Rudolf Diels

Rudolf Diels



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Rudolf Diels, the son of a farmer, was born in Betghaus, Germany, on 16th December, 1900. Trained as a lawyer, Diels joined the political police in Prussia in 1930. Over the next couple of years he became an expert on building up information that could be used to incriminate political radicals.

When Hermann Goering became minister of the interior in Prussia in 1933 he recruited Diels as head of Dept 1A of the Prussian State Police. Goering was impressed by Diels and made him head of what became known as the Gestapo.

Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich became jealous of Diels's power and began to spread rumours about his loyalty to Adolf Hitler. One of these stories claimed that Diels had joined the conspiracy being organized by Ernst Roehm. Without the support of Hermann Goering Diels would have been killed during the Night of the Long Knives.

In April 1934, Goering, under pressure from Heinrich Himmler and Wilhelm Frick, agreed to hand over control of the Gestapo to the Schutzstaffel (SS). As a result Diels lost his position as head of the organization and now became security chief of the Cologne government.

At the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial Diels gave evidence against the leaders of the Nazi Government. As he was considered to be innocent of war crimes he was allowed to serve as under secretary in the post-war German government. Diels published his memoirs, Lucifer Ante Portas, in 1950.

Rudolf Diels, who retired from the German government in 1953, was killed on 18th November, 1957, when he accidentally shot himself with a hunting gun.

Shortly after my arrival in the burning Reichstag, the National Socialist elite had arrived. On a balcony jutting out of the chamber, Hitler and his trusty followers were assembled. As I entered, Goering came towards me. His voice was heavy with the emotion of the dramatic moment: "This is the beginning of the Communist Revolt, they will start their attack now! Not a moment must be lost."

Goering could not continue. Hitler turned to the assembled company. Now I saw that his face was purple with agitation and with the heat. He shouted uncontrollably, as I had never seen him do before, as if he was going to burst: "There will be no mercy now. Anyone who stands in our way will be cut down. The German people will not tolerate leniency. Every communist official will be shot where he is found. Everybody in league with the Communists must be arrested. There will also no longer be leniency for social democrats.

A few of my department were already engaged in interrogating Marinus Van der Lubbe. Naked from the waist upwards, smeared with dirt and sweating, he sat in front of them, breathing heavily. He panted as if he had completed a tremendous task. There was a wild triumphant gleam in the burning eyes of his pale, haggard young face.

The voluntary confessions of Marinus Van der Lubbe prevented me from thinking that an arsonist who was such an expert in his folly needed any helpers. He had been so active that he had laid several dozen fires. With a firelighter he had set the chamber aflame. Then he had rushed through the big corridors with his burning shirt which he brandished in his right hand like a torch. During the hectic activity he was overpowered by Reichstag officials. I reported on the results of the first interrogations of Marinus Van der Lubbe - that in my opinion he was a maniac. But with this opinion I had come to the wrong man; Hitler ridiculed my childish view.

I was in charge of the Gestapo until the beginning of 1934. Meanwhile Himmler was in charge of the police in provinces of Germany with the exception of Prussia. Himmler had become the leader of all these police forces, and, of course, he now sought to get the leadership of the police in Prussia as well. It was not agreeable to me, I wanted to handle my police myself. But when Hitler asked me to do this and said that it would be the correct thing, and it was proven, I actually handed the police over to Himmler, who put Heydrich in charge.


Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by candiedviolets » 18 May 2020, 22:28

I'd love some secondary opinions, thank you in advance. (On the left.) I'm brand new, so pardon my ignorance. These screenshots come from footage from a newsreel pertaining to the Rally of Victory. He is shown only momentarily, maybe a couple of seconds.

I have gifs and the clip as well, I am just ignorant in how to post them.

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by J. Duncan » 19 May 2020, 00:13

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by candiedviolets » 19 May 2020, 02:33

Thank you kindly, for both the confirmation and the welcome! This forum has been a very useful tool for me, I'm grateful for its existence.

I've spotted him a couple of other lesser seen spots as well (I picked up his signature recently so I've been on a huge research binge):

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by Michael Miller » 19 May 2020, 03:38

Well-spotted and welcome aboard!

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by candiedviolets » 19 May 2020, 23:02

Well-spotted and welcome aboard!

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by Andrey » 20 May 2020, 08:12

Thank you kindly, for both the confirmation and the welcome! This forum has been a very useful tool for me, I'm grateful for its existence.

I've spotted him a couple of other lesser seen spots as well (I picked up his signature recently so I've been on a huge research binge):

Diels is particularly correctly and clearly identified and recognized in your last photo (in the red circle).

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by candiedviolets » 21 May 2020, 09:45

Thank you kindly, for both the confirmation and the welcome! This forum has been a very useful tool for me, I'm grateful for its existence.

I've spotted him a couple of other lesser seen spots as well (I picked up his signature recently so I've been on a huge research binge):

Diels is particularly correctly and clearly identified and recognized in your last photo (in the red circle).

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by itaiv40 » 21 May 2020, 15:01

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by von thoma » 21 May 2020, 15:27

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by candiedviolets » 21 May 2020, 16:37

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by Br. James » 21 May 2020, 16:49

An astute observation! A dueling scar was always welcomed as a sign of a "gentleman".

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by von thoma » 21 May 2020, 18:13

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by Michal78 » 21 May 2020, 18:57

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by Br. James » 21 May 2020, 20:15

"April 22, 1934, Hermann Göring transfer the Gestapo to Heinrich Himmler, in the Prinz-Albercht-Straße, 8 building."

That wasn't too great a trek for Hermann, since his Berlin residence as Minister President of the Free State of Prussia was literally right across the street from #8, on part of the property that would soon be developed into the new Reichsluftfahrtministerium – the National Air Ministry Building -- which was completed in October of 1935.

Re: Is this Rudolf Diels?

Post by candiedviolets » 22 May 2020, 06:28

This is fantastic, thank you so much! I've been on a hunt to compile as many images of Diels as I can.. they've helped motivate me to learn German properly because I'd like to translate his book to English at some point.

Here he is in formal attire at an event with a young woman (possibly his wife Hilde Mannesmann, this was in late 33.)

