Emil Maurice

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SS-Oberführer Maurice wearing the Blood Order.

Emil Jules Wilhelm “Moritzl” Maurice (b. 19 January 1897 in Westermoor, Provinz Schleswig-Holstein; d. 6 February 1972 in Munich ) was a master watchmaker of partial Jewish ancestry and an early member of the National Socialist German Worker's Party. He was a close associate of Adolf Hitler with a personal friendship dating back to at least 1919. With the founding of the Sturmabteilung in 1920/21, Maurice became the first unofficial Oberster SA-Führer (Supreme SA Leader). He was a veteran of the Imperial German Army, although not active on the war front with the Bavarian Army in WWI, an officer of the SS and the Wehrmacht, finally SS-Oberführer, SS-Ehrenführer and Oberleutnant der Reserve of the Luftwaffe in World War II.


Adolf Hitler, Emil Maurice, Hermann Kriebel, Rudolf Hess and Dr. med. vet. Friedrich Weber in Landsberg Prison, 1924
Emil Maurice and his 14 year younger bride Hedwig on their wedding day, 11 May 1935
Grabstätte von Emil Maurice.jpg
  • 1904 to 1907 Volksschule in Owschlag (Kreis Rendsburg-Eckernförde)
  • 1907 to 1914 Realschule in Eckernförde
  • 14.1.1914 to 1.10.1917 Served an apprenticeship with the master watchmaker Adolf Christen in Gettorf/Kreis Eckernförde
  • April 1916 Attempted to join the Landsturm (militia) in Eckernförde but deemed unfit due to his generally debilitated physical condition. He remained thus categorized for one year, again attempting to enter service in March 1917; he was again classified unfit for service for a further six months.
  • September 1917 Passed his Gehilfenprüfung (assistant’s examination) as a watchmaker’s assistant
  • 2.10.1917 to 30.11.1917 Resettled in München, where he worked as a watchmaker's assistant in a shop on Sendlinger Straße
  • 1.12.1917 to 25.1.1919 Finally succeeded in entering military service as a Kanonier with 4. Ersatz-Batterie/1. Feldartillerie-Regiment “Prinzregent Luitpold” of the Bavarian Army (Bayerische Armee) as part of the Imperial German Army
  • 3.1.1918 to 23.2.1918 Hospitalized in the Reserve-Lazarett München due to influenza
  • 1.2.1919 to 1.10.1919 Resumed work as an assistant watchmaker on Sendlinger Straße, München
  • 1.5.1919 to 1.9.1919 Member of Freikorps Oberland in München
  • 1919 to 1920 Service as a Freiwilliger (volunteer) with Infanterie-Regiment 5 of the Einwohnerwehr (Citizens' Defense, also called the Civil Guard or Civil Defense)
  • 13.11.1919 Attended a meeting of the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP, German Workers’ Party) in the Münchener Hofbräuhaus, with Hitler as the featured speaker
  • 1.12.1919 Joined the DAP
  • 1920 Appointed as an Ordnungsmann der NSDAP (Nr. 8), meeting hall protection (Saalschutz)
    • He became one of Hitler’s few “Duz-Freunden” (first-name or intimate friends) during this period.
  • 12.11.1920 to November 1921 Organisator und Führer der “Turn- und Sportabteilung” der NSDAP (Organizer and Leader of the Gymnastics and Sports Section of the NSDAP). When these units were redesignated Sturmabteilung (Storm Troops) in the autumn of 1921, Maurice was granted the new title Organisator der SA. He was succeeded by Hans Ulrich Klintzsch, who was given the new title Führer der SA. Konrad Heiden writes of Maurice’s contributions as “the spiritual father of the movement’s tactics”: He was the first to resort to direct action, in the sense that he roved through the streets at night seeking opponents.
  • 1921 Attached, as a member of the Bund Oberland, to the Grenzschutz (border defense formations) in Oberschlesien
  • July 1921 to August 1923 Personal chauffeur (Fahrer) to Adolf Hitler
  • August 1921 Entered NSDAP service as a clerical employee, receiving a monthly salary of 250 Reichsmark (RM)
  • 29.10.1921 Arrested for alleged involvement in a 25.10.1921 assassination attempt on the Social Democratic delegate Erhard Auer. Released after just 9 days due to lack of evidence.
  • 4.11.1921 Seriously injured in a “Saalschlacht” (meeting hall brawl) at the Münchener Hofbräuhaus
  • May 1922 Arrested for burning the national flag of the Weimar Republic and for acts of battery against political opponents on the Münchener Bahnhofsplatz
  • June 1922 Re-arrested for involvement in a brawl
  • 14.10.1922 to 15.10.1922 Member of the SA contingent participating in the “3. Deutscher Tag in Coburg
  • October 1922 to 17.1.1923 Arrested and interned in the Landesgefängnis (state prison) of Mannheim/Baden for his role in a bomb attack on the Mannheimer Börse (Mannheim stock exchange)

In 1923, Maurice also became member of the newly established Stabswache (the forerunner of the later SS) under Julius Johann “Hans” Ulrich Klintzsch and the Stoßtrupp „Adolf Hitler“ (as of May 1923) under Joseph Berchtold (as his adjutant), a special SA company given the task of guarding Hitler at National Socialist parties and rallies. He was imprisoned with Hitler and Rudolf Hess at Landsberg after the failure of the Munich Putsch. Maurice was the first secretary to Hitler at Landsberg and helped the him with the initial typing of Mein Kampf.

