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Werner Best was a Nazi German jurist.


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Best (right) with Erik Scavenius, Danish PM 1942-43.
Best (right) with Erik Scavenius, Danish PM 1942-43. Werner Best was a Nazi police chief and National Socialist

Werner Best (July 10, 1903 - June 23, 1989) was a Nazi German jurist, police chief and National Socialist. Best served as civilian administrator of France and Denmark while Nazi Germany occupied those countries during World War II.

Best was born in Darmstadt

SS-Obergruppenführer (equivalent to full general), department head in the SS-Gestapo within the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) and deputy of Reinhard Heydrich from 1939 to 1940, Best was one of those responsible for the development of the RSHA as the most important instrument in Nazi Jewish policy.

According to one source Werner Best in 1939 lost a power struggle, and had to leave Berlin for a while.

In 1940, Best was appointed head of the civilian administration at the German Military Command in occupied France, a position he kept until 1942.

In November 1942, Best was appointed the Third Reich's Plenipotentiary (Reichsbevollmächtigter) in Denmark. He was accredited to King Christian X, who, unlike most Heads of state under Nazi German occupation, remained in power, along with the Danish Parliament, cabinet (a coalition of national unity) and courts.

In this role, Best supervised civilian affairs in occupied Denmark. He kept his position until the end of the war in May 1945, even after a Reichskommissar had been appointed to exercise the direct German administration proclaimed on August 29, 1943.

Werner Best hoped to maintain good relations between Germany and Denmark in order to make Denmark an example of what life in Nazi Europe could be. As a result conditions were better in Denmark, by comparison with conditions in other areas occupied by Germany. Best was unenthusiastic about taking punitive measures against Jews until after the fall of the Danish government.


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