The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man… Thomas Robert MALTHUS

SS-Oberstgruppenführer Paul „Papa” Hausser (October 7, 1880 – December 21, 1972) was an officer in the German Army,

Paul „Papa” Hausser (October 7, 1880 – December 21, 1972) was an officer in the German Army, achieving the high rank of lieutenant-general in the inter-war Reichswehr. After retirement from the regular Army he became the „father” (thus the nickname “Papa”) of the Waffen-SS and one of its most eminent leaders. Battling in both the Eastern and Western fronts of World War II, he was seriously wounded twice, losing an eye in the first incident. After the war he became a member of the HIAG which sought to rehabilitate the reputation and legal status of the Waffen-SS.

Paul Hausser
7 October 1880 – 21 December 1972 (aged 92)
Paul Hausser (here as SS-Gruppenfuhrer)
Nickname Papa
Place of birth Brandenburg an der Havel
Place of death Ludwigsburg
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1892 – 1932
1934 – 1945
Rank Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberstder Waffen-SS
Commands held 2nd SS Division Das Reich
II SS Panzer Corps
Seventh Army
Awards Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern

Early life and career…

Hausser was born in Brandenburg an der Havel to a Prussian military family; his father Kurt Hausser was a major in the Imperial German Army. Paul entered the army in 1892 and from then until 1896 was at the cadet school in Köslin, and from 1896 he attended the cadet academy Berlin-Lichterfelde where he successfully graduated in 1899. On March 20, 1899 he was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to Infantry-Regiment 155 stationed at Ostrowo in Posen; on October 1, 1903 he became the adjutant of the regiment’s 2nd battalion and he served in this capacity for five years, until October 1, 1908. Noted for his military gifts, he attended the Prussian Military Academy in Berlin from October 1908 until his graduation on July 21, 1911. From 1912, onwards, including the First World War, Hausser served in a number of General Staff assignments, including the greatly reduced postwar German army (Reichswehr), in which by 1927 he had become a colonel.


He retired from the Reichswehr on January 31, 1932 with the rank of lieutenant-general. As a retiree, Hausser joined the right wing WWI veterans organization Stahlhelm, becoming the head of its Brandenburg-Berlin chapter in 1933. Soon, Stahlhelm was incorporated into the SA, and with the SA’s demise, into the SS. In November 1934 he was transferred to the SS-Verfügungstruppeand assigned to SS-Führerschule Braunschweig. In 1935 he became Inspector of SS-Junkerschule and was promoted toBrigadeführer in 1936.

World War II…

Hausser served in the Polish Campaign of 1939 as an observer with the mixed Wehrmacht/SS Panzer Division Kempf. In October 1939 SS-VT was formed as a motorized infantry division with Hausser in command. He led the division, later renamed 2nd SS Division Das Reich, through the French campaign of 1940 and in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa. For his services in Russia, Hausser was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in 1941 and the Oak Leaves in 1943 (he was to get the Swords for his services in Normandy) and was severely wounded, losing an eye. After recovering he commanded the newly formed SS-Panzer Corps (renamed II SS Panzer Corps in June 1943) and against Hitler’s explicit orders withdrew his troops from Kharkov to avoid encirclement, only to recapture the city in March 1943. He led 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS divisions during the Battle of Kursk. After Kursk, his Corps was reformed (substituting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS Panzer Divisions with the 9th and10th SS divisions) and sent to Italy, then to France where he commanded them in the early stages of the Normandy Campaign. After the death of Friedrich Dollmann (commander of theSeventh Army), Hausser was promoted to the command of Seventh Army. During the Falaise encirclement, Hausser remained with his troops until he was wounded (shot through the jaw). Paul Hausser was promoted to Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS in August 1944 and subsequently commanded Army Group G from 28 January to 3 April 1945. He ended the war on Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring’s staff. At the Nuremberg Trials he vigorously defended the military role of the Waffen-SS and denied that it was heavily involved in war-crime atrocities.

Personal life…

Hausser married Elisabeth Gérard (born 1891) on 9 November, 1912 and had one daughter (born 1913).

Grave of Paul Hausser.

Summary of his military career…

  • Kadett: 1892
  • Leutnant: 20 March 1899
  • Oberleutnant: 19 August 1909
  • Hauptmann i.G.: 1 March 1914 (Patent from 1 October 1913)
  • Major: 22 March 1918
  • Oberstleutnant: 1 April 1923 (Patent from 15 November 1922)
  • Oberst: 1 November 1927 (RDA from 1 July 1927)
  • Generalmajor: 1 February 1931
  • Charakter als Generalleutnant: 31 January 1932
  • SA-Standartenführer SAR: 1 March 1934
  • SS-Standartenführer: 15 November 1934 (RDA from 1 November 1934)
  • SS-Oberführer: 1 July 1935
  • SS-Brigadeführer: 22 May 1936
  • SS-Gruppenführer: 1 June 1939
  • Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS: 19 November 1939
  • SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS: 1 October 1941
  • SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Generaloberst der Waffen-SS: 1 August 1944

Notable decorations…

  • Cross of Honor (1934)
  • Wound Badge in Silver (1942)
  • Iron Cross Second (1914) and First (1914) Classes
  • House Order of Hohenzollern
  • SS-Honour Ring (?)
  • Clasp to the Iron Cross Second (1939) and First (1940) Classes
  • Golden Party Badge (1943)
  • Knight’s Cross (1941)
  • Oak Leaves (1943)
  • Swords (1944)
  • Waffen-SS Long Service Award (?)


Hausser is an author of several books on Waffen-SS and German military.

  • Waffen-SS im Einsatz (Waffen-SS in Action), Plesse Verlag, Göttingen (1953)
  • Soldaten wie andere auch (Soldiers Like Any Other), Munin Verlag, Osnabrück (1966)

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