Edmund Veesenmayer

Edmund Veesenmayer (12 November 1904 in Bad Kissingen – 24 December 1977 in Darmstadt) was a high-ranking German SS functionary and Holocaust perpetrator during the Nazi era. He significantly contributed to the Holocaust in Hungary and the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Veesenmayer was a subordinate of Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Joachim von Ribbentrop, and worked with Adolf Eichmann.[1] He was also involved in the establishment of the Ustaše-run NDH puppet state following the April 1941 invasion of Yugoslavia, and in the selection and installation of the puppet regime of Milan Nedić in the German-occupied territory of Serbia.[2] After the war, he was tried and convicted at the Ministries Trial; he was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.

Edmund Veesenmayer
Edmund Veesenmayer.jpg
Veesenmayer's mug shot, c. 1946.
Born(1904-11-12)12 November 1904
Died24 December 1977(1977-12-24) (aged 73)
Known forResponsibility for the deaths of approximately 300,000 Hungarian Jews.[1]
Political partyNazi Party
Criminal chargeCrimes against humanity
TrialMinistries Trial
Penalty20 years imprisonment
SS career
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchFlag of the Schutzstaffel.svg SS
RankBrigadeführer

Early lifeEdit

Veesenmayer was the son of school teacher Franz Xaver Veesenmayer from Oberstaufen in Kempten (Allgäu). From 1923–1926 he studied political science in Munich, where he received a doctorate in political science in 1928. After, he taught at the Political-Economic Institute of the Technical University of Munich for four years.[3]

SS careerEdit

 
Veesenmayer in 1938

Veesenmayer joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in November 1932 and the SS in 1934. By 1934 he had obtained a position in Hitler's economic affairs office in Berlin. Before the July Putsch, he worked on aligning rivaling factions of the outlawed Austrian Nazi Party, forcing the resignation of Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, and establishing key economic connections between Austria and Germany. For this effort he was promoted to SS-Standartenführer in March 1938. His next job was dismembering Czechoslovakia and making Jozef Tiso's Slovakia subservient to Nazi Germany in March 1939. In August of the same year he worked on intelligence gathering in the Free City of Danzig where he worked on various measures designed to heighten tensions between Poland and Germany. For these efforts he was awarded the Danzig Cross Second Class.[3] He joined influential business circles, making many friends in high places. From March 1940 to July 1943 he was entrusted with planning to move the (neutral) Irish Free State against Britain.[4]

At the beginning of 1941 he was attached to the German diplomatic staff in Zagreb. Here, he arranged (with Ustashe leader Slavko Kvaternik) the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia, four hours before the Germans entered the city.[5] What Ante Pavelic meant by "independence", as Veesenmeyer reported to Berlin, was firstly to obtain German recognition of Croatia; and secondly, an opportunity to thank Hitler in person and promise him "to live and die for the Führer".[6] Veesenmayer played an important role in the persecution and murder of Croatian and Serbian Jewry. He was involved in an operation to overthrow the Hungarian government in 1944. On 15 March 1944 he was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer and became Reich plenipotentiary after the German occupation of Hungary. From March to October the same year he was involved in organising the Final Solution for Hungary's Jews.[7]

In a telegram dated 13 June 1944 he reported to the Foreign Office: “transport Jews from Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania space … with a total of 289,357 Jews in 92 complete trains of 45 cars”. On 15 June 1944 Veesenmayer told Joachim von Ribbentrop in a telegram that some 340,000 Jews had been delivered to the Reich. He also announced that after the final settlement of the Jewish question, the number of deported Hungarian Jews would reach 900,000.

Trial and convictionEdit

In the Ministries Trial in 1949, Veesenmayer received a sentence of 20 years' imprisonment for crimes against humanity, slavery and membership in a criminal organization. That was reduced to 10 years in 1951. He was released on 16 December the same year, thanks to the intervention of the US High Commissioner in Germany John J. McCloy.[7][8]

After his release, between 1952 and 1955, Veesenmayer worked in Tehran as a representative of Toepfer, a German commodity trading company.[9] At the end of his life, he lived in Darmstadt, where he died in 1977.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Reitlinger, SS – Alibi of a Nation, at pages 351–352, 360, 367.
  2. ^ Tomasevich 2001, pp. 52–55, 68 & 179.
  3. ^ a b Jefferson Adams: Historical Dictionary of German Intelligence, Scarecrow Press, 2009 ISBN 9780810863200 p. 470
  4. ^ Mark M. Hull: Irish Secrets: German Espionage in Ireland, 1939-45, Irish Academic Press, 2003, ISBN 9780716527565, p. 192-3
  5. ^ Jean W. Sedlar: The Axis Empire in Southeast Europe 1939-1945, BookLocker.com, 2007, ISBN 9781591136347 p. 65
  6. ^ Debórah Dwork, Robert Jan Pelt, Robert Jan Van Pelt: Holocaust: A history; Publisher W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 1, 2003 page 183
  7. ^ a b Robert S. Wistrich: Who's Who in Nazi Germany, Routledge, 2013, ISBN 9781136413889, p. 266
  8. ^ Gabrielle Kirk McDonald: Substantive and Procedural Aspects of International Criminal Law: The Experience of International and National Courts: Materials,BRILL, 2000, ISBN 9789041111340, p. 2180
  9. ^ Richard J. Evans: The Third Reich in History and Memory, Oxford University Press, 2015, ISBN 9780190228392, p. 233

SourcesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Reitlinger, Gerald, The SS – Alibi of a Nation, Viking (Da Capo reprint), New York 1957 ISBN 0-306-80351-8
  • (German-language biography) Igor-Philip Matić: Edmund Veesenmayer. Agent und Diplomat der nationalsozialistischen Expansionspolitik. Oldenbourg 2002, ISBN 3-486-56677-6.