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Ernst Wilhelm Bohle

Bohle on trial, 1947.

Ernst Wilhelm Bohle (July 28, 1903 November 9, 1960) was the leader of the
Foreign Organization of the German Nazi Party (NSDAP) from 1933 until 1945.
Bohle was born in Bradford, England, the son of Hermann Bohle (18771943), a
college teacher and engineer who immigrated to England. In 1906 Bohle came to
Cape Town, where his father was appointed to a professorship of electrical
engineering, and attended a high school there. Bohle studied political sciences and
business administration in Cologne and Berlin and graduated in business
management at the Handelshochschule, Berlin, in December 1923. He married
Gertrud Bachmann on November 14, 1925. Bohle was employed as branch manager
and agent in the import-export business for several enterprises in the Rheinland from
1924 until 1930 and established and thereafter directed a large automotive firm in
Hamburg from 1930 to June 1933.
Bohle joined the NSDAP on March 1, 1932 (membership number 999.185) and on
September 13, 1933 he entered additionally the SS (membership number 276.915) at
the rank of SS Major General (German: SS-Brigadefhrer). Bohle was promoted SS
Lieutenant General (German: SS-Gruppenfhrer) on April 20, 1937 and SS
Lieutenant General (German: SS-Obergruppenfhrer) on June 21, 1943.
In December 1931 he became a volunteer assistant of Hans Nieland, the leader of
the Foreign Organization of the NSDAP (German: NSDAP Auslands-Organisation
(NSDAP/AO)), responsible for South and Southwest Africa and later North America.
This organisational unit was founded on May 1, 1931, in Hamburg and Reich
Organization Leader Gregor Strasser appointed Nieland as the Chief. After Nieland
resigned from office on May 8, 1933 (because he had become head of the Hamburg
police authorities in the meantime and later on a member of the Hamburg provincial
government), Bohle was charged with the leadership of the Auslands-Organisation in
the party rank of a Gauleiter. Bohle's father Hermann was NSDAP/AO
Landesgruppenleiter (English: Leader of the National Committee) in the Union of
South Africa from 1932 until 1934 and he was president of the Berlin based DeutschSdafrikanischen Gesellschaft (English: German South-African Society).

From November 12, 1933, till the end of the Third Reich he was member of the
Reichstag for the constituency "Wrttemberg" and from 1937 to 1945 he was State
Secretary in the Foreign Office. He was also a confidant and staff of Rudolf Hess, the
Deputy Fhrer to Adolf Hitler until Hess' arrest and imprisonment by Britain after a
failed peace mission in 1941.
Bohle was tried as a defendant in the "Ministries Trial" (German: "WilhelmstraenProze"), one of the Nuremberg follow-up trials. He was sentenced to five years
confinement on April 11, 1949. However, he was pardoned by U.S. High
Commissioner John J. McCloy on December 21, 1949. Subsequent to his release, he
worked as a merchant in Hamburg. He also advocated for the reformation of an
organization for the development of German South-African interstate commerce. He
died in Dsseldorf.
Decorations:

Kriegsverdienstkreuz (KVK) I. Klasse ohne Schwerter (Engl.: "War Merit Cross,


1st Class without Swords).

Kriegsverdienstkreuz (KVK) II. Klasse ohne Schwerter (Engl.: "War Merit


Cross, 2nd Class without Swords).

Goldenes Parteiabzeichen der NSDAP (Engl.: "Golden Party Award of the


NSDAP).

Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP fr 10 Dienstjahre (Bronze) (Engl.: "LongService Award of the NSDAP, 10 years, Bronze").

SS-Ehrenring (Totenkopfring) (Engl.: "SS Honour Ring - Death's head ring").

Ehrendegen des Reichsfhrers-SS (Engl.: "Honor Sword of the ReichsfhrerSS").