Seyss-Inquart, Arthur°

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SEYSS-INQUART, ARTHUR ° (1892–1946), Austrian Nazi lawyer who prior to the Anschluss was active in nationalist circles. He was appointed by the Austrian chancellor Kurt von Scnushnigg to the Council of State in the hope that he would mediate with the extreme Right. In 1938, because of German pressure on Austria, Seyss-Inquart was appointed minister of the interior in the Austrian cabinet, a function in which he executed the coup that led to the Austrian Anschluss to Germany that year. He then became chancellor of Austria, and later Reichsstatthalter (a high official whose task was to coordinate the activities of various ministries in occupied territories). In October 1939 he became deputy governor general of Poland, where he looked for territory for the Lublin Reservation. On May 19, 1940, he was appointed Reichskommissar for Holland, with the hope that he could copy his Austrian performance in Holland. He remained in this post until the German capitulation on May 5, 1945.

Seyss-Inquart was known for his devotion to *National-Socialism and his blind obedience to Hitler. His antisemitism was less extreme than that of many other Nazi leaders, but this did not prevent him from efficiently carrying out the persecution of the Jews in Holland. Only occasionally was he more moderate, probably for political reasons. Still he took an active role in the deportation of Jews in Holland. He wanted to be the initiator of operations and not have outside parties infringing on his area of responsibility. However, he never entered into conflict with Hitler on any policy, so that Hitler, as a token of his esteem, designated Seyss-Inquart foreign minister in his will. Sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials, Seyss-Inquart was executed by hanging.


E. Davidson, Trial of the Germans (1966), 446–82; G.M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary (1947), index; imt, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 24 (1949), index; H.J. Neumann, Arthur Seyss-Inquart (Dutch, 1967).

[Jozeph Michman (Melkman) /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]