Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff (13 May 1900 – 17 July 1984) was an SS officer. He became Chief of Personal Staff for Heinrich Himmler and SS Liaison Officer to Hitler until 1943. After the war, Wolff stated that he had never, during the entire length of the war, been informed of the Holocaust.
SS career and postwar trials
During WWI, Wolff volunteered and served on the Western Front. After the war, he joined the Freikorps. He joined the NSDAP in 1931.
During the later part of the war, Wolff fell out of favor with Himmler and was dismissed as his chief of staff and liaison officer to Hitler. He was transferred to Italy.
In 1945, he negotiated the surrender of German forces in Italy, which ended it three days before the German surrender. This upset Karl Dönitz, who had otherwise planned a staged series of surrenders designed to give the troops and refugees more time to make their way west.
At the Nuremberg trials, Wolff was allowed to escape prosecution in exchange for his role in Italy and for appearing as a witness for the prosecution. Regardless, he was in 1948 sentenced to 4 years imprisonment by a "denazification" court. Wolff was again tried in West Germany in 1964 and was convicted of deporting 300,000 Jews to Treblinka and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment, being released in 1971.
Wolff claimed at the Nuremberg trials and later that he had disobeyed an order from Hitler to kidnap the Pope and instead warned the Pope.
Robert Faurisson on a 1983 meeting with David Irving: "In my brief conversation with him, I asked Irving who the approximately "seventy men" were who, in his opinion, knew about the existence of the extermination camps. I reminded him of the following passage from his Hitler's War:
- By August 1942 the massacre machinery was gathering momentum -- of such refinement and devilish ingenuity that from Himmler down to the ex-lawyers who ran the extermination camps perhaps only seventy men were aware of the truth. (Hitler's War [New York: Viking Press, 1977], p. 393.)
Irving told me that it was General Karl Wolff, former SS-Obergruppenführer, who had mentioned that figure of approximately seventy men. Wolff had mentioned that figure in a study that can be found today at the Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte in Munich. I then asked Irving if there wasn't something strange about that. In point of fact, Karl Wolff, Himmler's Chief of Staff and liaison officer with Hitler, had never, during the entire length of the war, been informed of any such extermination program. It was only in April 1945 that he had heard it mentioned in Switzerland, over the radio, at the time of his negotiations over the surrender of the German troops in Italy. Irving stated his agreement with me on this point."
David Irving in 1988 at the second of Ernst Zundel's Holocaust trials: "In Irving's opinion, many of the witnesses at Nuremberg and other war crimes trials were unreliable. An example was Karl Wolff: "Major General Karl Wolff was the liaison officer between Hitler and Himmler, an SS general, a character I would describe as being a rather suave character who ended up, by reason of his personal favouritism with Himmler, in charge of the police units in northern Italy at the end of the war and as the military commander in that region, and largely in order to create an alibi, he then began negotiating with the American secret service in order to speed the surrender of the German troops in northern Italy...Wolff testified on many occasions over the years up to his death, frequently varying his testimony according to...which way he was being required to testify. He was always acutely aware of the fact that he had done a deal with the Americans whereby the Americans...promised him immunity and the subsequent West German government also promised him immunity from prosecution if he behaved in a certain way.""
- Richard Schulze-Kossens - adjutant to Himmler