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Among the members of the Archaeological Institute of the German Reich, the architectural historian Hans Schleif was notable for the extent of his involvement with the crimes of the National Socialist regime. His achievements in scientific research, for instance as director of excavations at Olympia, are overshadowed by his career in the SS. He was director of the Excavation Department of the »Ahnenerbe« (ancestral heritage) of the SS. After the German invasion of Poland he was briefly appointed Custodian of German Cultural Assets based in Posnan. In 1943, he joined the SS Head Office for Economic and Administrative Affairs and rose to the position of deputy to C Group (Construction) director, Dr. Hans Kammler, whose permanent representative in the Jäger- und Rüstungsstab task force he became. In this role, Schleif was responsible above all for moving key arms production facilities underground, where fighter planes and the »reprisal weapons« V1 and V2 were built – hence for the largely subterranean concentration and slave labour camps of the Sonderstab Kammler. His grand- son, the actor Matthias Neukirch, created a theatre production about Schleif in collaboration with stage director Julian Klein at the Deutsches Theater Berlin. This text is a result of the research undertaken for the production, and reports on selected stages in Schleif’s biography.
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