Otto Dietrich
Dr. Otto Dietrich was an SS
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

, the Third Reich's Press Chief, and a confidant of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...



He was born in August 1897 in Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

. After his time as a soldier in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, he was awarded the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

 (First Class). After this he went to the universities of Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Freiburg, from which he graduated with a doctorate in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 in 1921.

Dietrich worked for newspapers in Essen and Munich. In 1929 he became a member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and advanced quickly. On August 1, 1931 he was appointed Press Chief of the NSDAP, and the following year joined the SS. By 1941 he had risen to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer.

His job as Press Chief overlapped with Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

's Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was Nazi Germany's ministry that enforced Nazi Party ideology in Germany and regulated its culture and society. Founded on March 13, 1933, by Adolf Hitler's new National Socialist government, the Ministry was headed by Dr...

, and thus many anecdotes exist of their feuds. They were infamous for their disagreements, and both often felt obliged to "repair" the mistakes of the other.

Dietrich retained the confidence of the Führer throughout the regime until Hitler fired him after an argument towards the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. However, in the secrecy mandated by war, Dietrich, who was not in Hitler's "inner circle," often did not truly know of Hitler's whereabouts. In 1949, he was tried at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials were a series of twelve U.S...

, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and being a member of a criminal organization, namely the SS and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. He was released in 1950. At the age of 55 Dietrich died in November 1952 in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...


Memoir: The Hitler I Knew

In captivity in Landsberg Prison
Landsberg Prison
Landsberg Prison is a penal facility located in the town of Landsberg am Lech in the southwest of the German state of Bavaria, about west of Munich and south of Augsburg....

, Dietrich wrote The Hitler I Knew. Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief, a book sharply critical of Hitler personally and strongly denouncing the crimes committed in the name of Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

. The first part of the book contains assessments by Dietrich about his character, his reflections on Hitler as a politician and as a soldier, and his critique of his leadership. The second part (Scenes from Hitler's Life) describes Dietrich's often first-hand oberservations of Hitler's daily activities before and during the war. The book was republished in 2010 by Skyhorse Publishing
Skyhorse Publishing
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., known as Skyhorse Publishing, was founded in 2006 and is located in New York, NY. It is an American independent book publishing company, and is distributed by W. W. Norton & Company. The current president and publisher is founder Tony Lyons, who named it after Brando...

, with a new introduction by historian Roger Moorhouse
Roger Moorhouse
Roger Moorhouse is a British historian and author. Born in Stockport, Cheshire, he was raised in Hertfordshire and attended Berkhamsted School. Inspired to return to education by the East European Revolutions of 1989, Moorhouse enrolled in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of the...

. Moorhouse indicates that "his(Dietrich)insights are sound and sincere, but the obvious question that arises is: when did they occur to him?". However, following the suicide of Dr. Robert Ley
Robert Ley
Robert Ley was a Nazi politician and head of the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945. He committed suicide while awaiting trial for war crimes.- Early life :...

 at Nuremberg, Dietrich's sincere and insightful expression of the wrongs of the Nazi regime was the first, and perhaps the best expression of remorse with self-understanding of a convicted World War II war criminal after conviction and during incarceration. Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

 wrote Spandau: The Secret Diaries, Inside The Third Reich, infiltration and The Slave State: Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

's Master Plan for SS Supremacy
, but these works were not published until well after his release from Spandau Prison
Spandau Prison
Spandau Prison was a prison situated in the borough of Spandau in western Berlin, constructed in 1876 and demolished in 1987 after the death of its last prisoner, Rudolf Hess, to prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine. The prison was near, though not part of, the Renaissance-era Spandau Citadel...

in 1966.


  • Dietrich O. The Hitler I Knew. Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief. Skyhorse Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-1-60289-972-3.

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