Ernst Kaltenbrunner

Ernst Kaltenbrunner ( Ried im Innkreis , 4 of October of 1903 – Nuremberg , 16 of October of 1946 ) was a lawyer Austrian and General of the SS during World War II . He was the successor of Reinhard Heydrich as Head of the Gestapo and the Central Security Office of the Reich ( RSHA ), and therefore became an intimate collaborator of SS Reichführer Heinrich Himmler from 1942 to 1945 , when World War II ended . Captured by US troops, it was placed at the disposal of the International Military Tribunal and prosecuted during the Nuremberg Trials under the accusations of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity . He was found guilty and sentenced to death, being hung by hanging on 16 October as as 1946 .


Early years

Kaltenbrünner was born in 1903 in Ried im Innkreis ( Upper Austria , then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ). Son of a lawyer, he graduated in law from the University of Graz in 1926 . With an exhaustively active personality, he was very tenacious in his efforts and a true prey dog ​​for his adversaries. In addition, he was more than two meters tall, had a scar that looked proud and made him look even fiercer. 1 He was much feared by the Nazi leaders at the height of his career.

Having practiced as a lawyer during his first years in Linz and Salzburg , in 1932 he joined the Schutzstaffel ( SS ) of his native country, number 13,039. 2 At the moment he would participate actively in the annexation of Austria ( Anschluss ) with Nazi Germany in 1938 ; Some time later, he was promoted to the Direction of both the SS and the Gestapo in Vienna , which covered much of what had been Austria. Thus, in a short time he was rapidly rising on the scale of Nazi power.

World War II

Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Prague ( 1942 ) in the framework of the Operation Anthropoide , being vacant their positions . Therefore, the 30 of January of 1943 Himmler gave Kaltenbrunner the head of the Reich Main Security Office and the SD , naming him to the rank of general and thus making him his right hand. 3 He also held the presidency of Interpol , of which Heydrich had also been president until his death. Although he did not prove to be smarter than Reinhard Heydrich , he was a tireless pursuer of goals; His tenacity and incisive management included even the attempted murder of the personal and protected physician of his superior, Dr. Felix Kersten on suspicion of betrayal and collaboration with the resistance. At the end of the year he organized preparations for Operation Weitsprung (Unternehmen Weitsprung), an attempt to assassinate allied leaders ( Stalin , Churchill and Roosevelt ) during the Tehran Conference in November 1943 . 4 Nevertheless, the whole Operation would end up being discovered by the Soviet intelligence and the plan failed

After the attempt on Hitler on 20 of July of 1944 executed by Claus von Stauffenberg , it has more power because it was he responsible for the executive and subsequent arrests of the culprits investigations, obtaining personal recognition of the Führer . He was directly responsible for the executions of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer , his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi and Rüdiger Schleicher, and the whole plot of the plot, such as Admiral Wilhelm Canaris .

In December 1944 he received the Knight’s Cross of the Cross on the merit of war with swords ( Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkreuzes mit Schwertern ) as a prize for his services to the Reich . 5 The 18 of April of 1945 , with the military debacle of Germany in the war, Himmler named Kaltenbrunner Commander in Chief of the German forces remaining in Southern Europe. Kaltenbrunner reorganized his intelligence agencies as a secret underground network . In addition, he divided the subcommands of Otto Skorzeny (head of the sabotage units) and those of Wilhelm Waneck , who remained in contact not only with Kaltenbrunner and other centers in Germany, but also with the other agents in the southern capitals of Europe. 6

Trials of Nuremberg

Arrested on 15 of maypole of 1945 by forces US , Was placed at the disposal of the International Military Tribunal and would be tried at Nuremberg . In this sense, the photographs presented by the Spanish witness, and Republican ex-fighter, Francisco Boix in Nuremberg , showed Kaltenbrunner visiting the camp Mauthausen and proved a test of how far had been directly involved in some of the more sinister aspects Of Nazi policies. 7 On the other hand, many of the charges and accusations made against him were due to the legacy of the previous efforts of the late Reinhard Heydrich . And as Head of the Central Security Office of the Reich, this implied that he had direct knowledge or responsibility for another large number of crimes and incidents, such as the following:

  • The mass murder of civilians in the occupied territories at the hands of the Einsatzgruppen .
  • The deportation of the citizens of the occupied countries to carry out forced labor and the conditions of these Forced Labor .
  • The execution of commands and captured paratroopers, as well as the protection of civilians who lynched allied airmen down.
  • The deportation of civilians from occupied countries to Germany to be tried in secret and shot.
  • The execution and confinement of people in concentration camps for crimes allegedly committed by their relatives.
  • The seizure and plundering of public and private property.
  • The murder of prisoners in the prisons of Gestapo and the SD .

The 1 of October of 1946 the ” vassal of Himmler” was sentenced to death by hanging on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes . The sentence was executed on 16 October as as 1946 .



  1. Back to top↑ Ernst Kaltenbrunner
  2. Back to top↑ Biondi, Robert, ed., SS Officers List: SS-Standartenführer to SS-Oberstgruppenführer (As of 30 January 1942), Schiffer Military History Publishing, 2000, p. Referring to Fig.
  3. Back to top↑ Lumsden, Robin (2001), A Collector’s Guide To: The Allgemeine – SS, p 83.
  4. Back to top↑ Nikolai Dolgopolov ( November 29 , 2007 ). «How” The Lion And The Bear “Were Saved» . Rossiiskaya Gazeta .
  5. Back to top↑ Fsefehlsblatt of the Security Police and SD (51): 361.
  6. Back to top↑ The Last Days of Ernst Kaltenbrunner
  7. Back to top↑ Equipo Nizkor ” Testimony of Boix in Nuremberg » Retrieved on 24 of June of 2010