Rudolf Diels was a German politician. A protégé
of Hermann Göring,
Diels was in charge of the Gestapo from 1933 to 1934.
He was born in Berghaus in Taunus, the son of a farmer.
He served in the army during WW I and afterwards went to study law at
the University of Marburg from 1919. He joined the Prussian interior
ministry in 1930 and was promoted to an advisory position in the Prussian
police in 1932,
targeting the suppression of political radicals, both Communists and Nazis. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Diels was head of the Prussian political police in
When Göring was made minister for Prussia in 1933, replacing Karl Severing, he was
impressed with Diels work and new commitment to the Nazi
party. Göring appointed him as chief of the new Prussian state
police department 1A, concerned with political crimes, in April 1933.
Department 1A was soon renamed the Gestapo.
He was the main interrogator of Marinus van der Lubbe following the
Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933.
Diels soon attracted the attention of political rivals
including Reinhard Heydrich.
Effectively smeared he narrowly avoided execution during the Night
of the Long Knives, fleeing his post for five weeks. When control
of the Gestapo was given
to Heinrich Himmler Diels was dismissed on April 1, 1934. He was briefly Deputy Police President
of Berlin before being appointed
to the local government of Cologne as a Regierungsprasident.
He maintained his association with Göring, marrying
a cousin of his protector. Göring saved him from prison on a number
of occasions, notably once in 1940 when he declined to order the arrest of Jews and more vitally after
the July 20 Plot.
He presented a affidavit for the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials but
was also summoned to testify by Göring's defence lawyer. He later
served in the post-war government of Lower Saxony from 1950 and then
in the Ministry of the Interior until his retirement in 1953. He died
following an accident while hunting.
Diels memoirs, Lucifer Ante Portas: Von Severing
bis Heydrich, were published in 1950. A less cautious work was published
after his retirement, Der Fall Otto John (1954).