Leading Figures of Nazi Germany – M thru S / Führende Persönlichkeiten des nationalsozialistischen Deutschland – M thru S

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Willy Messerschmitt

Wilhelm Emil “Willy” Messerschmitt (26 June 1898 – 15 September 1978) was a German aircraft designer and manufacturer. He was born in Frankfurt am Main, the son of Baptist Ferdinand Messerschmitt (1858–1916) and his second wife, Anna Maria née Schaller (1867–1942).

Probably Messerschmitt’s single most important design was the Messerschmitt Bf 109, designed in 1934 with the collaboration of Walter Rethel. The Bf 109 became the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe as Germany rearmed prior to World War II. To this day, it remains one of the most-produced warplanes in history, with some 34,000 built, with only the Soviet Union Ilyushin Il-2 surpassing it at 36,000. Another Messerschmitt aircraft, first called “Bf 109R”, purpose-built for record setting, but later redesignated Messerschmitt Me 209, broke the absolute world airspeed record and held the world speed record for propeller-driven aircraft until 1969. His firm also produced the first jet-powered fighter to enter service — the Messerschmitt Me 262, although Messerschmitt himself did not design it.

Max Moosbauer

Max Moosbauer (March 2 1892 in Passau, – November 10 1968) was a German politician and during the Nazi dictatorship Lord Mayor of the city of Passau.

Georg Wilhelm Müller

Georg Wilhelm Müller (born 29 December 1909 in Königshütte (Chorzów), died April 30, 1989 in Hamburg ), often called GW Müller , was a German National Socialist student leader and later professional propagandist , who was especially known as the close co-worker of Joseph Goebbels , who later became a bureaucrat in charge of press, culture and information in Germany, Germany, during World War II .

Ludwig Müller

Ludwig Müller (23 June 1883 – 31 July 1945) was a German theologian and leading member of the “German Christians” (German: Deutsche Christen) faith movement. In 1933 he was imposed by the Nazi government as Reichsbischof (Reich Bishop) of the German Evangelical Church (German: Deutsche Evangelische Kirche).

Martin Mutschmann

Martin Mutschmann, 9. March 1879 – 14. February 1947, was the Nazi Regional Leader (Gauleiter) of the state of Saxony (Gau Saxony) during the time of the Third Reich. He was a German businessman, politician, party member from 1922, and  from 1925 to 1945 NSDAP Gauleiter of Saxony. From 1930, he was a member of the Reichstag , from 1933 Reichsstatthalter in Saxony and also from 1935 Saxon Prime Minister, as Landesjagermeister of Saxony, Reichs Defense Commissioner for the Military District IV, since May 5, 1933 SA honorary leader at the Standard 100 in Dresden, honorary leader of the RAD, Arbeitsdank,and since 1937 SA-Obergruppenführer.

Hanns Oberlindobe

Hanns Oberlindober ( March 5, 1896 in Munich , April 6, 1949 in Warsaw ) was a German officer of the German Army, SA-Obergruppenführer, politician ( NSDAP ), member of the Reichstag, Reichskriegsopferführer and as head of the main office for war victims of the NSDAP “Reichshauptamtsleiter the NSDAP “.

Brunhilde Pomsel

Brunhilde Pomsel (11 January 1911 – 27 January 2017) was a German woman who, as a personal secretary to Joseph Goebbels from 1942 onwards, was one of the last surviving eyewitnesses of the Nazi power apparatus. She was also a broadcaster and died in 2017 at the age of 106.

Biography

Born in Berlin in 1911, Pomsel worked as a stenographer for a Jewish lawyer and as a typist for a rightist nationalist, at one point working for both simultaneously. In 1933 she gained a job as a secretary in the news department of the Third Reich’s broadcasting station after joining the Nazi Party. On the recommendation of a friend, she was transferred to the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1942, where she worked under Joseph Goebbels as a shorthand writer until the end of the war.  According to Kate Connolly in the Guardian, Pomsel’s tasks included “massaging downwards statistics about fallen soldiers, as well as exaggerating the number of rapes of German women by the Red Army”. After the fall of Berlin in 1945, Pomsel was sentenced by the Soviets to five years in prison.

After being released from prison in 1950 Pomsel worked in German broadcasting until her retirement in 1971. On her 100th birthday in 2011, she publicly spoke out against Goebbels. A documentary called A German Life, drawn from a 30-hour interview with Pomsel, was shown at the Munich International Film Festival in 2016.

Towards the end of her life Pomsel lived in Munich, where she died on 27 January 2017 at the age of 106. Shortly before her death she revealed that she had been in love with Gottfried Kirchbach, who was Jewish, and with whom she planned to escape Germany. Kirchbach went to Amsterdam to arrange a new life and Pomsel visited him there regularly, until he told her she was endangering her life by doing so. A doctor advised her to abort the child of theirs she was carrying, because she had a serious lung complaint and she might have died.

Vidkun Quisling

Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonsson Quisling (born 18 July 1887 in Fyresdal in Telemark, died October 24, 1945 in Oslo) was a Norwegian officer, diplomat, and politician .

Quisling was first known as auxiliary worker in the Soviet Union and co-worker of Fridtjof Nansen , and was Norway’s Defense Minister in two peasant party governments from 1931 to 1933. In 1933, Quisling founded the National Romanticist Nationalist Party (NS), which in the 1930s had limited support . After Germany’s invasion of Norway in 1940 , Quisling, as the first in the world, tried to commit a coup over radio , but the coup attempt failed because the Germans were not interested in supporting his government. In the winter of 1942, he returned as the head of a German-supported government, and with the title Ministerial President , he, together with the civilian administrator of the German occupation power, led the Norwegian state administration for the rest of the war.

