Ernst Kaltenbrunner


Ernst Kaltenbrunner : biography

4 October 1903 – 16 October 1946
  • Mass murders of civilians of occupied countries by Einsatzgruppen
  • Screening of prisoner of war camps and executing racial and political undesirables
  • The taking of recaptured prisoners of war to concentration camps, where in some cases they were executed
  • Establishing concentration camps and committing racial and political undesirables to concentration and annihilation camps for slave labor and mass murder
  • Deportation of citizens of occupied countries for forced labor and disciplining of forced labor
  • The execution of captured commandos and paratroopers and protection of civilians who lynched Allied airmen who had been shot down over German-occupied territory
  • The taking of civilians of occupied countries to Germany for secret trial and punishment
  • Punishment of citizens of occupied territories under special criminal procedure and by summary methods
  • The execution and confinement of people in concentration camps for crimes allegedly committed by their relatives
  • Seizure and destruction/spoilation of public and private property
  • Murder of prisoners in SiPo and SD prisons
  • Persecution of Jews
  • Persecution of churches and religions
  • Persecution of gypsies

During the initial stages of the Nuremberg trials, Kaltenbrunner was absent because of two episodes of subarachnoid hemorrhage. His lawyer Kurt Kaufmann requested that Kaltenbrunner be acquitted on grounds of health complications as he was medically unfit for the trial.Goldensohn, L. (2004), The Nuremberg Interviews Conversations with the Defendants and Witnesses, United States of America: Pimlico Kaltenbrunner’s state of health improved and the tribunal denied his request for pardon. When Kaltenbrunner was released from a military hospital he pleaded not guilty to the charges of the indictment served on his person. Kaltenbrunner stressed during cross-examination that all decrees and legal documents which bore his signature were "rubber-stamped" and filed by his adjutant(s).Owen, J. (2006), Nuremberg Evil On Trial, Great Britain: Headline Review Kaltenbrunner was incumbent in his defense that Himmler was culpable for the atrocities committed during his tenure as chief of the RSHA. During the trial he stressed that his position existed only in title and was only committed to matters of espionage and intelligence. The IMT (International Military Tribunal) noted that Kaltenbrunner was a keen functionary in matters involving the sphere of the RSHA’s intelligence network, but the evidence also showed that Kaltenbrunner was an active authority and participant in many instances of war crimes and crimes against humanity. On September 30, 1946 the IMT found Kaltenbrunner not guilty in matters of conspiracy for aggression concerning the charge of the indictment. However, Kaltenbrunner was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. On October 1, 1946 the IMT sentenced Ernst Kaltenbrunner to death by hanging.Persico, J. (1994), Nuremberg Infamy on Trial, United States of America: Penguin Books


Kaltenbrunner was executed by hanging at around 1:40 a.m. on 16 October 1946. Kaltenbrunner’s last words were:

Further evidence

In 2001, Ernst Kaltenbrunner’s personal Nazi security seal was found in an Alpine lake, 56 years after he threw it away in an effort to hide his identity. The seal was recovered by a Dutch citizen on vacation. The seal has the words "Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD" (Chief of the Security Police and SD) engraved on it. Experts have examined the seal and believe it was discarded in the final days of the war in May 1945. It was one of Kaltenbrunner’s last acts as a free man. Kaltenbrunner gave himself up claiming to be a doctor and offering a false name. However, his mistress spotted him, and by chance occurrence, she called out his name and rushed to hug him. This action tipped off the Allied troops, resulting in his capture, trial, and execution.