Here's the clip of Diels, he pops up for only a couple of seconds at 18:09:


The voluntary confessions of Marinus van der Lubbe prevented me from thinking that an arsonist who was such an expert in his folly needed any helpers. Why should not a single match be enough to set fire to the cold yet inflammable splendour of the Chamber, the old upholstered furniture, the heavy curtains, and the bone-dry wooden panelling! But this specialist had used a whole knapsack full of inflammable material. He had been so active that he had laid several dozen fires. With a firelighter, the ‘Industrious Housewife’, he had set the Chamber aflame. Then he had rushed through the big corridors with his burning shirt which he brandished in his right hand like a torch to lay more fires under the old leather sofas. During this hectic activity he was overpowered by Reichstag officials.

He also confessed to several smaller arson attacks in Berlin, the mysterious cause of which had aroused the attention of the Criminal Investigation Department. Several details suggested that Communist arsonists who had helped him in Neukölln and the Berlin Town Hall might have helped him with the Reichstag. The interrogating officers had pointed their investigations in this direction. But meanwhile things of a quite different nature had happened.

Shortly after my arrival in the burning Reichstag, the National Socialist elite had arrived. Hitler and Goebbels had driven up in their large cars Göring, Frick and Helldorf arrived Daluege, the police chief, was not there.

One of Hitler’s chief adjutants came to look for me in the maze of corridors, now alive with the fire brigade and the police. He passed me Göring’s order to appear in the select circle. On a balcony jutting out into the Chamber, Hitler and his trusty followers were assembled. Hitler stood leaning his arms on the stone parapet of the balcony and stared silently into the red sea of flames. The first hysterics were already over. As I entered, Göring came towards me. His voice was heavy with the emotion of the dramatic moment: ‘This is the beginning of the Communist revolt, they will start their attack now! Not a moment must be lost!’

Göring could not continue. Hitler turned to the assembled company. Now I saw that his face was purple with agitation and with the heat gathering in the dome. He shouted uncontrollably, as I had never seen him do before, as if he was going to burst: ‘There will be no mercy now. Anyone who stands in our way will be cut down. The German people will not tolerate leniency. Every Communist official will be shot where he is found. The Communist deputies must be hanged this very night. Everybody in league with the Communists must be arrested. There will no longer be any leniency for Social Democrats either.’


Facts About The Gestapo

► The term ‘Gestapo’ is actually an abbreviation of ‘Geheime Staatspolizei’, which in German means the ‘Secret State Police’. The Gestapo was appointed the official secret state police of Nazi Germany as well as the German-occupied areas.

► The Gestapo was originally supposed to be named Geheimes Polizeiamt, which in German meant the Secret Police Office. However, the initials of this became GPA, which was very similar to the Russian secret police, GPU. Hence, this name was discarded.

► Though the Gestapo reported directly to Hitler, it wasn’t him who originally established the organization. It was another high ranking Nazi official, Hermann Goring who came up with the idea of organizing a loyal police force in 1933. Hence, on April 26, 1933, the Geheime Staatspolizei, or the Gestapo, was born. Goring was appointed as the director, and Rudolf Diels was appointed as the commander.

► While Göring has been credited with suggesting the idea of the Gestapo to Hitler, some historians say that it was Rudolf Diels, a police officer working under Goring in Prussia who suggested the idea of a secret police force, which later on would become the Gestapo. However, this point is still debatable.

► The basic objective behind creating an organization such as the Gestapo was to help strengthen the Nazi rule by recognizing and arresting all anti-Nazi agents in Germany and the German-occupied areas. Göring freely encouraged his officers in the Gestapo to arrest communists and other leftist sympathizers, as well as anyone else who could be considered a threat to the Nazi government.

► As time passed, however, there was rising concern that may be Diels was not the right man to command an organization such as the Gestapo, because he was not ‘ruthless enough’ for carrying out such an important and authoritative job. Diels was removed from the post in 1934.

► After Diels, another high ranking Nazi official from Bavaria, Heinrich Himmler, was appointed as the commander of the Gestapo. However, for most of its 12-year existence, Heinrich Muller was responsible for leading the organization.

► The Gestapo consisted of several departments, with each department carrying out specific allotted responsibilities. The organization had five departments―from A to E, wherein A was responsible for dealing with the political opponents of the Nazi Party, B took care of churches and sects, C dealt with administration of the Party, D handled the jurisdiction for the occupied territories, and E was entrusted with counterintelligence.

► A significant number of members of the Gestapo were largely recruited from various police forces. Every Gestapo member, especially one working in a lower position, was not required to be a Nazi, and a lack of party loyalty was sometimes even overlooked. What was required, however, was special police skills and bureaucratic skills.

► Many of the members of the Gestapo were Nazi extremists and former criminals who were ruthless, barbaric, and thus perfect for the atrocities that the Nazi government expected them to commit against those arrested.

► The normal judicial process was not applicable to the Gestapo, as they were answerable only to Hitler. This organization had the complete liberty of acting as jury and judge, had its own courts, and often took their own decisions to execute someone who they felt was ‘guilty’ of treason, or who posed a threat to the Nazi regime.

► In February 1936, an official decree stated that the Gestapo was not answerable to the judiciary. The Nazi government declared that the Gestapo had no legal restrictions regarding the arrests, detention, treatment, and even execution of the so-called-suspects which were basically Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, and members of other minority ethnic groups. Without any restrictions, the Gestapo earned a reputation for being brutal with its methods.

► The Gestapo could not have succeeded in its efforts without the help and support from civilians. The Gestapo encouraged civilian German people to report any ‘suspicious’ person to the local police, who would then take care of the supposed looming threat.

► Just before the Second World War, Hitler ordered a re-organization of his armies. The Gestapo, along with the other organizations, was integrated into the RHSA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt). However, it continued to be popularly known as the Gestapo, despite now being an official part of the Reich Security Central Office.

► At the beginning of World War II, the number of Gestapo agents was about 40,000 in Germany. As the war progressed and Germany began to occupy the rest of Europe, the number of Gestapo agents, informants, and members increased to over 150,000.

