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Major Wolfgang Hochstetter
Rank Sturmbannführer and Kriminalrat
Enlisted In Gestapo, Waffen-SS
Serial Number
Appearances Full List of Appearances
Actor Howard Caine

Kriminalrat Wolfgang Hochstetter is a fictional character who is the leader of the local Gestapo and the feared rival of Colonel Klink in the 1960s sitcom, Hogan's Heroes. He was played by Howard Caine.

About Major Wolfgang Hochstetter Edit

Wolfgang Hochstetter was born on December 1, 1900 in Aurich, Germany (speculation). In 1931, he joins the Nazi Party, becoming a member of the SS and later the Gestapo, specifically Department E1, eventually reaching the rank of Major (Sturmbannführer und Kriminalrat). Initially he is working as a special SS investigator out of Berlin, but later, he is assigned to the Hammelburg office of the Gestapo to replace its dead commander, who has been killed in an Allied bombing raid, and it is from there that he becomes a major thorn in Hogan's side starting at the end of 1943, and continuing through most of 1944.

Hochstetter has been trained as a cryptologist, quickly becoming the top man in his unit. By the time he is made chief of the Gestapo officer in his section of Bavaria which includes both Hammelburg and Stalag 13, he has received the Iron Cross, 1st Class, the War Merit Cross, 1st Class, and a Wound Badge, 1939, which he receives for injuries from his involvement in the Invasion of Poland. He also receives the Golden Party Badge and the SA Sport Badge.

As the head of the local Gestapo, he tries to capture those members of the underground who are involved in attempts to disrupt the German war effort. The methods he uses against them makes him a feared man in his part of Germany; in one episode he remarks dryly, "I'm in the Gestapo - what do I know about law?" He is especially feared by members of the Wehrmacht including Colonel Klink, and by Sergeant Schultz as well, though not by General Burkhalter, who thinks little of the Gestapo and is much harder to intimidate. However, despite his personal disdain, Burkhalter at least respects Hochstetter, and will work with him when necessity demands it. In fact, most of the animosity between them is caused by Hogan, and to a lesser extent by Klink. Hochstetter is highly suspicious of all of the sabotage activity that keep occurring around the camp, and often suspects that Colonel Hogan and his men are responsible, but is never able to prove it. Hochstetter is suspicious and distrustful of many people, and unlike Klink and Schultz, Hochstetter will almost never talk to Hogan or his men about anything. Remarking on this, LeBeau claims that "Hochstetter is so secretive he won't even talk to himself!"

Short-tempered and easily annoyed, Hochstetter has none of Schultz's liking or Klink's tolerance for Hogan and his fellow prisoners. He is constantly surprised and outraged at the way Hogan so casually shows up in Klink's office anytime he wants to, and demands "Who is this man?!" or "What is this man doing here?!" with increasing stridency. Hochstetter is also given to vowing "Heads will roll!" when addressing a situation in which someone has crossed the Gestapo or him personally, or shouting "Bah!" out of anger or frustration. He comes as close as any of the German characters to figuring out just how much trouble Hogan has caused for the Greater German Reich, and refers to Hogan more than once as "the most dangerous man in all Germany."

Hogan proves to be Hochstetter's downfall, as the more wily American manages to thwart the SS major's every effort to uncover his operations at Stalag 13. The increasing magnitude of Hochstetter's apparent incompetence inevitably gets him into trouble - first with General Burkhalter, who actually has him arrested at one point, and with his SS superiors on more than one occasion. Near the end of 1944, in what would be his last tangle with Hogan, Hochstetter is tricked into releasing several important prisoners, each of them a leader of the underground, by being led into believing that the war was over, even lending them his car. This results in Hochstetter being arrested and driven back to his headquarters in Berlin to answer for his actions. This latest charge is evidently too much for Hochstetter's superiors, for he is never heard of again.

Trivia Edit

  • The name Hochstetter is falsely believed to be German for "high stepper," a humorous reference to the Nazis' "goose stepping" way of marching in formation.
  • Major Hochstetter is often shown in a black Gestapo uniform despite that uniform being abolished in 1939.
  • As an SS-Sturmbannführer, Hochstetter is outranked by two full grades by Colonel Klink. However, Klink behaves as if Hochstetter outranks him, not the other way around. This is likely due at least in part to Hochstetter being a member of the Gestapo, who had considerable investigative and arrest powers and were greatly feared in Germany.
  • According to the website The International Encyclopedia of Uniform and Rank Insignia around the World, and their pages showing the insignia of the General SS and the Waffen-SS Major Hochstetter wears the collar insignia of an SS Colonel, but the shoulder insignia of an SS Major. (Link to one of the SS insignia pages on the aforementioned site: General SS Insignia 1933-1934.) In some of the early episodes of the series he is wearing a proper SS colonel's insignia. This might have come about from his uniform being recycled from SS Colonel Feldkamp, whom Caine portrayed in The Battle of Stalag 13. Hochstetter first appears in uniform with its now-familiar mixed and incorrect insignias in the fourth season episode, To the Gestapo with Love.
  • Hochstetter is referenced in the 2005 video game "Return to Castle Wolfenstein", wherein a Major Hochstetter (who resembles him in name only, apart from also being in the SS) appears in the mission Paderborn Village.
  • Howard Caine's first appearance in the Hogan's Heroes series was in Season 1, Episode 17, titled "Happy Birthday, Adolf" (1966). During the episode, Caine played the part of "Major Keitel," the German Army commander of an anti-aircraft battery that Hogan and his men sabotage. This was the only time during the Hogan's Heroes series that Caine played any part other than that of Gestapo Major Hochstetter (see: