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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 4 October 1903Ried im Innkreis, Austria-Hungary [now Austria]
Date of Death 16 October 1946Nuremberg, Germany  (execution by hanging)
Height 6' 4½" (1.94 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ernst Kaltenbrunner was born in 1903 in the Austrian city of Ried. In the 1920s he went to law school and became a lawyer, starting his own practice in Linz in 1929. During this time he also became a professional fencer. In 1932 he joined the Austrian Nazi Party and the Austrian branch of the SS. He was commissioned an SS-Sturmhauptführer (Captain) on the staff of the SS Austrian Group "Donau", but the Austrian SS was considered an underground and illegal organization by the Austrian government, and Kaltenbrunner was arrested and jailed for high treason in 1934. He was released from prison the next year, however, and was appointed by his German leaders to become the commander of the entire Austrian division of the SS. In 1937 he was promoted to SS-Oberführer (Brigadier General) and began working with Arthur Seyss-Inquart to put in motion the Austrian "Anschluss" (union) with Germany and merge Austria into the Third Reich.

When the two countries united in 1938, Kaltenbrunner was promoted to Lieutenant General (Gruppenführer) and appointed as the Higher SS and Police Leader of Austria. He at once introduced the security forces of the Gestapo and SS Security Service (SD) into the new "Ostmark" of the German Reich and, in addition, proceeded to open the death camp at Mauthausen. Meanwhile, his SS troopers were strictly enforcing the newly enacted anti-Jewish measures in the streets and towns of Austria.

In 1942 Kaltenbrunner became an SS-General (Obergruppenführer) and was assigned to succeed Reinhard Heydrich as the commander of the Reich Central Security Office (RSO) of the SS. This put him in direct command of what the Nazis termed the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", in which wholesale genocide was carried out against the Jewish population of Europe, resulting in the deaths of over six million Jews.

Kaltenbrunner's reputation for ruthlessness and brutality came to the forefront in 1944 when he was put in charge of tracking down, arresting and interrogating those who had been involved in the famous July 1944 assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler. While he excelled at that task, in his other duties he was considered somewhat incompetent and was rumored to be an alcoholic. Historians have theorized that Heinrich Himmler appointed Kaltenbrunner to succeed Heydrich, because the clever, capable and devious Heydrich had become far too powerful in the SS and Himmler wanted a less competent man to take his place who would, in turn, not pose a threat to Himmler's own authority.

In 1945 Kaltenbrunner moved his headquarters from Berlin to Austria and attempted to negotiate an Austrian surrender to the Allies. While this was partially successful, he must have been somewhat surprised to find himself under arrest at the end of the war and charged as a major war criminal. He was among the Nazi hierarchy put on trial at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946, although he missed the first half of the proceedings against him due to illness. Found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Ernst Kaltenbrunner was sentenced to be hanged, and was sent to the gallows at Nuremberg on October 1, 1946.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Spouse (1)

Elisabeth Eder (1934 - 16 October 1946) (his death)

Trivia (2)

During World War II he served as an SS-Obergruppenfuhrer (General). In 1942 he became the successor to Reinhard Heydrich in the office of Commander, Reich Central Security Office, after Heydrich's assassination by Czech guerrillas. As such, he continued the implementation of the "Final Solution"--the official Nazi plan of extermination of European Jewry--which Heydrich had begun.
Was one of the Nazi defendants in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial conducted after World War II. Charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, he was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out in 1946.

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