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Karl Wolff

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Karl Wolff (right) with Benito Mussolini

Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff (May 13, 1900 - July 17, 1984) was a high-ranking member of the Nazi SS. He held the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer and General of the Waffen-SS.

Wolff was born in Darmstadt, Germany and joined the German Army during World War I, exiting service as a Lieutenant. In 1931, Wolff joined the Nazi Party and the SS and worked his way up to being Chief of Staff, Main Office Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS. From February through October of 1943, he served as the Military Governor and Supreme SS and Police Leader of northern Italy. A recent report in the Italian newspaper Avvenire suggested that Hitler ordered Wolff to kidnap Pope Pius XII, but he refused. In May of 1945, Wolff negotiated the surrender all German forces in Italy.

Wolff was tried after World War II by German courts and sentenced to four years of imprisonment, but only served a week of prison time.

However, in 1962 Wolff was again tried and convicted of deporting 300,000 Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. Wolff served only part of his sentence and was released in 1971.

Wolff has been a controversial figure because many believe he was far more privy to the internal workings of the SS and its extermination activities than he acknowledged. In fact, he claimed to have known nothing about the extermination camps, even though he was the number two man in the SS.de:Karl Wolff

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