Canaris, Admiral Wilhelm, 1888-1945

The son of an industrialist, Canaris was a U-Boat Commander in World War I. At the outbreak of World War II he was Head of the Abwehr, the Intelligence Department of the German Armed Forces High Command. Although pro-German in attitude, Canaris and other Abwehr officers loathed some of the practices of the Nazi regime, which in many ways rendered the Abwehr and its organization somewhat less effective than it might otherwise have been. His love for Germany did not allow Canaris to become actively involved in the military resistance to HITLER but the apparatus of the Abwehr was used to help order and spread the resistance. Canaris was arrested after the July Plot and was sent to Flossenberg concentration camp. The Abwehr was dissolved, its operations now under HIMMLER’s direction. Canaris was executed at Flossenberg on 9 April 1945, weeks before the camp was liberated.

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