► In World War II, the Gestapo had two main objectives. One was to identify and exterminate Jews and people belonging to other ‘undesirable’ races, while the second was to take care of any outside resistance effectively.

► The Gestapo made its methods of dealing with suspects very public, so as to spread fear about the organization in the minds of civilians. Every now and then, the Gestapo made a show of taking a suspect to trial so as to show going through the legal process, and took their suspect to the much-feared People’s Court where an execution sentence was mostly guaranteed.

► In the occupied regions of Europe, the Gestapo took help from extremists and those who supported Hitler and the Nazi regime. Help came from both individual as well as group levels, and several extremist groups helped the Gestapo round up Jews who had escaped arrests so far. In France and Poland, nationals played a huge role in the hunting down of resistance groups, opposition, as well as Jewish and people of other ethnic groups.

► The Gestapo hunted down and arrested anyone and everyone who went against Hitler and his regime. Even if the organization was tipped about someone having made a joke about Hitler, his regime, or any other important member of the Nazi government, he was arrested immediately and sent to a concentration camp.

► The Gestapo’s methods of arrests were torturous. Whoever was considered a suspect was given about three minutes to say goodbye to his family, and to pack whatever it was he wanted to take with him. After those three minutes, he was taken to the nearest police cell where he had to sign the Form D-11 which said that you were agreeing to go to prison.

► Once the form was forcibly signed (those arrested were violently beaten until they signed their forms, or in some cases, the officers simply forged signatures) the suspect was sent to a concentration camp and made to stay there as long as the Gestapo felt was enough to teach the suspect a lesson.

► The men appointed to take care of the concentration camps were hard-headed, violent, savage, and sadistic people who subjected the inmates to regular flogging, with Jews being subjected to extra whipping than the other inmates. Scarce was an understatement when it came to food, drink, and hygiene facilities.

► The Gestapo was directly or indirectly responsible for the identification and deportation of over 10 million people (Jews and non-Jewish people included) to horrifying concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Dachau, to name a few.

► At the concentration camps, the inmates were made to work in inhuman conditions without having enough food or water to keep them in a decent state. Hygiene was almost non-existent and men, women and children were often crammed together in small rooms. Countless people were killed everyday, either in the gas chambers, or due to illness that ravaged the concentration camps.

► The Gestapo often used a term known as Schutzhaft (protective custody), which was a euphemism for the power to arrest and imprison anyone without any sort of legal proceedings. The arrested people were forcibly made to sign their own Schutzhaftbefehl, a decree that said that the prisoner had himself requested imprisonment.

► Several prisoners taken this way by the Gestapo, both political and non-political, disappeared. They were never to be found after they were taken into custody. The Gestapo managed the killings of thousands of people this way, without having anything seem suspicious or apparent.

► The Gestapo wholly supported as well as aided the use of the mobile killing units (called Einsatzgruppen in German) which were responsible for the mass murder of an estimated 1 million Jewish people during the tragic Holocaust.

► The Gestapo also provided its men for work related to the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units), to the SS, and other governmental work. In such cases, those men were removed from the Gestapo and were assigned under the authority of the SS. (Schutzstaffel)

► The Gestapo was generally extremely watchful about any personal attacks on Hitler or his close allies. Gestapo agents were known to disguise themselves as anti-Nazis and lure and kidnap spies or agents who worked for the opposition sides, thus keeping a thorough check on any plans made by the resisting groups.

► Despite their watchfulness, Gestapo agents were once caught unaware during an attack on Hitler which resulted in him escaping with minor injuries. This attack was actually an attempt to assassinate Hitler, known as Operation Valkyrie, by planting a bomb under a conference table. Several senior German officials were involved in this operation. However, they were soon overpowered and either shot or sent to concentration camps and executed.

► The church and its members, though most did not offer political resistance, were strongly against the racial discrimination and inhuman policies of the Nazi regime. It was the task of the Gestapo to keep a close watch on clergy members everywhere, as well as their communication with Vatican City. Clergy members were watched, suspected, arrested, deported to concentration camps, and tortured by the Gestapo.

► The image of the Gestapo men was perceived to be of one dressed in trench coats and hats, post the murder of the Chancellor of Germany before Hitler, by three men (presumably of the Gestapo) dressed in black trench coats and hats. Post integration into the RHSA, Gestapo agents were given gray uniforms similar to SS officers to avoid any more loss of Gestapo members, as sometimes SS officers mistakenly shot them thinking them to be civilians.

► The Gestapo headquarters were situated at 8 Prinz Albrecht Street in Berlin. The organization also maintained offices at all the Nazi concentration camps.

► The men working for the Gestapo were paid better than those who worked in the private sector. The lower level employees worked for about 1500 RMs (Reichsmark) a year, and the senior employees were paid anything up to about 11,000 RMs. The relatively good wages were an attraction for workers to choose to join the Gestapo rather than the private sector.

► Though the Gestapo was largely feared by civilians, not everyone gave in to the organization’s threats. There was quite a lot of opposition against the Gestapo’s tyranny especially from college students. However, the Gestapo wasted no time in quickly suppressing these opposing activities, and those who were found to be involved were brutally punished.

► After the war was over and the Gestapo was declared a criminal organization by the International Tribunal, the atrocities and crimes committed by its members were listed and a few arrests were made. However, the long-time head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Müller was never arrested. Some historians feel he escaped to South America, while some believe he was killed in battle.

► When World War II ended and Hitler had shot himself in his bunker, the Gestapo was scrutinized and declared as a criminal organization, with many of its members being subjected to trials and eventually appropriate punishments.

► When World War II ended and Hitler had shot himself in his bunker, the Gestapo was scrutinized and declared as a criminal organization, with many of its members being subjected to trials and eventually appropriate punishments.

► The Gestapo was officially dissolved on May 8, 1945.

What the mentality and attitude of the members of such a savage force must have been, we cannot imagine. Fear was the weapon used by the Gestapo the most―it was the fear of their actions that spread far and wide and made those against the Nazi regime keep their mouths shut for personal safety.