In 1925, two years after the failed Beer Hall Putsch, Maurice and Hitler refounded the Stabswache as the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler which was renamed, later that year, as the Schutzstaffel (SS). At that time, Hitler became SS Member Nr. 1 and Emil Maurice became SS Member Nr. 2. Maurice became an SS-Führer in the new organization, although the leadership of the SS was assumed by Julius Schreck, the first Reichsführer-SS. Maurice, once again, became Hitler's chauffeur. He reportedly had a brief relationship with Geli Raubal, Hitler's niece, and lost his job as Hitler's chauffeur in 1928, returning to store, which he still owned. Still, a special bond of friendship seems to have prevailed between them. During the height of the Rbhm crisis, some six years later, Maurice reappeared beside Hitler.

When the SS was reorganized and began to expand in 1932, Maurice became a senior SS officer and would eventually be promoted to the rank SS-Oberführer. While Maurice never became a top commander of the SS his status as SS Member #2 effectively credited him as the actual founder of the organization. Heinrich Himmler, who ultimately would become the most recognized leader of the SS, held SS Member #168.

Maurice was with Hitler during the Night of the Long Knives.

After Himmler had become Reichsführer-SS, Maurice fell afoul of Himmler's racial purity rules for SS officers, when he had to submit details of his family history before he was allowed to marry. All SS officers had to prove racial purity back to 1750, and it turned out that Maurice had Jewish ancestry – Charles Maurice Schwartzenberger (1805–1896), the founder of Thalia Theater in Hamburg, was his great-grandfather.

In accordance with SS marriage laws, in order to marry on 11 May 1935, Maurice was required to submit proof of his bride’s and his own “pure German-blood descent” to the SS-Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt. In the course of the subsequent genealogical investigation, the groom-to-be was found to be of partly Jewish blood. His great-grandfather was the Jewish founder of Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, Charles Maurice Schwarzenberger (1805-1896), and this fact prompted the Reichsführer-SS to demand that Hitler order his removal from the SS. Hitler refused to do so, as “Moritzl” was one of his earliest assistants and a founding member of the SS. The Führer authorized a Gnadeerlaβ (amnesty) declaring Maurice and his brothers as Ehrenarier (honorary Aryans).

Himmler recommended that Maurice be expelled from the SS, along with other members of his family. However, the Führer stood by his old friend. In a secret letter written on the 31.8.1935, Hitler compelled Himmler to make an exception for Maurice and his brothers, who were informally declared "Honorary Aryans" (Ehrenarier) and allowed to stay in the SS. Despite his Jewish ancestry, and his relationship with Hitler's niece, Geli Rabaul, Maurice was first and foremost a loyal companion to Hitler.

On 25 May 1945, he was arrested by U.S. troops in Starnberg and interned there. In September 1946, he was transferred to Lager Cham bei Regensburg. On 18 December 1947, he was indicted by the Spruchkammer in Regensburg. On 13 May 1948, he was convicted in de-Nazification proceedings that resulted in his classification as a “Belasteter” (incriminated person, in de-Nazification Gruppe II). He was sentenced to four years in a labor camp and had 30 % of his assets confiscated. In 1951, he owned a luxury watch shop at Schumannstraβe 5 in München.


Emil Maurice died 1972 and lies on the North Cemetary (Nordfriedhof) in München with his wife Dr. med. Hedwig Marie Anna Maurice, née Ploetz (with whom he had two children); final resting place: Abteilung 97, Reihe 4, Grab 3. Near him lies buried Heinrich Hoffmann, his daughter Henriette Schirach-Hoffmann (wife of Baldur von Schirach), Dr. Gustav von Kahr, Max Wünsche, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, Traudl Junge, General der Flieger Heribert Fütterer, Generalleutnant Erich von Botzheim and actor Johannes Heesters.


Emil was born the son of Karl Emil Amandus Maurice (b. 1864 in Hamburg), a factory owner, and his wife Amanda, née Hennings. He had two brothers, both of whom also served in the SS, including:

  • Franz Maurice (b. 17 December 1903 in Westermoor/Kreis Eckernförde/Harburg/Schleswig-Holstein; 4 April 1945 in Breslau/Festung Breslau/Gau Niederschlesien); NSDAP-Nr.: 6.285 (joined 25 May 1925), SS-Nr.: 387; SS-Hauptsturmführer (Allgemeine SS), Gauhauptstellenleiter der NSDAP, Oberleutnant d. R. of the Wehrmacht and, since 29 November 1944 (with rank seniority from 1 March 1943) SS-Obersturmführer d. R. of the Waffen-SS (V. SS-Gebirgs-Korps). Franz first married on 18 October 1929, but divorced on 19 January 1939. He re-married on 2 June 1944 to Charlotte Oldachniese, a member of the NS-Frauenschaft. Two daughters resulted from his first marriage (b. 21 August 1931 and 13 September 1935).


SS-Standartenführer Maurice became engaged on 31 March 1935 to the medical student and later Dr. med. Hedwig Maria Anna Ploetz (b. 26 August 1911 in Aschaffenburg; d. 30 November 2003 in Percha), daughter of Oberst Rudolf Ploetz/Plötz (1865–1942). They married in München on 11 May 1935, with SS-Oberführer Christian Weber and Prof. Heinrich Hoffmann appearing as witnesses. Two children resulted from this marriage:

  • Dr. phil. Klaus Maurice (b. 17 February 1936 in München), an art historian (specializing in antique clocks), author, longtime director of the Deutsches Museum in München, and Generalsekretär der Kulturstiftung der Länder (1987–1993)
  • Daughter (b. 1937)


Awards and decorations

External links