Erich Klausener (January 25, 1885 – June 30, 1934) was a German Catholic politician who was assassinated in the ” Night of the Long Knives “, a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2 Of 1934, when the regime carried out a series of political assassinations.
Born in Düsseldorf from a strictly Catholic family, Klausener followed his father’s career in public service, practicing for a time in the Prussian Ministry of Commerce. Klausener served as an artillery officer in Belgium, France and the Eastern Front of the First World War ; Was awarded the Iron Cross second class in 1914 and with the Iron Cross first class in 1917. Klausener’s participation in the boycott during the French occupation of Ruhr between 1923 and 1924 earned him a two-month prison sentence.
From 1924, Klausener served in Prussia in the Ministry of Welfare, and later headed the police division of the Ministry of Interior . Klausener became the head of the ” Katholische Aktion ” (Catholic Action) group in 1928. Prior to 1933, Klausener strongly supported conflicts between police and illegal acts of the Nazis.After Adolf Hitler and the Party Nazi came to power in 1933, Hermann Göring, minister-president of Prussia. Klausener was displaced from the Prussian transport ministry when Göring began his Nazi-imprisonment on the Prussian police.
Being a close collaborator of the Deputy Foreign Minister Franz von Papen , Klausener contributed to his Marburg speech delivered on June 17, 1934. The speech, while moderating his tone, criticized the violence and repression that had resulted since Hitler became Chancellor . Klausener spoke at the Catholic Congress at the Hoppegarten in Berlin on June 24, 1934. His enraged critique of repression was seen by the Nazis as an open challenge.
Six days later, during “Night of the Long Knives”, SS officer Kurt Gildisch was commissioned by Reinhard Heydrich to go to the Transport Ministry in Klausener’s office to shoot him. After the assassination, Gildisch was promoted to SS- Sturmbannführer . 1
After the fall of the Nazi regime and after World War II , a monument was erected towards Klausener in Berlin. Since 1963, its ashes are buried in a tomb in the Catholic Church Maria Regina Martyrum , in commemoration of the martyrs of the Nazi era.
Klausener’s relationship with the future Pope Pius XII has been controversial. While authors such as Guenter Lewy have expressed criticism of Pius for not intervening more strongly in the case, other authors such as Joseph Bottum and David G. Dalin have presented a more positive assessment of the attitude of Pius XII during that period.
- Back to top↑ Hoffmann, Peter (2000) . Hitler’s Personal Security: Protecting the Fuehrer 1921-1945, p. 49, ISBN 978-0-30680-947-7 .