Martha Dodd: The American Soviet Spy and Hitler’s Would-Be Lover Who Dreamed of a Communist World

In 1933, Martha Dodd, a 24-year-old aspiring writer who had already had several affairs and a failed marriage embarked with her family to Berlin, where her father was America’s ambassador to Hitler’s regime. Within a few weeks, she was romantically involved with Rudolf Diels, the first director of the Gestapo. Dodd was so celebrated by the Nazi elite that some believed she could become Hitler’s wife (the two met but nothing came of it). She soon soured on the Nazis after witnessing their brutal anti-Semitism, but became involved with Boris Vinogradov, an agent of the Soviet secret police. Over the next several decades, Dodd’s life was a whirlwind of spying, communist recruitment in America, and eventually, permanent exile.

Dodd was a dreamer who believed in the power of communism to right the wrongs of an unjust. But after decades abroad (first in Mexico, then in Prague) she ended up disillusioned with the promises of the Soviet Union. Her story is one of what happens when you cast your lot with a movement that ends up losing its political and ideological battles.


Diesel was born in the house Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth No. 38 in Paris, France in 1858 [1] the second of three children of Elise (née Strobel) and Theodor Diesel. His parents were Bavarian immigrants living in Paris. [2] [3] Theodor Diesel, a bookbinder by trade, left his home town of Augsburg, Bavaria, in 1848. He met his wife, a daughter of a Nuremberg merchant, in Paris in 1855 and became a leather goods manufacturer there. [4]

Only few weeks after his birth, Diesel was given away to a Vincennes farmer family, where he spent his first nine months. When he was returned to his family, they moved into the flat 49 in the Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi. At the time, the Diesel family suffered from financial difficulties, thus young Rudolf Diesel had to work in his father's workshop and deliver leather goods to customers using a barrow. He attended a Protestant-French school and soon became interested in social questions and technology. [5] Being a very good student, 12-year-old Diesel received the Société pour l'Instruction Elémentaire bronze medal [6] and had plans to enter Ecole Primaire Supérieure in 1870. [7]

At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War the same year, his family was forced to leave, as were many other Germans. They settled in London, England, where Diesel attended an English school. [7] Before the war's end, however, Diesel's mother sent 12-year-old Rudolf to Augsburg to live with his aunt and uncle, Barbara and Christoph Barnickel, to become fluent in German and to visit the Königliche Kreis-Gewerbeschule (Royal County Vocational College), where his uncle taught mathematics.

At the age of 14, Diesel wrote a letter to his parents saying that he wanted to become an engineer. After finishing his basic education at the top of his class in 1873, he enrolled at the newly founded Industrial School of Augsburg. Two years later, he received a merit scholarship from the Royal Bavarian Polytechnic of Munich, which he accepted against the wishes of his parents, who would rather have seen him start to work.

One of Diesel's professors in Munich was Carl von Linde. Diesel was unable to graduate with his class in July 1879 because he fell ill with typhoid fever. While waiting for the next examination date, he gained practical engineering experience at the Sulzer Brothers Machine Works in Winterthur, Switzerland. Diesel graduated in January 1880 with highest academic honours and returned to Paris, where he assisted his former Munich professor, Carl von Linde, with the design and construction of a modern refrigeration and ice plant. Diesel became the director of the plant one year later.

In 1883, Diesel married Martha Flasche, and continued to work for Linde, gaining numerous patents in both Germany and France. [8]

In early 1890, Diesel moved to Berlin with his wife and children, Rudolf Jr, Heddy, and Eugen, to assume management of Linde's corporate research and development department and to join several other corporate boards there. As he was not allowed to use the patents he developed while an employee of Linde's for his own purposes, he expanded beyond the field of refrigeration. He first worked with steam, his research into thermal efficiency and fuel efficiency leading him to build a steam engine using ammonia vapour. During tests, however, the engine exploded and almost killed him. His research into high compression cylinder pressures tested the strength of iron and steel cylinder heads. One exploded during a run in. He spent many months in a hospital, followed by health and eyesight problems.

Ever since attending lectures of Carl von Linde, Diesel intended designing an internal combustion engine that could approach the maximum theoretical thermal efficiency of the Carnot cycle. He worked on this idea for several years, and in 1892, he considered his theory to be completed. The same year, Diesel was given the German patent DRP 67207. [9] In 1893, he published a treatise entitled Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat-engine to Replace the Steam Engine and The Combustion Engines Known Today, that he had been working on since early 1892. [10] This treatise formed the basis for his work on and development of the Diesel engine. By summer 1893, Diesel had realised that his initial theory was erroneous, which led him to file another patent application for the corrected theory in 1893. [9]

Diesel understood thermodynamics and the theoretical and practical constraints on fuel efficiency. He knew that as much as 90% of the energy available in the fuel is wasted in a steam engine. His work in engine design was driven by the goal of much higher efficiency ratios. In his engine, fuel was injected at the end of the compression stroke and was ignited by the high temperature resulting from the compression. From 1893 to 1897, Heinrich von Buz, director of MAN SE in Augsburg, gave Rudolf Diesel the opportunity to test and develop his ideas. [2]

The first successful Diesel engine Motor 250/400 was officially tested in 1897 and is now on display at the German Technical Museum in Munich.

Rudolf Diesel obtained patents for his design in Germany and other countries, including the United States. [11] [12]

He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1978.

On the evening of 29 September 1913, Diesel boarded the GER steamer SS Dresden in Antwerp on his way to a meeting of the Consolidated Diesel Manufacturing company in London, England. He took dinner on board the ship and then retired to his cabin at about 10 p.m., leaving word to be called the next morning at 6:15 a.m. but he was never seen alive again. In the morning his cabin was empty and his bed had not been slept in, although his nightshirt was neatly laid out and his watch had been left where it could be seen from the bed. His hat and neatly folded overcoat were discovered beneath the afterdeck railing. [13]

Ten days later, the crew of the Dutch boat Coertzen came upon the corpse of a man floating in the North Sea near Norway. The body was in such an advanced state of decomposition that it was unrecognizable, and they did not bring it aboard. Instead, the crew retrieved personal items (pill case, wallet, I.D. card, pocketknife, eyeglass case) from the clothing of the dead man, and returned the body to the sea. On 13 October, these items were identified by Rudolf's son, Eugen Diesel, as belonging to his father. On 14 October 1913 it was reported that Diesel's body was found at the mouth of the Scheldt by a boatman, but he was forced to throw it overboard because of heavy weather. [14] The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Diesel's body had washed ashore on Walcheren Island, at the mouth of the Scheldt, and was identified by his son. [15]

There are various theories to explain Diesel's death. Certain people, such as his biographer Grosser, [3] and Hans L. Sittauer [16] (both in 1978) argue that Rudolf Diesel committed suicide. Another line of thought suggests that he was murdered, given his refusal to grant the German forces the exclusive rights to using his invention indeed, Diesel boarded the SS Dresden with the intent of meeting with representatives of the British Royal Navy to discuss the possibility of powering British submarines by Diesel engine [17] – he never made it ashore. Yet, evidence is limited for all explanations, and his disappearance and death remain unsolved.

