Röthke, Heinz

18 November, 2007
Fontaine Thomas

When the new supreme leader of the SS and German police in occupied France settled in, in May-June 1942, several personnel reshuffles took place between the different departments of the German administration there. The Jewish Affairs department received Theo Dannecker’s new deputy, Lieutenant Heinz Röthke, who previously had been a military administrator in Brest (in Brittany); he had originally studied law. A few weeks later, at the end of the month of July, as Knochen managed to have Dannecker the extremist recalled to Germany, Röthke took over from the latter as head of the department. Indeed, he had “quickly demonstrated his potential in terms of management skills.” “This tireless bureaucrat, a man of order and organization, was driven by an anti-Jewish passion comparable to Dannecker’s, though he controlled it better.” “He monitored each case with the conviction of an inquisitor,” while avoiding having to work in the field, inspections of the Drancy transit camp or supervision of departing convoys, for example (S. Klarsfeld, 1983-2001: 141,143). Röthke’s profile was ideal for Knochen, and probably also convinced Eichmann. He was thirty years old at the time. Starting on June 1, 1943, Röthke was seconded by Aloïs Brunner’s Kommando (team). “Brunner in the field and Röthke in the office made a formidable team, which succeeded in deporting 24,000 more Jews from June 1943 to August 1944 (S. Klarsfeld, 1983-2001: 143).

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Fontaine Thomas, Röthke, Heinz, 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/roethke-heinz, ISSN 1961-9898
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