Get to Know Oskar Dirlewanger

Oskar Dirlewanger was a German-born Nazi Party member with a political science degree. He joined the Nazi party in 1923, working as the manager of a knitwear factory until 1932 when he was designated as a leader of the SA. He was imprisoned in 1934 for molesting a minor and then in 1937 he became a member of the Condor Legion where he fought for Franco as a part of the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, Dirlewanger applied to the SS but was denied because of his conviction for molestation.
In 1940, Hitler made an interesting move. He was granting amnesty for poachers so that he could recruit them and send them to the front lines. He specifically requested illegal poachers who had hunted with firearms and only wanted those from Austria or Bavaria. They were going to become a part of the SS as a special sharpshooter group that was to be set up after their recruitment. Dirlewanger overturned his conviction from the molestation charge and used higher connections to get his application to the SS reconsidered. Later that year, he was admitted to the Waffen-SS.
Dirlewanger was recommended by Gottlob Berger to be named a commander of the unit, and became one of the most powerful and feared men in the Nazi Regime. He helped with building defense fortifications, but was mostly known for things like mistreating civilians and molesting females before killing them. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising saw Dirlewanger's group called to action. They advanced through the area, but in the end the 2,500 troops that had entered the battle numbered only 648. On August 5th, action was taken to make up for this loss. Even innocent civilians weren't spared in this action where soldiers killed every person they encountered, piled them up in the streets, and set them ablaze with the help of petrol.
Oskar Dirlewanger got his final promotion in 1944. His men were captured in 1945 by Soviet forces, but He fled the capture and eventually was arrested. Although rumors surfaced that he had escaped again over time, Dirlewanger died in 1945 as a result of being killed by soldiers or former concentration camp prisoners. The exact details of his death aren't known. Due to the rumors that circulated, his body was exhumed in 1960 to confirm its identity, which proved to be his after all. This eliminated all previous rumors and gave reassurance that he was dead.