hand man an éminence grise: Herbert
Hagen, who was to be his personal deputy. |
This was a dazzling promotion
for Hagen, who was not yet thirty. He was also still in charge of Division VI
of the S.D.-Security police, which was devoted to gathering intelligence on
foreign countries, the French government, and the French political parties.
Along with Section IV it was the best-organized branch of the Gestapo. It had
twelve subdivisions. From then on, Hagen was to pull the strings of French
politics, and influence upon them was gradually to pass from the military
command and the German Embassy to the S.S.
Petain's ambassador to the
German occupation authorities in Paris, Count Fernand de Brinon (who was shot
after the Liberation), was well aware of who possessed the power in the
splendid, high windowed house at 57 boulevard Lannes:
General Oberg was a fat Prussian with a
shaven head who knew nothing about France or French ways of thought, could not
speak our language, was not very intelligent, and was completely dominated by a
young S.S. officer, Major Hagen. Hagen had the advantage of speaking French
well, but the dreadful disadvantage of hating us and of nursing his resentment
of us. He employed spies, and appeared to be General Oberg's chief of staff.
The Gestapo's Bureau for Jewish Affairs, on avenue Foch, was
quite near boulevard Lannes. Hagen did not neglect his anti-Semitic activities.
He attended all the summit conferences between Germans and between the German
and the French authorities, in order to get the program for deportation going
and remove all obstacles to effecting the final Solution to the Jewish Problem
in France. All documents concerning the measures that were taken about the
Jewish problem in France passed through the hands of Hagen as well as of
Lischka, Oberg, and Knochen.
Hagen was an example of the "bureaucratic
assassin." He never dirtied his own hands or took any pleasure in watching
tortures, but he fanatically devoted his keen mind to the service of evil by
devising operational procedures. Hagen's memorandums, written in his sunny
offices overlooking the Bois de Boulogne, mapped the road that ended for the
Jews at the Auschwitz railway station.
Hagen was completely aware of
the fate awaiting the Jews. He was kept informed down to the last detail on
their arrests and transfers. For example, the following memorandum from S.S.