The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
(Part 1 of 4)

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Ernst Kaltenbrunner was born on 4 October 1903 at Ried on Inn (near Braunau) Austria. He spent his youth in Hitler's native district. Later he moved to Linz, where he attended the State Realgymnasium. He studied law and obtained a law degree in 1926. He spent the first year as apprentice lawyer at Linze-on-Danube and then worked as a lawyer-candidate, first at Salzburg and after 1928 at Linz (2938-PS).

Kaltenbrunner joined the Nazi Party and the SS in Austria in 1932. Prior to 1933 he was the District speaker (Gauredner) and legal counsellor (Rechtsberater) of the SS division (Abschnitt) VIII. After 1933 he was the fuehrer of regiment (Standarte) 37 and later of the SS division VIII (2892-PS).

In January 1934 Kaltenbrunner was jailed by the Dollfuss government on account of his Nazi views, and sent with other leading National-Socialists into the concentration camp Kaiser-

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steinbruch. He is said to have started and led a hunger strike of the prisoners and thereby to have forced the government to dismiss 490 National Socialist prisoners. In the following year he was jailed again because of suspicion of High Treason and committed to the military court at Wels (Upper Danube). After an investigation of many months the accusation of High Treason was dropped, but he was condemned to six months' imprisonment for conspiracy. His right to practice law was suspended because of his Nazi activities (2938-PS).

After the Spring of 1935 Kaltenbrunner was the leader of the Austrian SS. In the magazine of the SIPO and SD, issue of 15 May 1943, it is stated:

"It redounds to his credit that in this important position he succeeded through energetic leadership in maintaining the unity of the Austrian SS, which he had built up, in spite of all persecution, and succeeded in committing it successfully at the right moment. After the annexation, in which the SS was a decisive factor, he was appointed State Secretary for Security Matters on 11 March 193& in the new National Socialist cabinet of Seyss-Inquart. A few hours later he was able to report to Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler, who had landed at Aspern, the Vienna airport, on 12 March 1938, 3 a.m., as the first National Socialist leader, that the Movement had achieved a complete victory and that 'The SS is in formation and awaiting further orders.' " (2938-PS)

Hitler promoted Kaltenbrunner on the date of the Anschluss to the rank of SS Brigadefuehrer and leader of the SS Oberabschnitt Donau. On 9/11/1938 he was promoted to the rank of SS Gruppenfuehrer. During the liquidation of the Austrian national government and the reorganization of Austria into Alps and Danube Districts, he was appointed Higher SS and Police Leader of the governors of Vienna, Lower Danube, and Upper Danube, in Corps Area (Wehrkreis) XVII, and in April 1941 was promoted to Major General of the Police (2938-PS).

On 30 January 1943 Kaltenbrunner was appointed Chief of the Security Police and SD (RSHA), succeeding Heydrich, who had been assassinated in Prague in June 1942. Kaltenbrunner held this position until the end of the war (2644-PS).

On 4 October 1943 at Pozen, Poland, in a speech delivered to Gruppenfuehrers of the SS, Himmler. made special reference to "our comrade Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner, who has succeeded our fallen friend Heydrich" (1919-PS).

On 9 December 1944 the decoration known as the Knight's Cross of the War Merit, Cross with Swords, was given to SS

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Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Police Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Chief of the Security Police and the SD (2770- PS). -In addition he held the Golden insignia of Honor and the Blutorden. He was a member of the Reichstag after the 9th election period 1938 (2892-PS).

Toward the end of the war, Kaltenbrunner's power increased greatly, especially after the attack on Hitler of 20 July 944. He gained direct access to Hitler. He was very friendly with Fegelein and his wife, who was the sister of Eva Braun. So powerful had Kaltenbrunner become toward the end that even Himmler feared him. On 13 April 1945 the chief of the German foreign intelligence service, Schellenberg, asked Himmler to receive the representative of the Jewish World Congress, Mr. Storsch, from Stockholm, and Himmler said,

"But how am I going to do that in regard to Kaltenbrunner? I shall then be completely at his mercy!" (2990 PS).

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