Curt Wittje

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Curt Wittje
SS-Brigadeführer Curt Wittje.jpg
SS-Brigadeführer Curt Wittje; it seems he is wearing underneath both cross the Deutsches Feld-Ehren-Zeichen of the Verein (veterans club) of the same name in Hamburg[1] (banned for wear from 1935 on).
Birth date 2 October 1894(1894-10-02)
Place of birth Wandsbek, Province of Schleswig-Holstein, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 6 March 1947 (1947-03-07) (aged 52)
Place of death Moscow, Soviet Union
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch War and service flag of Prussia (1895–1918).png Prussian Army
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
War Ensign of the Reichswehr, 1919 - 1935.png Reichswehr
Luftwaffe eagle.jpg Luftwaffe
Rank SS-Obergruppenführer
Commands held Head of the SS Main Office (1934 to 1935)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II

Curt Wittje (also Kurt; 2 October 1894 – 6 March 1947) was a officer of the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army, the Reichswehr and the SS, finally SS-Gruppenführer as well as politician (member of the Reichstag), company manager and officer of the Wehrmacht and Volkssturm in WWII. He was dismissed from the SS because of rumors of homosexuality, but this was never proven.[2][3]


Hitler (left), Himmler (background) and Wittje (SS-Gruppe Nord), 1933
Hauptmann z. V. Wittje (left) with an Oberleutnant (Köfle/Köfler) of the Flak-Regiment 411 (Luftwaffe)
  • February 1913 Abitur at the Gymnasium Leopoldinum (Detmold)
  • 5 March 1913 Fahnenjunker (officer candidate)
    • joined the Feldartillerie-Regiment „Prinzregent Luitpold von Bayern“ (Magdeburgisches) Nr. 4
  • 1913–1914 Officer training at the Kriegsschule (War School) in Danzig


  • June 1914 Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant)
    • He took part in the World War I as a battery officer, battery & training leader, orderly officer, adjutant by Arko (Artilleriekommandeur) and divisional staffs, was trained as a general staff officer and was promoted to first lieutenant in September 1917. As the war was nearing an end he was seriously wounded during the evacuation of Antwerp, and he was taken prisoner in Belgium on 15 November 1918. He escaped war prison camp and fled through Holland to Germany in March 1919.
  • 16 September 1917 Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
    • In the Vorläufige (preliminary or provisional ) Reichswehr he served as adjutant of the Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 79 (3. Ostpreußisches)
    • 1921 to 1925 He served as adjutant of the 1. (Preußisches) Artillerie-Regiment in Königsberg, where he would meet his future wife.
  • 1 June 1925 Hauptmann (captain)
    • Commander of the 9th Battery/III. Abteilung/1. (Preußisches) Artillerie-Regiment in Allenstein
    • On 23 November 1928, investigations were initiated against Wittje because he is said to have sexually molested male subordinates. The Allenstein senior public prosecutor's office dropped the investigation, stated that there was "absence of any abnormal disposition" and attributed the incidents to "senseless drunkenness".
  • 30 June 1929 Retired from the Reichswehr (other sources state 1 May 1929) with an "honourable discharge" (in allen Ehren)
    • His pension rights were approved, and in March 1931 he was also given the right to wear his uniform on public holidays.
  • 1 June 1930 Wittje joined NSDAP (No. 256,189)


  • 1 March 1931 Wittje joined SS (SS-No. 5.870) as SS-Mann in the 1. Sturm/II. Sturmbann/3. SS-Standarte
  • 7 March 1931 SS-Scharführer
  • 26 June 1931 SS-Sturmführer
    • 30 June to 4 November 1931 Commissioned administrator (beauftragter Verwalter) of the III. Sturmbann/3. SS-Standarte
  • 2 November 1931 SS-Sturmbannführer
    • Leader (Führer) of the III. Sturmbann/3. SS-Standarte
  • 15 November 1931 SS-Standartenführer
    • 16/27 November 1931 to 1 June/11 August 1932 Leader of the 41. SS-Standarte "Oberfranken" (Bayreuth)
  • 24 April 1932 to 12 March 1933 Voted member of the Bavarian state parliament for the NSDAP
  • 11 August 1932 SS-Oberführer
    • Leader of the SS-Abschnitt IX (headquarters in Kulmbach, Nürnberg)
    • 1 November 1932 to 19 April 1933 Leader of the 57. SS-Standarte "Thüringer Wald" (Schleusingen)
  • 5 March 1933 to 9 April 1938 Voted member of the Reichstag, Wahlkreis 32 (Baden)
    • Delegated with the leadership (mit der Führung beauftragt) of the SS-Gruppe Nord (after November 1933 SS-Oberabschnitt Nord)
  • 3 July 1933 SS-Brigadeführer
  • 15 September 1933 SS-Gruppenführer
  • 12 February 1934 Head of the SS-Amt
    • 30 January 1935 SS-Amt renamed SS-Hauptamt
    • 14 May 1935 Wittje was released from his duties (von seinen Aufgaben entbunden) and replaced as head of the SS main office by August Heißmeyer, some sources state with effect from 22 May 1935.
      • According to Himmler later, Reichswehr Minister General Werner von Blomberg informed Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler about the circumstances that had led to Wittje's dismissal from the Reichswehr in 1929. Hitler passed Blomberg's "Notes" on to Himmler in June 1934, even before the so-called "Röhm Putsch". Hitler, as was Himmler, was very sceptical, because Wittje was honourably discharged. Himmler declined Wittje's offer of resignation. Wittje, although, ignored Himmler's warnings to abstain from alcohol consumption; contacts with subordinates during Kameradschaftsabende (camaraderie or comradeship evenings) were repeated and unwanted.
  • Manager of the Ceresia GmbH
  • 14 May 1936 Named SS-Führer z. b. V. RFSS
  • April 1937 Wittje joined in Hamburg as board member the Waaren-Commissions-A.G. (WACO), which wanted to build an explosives factory near Dannenberg
  • February 1938 Wittje was arrested after further "comradeship evenings" had taken place under the observation of the Hamburg Gestapo. Himmler suspended Wittje from the SS service and set up a court of arbitration to clarify the allegations of homosexual misconduct. The arbitration court was chaired by Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger and included the assessors Udo von Woyrsch and Theodor Eicke. With the investigation, the Hamburg Gestapo chief Bruno Linienbach and Josef Meisinger, the head of the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion, became involved. The arbitration court pleaded for Wittje to remain in the SS, but Himmler asked for him to be removed in June 1938.
  • 12 November 1938 honourably discharged due to illness (Entlassung „wegen Krankheit“) from the SS, not expelled (ausgestoßen), as some sources claim.
“For it was a miracle that the Führer was saved. […] Of course we are of one and the same opinion and will also agree that in the end everything was done too generously and leniently in our opinion. If we don't root out these swine, we'll have the drama back in a few years."
  • February 1939 Inflammation of the nerves in the foot (bedridden)


  • 1 September 1939 Volunteered for war service
  • 1 October 1939 Accepted as Hauptmann (Offizier z. V.) and transferred the the I. Abteilung/Flak-Regiment 411 (Feldpost Nr. 17379) of the Luftwaffe.
    • After the Poland Campaign, he served with his men at the Siegfried Line, known in German as the Westwall. He was very proud of his service and his "Germanic men", as he wrote his close friend SS-Obergruppenführer Udo von Woyrsch in December 1939.[4]
  • January 1942 Wittje was mentioned on a list of SS members who tried to acquire companies in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia: He was acquiring a mechanical weaving and flax spinning mill in Eipel in what was then the Nachod district. This happened with Himmler's approval, as can be seen from a letter to the deputy Reich Protector Kurt Daluege: "With this letter I would like to inform you that the former SS group leader Wittje got an economic existence in the protectorate with my approval." He, Himmler , had "supported Wittje's economic activities, especially with regard to his wife and children." Himmler instructed Daluege to keep an "attentive eye" (wachsames Auge) on Wittje and "to make it clear to all departments that he is no longer a Gruppenführer of the SS."
  • 1944 Wittje was deployed as a battalion leader in the Volkssturm


Bataillonsführer (Battalion leader; Major) Wittje was taken prisoner in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in May 1945 by Czech communists, interrogated, tortured und handed over to the Russians. After a show trial before a Soviet military tribunal, where he was sentenced to death, Wittje was shot dead on 6 March 1947 outside a Moscow prison.[5]


Wittjes father Robert Wittje (1852–1921) was a Major of the Prussian Army, secret government councilor (Geheimer Regierungsrat) and from 1903 to 1919 mayor (Bürgermeister) of Detmold (honorary citizen since 1919). His mother was Helene, née Heller (1868–1942). In 1922, Curt married the 22-year-old Irene Skowronski, daughter of a judicial councilor (presumably Justizrat Emil Skowronski from Osterode, Regierungsbezirk Königsberg). They had two daughters (b. 1927 and 1933). Their last known address was in Reichenberg (Sudetenland).


Awards and decorations (excerpt)


  1. Deutsches Feld-Ehren-Zeichen e. V.
  2. Jens-W. Kleist: And dismiss him from the SS as unsuitable. Rumors about the head of the SS Main Office. 1935. In: Andreas Pretzel, Gabriele Roßbach: Because of the high penalty to be expected ... Persecution of homosexuals in Berlin 1933–1945. Verlag rosa Winkel, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-86149-095-1 , pp. 194-200.
  3. SS: A History 1919-45, By Robert Lewis Koehl
  4. Letter from Hauptmann Wittje (former SS-Gruppenführer) to Udo von Woyrsch
  5. Klaus-Dieter Müller, Thomas Schaarschmidt, Andreas Weigelt, Mike Schmeitzner: Todesurteile sowjetischer Militärtribunale gegen Deutsche (1944-1947) – Eine historisch-biographische Studie, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015, p. 762–763