Ernst Kaltenbrunner


Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the head of security and intelligence services for the Nazi regime was hanged in Nuremberg, Germany following the Nuremberg trials of 1946. Kaltenbrunner had a significant role in the conception and application of the Final Solution, as well as the final liquidation of several concentration camps, including Dachau, in the days before Allied liberation.

Kaltenbrunner was a large man, described in the days of the Nuremberg trial as looking every bit like a Nazi. While he was technically subordinate to Heinrich Himmler, he frequently worked directly with Adolf Hitler, and can be considered Himmler’s right-hand man. Also, Kaltenbrunner actively supported Nazi breeding programs to increase the Aryan population, believing that it was the duty of fertile German women to produce babies, regardless of their marital status or husbands.

`As VE Day neared, the Americans believed that the party leaders of the Nazi party were likely to take refuge in the Austrian mountains. The 80th Infantry Division, Third U.S. Army was diverted to the region. The Division arrested small-scale Nazi leaders and interrogated them, and were the first to see the state of the Ebensee Concentration Camp.  In Strobl, Austria, on May 6, 1945, they found Kaltenbrunner’s wife and children.

They continued their search for Kaltenbrunner and other Nazi party officials in Austria.  The 80th Infantry continued on to Alt Aussee, an Austrian lake resort. On May 11, after arresting a number of minor officials and locating Kaltenbrunner’s mistress, they received a tip that he was at a cabin high in the Alps. Kaltenbrunner was captured at the cabin, although he denied his identity.

During his interrogations, Kaltenbrunner attempted to create an alibi for himself and to distance himself from the actions of the party, but not from Hitler. Kaltenbrunner was transferred to an interrogation center outside of London and refused to provide further testimony. He was later transferred to Nuremberg in handcuffs. Following the Nuremberg trials, Kaltenbrunner was hanged on October 16, 1946.