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Wilhelm Harster (1904–1991) was born in Bavaria, studied law and received a Doctor of Law degree in 1927. He joined the Kripo (Criminal Police) in 1929 and the SS in 1933. When Germany invaded Poland, he was appointed Commander of the Security Police and Security Service (Befehlshaber der Sicherheitspolizei und des Sicherheitsdienst, BdS) in Kraków and immediately after the invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt - Reich Security Main Office), appointed him BdS in the Netherlands. In this capacity, Harster became the right-hand of Hanns Albin Rauter, Higher SS- and Police-leader (HSSPF, Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer) in the Netherlands, and an active and full partner in the deportation of the Dutch Jews. In August 1943, after the mass deportations from the Netherlands had ended, Harster was given command of the SD in Italy alongside HSSPF Karl Wolff.
At the end of the war, Harster was captured and held in a special detention facility (the London District Cage) until he was returned to the Netherlands in 1946 for prosecution. In 1949, he was sentenced in The Hague to twelve years in prison. After his release in 1953, Harster returned to Germany where he joined the civil service. He was tried again in 1967 when he received an additional prison sentence but was pardoned in 1969.

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