|Allegiance||National socialist Germany|
SS Untersturmführer der Waffen-SS
|Unit||SS-Begleitkommando des Führers|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Kurt Gildisch (March 2, 1904, Potremschen in East Prussia; † 1956 in West-Berlin) became the third commander of Adolf Hitler's personal bodyguard (SS-Begleitkommando des Führers) on 11 April 1933. He was a trained teacher, who had failed to find a classroom job and ended up in the Prussian police force. Like his successor Bruno Gesche, he was sacked for his National socialist affiliations, and joined the SA in 1931. Later that year he was transferred to the SS.
Kurt Gildisch was the fourth child of East Prussian schoolteacher Paul Gildisch and his wife Marie (nee Riel). In his childhood Kurt Gildisch attended primary school in the village of Potremschen (23 km south west of Insterburg). Subsequently he was trained as a teacher in Kaal, Insterburg until 1922. He undertook the schoolteachers test (Lehrerprüfung) in 1924. As he found no opportunities in the teaching profession, he applied for a job in the police. In January 1925 he was sent to the police school in Senburg which he left in September 1925 with the qualification for the accelerated promotion to officer.
In October 1925 Gildisch was transferred to Berlin. He undermined his own reputation with heavy drinking and was dismissed in 1931 because of his ties to National socialist party. The direct excuse for his dismissal was the drunken singing of tendentious political songs within the police barracks.
Along with many of Hitler's inner core of old time friends and SS body guards, he was viewed with mistrust and dislike by Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler. While nominally under Himmler's control, Gildisch and other close comrades of the Führers took their orders direct from Hitler, much to Himmler's eternal frustration. Gildisch had a drinking problem, which within months of his assuming command of the SS–Begleitkommando des Führers (the Führer's personal bodyguard commando), his drinking got the better of him.
On the 15 June 1934 Himmler had him removed from his post, and he was replaced by Bruno Gesche. Hitler did not interfere but this was not the end of Gildisch's problems however. Despite the warning and demotion, Gildisch continued to drink heavily while on duty, and in 1936 this led to his expulsion from both the SS and the National socialist party.
He was a significant participant in the Night of the Long Knives.
World War Two
Kurt Gildisch participated in a leadership course at the SS Junker School in Bad Tölz and from 20 April 1941 he was appointed Untersturmführer der Waffen-SS. From 1942 Gildisch actively fought on the Eastern Front. There Gildisch was again involved in a drunken incident in Russia: on 24 June 1942 Gildisch injured slightly drunken junior officers and soldiers of the Baubatallions 25.
Theodor Eicke sentenced Kurt Gildisch on 27 December 1942 to several weeks of house arrest. From November to December 1943 Gildisch spent a few days rehabilitating in the concentration camp Buchenwald. In 1944 Gildisch was attached to the 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland on the Soviet front. In August 1944 Gildisch wounded on the Eastern Front. On 2 May 1945 Gildisch was wounded again and fell into Soviet captivity during the Battle of Berlin but he was released in August 1946.
After his return from captivity Gildisch had his right leg amputated and replaced by a prosthesis.
After the Second World War Gildisch was for some time incapable of work and due to his personal politics he could see limited work options. He was unable to return to his family hearth in Potremschen as it was incorporated into the newly created Soviet Kaliningrad region and renamed Wolschskoe. Kurt Gildisch finally found work after retraining as a bookbinder in an Evangelical-Lutheran maintained company that employed disabled people.
In 1949 Gildisch was recognized at a Berlin train station by an old friend who then denounced him to the police. Kurt Gildisch was arrested and after a case at the Berlin court convicted in May 1953 of the murder of Dr. Erich Klausener during the Night of the Long Knives. He was sentenced to fifteen years in jail.
Kurt Gildisch died in 1956 of an incurable liver disease in a Wilmersdorfer private hospital after the criminal sentence was suspended due to incompetence and lack of prison treatment.
SS Career Summary
- 1 July 1931 : SS Scharführer
- 1 October 1931 : SS Truppführer
- 1 July 1933 : SS Sturmführer
- 1 September 1933 : SS Obersturmführer
- 9 November 1933 : SS Hauptsturmführer
- 4 July 1934 : SS Sturmbannführer
- 1936 Demotion to : SS Mann and Expulsion from the SS
- 1939 : Entry into Waffen-SS
- 1941 : SS Oberscharführer der Waffen-SS
- 20 April 1941 : SS Untersturmführer der Waffen-SS
- Peter Hoffmann Hitler's Personal Security: Protecting the Führer 1921-1945
- Axis History SS-Begleitkommando des Führers
- Hsi-Huey Liang: Die Berliner Polizei in der Weimarer Republik, 1977, page.185.
- Robert M.W. Kempner: SS im Kreuzverhör, München 1964, S. 256ff. (Urteil des Schwugerichts Berlin in Auszügen)
- Verfahrensakten im Archiv des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte, Sign. Gb 06.12.
Hitler's Bodyguard (2009) FremantleMedia