Shortly after Diesel's disappearance, his wife Martha opened a bag that her husband had given to her just before his ill-fated voyage, with directions that it should not be opened until the following week. She discovered 200,000 German marks in cash (US$1.2 million today) and a number of financial statements indicating that their bank accounts were virtually empty. [18] In a diary Diesel brought with him on the ship, for the date 29 September 1913, a cross was drawn, possibly indicating death. [13]

Afterwards, in the middle of 1950, Magokichi Yamaoka, the founder of Yanmar, the diesel engine manufacturer in Japan, visited West Germany, and learned that there was no Dr. Diesel tomb or monument. Yamaoka and the people associated with Dr. Diesel began to make preparations to honor him. In 1957, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Dr. Diesel's birth and the 60th anniversary of the diesel engine development, Yamaoka donated Rudolf Diesel Memorial Garden (Rudolf-Diesel-Gedächtnishain) in Wittelsbacher Park in Augsburg, Bavaria, where Dr. Diesel spent his childhood.

After Diesel's death, his engine underwent much development and became a very important replacement for the steam piston engine in many applications. Because the Diesel engine required a heavier, more robust construction than a gasoline engine, it saw limited use in aviation. However, the Diesel engine became widespread in many other applications, such as stationary engines, agricultural machines and off-highway machinery in general, submarines, ships, and much later, locomotives, trucks, and in modern automobiles.

The Diesel engine has the benefit of running more fuel-efficiently than gasoline engines due to much higher compression ratios and longer duration of combustion, which means the temperature rises more slowly, allowing more heat to be converted to mechanical work.

Diesel was interested in using coal dust [19] or vegetable oil as fuel, and in fact, his engine was run on peanut oil. [20] Although these fuels were not immediately popular, during 2008 rises in fuel prices, coupled with concerns about oil reserves, have led to the more widespread use of vegetable oil and biodiesel.

The primary fuel used in diesel engines is the eponymous diesel fuel, derived from the refinement of crude oil. Diesel is safer to store than gasoline, because its flash point is approximately 175 °F (79.4 °C) higher, [21] and it will not explode.

Use of vegetable oils as Diesel engine fuel Edit

In a book titled Diesel Engines for Land and Marine Work, [22] Diesel said that "In 1900 a small Diesel engine was exhibited by the Otto company which, on the suggestion of the French Government, was run on arachide [peanut] oil, and operated so well that very few people were aware of the fact. The motor was built for ordinary oils, and without any modification was run on vegetable oil. I have recently repeated these experiments on a large scale with full success and entire confirmation of the results formerly obtained." [23]


Arrest, trial, and execution Edit

In the last days of the war, Himmler advised Höss to disguise himself among Kriegsmarine personnel. He evaded arrest for nearly a year. When arrested on 11 March 1946 in Gottrupel (Germany), he was disguised as a gardener and called himself Franz Lang. [40] [41] His wife had revealed his whereabouts to protect her son, Klaus, who was being “badly beaten” by British soldiers. [41] [42] The British force that captured Höss included Hanns Alexander, a British captain originally from Berlin who was forced to flee to England with his entire family during the rise of Nazi Germany. [43] According to Alexander, Höss attempted to bite into a cyanide pill once he was discovered. [44] Höss initially denied his identity "insisting he was a lowly gardener, but Alexander saw his wedding ring and ordered Höss to take it off, threatening to cut off his finger if he did not. Höss' name was inscribed inside. The soldiers accompanying Alexander began to beat Höss with axe handles. After a few moments and a minor internal debate, Alexander pulled them off." [40] [45]

Rudolf Höss testified at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg on 15 April 1946, where he gave a detailed accounting of his crimes. He was called as a defense witness by Ernst Kaltenbrunner's lawyer, Kurt Kauffman. [46] [47] The transcript of Höss' testimony was later entered as evidence during the 4th Nuremberg Military Tribunal known as the Pohl Trial, named for principal defendant Oswald Pohl. [48] Affidavits that Rudolf Höss made while imprisoned in Nuremberg were also used at the Pohl and IG Farben trials.

In his affidavit made at Nuremberg on 5 April 1946, Höss stated:

I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total of about 3,000,000 dead. This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries. Included among the executed and burnt were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously screened out of Prisoner of War cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. The remainder of the total number of victims included about 100,000 German Jews, and great numbers of citizens (mostly Jewish) from The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed about 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944. [49]

When accused of murdering three and a half million people, Höss replied, "No. Only two and one half million—the rest died from disease and starvation." [50]

On 25 May 1946, he was handed over to Polish authorities and the Supreme National Tribunal in Poland tried him for murder. In his essay on the Final Solution in Auschwitz, which he wrote in Kraków, he revised the previously given death toll: [51]

I myself never knew the total number, and I have nothing to help me arrive at an estimate.

I can only remember the figures involved in the larger actions, which were repeated to me by Eichmann or his deputies.

From Upper Silesia and the General Gouvernement 250,000

Germany and Theresienstadt 100,000

Holland 95,000

Belgium 20,000

France 110,000

Greece 65,000

Hungary 400,000

Slovakia 90,000 [Total 1,130,000]

I can no longer remember the figures for the smaller actions, but they were insignificant by comparison with the numbers given above. I regard a total of 2.5 million as far too high. Even Auschwitz had limits to its destructive capabilities.

