Heinrich Himmler
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Ernst Kaltenbrunner
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Ernst Kaltenbrunner


Ernst Kaltenbrunner was born in Ried im Innkreis, Austria. Later the family moved to Linz, where he attended the State Real Gymnasium. He studied law and obtained a law degree in 1926. He spent the first year as apprentice lawyer at Linze-on-Danube and then worked as a lawyer-candidate, first at Salzburg and after 1928 at Linz.

He joined the Nazi Party in 1932, and became leader of the Austrian SS 1935. 

Ernst Kaltenbrunner was a life-long fanatical Nazi. He had much to do with developing the Mauthausen KZ camp and visited it frequently. He agreed with Himmler on the establishment of gas-chambers for execution 1942, became head of the security police 1943, and sent millions of Jews and political suspects to their deaths in the concentration camps. He was also responsible for orders sanctioning the murder of prisoners of war.

Toward the end of the war, Kaltenbrunner's power increased greatly, especially after the attack on Hitler of 20 July 1944, and he gained direct access to The Führer. So powerful had Kaltenbrunner become toward the end that even Heinrich Himmler feared him.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner was captured by U.S. troops on May 15, 1945 and was indicted for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg and sentenced to death. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.

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