Alfred Rosenberg was a Nazi racial ideologue, German politician, and Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. A native of Estonia, Rosenberg emigrated to Germany in 1918. He joined the NSDAP shortly after Adolf Hitler. Due to his skill in writing propaganda, Rosenberg was made editor of the Voelkischer Beobachter, the official Nazi party newspaper, in 1921. During Hitler's imprisonment after the failed Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923, Rosenberg portrayed himself as the ideologue of the outlawed NSDAP.
In 1930 Rosenberg published The Myth of the Twentieth Century, a racial tract positing the existence of two opposing races: the Aryan race, which is the creator of all values and culture, and a Jewish race, which is the agent of cultural corruption. Rosenberg was named head of the Nazi party foreign policy office in 1933, but, in fact, he did little more than dabble in diplomatic affairs.
In 1940 Hitler appointed him head of the Hohe Schule, the future University of Nazism. On its behalf Rosenberg's emmisaries ransacked Jewish libraries throughout Europe, bringing their spoils to Frankfurt. Rosenberg also headed a special unit, Einsatzstab Rosenberg, which plundered objects of art and furniture belonging to Jews in occupied western Europe. Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Rosenberg was appointed Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. Rosenberg came into conflict with the SS because of his opposition to their harsh repression of non-Russian minorities in the occupied Eastern Territories. He voiced no similar doubts about the treatment of Jews in those areas.
Source: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Photo: William Gallagher, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives