Leading Figures of Nazi Germany – T thru Z / Führungsfiguren von Nazi-Deutschland – T bis Z

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Kurt Tank

Kurt Waldemar Tank, 24 February 1898 – 5 June 1983, was a German aeronautical engineer and test pilot who led the design department at Focke-Wulf from 1931 to 1945. He was responsible for the creation of several important Luftwaffe aircraft of World War II, including the Fw 190 fighter aircraft, the Ta 152 fighter-interceptor, and the Fw 200 Condor airliner. After the war, Tank spent two decades designing aircraft abroad, working first in Argentina and then in India, before returning to Germany in the late 1960s to work as a consultant for Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB).

Josef Terboven

Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven, 23 May 1898 – 8 May 1945, was a Nazi leader, best known as the Reichskommissar for Norway during the German occupation of Norway and the Quisling regime.

Otto Georg Thierack

Otto Georg Thierack, 19 April 1889 – 26 October 1946, was a Nazi jurist and politician.

Fritz Todt

Fritz Todt, 4 September 1891 – 8 February 1942, was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.

Richard Vogt

Richard Vogt, 19 December 1894 – January 1979, was a German engineer and aircraft designer. He is well known as a designer of unique warplanes, including an asymmetrically-shaped reconnaissance aircraft and a nuclear-powered bomber, during and after World War II.

Wernher von Braun

Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun, March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977, was a German-American aerospace engineer and space architect. He was the leading figure in the development of rocket technology in Germany and the father of rocket technology and space science in the United States.

While in his twenties and early thirties, von Braun worked in Nazi Germany’s rocket development program. He helped design and develop the V-2 rocket at Peenemünde during World War II. Following the war, he was secretly moved to the United States, along with about 1,600 other German scientists, engineers, and technicians, as part of Operation Paperclip. He worked for the United States Army on an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) program, and he developed the rockets that launched the United States’ first space satellite Explorer 1. His group was assimilated into NASA, where he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V super heavy-lift launch vehicle that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon. In 1975, von Braun received the National Medal of Science. He advocated a human mission to Mars.

Franz Ritter von Epp

Franz Xaver Ritter von Epp, 16 October 1868 – 31 December 1946, was a regular officer in the Imperial German Army of the early part of the 20th century, who rose to the office of Reichsstatthalter of Bavaria, a position of dictatorial power, under the Nazis.

Helmuth James von Moltke

Helmuth James von Moltke, 11 March 1907 – 23 January 1945, was a German jurist who, as a draftee in the German Abwehr, acted to subvert German human-rights abuses of people in territories occupied by Germany during World War II and subsequently became a founding member of the Kreisau Circle opposition group, whose members opposed the government of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. He participated in their discussions about the prospects for a Germany based on moral and democratic principles after Hitler. The Nazi government executed von Moltke for treason for his participation in these discussions.

Moltke was the great-grandnephew of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, the victorious commander in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars, from whom he inherited the Kreisau Estate in Prussian Silesia, now Krzyżowa in Poland, and the grandnephew of Helmuth von Moltke the Younger.

Konstantin von Neurath

Konstantin Hermann Karl Freiherr von Neurath, 2 February 1873 – 14 August 1956, was a German diplomat remembered mostly for having served as Foreign minister of Germany between 1932 and 1938. Holding this post in the early years of Adolf Hitler’s regime, Neurath was regarded as playing a key role in the foreign policy pursuits of the Nazi dictator in undermining the Treaty of Versailles and territorial expansion in the prelude to World War II, although he was often averse tactically if not necessarily ideologically. This aversion eventually induced Hitler to replace Neurath with the more compliant and fervent Nazi Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Neurath served as “Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia” between 1939 and 1943, though his authority was the only nominal after September 1941. He was tried as a major war criminal in Nuremberg and sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment for his compliance and actions in the Nazi regime.

Joachim von Ribbentrop

Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop, 30 April 1893 – 16 October 1946, was Foreign Minister of the German Reich from 1938 until 1945. A businessman, he was appointed German Ambassador to Britain in 1936, serving in London.

Ribbentrop first came to Adolf Hitler’s notice as a well-traveled businessman with more knowledge of the outside world than most senior Nazis, and apparently an authority on world affairs. He offered his house for the secret meetings in January 1933 that resulted in Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor. He became a close confidant of the Führer, to the disgust of long-serving party members, who thought him superficial and lacking in talent. Despite this, he was appointed as Ambassador to Britain in 1936, and then Foreign Minister in February 1938.

In the run-up to World War II, he played a key role in brokering the Pact of Steel (with fascist Italy) and the Soviet–German non-aggression pact, known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. After 1941, Ribbentrop’s influence declined.

Arrested in June 1945, he was tried at the Nuremberg Trials and convicted of war crimes for his role in starting World War II and enabling the Holocaust. On 16 October 1946, he became, due to Hermann Göring’s suicide moments before, the first of those sentenced to death to be hanged.

Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter

Ludwig Maximilian Erwin von Scheubner-Richter or Max Scheubner-Richter, born Ludwig Maximilian Erwin Richter, 21 January 1884 – 9 November 1923, was an early member of the Nazi Party. Along with fellow member Alfred Rosenberg, he devised the plan to drive the German government to revolution through the Beer Hall Putsch. During the Putsch, he was shot in the lungs and died instantly, at the same time dislocating Hitler’s right shoulder.

Baldur von Schirach

Baldur Benedikt von Schirach, 9 May 1907 – 8 August 1974, was a Nazi politician who is best known for his role as the Nazi Party’s national youth leader and head of the Hitler Youth from 1931 to 1940. He later served as Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter (“Reich Governor”) of Vienna. After World War II, he was convicted of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trial.

Hans von Tschammer und Osten

Hans von Tschammer und Osten, 25 October 1887 – 25 March 1943, was a German sports official, SA leader and a member of the Reichstag for the Nazi Party of Nazi Germany. He was married to Sophie Margarethe von Carlowitz.

Hans von Tschammer und Osten led the German Sports Office Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen (DRA) “German Reich Commission for Physical Exercise” after the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. In July the same year, Hans von Tschammer took the title of Reichssportführer, “Reich Sports Leader”, and the whole sports sphere in Germany was placed under his control. He re-established the organization he led, transforming it into the Sports governing body of the Third Reich, Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (DRL) “Sports League of the German Reich”. In 1937, it was renamed Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen “National-Socialist Sports League of the German Reich”. von Tschammer held the high-profile post of Reichssportführer until his death in 1943.

Fritz Wächtler

Fritz Wächtler, 7 January 1891 – 19 April 1945, was a Nazi German politician and Gauleiter of the eastern Bavarian administrative region of Gau Bayreuth. Trained as a primary school teacher, he also became head of the National Socialist Teachers League (NSLB) in 1935. During World War II, he held the honorary rank of SS-Obergruppenführer and Reich Defense Commissar of Bayreuth. Prone to alcoholic outbursts and unpopular with the local residents, he eventually ran afoul of Martin Bormann in political intrigue. Wächtler was shot on the orders from the Führerbunker near the end of the war in April 1945.

Otto Wächter

Baron Otto Gustav von Wächter, 8 July 1901, Vienna, Austria-Hungary – 14 July 1949, Rome, Italy, was an Austrian lawyer, Nazi politician and member of the SS, a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party with the rank, in 1944, of SS-Gruppenführer (Major General).

During the occupation of Poland in World War II, he was the Governor of the district of Kraków in the General Government and then of the District of Galicia (now for the most part in Ukraine). Later, in 1944, he was appointed as head of the German Military Administration in the puppet state of the Republic of Salò in Italy. During the last two months of the war, he was responsible for the non-German forces at the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) in Berlin.

In 1940, 68,000 Jews were expelled from Kraków and in 1941 the Kraków Ghetto was created for the remaining 15,000 Jews by his decrees. On 28 September 1946, the Polish government requested the Military Governor of the United States Zone that Wächter be delivered to Poland for trial for “mass murder, shooting, and executions. Under his command of District Galicia, more than one hundred thousand Polish citizens lost their lives,…”

He managed to evade the Allied authorities for 4 years. In 1949, Wächter was given refuge by pro-Nazi Austrian bishop Alois Hudal in the Vatican where he died the same year, aged 48, allegedly from kidney disease although some sources claim he died of poisoning.

