It was then that Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s trusted Nazi ally and head of the SS, came up with his idea of the Werewolves. Himmler is most remembered by history as the man who put into practice Hitler’s plans to exterminate all European Jews. A committed Nazi, Himmler had been happy to undertake this hideous task.
So, in the late summer of 1944, with the enemy encroaching, Himmler ordered Unternehmen Werwolf – or “Operation Werewolf.” He gave direct responsibility for the operation to SS Obergruppenführer Hans-Adolf Prützmann. Prützmann was another fanatical Nazi and had organized the wholesale murder of Jews in Latvia.
Given the grand-sounding title of General Inspector of Special Defense, Prützmann was told to create formations of troops who would conduct operations behind enemy lines. This initial plan saw these formations as being uniformed men who would operate like the commandos used by the Allies. Prützmann took inspiration from the Soviet partisans who had operated to the rear of the German lines in Russia.