Werner Gerlach

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Dr. Werner Gerlach was born in Wiesbaden. SS Brigadeführer (Brigadier) Gerlach, a pathologist by training, who was personally appointed to Heinrich Himmler’s personal staff, started his Foreign Service career in January 1942. On 10 April 1943, he was transferred to the German Embassy in Paris as head of the cultural department. The move was seen as intentional by then-ambassador Otto Abetz to fill the post by a loyalist who was at the same time a cultural novice. Together with Rudolf Schleier, Werner Gerlach managed the acquisition of the Schloss Collection on behalf of the German Embassy in Paris. He was also responsible for keeping the Foreign Office in Berlin informed, as well as Helmut von Hummel, Hermann Voss and Erhard Göpel. On 15 July 1943, Gerlach’s assurance to Darquier de Pellepoix that the occupying forces will relinquish all their rights enabled the sale negotiations to go forward. Three months later, on 19 October 1943, Gerlach notified the Foreign Office Berlin of the successful purchase of the Schloss Collection. From 1945 to 1948, Gerlach was interned by the American military. In 1947 he served as a witness in the Foreign Office trial at Nuremberg. After his release, Gerlach opened a private pathological institute in Kempten (Allgäu) in 1949. Gerlach was praised for his contributions to the introduction of spectral analysis into medicine.

Literature: Maria Keipert (Red.): Biographisches Handbuch des deutschen Auswärtigen Dienstes 1871-1945. Herausgegeben vom Auswärtigen Amt, Historischer Dienst. Band 2: Gerhard Keiper, Martin Kröger: G–K. Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2005, p.29.   Eckard Michels, Das deutsche Institut in Paris 1940-1944 – ein Beitrag zu den deutsch-französischen Kulturbeziehungen und zur auswärtigen Kulturpolitik des Dritten Reiches, Franz Steiner Verlag 1993, p. 115.   Online resources: https://www.catalogus-professorum-halensis.de/gerlachwerner.html