Adolf Wagner

Adolf Wagner, 1 October 1890 in Algrange, Alsace-Lorraine – 12 April 1944 in Bad Reichenhall,  was a German soldier and high-ranking Nazi Party official born in Algrange, Alsace-Lorraine.

Paul Wegener

Paul Wegener (born October 1, 1908 in Varel , died May 5, 1993 in Wächtersbach ) was a German national socialist official.

Wegener entered the NSDAP in 1930 and Sturmabteilung (SA) in 1931. He had several different political and administrative positions in the national socialist movement in the 1930s, including Gauleiter in Mark Brandenburg . In 1940, he reported a transition from SA to the SS , and later participated in during the campaign in the Balkans in Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler .

Wegener was stationed in occupied Norway in 1940. Here he became a leading position in the Reich Commissariat , where he led his own specialist department – Einsatzstab Wegener – who supervised and assisted the National Assembly. Wegener eventually recommended the German leadership to leave more power to Vidkun Quisling , leading to the state act in 1942. In May 1942, Wegener left Norway in favor of the post as Gauleiter in Weser-Ems.

After the war, Wegener was sentenced to imprisonment because of the civilian deaths in his period as head of the National Socialist Administration in Bremen . After the end of his sentence, he worked as a salesman in Sinzheim and later in Wächtersbach in West Germany . According to the archives of the British secret service, Wegener was involved in a secret group for former national socialists, organized by Werner Naumann who was involved in attempting to infiltrate the Free Democratic Party.

Karl Weinrich

Karl Weinrich (2 December 1887 in Molmeck – 22 July 1973 in Hausen) was NSDAP Gauleiter of Kurhessen.

Karl Weinrich was a member of the Nazi Party from August 1922. From 1925 to 1927, he was the NSDAP’s Gau Treasurer. From 1930 to 1933, he was a member of the Prussian Landtag, and as of 12 November 1933 a member of the Reichstag for the electoral district of Hesse-Nassau. He was from 1928 to 1943 Gauleiter of Kurhessen. Shortly after the bomb attack of 22 October 1943 on Kassel, which destroyed the whole inner city, he was stripped of his office. His successor was Karl Gerland. Weinrich who was removed from his position because of incompetence during a bombing raid on Kassel, survived the war, was sentenced to a ten-year prison term in 1949 and died in 1973.

Richard Wendler

Richard Wendler, 22 January 1898, Oberndorf bei Salzburg – 24 August 1972, Prien am Chiemsee, was a high-ranking Nazi official during World War II. During the occupation of Poland, he was the Governor of new District Lublin in the General Government, in charge of Lublin concentration camp and the creation of the Częstochowa Ghetto, among others. Before his deployment to Poland, he was the mayor of the city Hof between 1933 and 1941 and became an SS-Gruppenführer in 1942 during the murderous Operation Reinhard. Wendler was Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler’s brother-in-law; his sister was married to a brother of Himmler.

Horst Wessel

Horst Ludwig Georg Erich Wessel, 9 October 1907 – 23 February 1930, was a German Nazi Party (NSDAP) activist known for writing the lyrics to the “Horst-Wessel-Lied”. His death in 1930 was used by the party for propaganda purposes.

Wessel first joined the German National People’s Party (DNVP), but by 1926 was removed for being too extremist. He then joined the NSDAP, where he wrote songs for Nazi events. He rose to command several SA squads and districts. On 14 January 1930, he was shot in the head by two members of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). Albrecht Höhler was arrested and charged with his murder. He was initially sentenced to six years in prison but was executed after the Nazis came to power. Wessel’s funeral was given wide attention in Berlin, with many of the Nazi elite in attendance. After his death, he became a major Nazi propaganda symbol. His name was used for several civilian and military purposes during the time of the Third Reich.

Ernst Zörner

Ernst Otto Emil Zörner, 27 June 1895 in Nordhausen – lost since 1945 & declared dead in 1945, was a German merchant, an NSDAP politician, President of the Braunschweig Landtag, a member of the Reichstag, Lord Mayor of Dresden and the Governor General of the District of Lublin.

Others Figures:

  • Oberingenieur Rudolf Blaser
  • Kreisleiter Ernst Wagner

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