Gustav Schwarzenegger

Gustav Schwarzenegger (17 August 1907 – 13 December 1972) was an Austrian police chief (Gendarmeriekommandant), postal inspector and a military police officer. He was the father of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gustav Schwarzenegger
Gustav Schwarzenegger.jpg
Born(1907-08-17)17 August 1907
Died13 December 1972(1972-12-13) (aged 65)
Weiz, Steiermark, Austria
Weiz Cemetery, Weiz, Steiermark, Austria
AllegianceAustria Austria
Service/branch Austrian Land Forces
 German Army
Years of service1930–1937, 1939–1944
Unit4th Panzer Army, Feldgendarmerie
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsIron Cross 1st Class
Wound Badge
Aurelia Jadrny
(m. 1945)
Other workPoliceman


Schwarzenegger was born in Austria-Hungary, the son of Cecelia (née Hinterleitner, 1878–1968) and Karl Schwarzenegger (1872–1927).[1] He was a sportsman and loved music.

NSDAP and SA membershipEdit

According to documents obtained in 2003 from the Austrian State Archives by the Los Angeles Times,[a] Schwarzenegger voluntarily applied to join the Austrian National Socialist Party on 1 March 1938, eleven days before the country was annexed. Austria became part of Nazi Germany after being annexed on 12 March 1938.[2] A separate record obtained by the Wiesenthal Center indicates he sought membership before the annexation, but was only accepted in January 1941.

Schwarzenegger also applied to become a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the NSDAP's paramilitary wing, on 1 May 1939, a year after the annexation of Austria, at a time when SA membership was declining. The SA had 900,000 members in 1940, down from 4.2 million in 1934. This six year decline in SA membership was an extended result of the three-day-long purge known as The Night of the Long Knives, a political purge carried out by Adolf Hitler against the SA, seen at that time as too radical and too powerful by senior military and industrial leaders within the Nazi Party.

Military careerEdit

Schwarzenegger had served in the Austrian Army from 1930 to 1937, achieving the rank of section commander and in 1937 he became a police officer. After enlisting in the Wehrmacht in November 1939, Schwarzenegger had gained the rank of Hauptfeldwebel (Master Sergeant) of the Feldgendarmerie, which acted as military police units. He served in Poland, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia. His unit was Feldgendarmerie-Abteilung 521 (mot.), part of Panzer Group 4.

Wounded in action in Russia on 22 August 1942, Schwarzenegger was awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Classes for bravery, the Eastern Front Medal or the Wound Badge; he also received significant medical attention for his injuries. Initially treated at a military hospital in Łódź, according to the records, Schwarzenegger also suffered recurring bouts of malaria, which led to his discharge in February 1944. Considered unfit for active duty, he returned to Graz, Austria, where he was assigned to work as a postal inspector.[2]

A health registry document describes him as a "calm and reliable person, not particularly outstanding" and assesses his intellect as "average." Ursula Schwarz, a historian at Vienna's Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance, has said that Schwarzenegger's career was fairly typical for his generation,[3] and that no evidence has emerged directly linking him with participation in war crimes or abuses against civilians.[2] He resumed his police career in 1947.

Later life and deathEdit

Schwarzenegger married war widow Aurelia "Reli" Jadrny (29 July 1922 – 2 August 1998) on 5 October 1945, in Mürzsteg, Steiermark, Austria. They later had two sons, Meinhard and Arnold; Meinhard died on 20 May 1971 in a car accident due to drunk driving.[4]

Schwarzenegger died of a stroke in Weiz, Steiermark, Austria on 13 December 1972 at the age of 65, where he had been transferred as a policeman. He is buried in Weiz Cemetery. Aurelia Jadrny Schwarzenegger died of a heart attack at the age of 76 while visiting Weiz Cemetery in August 1998, and is buried next to her husband. His son, Arnold Schwarzenegger, stated in the film Pumping Iron that he did not attend his father's funeral, but later retracted this, explaining that it was a story he had appropriated from a boxer, to make it appear as though he could prevent his personal life from interfering with his athletic training.[5]

News reports about Schwarzenegger's National Socialist links first surfaced in 1990, at which time Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization he had long supported, to research his father's past. The Center found his father's army records and NSDAP party membership, but did not uncover any connection to war crimes or the paramilitary organization, the Schutzstaffel (SS).[2] Media interest resurfaced when Arnold ran for Governor of California in the 2003 recall election.

In 2021 in a video posted to Twitter, his son Arnold recalled, in a never before released public statement, how Gustav was frequently drunk and abusive to his family when Arnold was young. He attributed this behavior to guilt and shame over what Gustav and other Nazis and collaborators had perpetrated or enabled during the war.[6]


  1. ^ This was following the expiration of a 30-year seal on Schwarzenegger's records under Austrian privacy laws


  1. ^ Krasniewicz, Louise; Blitz, Michael (1 January 2006). Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313338106.
  2. ^ a b c d Wilkinson, Tracy; Lait, Matt (14 August 2003). "Austrian Archives Reveal Nazi Military Role of Actor's Father". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Spotlight Thrown on Nazi Past of Schwarzenegger's Father". AFP. 25 August 2003. Archived from the original on 22 November 2006.
  4. ^ "The Unkillable Arnold Schwarzenegger". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  5. ^ Gillespie, Nick (31 July 2003). "Hasta la Vista, Arnold: How Schwarzenegger could have liberated U.S. politics". Reason. Retrieved 13 November 2006.
  6. ^ @Schwarzenegger (10 January 2021). "My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

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