After the liberation in 1945, Quisling was sentenced to death and executed.

Hanna Reitsch

Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was Germany’s most famous female aviator and test pilot, starting in the early 1930s. During the Nazi era she served as an international representative for the regime. In the 1960s, she was sponsored by the West German foreign office as a technical adviser in Ghana and elsewhere.

She was the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Pilot/Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II. She set more than 40 altitude and endurance women’s records in gliding before and after World War II. In the 1960s, she founded a gliding school in Ghana, where she worked for Kwame Nkrumah.

Leni Riefenstahl

Helene Bertha Amalie “Leni” Riefenstahl (German: [ˈʁiːfn̩ʃtaːl]; 22 August 1902 – 8 September 2003) was a German film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, photographer, actress and dancer.

Born in 1902, Leni Riefenstahl grew up in Germany with her brother Heinz (1905–1944), who was killed on the Eastern Front in World War II. A talented swimmer and artist, she also became interested in dancing during her childhood, taking dancing lessons and performing across Europe.

After seeing a promotional poster for the 1924 film Der Berg des Schicksals (“The Mountain of Destiny”), Riefenstahl was inspired to move into acting. Between 1925 and 1929, she starred in five successful motion pictures. In 1932, Riefenstahl decided to try directing with her own film called Das Blaue Licht (“The Blue Light”).

In the 1930s, she directed Triumph des Willens (“Triumph of the Will”) and Olympia, resulting in worldwide attention and acclaim. Both movies are widely considered two of the most effective, and technically innovative, propaganda films ever made. Her involvement in Triumph des Willens, however, significantly damaged her career and reputation after the war. The exact nature of her relationship with Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler remains a matter of debate. However, Hitler was in close collaboration with Riefenstahl during the production of at least three important Nazi films, and a closer friendship is claimed to have existed. When in 2000 Jodie Foster was planning a biographical drama on Riefenstahl, war-crime documenters warned against a revisionist view that glorified the director. They stated that publicly Riefenstahl seemed “quite infatuated” with Hitler and was in fact the last surviving member of his “inner circle”. Others go further, arguing that Riefenstahl’s visions were essential to the success of the Holocaust. After the war, Riefenstahl was arrested, but classified as being a “fellow traveler” or “Nazi sympathiser” only and was not associated with war crimes. Throughout her life, she denied having known about the Holocaust. Besides directing, Riefenstahl released an autobiography and wrote several books on the Nuba people.

Riefenstahl died of cancer on 8 September 2003 at the age of 101 and was buried at Munich Waldfriedhof.

Ernst Röhm

Ernst Julius Günther Röhm (German pronunciation: [ˈɛɐ̯nst ˈʁøːm]; 28 November 1887 – 1 July 1934) was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung (“Storm Battalion”; SA), the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander. In 1934, as part of the Night of the Long Knives, he was executed on Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler’s orders as a potential rival.

Alfred Rosenberg

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg (12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was a Baltic German philosopher and an influential ideologue of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart and later held several important posts in the Nazi government. He is considered one of the main authors of key National Socialist ideological creeds, including its racial theory, persecution of the Jews, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to degenerate modern art. He is known for his rejection of and hatred for Christianity, having played an important role in the development of German Nationalist Positive Christianity. At Nuremberg, he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Curt Rothenberger

Curt Ferdinand Rothenberger (30 June 1896 in Cuxhaven – 1 September 1959 in Hamburg) was a German jurist and leading figure in the Nazi Party.

Hauptdienstleiter Karl-Otto Saur

Karl-Otto Saur (February 16, 1902 in Düsseldorf – July 28, 1966 in Pullach) was State Secretary in the Reich Ministry for armaments and war production in Germany during the Nazi era and de jure last defence minister of the Third Reich.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart

Arthur Seyss-Inquart (in German: Seyß-Inquart; 22 July 1892 – 16 October 1946) was an Austrian Nazi politician who served as Chancellor of Austria for two days – from 11 to 13 March 1938 – before the Anschluss annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, signing the constitutional law as acting head of state upon the resignation of President Wilhelm Miklas.

During World War II, he served the Third Reich in the General Government of Poland and as Reichskommissar in the Netherlands. At the Nuremberg trials, he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.

Wilhelm Schepmann

Wilhelm Schepmann (17 June 1894 – 26 July 1970) was an Sturmabteilung (SA) general (Obergruppenführer) in Nazi Germany and the last Stabschef (Chief of Staff) of the Nazi Stormtroopers.

Franz Schlegelberger

Franz Schlegelberger (23 October 1876 – 14 December 1970) was State Secretary in the German Reich Ministry of Justice (RMJ) who served as Justice Minister during the Third Reich. He was the highest-ranking defendant at the Judges’ Trial in Nuremberg.

Dr. Paul Otto Schmidt

Paul-Otto Schmidt (23 June 1899 – 21 April 1970) was an interpreter in the German foreign ministry from 1923-1945. During his career he served as the translator for Neville Chamberlain’s negotiations with Adolf Hitler over the Munich Agreement, the British Declaration of War and the surrender of France.

Ludwig Siebert

Ludwig Siebert (17 October 1874 in Ludwigshafen – 1 November 1942 in Stock am Chiemsee) was a Nazi politician and Bavarian prime minister from 1933 to 1942.

Julius Streicher

Julius Streicher (12 February 1885 – 16 October 1946) was a prominent Nazi prior to World War II. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda machine. His publishing firm also released three anti-Semitic books for children, including the 1938 Der Giftpilz (“The Toadstool” or “The Poison-Mushroom”), one of the most widespread pieces of propaganda, which purported to warn about insidious dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor of an attractive yet deadly mushroom. After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

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