Erich Kempka

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SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Erich Kempka (16 September 1910 – 24 January 1975) served as Adolf Hitler's chauffeur from 1934. He was SS member #2,803 and served in the Allgemeine SS.


Early life

Kempka was born in Oberhausen to a miner with ten children. He worked as a mechanic for the automotive manufacturer DKW.

Nazi career

Kempka joined the Nazi Party on 1 April 1930 as member #225-639. Two years later, he was one of eight founding members of the SS-Begleit-Kommando.

He served as chauffeur for Josef Terboven until 29 February 1932, when, based on Terboven's recommendation, he was tasked as a reserve driver for Hitler's personal entourage. In 1934, he replaced Julius Schreck and Emil Maurice as Hitler's primary chauffeur, valet and bodyguard. That same year he was present at the arrest of Ernst Röhm.

As his chaufeur Kempka usually drove one of Hitler's black Mercedes cars from a fleet of six to eight stationed in Berlin, Munich and other places. Unless in the company of an important personality, Hitler would sit in the front, next to Kempka, with his valet behind him.

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