Karl Kaufmann

Karl Kaufmann ( Krefeld , October of October of 1900 – Hamburg , 4 of December of 1969 ) was a leader of Nazi Germany with the position of Gauleiter in the city of Hamburg between 1933 and 1945.


Karl Kaufmann was born in the city of Krefeld , Germany in October 1900, into a Catholic family dedicated to the laundry business . From a young age he showed a rebellious spirit and had conflicts with his father, so he left high school early in Elberfeld and without further education worked as an assistant agricultural fields and living from secret remittances granted by his mother. 1

He participated as a volunteer at the end of World War I and then turned to right-wing factions and was part of the Ehrhardt Brigade between 1919 and 1920. He was one of the founding members of the NSDAP with No. 95 in 1921 starting a political career and showed a fervent I support Adolf Hitler declaring his support in the following proclamation:

“The young nationalists on the Rhine-Ruhr are eagerly awaiting the date on which you, Herr Hitler, will lead the fight for the liberation of Germany’s internal and external enemies. Our hope is that this day will not be very far.

Karl Kaufmann retired temporarily of the party after the Putsch of Munich , exerted like merchant, returning to join in 1925 to the NSDAP.

Kaufmann won the support of Adolf Hitler , becoming his protection and was appointed Gauleiter of the region of Rhine and Ruhr with only 26 years. In 1929, he was named gauleiter of the city-port of Hamburg with only 29 years. He applied the policy of stick and carrot in the port working population on the one hand by providing high wages and on the other hand repressing it strongly. On the other hand, bought with bribes to leaders of the party to maintain in its position.

In that position, Kaufmann thrived on the benefits of his position under the auspices of Hitler and acting as a pseudo satrap enriched at the expense of the law of confiscation of Jewish property in that city. Even Himmler tried to put a stop to his ambitions, but failed to get him out of position.

In 1941, Kaufmann removed the Jewish population from the city and sent it to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, being one of the first mass deportations in the framework of the Final Solution . 2 Under the jurisdiction of his government, the concentration camp of Stutthof and Neuengamme was also established .

Kaufmann, in spite of everything, transformed the city’s trading system under the slogan of Socialism in action , orienting it to the war efforts and gaining the partisanship of the population due to the high labor benefits that introduced. In 1942, Kaufmann was additionally appointed Reich Commissar for the Navy. 3During the aerial bombardment of the city of Hamburg in which 120,000 people were killed and the port industrial district disappeared, Kaufmann’s property suffered deterioration, but already preventing the defeat of Germany, it was made of a stock of goods, money Foreign food and food in a bomb-proof personal bunker. 4

In April 1945, under the charge of Reich Commissar, he actively collaborated with Himmler’s sinister plan to embark prisoners of war from Neuengamme and Stutthof concentration camps in large vapors with the object of sinking them into the bay of Lübeck with them as a form of mass extermination.

While Ad-Portas at the end of the war, Hitler declared Hamburg a fortress city, however, Kaufmann seeing the futility of defending a city completely surrounded by Allied forces, attempted to dissuade the Nazi leader by attempting to declare it an open city, which would not Until the seizure of power by Karl Doenitz , which was worth exhibiting as the “savior” of the city of Hamburg. 5

He was detained by British forces at the end of the war and tried in the Nuremberg Trials despite having sufficient evidence of crimes against humanity, Kaufmann’s defense demonstrated him as a rebel leader to the figure of Hitler, being supported by numerous German traders, which in the long run favored him with a prison sentence of less than 10 years; But was released for health reasons in 1953. 6

Kaufmann remained in the city of Hamburg and tried to reborn a right-wing pro-Nazi movement in association with other personalities like Werner Naumann ; But it did not fructify thanks to the intervention of the British intelligence. Several attempts were made to reopen the trial of crimes against humanity ; But they did not fructify.

Kaufmann lived his last days as an insurance adviser of chemical industries next to Otto Wolff , another ex-Nazi leader.


  1. Back to top↑ The leaders Hamburg
  2. Back to top↑ The Führer in Hamburg
  3. Back to top↑ The leaders Hamburg
  4. Back to top↑ The Hamburg Bunker
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