From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
SS collar patches
Country Nazi Germany
Service branch Schutzstaffel
National Socialist Motor Corps
National Socialist Flyers Corps
NATO rank codeOF-2
Next higher rankSturmbannführer
Next lower rankObersturmführer
Equivalent ranksHauptmann
Hauptsturmführer Albert Klett, photographed in 1945

Hauptsturmführer (German: [ˈhaʊpt.ʃtʊʁmˌfyːʁɐ], lit.'head storm leader'; short: Hstuf) was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was used in several Nazi organizations such as the SS, NSKK and the NSFK. The rank of Hauptsturmführer was a mid-level commander and had equivalent seniority to a captain (Hauptmann) in the German Army and also the equivalency of captain in foreign armies.[1]

The rank of Hauptsturmführer evolved from the older rank of Sturmhauptführer, created as a rank of the Sturmabteilung (SA). The SS used the rank of Sturmhauptführer from 1930 to 1934 at which time, following the Night of the Long Knives, the name of the rank was changed to Hauptsturmführer although the insignia remained the same.[2][3] Sturmhauptführer remained an SA rank until 1945.[4]

Some of the most infamous SS members are known to have held the rank of Hauptsturmführer. Among them are Josef Mengele, the infamous doctor assigned to Auschwitz; Klaus Barbie, Gestapo Chief of Lyon; Joseph Kramer, commandant of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp; Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's assistant; and Amon Göth, who was sentenced to death and hanged for committing multiple waves of mass murder (liquidations of the ghettos at Tarnów and Kraków, the camp at Szebnie, the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, as portrayed in the film Schindler's List).

The insignia of Hauptsturmführer was three silver pips and two silver stripes on a black collar patch, worn opposite a unit insignia patch.[1] On the field grey duty uniform, the shoulder boards of an army Hauptmann were also displayed. The rank of Hauptsturmführer was senior to the rank of Obersturmführer and junior to Sturmbannführer.[1]

Rank insignia[edit]

Hauptsturmführer SS, SA, NSKK, and NSFK
Rank insignia

Schutzstaffel (SS)

Sturmabteilung (SA)

NS Motor Corps (NSKK)

NS Flyers Corps (NSFK)

Waffen-SS collar insignia
Sequence of ranks in comparison with the Wehrmacht (Heer)
junior rank
SA rank
(until 1939/40: Sturmhauptführer)
senior rank
junior rank
SS rank
(until 1934: Sturmhauptführer)
senior rank
junior rank
Oberleutnant (OF-1)
Wehrmacht rank
Hauptmann / Rittmeister (OF-2)
senior rank
Major (OF-3)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Flaherty 2004, p. 148.
  2. ^ McNab 2009a, pp. 29, 30.
  3. ^ Miller 2006, p. 521.
  4. ^ McNab 2009b, p. 15.


  • Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1-84447-073-3.
  • McNab, Chris (2009a). The SS: 1923–1945. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5.
  • McNab, Chris (2009b). The Third Reich. Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-906626-51-8.
  • Miller, Michael (2006). Leaders of the SS and German Police, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 93-297-0037-3.