Mild mannered, maybe. But beneath the bookish looks this guy was tough enough to become the most famous cop in Germany.
Born in 1880 under the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm I, Bernhard Weiss was a patriotic Jew who served in the imperial army during the Great War of 1914-18, achieving the extremely rare (for a Jew) rank of officer and even rarer award of the nation’s highest military honor, Iron Cross First Class. In the war’s last months, when Germany’s home front was in worse shape than her battle lines, Weiss’ superiors took the unprecedented step of yanking him from the army and appointing him deputy head of Berlin’s criminal police (Kripo) to try and stabilize the capital. He was the first Jew ever to hold such a position.
With the collapse of Imperial Germany and the establishment of a constitutional republic Weiss became chief architect in turning the Berlin police from the tool of iron-fisted dictatorship into a model “citizens” force, defending and promoting the values of Germany’s first ever parliamentary democracy, and suppressing attempts by both radical left and right to overthrow the new republic.