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Heading up evil Himmler's office.

AS a key player in the SS, General Maximillian von Herff, was a sinister figure. He was at the forefront when the Warsaw ghetto uprising was ruthlessly crushed in 1943. In all, 13,000 Jews were killed in the fighting, many of them burned alive. Most of the remaining 50,000 ghetto residents were shipped to concentration camps.

As SS-Obergruppenfhrer, and holder of the Iron Cross first and second class, he headed up evil Heinrich Himmler's personal office from 1942 until the end of the year. It was through this unit that the SS leader's orders were issued.

It was Himmler who oversaw the concentration camps and the gas ovens, co-ordinating the murder of some six million Jews, as well as millions of Poles, gypsies and prisoners of war.

The office von Herff took over had been set up by Himmler in 1933 to serve as his personal staff, co-ordinating projects for the SS and overseeing the work of the feared Gestapo state secret police.

Experiments Among the projects under its supervision was an examination into the anthropological and cultural history of the Aryan race.

Experts conducted experiments with the intent of proving that prehistoric and mythological Nordic populations had once ruled the world.

Had he survived, von Herff would without doubt have faced justice at the Nuremberg Trials.

Born in 1893, he served as an officer of the Reichswehr in the First World War, attaining the rank of colonel. During the Second World War, he was a commander in North Africa, where he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He joined the Nazi party and signed up with the SS, eventually rising to SSObergruppenfhrer and General of Waffen-SS.

Von Herff was a prisoner at Grizedale PoW camp, Cumbria, and died at the nearby Conishead Priory Military Hospital in September, 1945, at the age of 51. He was initially buried at Ulverston Cemetery before being reinterred on Cannock Chase.

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RESTING PLACE: The grave of General Maximilian Von Herff
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:333
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