Eicke (1892-1943), Theodor

23 February, 2009
Bovy Daniel

Inspector of the concentration camps and Head of the Totenkopfverbände (skulls’ units). He started his career as a security agent at the IG Farben Company. Member of the NSDAP in 1928, he was named SS officer by Himmler in 1931. After he committed terrorist acts in Bavaria, he was condemned to two years of imprisonment but with the help of Gürtner, who in his function of attorney general was friendly to the Nazis, he could flee to Italy where he managed a camp of SS fugitives from Germany. On June 28, 1933, he became commander of the Dachau concentration camp. Eicke introduced new rules and controlled their strict application. As a consequence of his zeal, his methods were implemented in all Nazi camps. Himmler promoted him to the rank of inspector general of concentration camps with the rank of squadron leader (January 30, 1934). He proved his attachment to Hitler and Himmler by assassinating Ernst Röhm during the Night of the Long Knives. Eicke reorganized the concentration camps and introduced forced labor. In 1939, he was named chief of the SS Totenkopf division. Eicke was considered by people close to him to be overproud, jealous, brutal, humorless, distrustful and fanatic. He was killed on the Eastern front on February 16, 1943.


Smelser, R., Syring, E., Zitelmann, R., “Theodor Eicke. Organisator der Konzentrationslager”, Die SS Elite unter dem Totenkopf, 2003, Paderborn: Munich, pp. 147 - 159.

Cite this item

Bovy Daniel, Eicke (1892-1943), Theodor , Mass Violence & Résistance, [online], published on: 23 February, 2009, accessed 17/02/2021, http://bo-k2s.sciences-po.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/eicke-1892-1943-theodor, ISSN 1961-9898
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