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Junker School at Bad Tölz, 1942

Junker Schools or Junkerschulen was a term introduced by Nazi Germany in 1937 for the SS leadership training facilities established at Bad Tölz and Braunschweig in 1934 and 1935. Additional schools were founded at Klagenfurt and Posen-Treskau in 1943, and Prague in 1944. Unlike the Wehrmacht's "war schools", admission to the Junker Schools did not require a secondary diploma. Training at these schools provided the groundwork for employment with the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo; security police), the Sicherheitsdienst (SD; security service), and later for the Waffen-SS. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler intended for these schools to mold cadets for future service in the officer ranks of the SS.[1][2]


As part of an effort to professionalize their officers, the SS founded a Leadership School in 1934; the first one was at the Bavarian town of Bad Tölz, established under the leadership of SS-Colonel Paul Lettow. Following shortly, a second school at Braunschweig under the direction of SS-Obersturmführer (later SS-Gruppenführer) Paul Hausser was founded.[3] In 1937, Himmler rechristened the Leadership Schools to "Junker Schools" in honor of the land-owning Junker aristocracy that once dominated the Prussian military. Akin to the Junker officers of their namesake, most cadets eventually led Waffen-SS regiments into combat.[4] By the time World War II in Europe was underway, additional SS Leadership Schools at Klagenfurt, Posen-Treskau and Prague had been founded.[5]


Created to educate and mold the next generation of leadership within the SS, cadets were taught to be adaptable officers who could perform any task assigned to them, whether in a police role, in a concentration camp, as part of a fighting unit, or within the greater SS organization.[6] Additional administrative and economic training was included at the behest of SS-Gruppenführer Oswald Pohl and the SS Main Economic and Administrative Department. Pohl intended to shape future SS officers into effective and efficient managers of the SS economics industry and insisted that supplemental training in corporate operations was integrated into the curriculum.[4]

General military instruction over logistics and planning was provided but much of the training concentrated on small-unit tactics associated with raids, patrols, and ambushes.[7] Training an SS officer took as much as nineteen months overall and encompassed additional things like map reading, tactics, military maneuvers, political education, weapons training, physical education, combat engineering and even automobile mechanics, all of which were provided in varying degrees at additional training facilities based on the cadet’s specialization.[8] Political and ideological indoctrination was part of the syllabus for all SS cadets but there was no merger of academic learning and military instruction like that found at West Point in the United States.[9] Instead, personality training was stressed which meant future SS leaders/officers were shaped above all things by a National Socialist worldview and attitude. Instruction at the Junker Schools was designed to communicate a sense of racial superiority, a connection to other dependable like-minded men, ruthlessness, and a toughness that accorded the value system of the SS. Throughout their stay during the training, cadets were constantly monitored for their "ideological reliability."[10] It is postulated that the merger of the police with the SS was at least partly the result of their shared attendance at the SS Junker Schools.[11]



  1. Snyder 1976, p. 187.
  2. Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 480.
  3. Weale 2012, p. 206.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Allen 2002, p. 112.
  5. Pine 2010, p. 89.
  6. Weale 2012, pp. 206–207.
  7. Weale 2012, p. 207.
  8. Weale 2012, pp. 207–208.
  9. Weale 2012, p. 209.
  10. Mineau 2011, p. 29.
  11. Laqueur & Baumel 2001, p. 606.


  • Allen, Michael Thad (2002). The Business of Genocide: The SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps. London and Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-80782-677-5. 
  • Laqueur, Walter; Baumel, Judith Tydor (2001). The Holocaust Encyclopedia. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-30008-432-0. 
  • Mineau, André (2011). SS Thinking and the Holocaust. New York: Editions Rodopi. ISBN 978- 9401207829. 
  • Pine, Lisa (2010). Education in Nazi Germany. New York: Berg. ISBN 978-1-84520-265-1. 
  • Snyder, Louis L (1976). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. London: Robert Hale. ISBN 978-1-56924-917-8. 
  • Weale, Adrian (2012). Army of Evil: A History of the SS. New York: Caliber Printing. ISBN 978-0451237910. 
  • Zentner, Christian; Bedürftig, Friedemann (1991). The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: MacMillan. ISBN 0-02-897500-6. 

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