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Helmut Knochen

Helmut Knochen

SS officer
The basics
About
Date of birth Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
Date of death Apr 04, 2003 Offenbach am Main, Darmstadt Government Region, Hesse, Germany
Political party Nazi Party
Authority VIAF id
The details
Biography

Helmut Knochen (March 14, 1910 – April 4, 2003) was the senior commander of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police) and Sicherheitsdienst in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II.

Early life

He was born in Magdeburg, Germany. Before joining the Nazi Party in 1932, he worked as a teacher and editor.

Nazi career

In 1936, he joined the SS and became involved in the SD administration. In 1940, he was appointed the senior commander of security in Paris. In 1942, the jurisdiction under his control stretched from northern France to Belgium. He was promoted to the rank of Standartenführer in the same year. Knochen was involved in the deportation of French Jews to concentration camps and was responsible for the execution of thousands of Frenchmen. He was responsible for the arrest and torture of SOE agents.

During the plot to assassinate Hitler of July 20, 1944, together with the top security man in Paris, SS General Carl Oberg, he was arrested by Army troops under the command of Paris military governor, General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel. He was released after the coup collapsed. Following the liberation of Paris, Knochen was transferred to the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and he was degraded to the rank of SS Grenadier.

Post-war trials, sentences, and reprieve

In March 1947, a British Military Court sentenced Knochen to death for the murder of a number of British parachute troops on or around 9 August 1944. However, on 16 September 1948, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and further commuted in February 1950 to 21 years imprisonment. He was extradited to France in 1954 and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. After he obtained a presidential pardon in 1958, Knochen was released on November 28, 1962 by President Charles de Gaulle, simultaneously with his former chief SS General Carl Oberg. Back in Germany he retired to Baden-Baden and died a free man in 2003. Knochen himself appeared in the documentary film L'oeil de Vichy, (The Eyes of Vichy), directed by Claude Chabrol.

Cultural portrayal

Helmut Knochen is a character in Jonathan Littell's Les Bienveillantes, where he has a meeting with the main character Maximilian Aue.

The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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