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SS-Gruppenführer (General) Artur Nebe (13 November 1894 - 21 March 1945) was Berlin Police Commissioner in the 1920s and an early member of both the Sturmabteilung (SA) and the Schutzstaffel (SS).
In 1936, he was appointed as the head of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo), which would later become the Criminal Police of Department V in the Reichssicherheitshauptamt. He also commanded Einsatzgruppe B, which was one of four large murder squads sent out by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich (the head of the RSHA) to eliminate what the Nazis euphemistically termed 'undesirables' in the New Order.
In 1941, he was a commander of one of the SS task forces (Einsatzgruppen) operating in the captured Soviet territory. The job of these units was to 'liquidate' captured Soviet Jews and Communist activists. Nebe himself claimed his own task force was responsible for more than 45,000 killings.
In March 1944, after the 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III POW camp, Nebe was ordered by Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo (Amt IV, or Department 4, of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt), to choose 50 of the 73 captured prisoners to be executed. It is reputed that this selection caused Nebe distress.
Plot against Hitler
He was believed to have been involved in various plots including the July 20, 1944, bomb plot against German dictator Adolf Hitler and, after the failure of the assassination attempt, went into hiding on an island in the Wannsee but was later arrested after a rejected mistress betrayed him.
Nebe was sentenced to death by the Volksgerichtshof (People's Court). He was executed by hanging with piano wire , on March 21, 1945.
In the novel Fatherland, set in an alternate history in which Germany has won the Second World War, Artur Nebe is depicted as an SS-Oberstgruppenführer, still commanding the Kriminalpolizei in the 1960s. Nebe also plays a significant role in Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir novels where he survives the war under an assumed name and is part of a secretive ex-SS members group called "the Org".
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