In his memoir, he also revealed his mistreatment at the hands of his British captors: [52]

During the first interrogation they beat me to obtain evidence. I do not know what was in the transcript, or what I said, even though I signed it, because they gave me liquor and beat me with a whip. It was too much even for me to bear. The whip was my own. By chance it had found its way into my wife's luggage. My horse had hardly ever been touched by it, much less the prisoners. Somehow one of the interrogators probably thought that I had used it to constantly whip the prisoners.

After a few days I was taken to Minden on the Weser River, which was the main interrogation center in the British zone. There they treated me even more roughly, especially the first British prosecutor, who was a major. The conditions in the jail reflected the attitude of the first prosecutor. [. ]

Compared to where I had been before, Imprisonment with the IMT [International Military Tribunal] was like staying in a health spa.

His trial lasted from 11 to 29 March 1947. Höss was sentenced to death by hanging on 2 April 1947. The sentence was carried out on 16 April next to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp. He was hanged on a short-drop gallows constructed specifically for that purpose, at the location of the camp's Gestapo. The message on the board that marks the site reads:

This is where the camp Gestapo was located. Prisoners suspected of involvement in the camp's underground resistance movement or of preparing to escape were interrogated here. Many prisoners died as a result of being beaten or tortured. The first commandant of Auschwitz, SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss, who was tried and sentenced to death after the war by the Polish Supreme National Tribunal, was hanged here on 16 April 1947.

Höss wrote his autobiography while awaiting execution it was published first in Polish in 1951 and then in German in 1956, edited by Martin Broszat. Later it appeared in various English editions (see Bibliography in References). It consists of two parts, one about his own life and the second about other SS men with whom he had become acquainted, mainly Heinrich Himmler and Theodor Eicke, among several others. [53]


Inhaltsverzeichnis

Der Sohn eines Großbauern aus Berghausen im Taunus erhielt am 24. September 1918 sein Abiturzeugnis am Königlichen Gymnasium in Wiesbaden. [1] Anschließend meldete er sich freiwillig zum Kriegsdienst und war am Ende des Ersten Weltkriegs wenige Wochen bei einer Fernmeldeeinheit im elsässischen Hagenau stationiert. Sein Studium der Staats- und Rechtswissenschaften begann er im Frühjahr 1919 an der Ludwigs-Universität Gießen und wechselte im Mai an die Philipps-Universität Marburg. Hier schloss er sich auch dem Corps Rhenania-Straßburg zu Marburg an. Nachdem er 1922 das erste juristische Staatsexamen bestanden hatte, war Diels als Regierungsreferendar in Kassel tätig. Das zweite Staatsexamen legte er 1924 ab, es folgten Anstellungen als Regierungsassessor in Neuruppin, Teltow und Peine.

Preußisches Innenministerium Bearbeiten

Im Jahr 1930 erhielt Diels einen Posten als Regierungsrat im preußischen Innenministerium unter Minister Carl Severing. Dort war er „Dezernent zur Bekämpfung der kommunistischen Bewegung“ in der politischen Abteilung der Polizei. Im gleichen Jahr heiratete Diels seine erste Frau Hildegard Mannesmann. Im Zuge des Preußenschlags konnte Diels durch Zuträgerdienste seine Karriere erheblich vorantreiben. Der Gruppe um Franz von Papen und Kurt von Schleicher spielte Diels Informationen über eine Besprechung zwischen Staatssekretär Wilhelm Abegg (Diels’ Vorgesetztem) und den KPD-Politikern Wilhelm Kasper und Ernst Torgler zu. Diese Informationen – welche die tatsächliche Besprechung in verzerrter Form wiedergaben und auch in die Presse lanciert wurden – bildeten die Grundlage für die Behauptung, die preußische Regierung konspiriere mit den Kommunisten, und lieferten somit einen willkommenen Vorwand zur Einsetzung eines Reichskommissars in Preußen (Abegg-Affäre).

Demzufolge wurde Diels im August 1932 außerplanmäßig zum Oberregierungsrat befördert – ein solcher Rang war in seinem damaligen Alter ungewöhnlich, wobei einige ältere Beamten übergangen wurden. Gleichzeitig übernahm Diels die Leitung der politischen Abteilung der preußischen Polizei.

Nach den Akten der Spruchkammer aus Diels’ Entnazifizierungsakten stand er bereits seit Anfang der 1930er-Jahre mit von Papen und den Nationalsozialisten in Verbindung, seit Ende 1932 knüpfte er direkt Kontakt zu Göring, dem er wiederum Informationen über Kommunisten und Sozialdemokraten zutrug.

Chef der politischen Polizei Bearbeiten

Unmittelbar nachdem Hitler Reichskanzler geworden war, machte sich Göring an die Reorganisation der Polizei. Am 15. Februar 1933 wurde Magnus von Levetzow neuer Polizeipräsident in Berlin, Diels’ Kompetenzen als Leiter der politischen Abteilung wurden erweitert. Göring verfolgte den Plan, die politische Abteilung aus der preußischen Polizei zu lösen und direkt seinem Innenministerium zu unterstellen, und erreichte sein Ziel mit der Gründung des Geheimen Staatspolizeiamtes (Gestapa) am 26. April 1933. Rudolf Diels wurde am gleichen Tag als Inspekteur dessen Leiter. Im Juli 1933 wurde er zum Ministerialrat befördert.

Obwohl Diels seine Tätigkeit in dieser frühen Phase der NS-Diktatur später als Widerstand darstellte, kooperierte er nachweislich willig mit den neuen Machthabern. Er übernahm SA-Führer in den Polizeidienst und förderte so die Verzahnung zwischen Gestapo und der Parteischlägertruppe SA, bei der er seit März 1932 Förderndes Mitglied war. Bei Göring setzte er sich für die Niederschlagung der Ermittlungen im Fall Albrecht Höhler ein. Höhler – seit 1930 wegen Totschlags an Horst Wessel inhaftiert – war im September 1933 von der SA entführt und ermordet worden.

Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg behaupteten Angehörige des betreffenden SA-Rollkommandos und der Gestapa-Beamte Pohlenz übereinstimmend, Diels sei bei dem Mord an Höhler persönlich anwesend gewesen und habe diese Tat sogar durch Ausstellung eines Überstellungsbefehls an die SA „juristisch legalisiert“. Es habe sich somit um keine regelrechte Entführung gehandelt.

Ebenso wirkte Diels beim Aufbau des Instruments der Schutzhaft und bei den Judenverfolgungen mit. Noch nach dem Krieg äußerte er sich positiv über den NS-Terror gegen die Kommunisten.

Konflikte, die Diels mit SA und SS austrug – beispielsweise um die frühen Konzentrationslager –, lassen sich nicht auf eine kritische Einstellung Diels gegenüber den Nationalsozialisten zurückführen, sondern primär auf Kompetenzstreitigkeiten.

Regierungspräsident und SS-Führer Bearbeiten

Ende 1933 geriet Diels in den Machtkampf zwischen Himmler und Göring. Er wurde von Göring als Leiter der Gestapo entlassen und sah sich zur Flucht in die Tschechoslowakei veranlasst. Seine Wohnung und seine Büroräume wurden von SS und SA durchsucht. Sein Amt übernahm kurzfristig auf Empfehlung des Kommissars z.B.V. Kurt Daluege der Polizeipräsident von Altona-Wandsbek Paul Hinkler. Erst auf Drängen Görings kehrte Diels nach Berlin zurück und wurde am 18. November 1933 zum Polizeivizepräsidenten von Berlin ernannt. Am 29. November konnte er sein vorheriges Amt als Inspekteur der Gestapo wieder antreten. Nach dem Krieg stellte sich Diels als von der SS (insbesondere von Reinhard Heydrich) verfolgt dar, was schwerlich damit in Einklang zu bringen ist, dass er am 15. September 1933 von Himmler als Rangführer im Dienstrang eines SS-Obersturmbannführers in die SS aufgenommen wurde (SS-Nr. 187.116) und am 9. November 1933 ehrenhalber zum SS-Standartenführer befördert wurde.

Offenbar hatte Diels Robert Kempner bei der Emigration geholfen und wurde demzufolge am 21. April 1934 in den einstweiligen Ruhestand versetzt, sein Nachfolger als Gestapo-Chef wurde Himmler. Am 9. Mai 1934 erhielt Diels einen Posten als Regierungspräsident in Köln.

Die Säuberungsaktionen im Zuge der Röhm-Affäre im Sommer 1934 überstand Diels heil. Zum einen konnte er sich (bis zum Ende des Dritten Reichs) der Protektion Görings sicher sein, zum anderen hatte er offenbar frühzeitig belastende Dokumente über verschiedene Führungspersonen der NSDAP ins Ausland gebracht und konnte diese als Druckmittel einsetzen.

Wohl nach Konflikten mit dem Essener Gauleiter Josef Terboven ließ er sich im Juli 1936 als Regierungspräsident nach Hannover versetzen. Am 1. September 1937 trat Diels in die NSDAP ein (Mitgliedsnummer 3.955.308) und wurde Gauführer der NS-Studentenkampfhilfe der Provinz Hannover. Am 16. August 1938 wurde in Konstanz seine Tochter Corinna Genest geboren, die aus einer Beziehung mit der Schauspielerin Gudrun Genest stammt und später selbst Schauspielerin wurde. Am 20. April 1939 wurde Diels zum SS-Oberführer ernannt und war im Stab des SS-Abschnitts IV (Hannover) tätig.

Im Jahr 1941 wurde er – wieder dank Göring – im Zuge der Umorganisierung der Reichswerke Hermann Göring Vorstandsvorsitzender (Generaldirektor) der Holdinggesellschaft Reichswerke AG für Binnenschiffahrt „Hermann Göring“. Ab dem 1. März 1942 arbeitete Diels im Stab des SS-Hauptamts, bis zum 30. November 1944 hatte er den SS-Ehrendegen und den SS-Totenkopfring erhalten.

Diels’ erste Ehe war 1936 geschieden worden. Am 17. Januar 1943 heiratete Diels Ilse Göring. Diese war eine Tochter des Korvettenkapitäns Otto Burchard (1865–1904) und dessen Frau Frieda Burchard geb. Göring (1875–1929) und in erster Ehe mit einem Halbbruder ihrer Mutter und Bruder Hermann Görings, Karl Ernst Göring (1885–1932), verheiratet gewesen. Nach erneuten Schwierigkeiten mit der Gestapo Ende 1943 wurde er auf Betreiben Görings zu einer Kur nach Lugano geschickt. Offenbar versuchte er dort, Asyl zu beantragen, wurde von der Schweizer Fremdenpolizei aber abgewiesen. In Lugano traf Diels auch Hans Bernd Gisevius wieder, seinen früheren Konkurrenten um die Leitung der Gestapo und einen der Mitverschwörer vom 20. Juli 1944. Nach seiner Rückkehr wurde Diels zweimal (Frühjahr und November 1944) von der Gestapo verhaftet.

Nachkriegszeit Bearbeiten

Diels wurde am 3. Mai 1945 festgenommen und bis 1948 interniert. Von Herbst 1945 bis Sommer 1947 trat er als Zeuge in den Nürnberger Prozessen auf. Anschließend arbeitete Diels für die US-amerikanische Militärregierung – bereits 1948 hatte er Kontakte zum CIC aufgenommen. Aus seinem Entnazifizierungsverfahren ging Diels Mitte 1949 relativ unbeschadet hervor, da er Fürsprecher wie Paul Löbe und Ernst Torgler vorweisen konnte. Ungeachtet dessen wurde in der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone bereits am 5. Januar 1949 ein Haftbefehl gegen ihn erlassen, der jedoch in den Westzonen nicht vollstreckt wurde.

