin, Spengler headed the main department I 31 “Press and Literature” and, according to his superior Six, provided “probably the most reliable sources of news within the security service”.

In 1937 Spengler moved to Central Department II 2 "Area-based Evaluation" and headed Main Department II 21 "Cultural Life", which was later transferred to Office Group III C "Culture" of the RSHA and the subdivisions according to the RSHA's business distribution plan from March 1941

included. In addition to the censorship function, the tasks of his official group also included participation in the "Reports from the Reich", the argumentative foundation of the National Socialist cultural policy and the technical preparation of art thefts in the occupied territories.

H (exen) special order

In addition to his actual censorship work in the SD a. a. also involved in the "H special order". This was a research company initiated in 1935 by Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler , which had the task of scientifically investigating the persecution of witches . A “witch's sheet” was to be created for all researched cases, whereby the sheets were collected in the so-called “witch's card file ”. Spengler began the corresponding research in July 1935 by visiting the Bavarian State Archives in Neuburg an der Donau (today opened in the Augsburg State Archives ) in order to sift through the archive of the “files on witchcraft for the purpose of working on superstition in the countryside”. Spengler played a key role in setting up and organizing the “witch department” in the SD. A Spengler employee, Dr. Rudolf Levin took over the management of this department after the start of the war .

With the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD

Spengler was not only active as a Germanist at his desk, but according to Heydrich's slogan of the “fighting administration” in March 1942, he was also deployed in the fight against partisans in the northern section of the Eastern Front. In May 1942 he spent three weeks with "Einsatzgruppe D" in the Crimea. Its role in the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD has not yet been finally clarified. According to the available archives, however, it should not have been a front-line deployment, as on February 1, 1943, a promotion was refused due to the lack of one.

Shortly before the end of the war , Spengler and several employees left Berlin for Munich .

End of war, denazification and post-war career

At the end of the war, Spengler went into hiding, but was caught by the Allied secret service in 1946 and was sent to an internment camp for 34 months. In his denazification proceedings in 1949, the Munich Spruchkammer classified him as “incriminated” (activists, militarists and beneficiaries) in August 1949, ordered to confiscate almost half of his property and deprived him of the right to vote. Despite various so-called Persilscheine , u. a. by the physicist Werner Heisenberg , he was also sentenced to two years in a labor camp.

In 1951 it belonged to Princess Helene Elisabeth von Isenburg , the Evangelical Bishop of Württemberg Theophil Wurm a . a. as a press attendant for the founding board of the silent help , an association that supported journalistic, legal and material fleeing, imprisoned and convicted Nazi perpetrators.

Spengler was employed as a lecturer at Stalling-Verlag Oldenburg, together with Hans Schneider , who now called himself Schwerte after his declaration of death in 1945 and his marriage to his alleged “widow” and previously as SS-Hauptsturmführer in 1942 the department “Germanic Science Mission” of the " Ahnenerbes e. V. ”, was commissioned with a book project, Designer of Our Time , which was published in 1954/1955 with the titles Thinker and Deuter in Today's Europe and Researchers and Scientists in Today's Europe with a total of five volumes. Spengler's camouflage at the time was excellent. Among other things, he succeeded in winning over the Jewish Sauerbruch pupil, chased away by the National Socialists , the surgeon Rudolf Nissen , who at that time worked in Basel after escape stations in Istanbul and the USA , as the author of the “Sauerbruch” chapter of this compilation.

Spengler died on April 1, 1961 in Oldenburg.


  • On German ships around the Mediterranean. Hans Rösler, Augsburg 1935.
  • The woman in the Germanic and Christian worldview. Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg 1937. Reprint from Volk im Werden . Ed. Ernst Krieck , H. 4, 1937, pp. 232-265.
  • as editor with Hans Schwerte : researchers and scientists in Europe today. Stalling, Oldenburg et al. 1955;
    • (1): Universe and Earth. Physicists, chemists, explorers of the universe, explorers of the earth, mathematicians (= creators of our time. 3, ZDB -ID 533746-X ). 1955;
    • (2): explorers of life. Doctors, biologists, anthropologists (= designers of our time. 4). 1955.


  • Michael Grüttner : Biographical lexicon on National Socialist science policy (= studies on science and university history. 6). Synchron, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-935025-68-8 , pp. 163-164.
  • Lutz Hachmeister : The enemy researcher. The career of SS leader Franz Alfred Six. Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-43507-6 .
  • Lutz Hachmeister: The role of the SD staff in the post-war period. On the National Socialist Penetration of the Federal Republic. In: Mittelweg 36 . Vol. 11, No. 2, 2002, pp. 17-36.
  • Christian Ingrao : Hitler's Elite. The pioneers of the National Socialist mass murder. Translated from the French by Enrico Heinemann and Ursel Schäfer. Propylaen, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-549-07420-6 (Licensed edition: (= Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung. Schriftenreihe. 1257). Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, Bonn 2012, ISBN 978-3-8389-0257-9 (first Paris 2010)).
  • Joachim Lerchenmueller: History in the planning of the security service of the SS. The SD historian Hermann Löffler and his memorandum "Development and Tasks of History in Germany" (= Archive for Social History . Supplement. 21). Dietz, Bonn 2001, ISBN 3-8012-4116-5 .
  • Katarzyna Leszczyńska: Witches and Teutons. The interest of National Socialism in the history of the witch hunt (= GenderCodes. 10). Transcript, Bielefeld 2009, ISBN 978-3-8376-1169-4 (also: Frankfurt (Oder), University, dissertation, 2008).
  • Michael Wildt : Generation of the Unconditional. The leadership corps of the Reich Security Main Office. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-930908-75-1 .

Web links


  1. Bernd-A. Rusinek : End of the Second World War locally, regionally, internationally. Research status and perspectives . In: End of War 1945. Crimes, disasters, liberations from a national and international perspective . Edited by Bernd-A. Rusinek. Wallstein, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 978-3-89244-793-1 , pp. 7-23, here p. 11.
  2. Also handed down with “ecclesiastical” instead of “Christian” in the title. The frequent reprints were usually published by the magazine's publishing house, i.e. by Armanen , Leipzig. Spengler chose the NS publishing house in Hamburg. To the complex: Katarzyna Leszczynska: Witches and Teutons. 2008, p. 58, note 85: Archives in Poznan regarding Spengler.