Erich von dem Bach (right) in Russia during 1941, while a Higher SS and Police leader listens in to (from the right) Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler speak to the commander of the SS-Kavallerie-Brigade, Hermann Fegelein, Between them is Himmler’s Chief of Staff, Karl Wolff.
Erich von dem Bach.
Erich von dem Bach joined the German army in 1914, was commissioned as Leutnant on 1.3.1916, and served in WWI with a Silesian unit as a machine gun company officer with the Grenadier Regiment “König Friedrich Wilhelm II” no. 10 during 1918-1919. Awarded both classes of the Iron Cross, he ws also given the wound badge in black, after being gassed.
Von dem Bach joined the NSDAP on Feb.1930 and the SS on 15.2.1931, serving first with 1./II/27.SS-Standarte, later taking command of the III.Sturmbann on 10.5.1931. Commissioned as a SS-Sturmführer on 20.6.1931, he organized SS units on the Austrian frontier in early 1931. Promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer 6.12.1931, he commanded the 27.SS-Standarte in Frankfurt/Oder from 15.12.1931 to 15.7.1932. He also held a seat in the Reichstag from the end of July.1932, to the end of the war as a representative of Breslau.
From 6.16.1932 to 1.12.1932, he led SS-Abschnitt VIII. In Liebnow he also served as the Commander of SS-Abschnitt XII, and leading that district from 12.7.1932 to 31.1.1934, during which time he was promoted to SS-Standartenführer on 10.9.1932, to SS-Oberführer on 6.10.1932, and to SS-Brigadeführer on 15.12.1933. Bach was then commanded the SS-Abschnitt VII from 12.2.1934 to 20.3.1934. In the pre war years, he was awarded the SA Sports Badge in Bronze, the Reich’s Sports Badge in in Silver, the Brunswick Rally Badge of 1931 and the Gold Party Badge.
Promoted to command SS-Oberschnitt “Nordost,” he commanded that main district from 1.2.1934 till 15.2.1936, during that time he was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer on 11.6.1934. He also served as Deputy Head of the Gestapo in the Königsberg area during 1935 to Feb. 1936. Following a disagreement with Gauleiter Erich Koch, he moved to command SS-Oberabschnitt “Südost” from 15.2.1936, officially until 26.6.1941, but left command at the start of May.1941, for service in Russia.
Side note, his birth-name was Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, but he had the last part of his name legally removed at his request, due to its Polish sound.