Ebenfalls 1949 veröffentlichte Diels seine Autobiographie „Lucifer ante portas. Es spricht der erste Chef der Gestapo“, die als Vorabdruck (die Buchfassung wurde noch geändert) in einer neunteiligen Serie (Mai bis Juli 1949) im Nachrichtenmagzin Der Spiegel erschien [2] und trotz ihres apologetischen Charakters als eine bedeutsame Quelle für das frühe NS-Regime gilt. Dem Publizisten und ehemaligen Spiegel-Redakteur Peter-Ferdinand Koch zufolge hat Fritz Tobias die Kontakte von Diels – und auch von Paul Karl Schmidt – zum Spiegel hergestellt. [3] Diels hatte einen guten Kontakt zu Rudolf Augstein und erheblichen Einfluss auf die politische Ausrichtung des Spiegels. [4]

Nach dem Ende seiner Internierung lebte Diels abwechselnd auf seinem Gutshof in Kaltenweide-Twenge (Langenhagen) bei Hannover, den er 1955 verkaufte, und dem elterlichen Bauernhof in Berghausen, den er fortan bis zu seinem tödlichen Unfall zwei Jahre später weiterbetrieb. [5] [6] Er wurde als Beamter zur Wiederverwendung bis zu seinem Tod vom Land Niedersachsen besoldet. Im Zusammenhang mit der John-Affäre publizierte Diels 1954 ein wüstes Pamphlet gegen Otto John, das ihm ein dienstrechtliches Verfahren einbrachte.

1957 druckten die Illustrierten Stern und Weltbild Serien über den Reichstagsbrand und die Machtergreifung, die wesentlich auf Diels’ Informationen basierten und in denen die SA für den Reichstagsbrand verantwortlich gemacht wurde. [7]

Diels starb im November 1957 während eines Jagdausflugs, nachdem sich beim Herausnehmen seiner Jagdwaffe aus dem Auto ein Schuss gelöst hatte.

Rudolf Diels charakterisierte sich nach Kriegsende stets als Gegner des Nationalsozialismus und verwies auf seine Verfolgung durch die SS, insbesondere durch Heydrich. Bestätigt ist, dass er vereinzelt NS-Verfolgten bei der Emigration half, was ihm während der Entnazifizierung durch entlastende Aussagen beispielsweise von Paul Löbe oder Carl Severing zugutekam. Allerdings machte er auch deutlich: „Dem Drängen aus dem Kreise meiner Freunde, mich mit denen zu verbünden, die Hitler töten wollten, habe ich nicht nachgegeben, obwohl ich es schon aus persönlichster Notwehr hätte tun müssen.“ [8]

Andere bezeichnen Diels als Opportunist, der sich den jeweiligen Gegebenheiten anpasste, wenn es der Karriere förderlich war. So stand Diels während der Weimarer Republik liberalen Kreisen nahe und verkehrte im Berliner Demokratischen Club, dessen Präsident der jüdische Vize-Polizeipräsident Bernhard Weiß war. Bereits vor der Machtergreifung hatte sich Diels mit Göring gutgestellt, dessen Schutz er bis zum Kriegsende genoss. Während seiner Amtszeit als Gestapa-Chef arbeitete Diels an gesetzlichen Regelungen zur Schutzhaft und zur Judenverfolgung mit, auch am Aufbau des Konzentrationslagers Sonnenburg war er beteiligt. Nach dem Fall des Dritten Reiches stand Diels bereits ab 1948/49 in den Diensten der alliierten Besatzungsverwaltung.

Vertreter der These, der Reichstagsbrand sei von der SA inszeniert worden, haben Diels als Mitwisser dargestellt. Angeblich hätten sich bei dem belastenden Material, das er ins Ausland schaffte, auch Dokumente befunden, welche die „wahren Täter“ identifizierten. Diels selbst äußerte sich diesbezüglich widersprüchlich. Er habe bis 1949 geglaubt, die SA habe den Reichstag angezündet, später aber seine Meinung dahingehend geändert, dass der Holländer van der Lubbe der Alleintäter gewesen sei. Zu seinen Gründen für die jeweiligen Ansichten äußerte sich Diels nicht. Kurz vor seinem Tod soll er – so der Begründer der Alleintäterthese Fritz Tobias in den 1960er-Jahren – geplant haben, in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Zeitgeschichte eine Rekonstruktion der damaligen Vorgänge zu erarbeiten. [9] Dem widerspricht der amerikanische Historiker Benjamin Carter Hett. Er verweist darauf, dass Diels in einem Schreiben vom 22. Juli 1946 an die britische Delegation beim Internationalen Militärgerichtshof den früheren SA-Führer Hans Georg Gewehr als wahrscheinlichen Haupttäter bei der Brandstiftung nannte. Seine späteren, teils widersprüchlichen Aussagen in dieser Frage seien taktischer Natur gewesen. [10]


1933: Gestapo Founded

The Gestapo was founded by the infamous Hermann Göring, soon after Hitler appointed him Minister President of Prussia.

It is interesting that Göring was a flying ace of World War I, who shot down as much as 22 enemy planes in aerial duels.

He became one of Hitler’s closest associates and was soon appointed to high positions. As the Minister of the Interior for Prussia, he commanded the largest police force in the whole of Germany.

From that police he singled out the intelligence and the political section and created a new unit out of them – the Gestapo.

Göring filled the Gestapo with Nazis. Rudolf Diels, Göring’s protégé, became the first commander of the Gestapo.

He is known for being in charge of the case of the famous Marinus van der Lubbe, the communist accused of torching the Reichstag.

Göring’s Gestapo became a competitor to Himmler’s SS. In the end, Himmler prevailed and Goering had to relinquish the Gestapo to him.

The Gestapo then, with the backing of the SS, became the main secret police force in Germany and the conquered areas.


Primul șef al Gestapoului Modificare

Procesul de la Nuerenberg Modificare

Diels a prezentat o declarație la procesul de la Nuerenberg [5] , dar a fost de asemenea solicitat să fie martor al apărării în procesul intentat lui Hermann Göring. [4]

Anii de după război Modificare

După 1950, a servit ca funcționar public în guvernul landului Niedersachsen [4] , iar ulterior în Ministerul de Interne al nou înființatei Bundesrepublik Deutschland, până în 1953, când a ieșit la pensie. [5] Diels a decedat la 18 noiembrie 1957, motivul oficial al decesului fiind descărcarea accidentală a armei sale, pe când se afla la de vânătoare. [5] [7] :362


Watch the video: The Gestapo, Jews u0026 Ordinary Germans: Who Exactly Is to Blame 2000