By Tom Dare
A SERIES of chilling images has helped to shed light on what life was like in the upper echelons of the Nazi party during World War Two.
Pictures from ‘SS Elite – The Senior Leaders of Hitler’s Praetorian Guard Volume 2’ by Max Williams show top S.S. members as they oversaw marches, attended events and discussed tactics at the height of the Second World War.
More disturbing images also show leading S.S. members carrying out inspections of concentration camps, while one particularly eerie photo shows Nazi leader Adolf Hitler smiling as he is handed a bouquet of flowers by a young girl.
The S.S., led by Heinrich Himmler, was Hitler’s most feared weapon during his rise to power and subsequent reign, with each member of the paramilitary organisation hand-picked to provide ‘security and surveillance’ for the Nazis, which included the administration of concentration camps.
Former policeman-turned author Max Williams has long been fascinated with the rise and fall of the German Third Reich, with his book taking a closer look at each of the leading figures in the S.S.
And Williams says the organisation, famed for its cruelty and brutality, was actually a very complex machine.
“The SS constituted men of varying talents,” he says.
“Some looked upon others as ‘young upstarts’, while these in turn viewed the old Party men as ‘dinosaurs’, undeserving of wearing the hallowed SS uniform.
“At the top of this chaotic pyramid stood the Reichsführer-SS, forever settling disputes between his subordinates and administering his rule of law on behalf of the Führer.
“The sophisticated machinery of the SS departments metamorphosed over several years, and numerous responsibilities intermingled between different offices, sometimes confusingly coming under the umbrella of two different SS central departments.
“By the time it came to an abrupt end, the SS was an illegal organisation, with many of its senior echelons wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
SS Elite – The Senior Leaders of Hitler’s Praetorian Guard Volume 2 is published by Fonthill Media, and can be purchased on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SS-Elite-Leaders-Hitlers-Praetorian/dp/178155434X