Oberg, Carl

18 November, 2007
Fontaine Thomas

Carl Oberg was a German army officer during the First World War and took part in the Kapp military coup of March 1920. He quickly entered the Nazi party in 1931 and his career progressed rapidly within the police apparatus. He was close to Heydrich and in 1939 he became head of the Zwickau police, in Saxony. In September 1941, he was put in charge of Radom, one of the five districts of the government-general of Poland, and participated in the extermination of Jews there. In May 1942, Heydrich chose Oberg to become the new supreme leader of the SS and German police in France (Höherer SS und Polizeiführer or HSSPF). In this position, he also became Himmler’s personal representative in France. Helmut Knochen, who became his deputy, was actually also the real linchpin of Nazi police power in occupied France. The directive from Hitler which had created Oberg’s post on March 9, 1942 gave him control of repression policy, which had previously been run by the military. He was initially in charge of the “expiation measures” (i.e. reprisal measures) and hostage shootings. His staff quickly launched the deportation of many detainees to Nazi concentration camps, while organizing the active phase of the “final solution.” Oberg’s accords with Bousquet allowed him to rely on the Vichy authorities’ collaboration in the fields of policing and administration. Aware of his lack of diplomatic talent, and of a mastery of French such as Knochen’s, he let the latter make use of his political skills and develop them in the pursuit of their objectives. After the war, Oberg was extradited to France from Germany in October 1946 and condemned to death by the military court on October 9, 1954. His sentence was then commuted to life imprisonment, then reduced to twenty years of hard labor. He was finally pardoned in 1965 and returned to Germany, where he died the same year.

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Fontaine Thomas, Oberg, Carl, Mass Violence & Résistance, [online], published on: 18 November, 2007, accessed 17/05/2021, http://bo-k2s.sciences-po.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/oberg-carl, ISSN 1961-9898
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