Kaltenbrunner, Ernst°

views updated


KALTENBRUNNER, ERNST ° (1903–1946), Nazi lawyer, ss leader, chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (*rsha). Born in Ried im Innkreis, Austria, he attended school in Linz and was trained as a lawyer in Prague. He was an attorney. He joined the Nazis in 1932 and was imprisoned in Austria for his Nazi activities. After the Anschluss he was appointed undersecretary of state for public security in Ostmark (Nazi-renamed Austria) and was responsible for the Central Office for Jewish Emigration headed by Adolf *Eichmann. On January 30, 1943 he succeeded *Heydrich, who was assassinated the previous May, as chief of the rsha and served in this assignment until the collapse of Nazi Germany. Kaltenbrunner, who was a boyhood friend of Eichmann and became his superior, was largely responsible for the implementation of the annihilation policy against the Jews. He was previously responsible in part for the *Euthanasia program. A member of *Hitler's inner circle, he not only opposed *Himmler's efforts to seek peace with the West, but also sabotaged Himmler's order given in the last phase of the war to prevent the further murder of Jews. He was tried as a major war criminal by the International Military Tribunal in *Nuremberg, where he downplayed his role and knowledge, and was hanged on October 16, 1946.


E. Davidson, Trials of the Germans (1966), index; G. Reitlinger, ss: Alibi of a Nation 1922–1945 (1956), index; idem, Final Solution (1953), index; G.M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary (1947), index; imt, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 24 (1949), index; P.R. Black, Ernst Kaltenbrunner: Ideological Soldier of the Third Reich (1984).

[Yehuda Reshef]