Walther Schellenberg (January 16, 1910-March 21, 1952) was a German Nazi and second-in-command of Gestapo.

Walter Schellenberg was born in Saarbrücken, Germany. When France occupied Saarland after the First World War, his family moved to Luxembourg.

Schellenberg enrolled in the University of Bonn in 1929 to study law. When he graduated, he joined the SS in May 1933 and worked in counter-intelligence. He got acquainted with Reinhard Heydrich and 1939-1942 he was a deputy leader of the Reich Central Security Office and Heinrich Himmler's personal aide.

In November 1939 Schellenberg played a major part in the Venlo Incident, which lead to capture of two British agents. In 1940 he was charged to form a list of 2300 prominent Britons that would have been arrested after a successful conquest of Great Britain. He also arranged many other plots of subterfuge and intelligence gathering, including bugging a Berlin brothel to monitor conversations of its customers.

Also in 1940 he was sent to Portugal to capture Duke and Duchess of Windsor and try to persuade them to work for Germany. Mission was a failure - Schellenberg managed only to delay their baggage for a few hours.

Schellenberg served as major general (Brigadeführer) in the Waffen-SS and held a high post in political secret service. He also led the hunt of the Soviet spy ring Red Orchestra. In 1944 he became a head of Combined Secret Services when Abwehr was disbanded.

At the end of the war Schellenberg persuaded (or agreed with) Himmler to contact Western Allies through count Folke Bernadotte and went personally to Stockholm in April 1945 to arrange their meeting. He was in Denmark trying to arrange surrender when Allied troops arrested him in June 1945.

In the Nuremberg Trials, Schellenberg testified against other nazis and 1949 he was sentenced for only six years imprisonment. In prison he wrote his memoirs, The Labyrinth. He was released in 1950 due to worsening liver condition and moved to Italy.

Walter Schellenberg died in Turin, Italy.


  • Louis Hagen & Andre Deutch - The Schellenberg Memoirs (1956)