RUDOLF LANGE (18 April 1910 – 23 February 1945?) was a German SS
functionary and police official during the
Nazi era . He served as
commander in the _
Sicherheitsdienst _ (SD) and all RSHA personnel in
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Lange was born in
Prussian Silesia , a town in
Saxony . His father was a railway construction supervisor.
Lange finished high school in
Staßfurt in 1928 and studied law in the
University of Jena . He received a doctorate in law in 1933, and was
recruited by the
As a mid-level
In September 1939 the security and police agencies of Nazi Germany
(with the exception of the
Orpo ) were consolidated into the Reich
Main Security Office (RSHA) of the SS, headed by
Reinhard Heydrich .
MASS MURDER IN LATVIA
On 5 June 1941 Lange was ordered to Pretzsch and the command staff of _Einsatzgruppe A_, headed by SS-_Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Polizei_ Dr. Franz Walter Stahlecker .
Lange was a _Teilkommando_ (detachment) leader in _ Einsatzkommando 2 _, or EK2. He was one of the few people aware of the _Führerbefehl_ or "fundamental orders" for the so-called "Jewish problem " in Latvia. According to Lange himself:
From the very beginning, the goal of EK2 was that radical solution of the Jewish problem by killing all Jews.
On 3 December 1941, he was promoted as commander of EK2, replacing Eduard Strauch . Lange was also the area chief of the _ Sicherheitsdienst _ (SD), the Nazi Security Service, with the title _Kommandant des Sicherheitsdienst_. He was in charge of Department IV of the SD in Latvia. The department was the "hub of the whole SD organization in Latvia, the other departments served it." Matters of formal rank and titles were never clear in the Nazi occupation regime for Latvia, as the lines of authority within agencies and the relationship between one agency and others were "ambiguous, overlapping, and unclear". Nevertheless, Lange is widely recognized as one of the primary perpetrators of the Holocaust in Latvia.
His headquarters were in
Lange also personally supervised executions conducted by the Arājs commando. He appears to have ordered that all the SD officers should personally participate in the killings.
Lange was responsible for the Latvian part of the decision by the
Nazi regime to deport Jews from Germany,
In November 1941 Lange was involved in the planning and carrying out
the murder of 24,000 Latvian Jews from the
In May 1942, Lange issued orders to SS-_ Obersturmführer _ Günter Tabbert to kill the surviving Jews in the Daugavpils ghetto . Only about 450 Jews survived in Daugavpils after this action, which involved killing of the sick, children, infants and hospital workers. In addition to Tabbert, the Arajs Kommando of native Latvians was responsible for a major part of these killings.
In 1942, Lange became an SS-_
Obersturmbannführer _ (lieutenant
colonel) in the head office in
See also: Wannsee Conference
Lange was called to the
Wannsee Conference by Heydrich in January
1942. Along with
Adolf Eichmann , the recording secretary of the
conference, Lange (an SS major) was the lowest-ranking officer
present. Heydrich viewed Lange's first-hand experience in conducting
the mass murder of deported Jews as valuable for the conference.
Instead of Lange, Heydrich could have invited either
Karl Jäger or
Erich Ehrlinger , who commanded the SiPo and SD in
* (Note: One possible indication of Lange's low rank may perhaps be evident in Ian Kershaw 's _Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis_, where the SS major twice is mistakenly referred to as Dr. "Otto" Lange.)
Early in 1945 Lange was appointed head of the SD and the SS in Posen
Warthegau . Soon after he reached the city, Posen was surrounded by
Lange was said to have been a favourite student of Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Himmler . He demanded unconditional obedience from his subordinates. Joseph Berman, a survivor of one of the concentration camps administered by Lange, described him as follows:
As far as Lange is concerned, he was the biggest murderer I have ever known. To write a book about him would definitely not be enough. As he is dead, it is no use talking about him. I would, however, mention that he was one of the most notorious anti-Semites in the 20th century. He hated Jews so much that he could not look at them; one never wanted to pass him either in the motor pool or anywhere else.
Lange made himself one of the most feared officials among those res