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Arthur Seyss-Inquart

(1892 - 1946)

Arthur Seyss-Inquart was a member of the Nazi Party and held the rank of General in the SS. He was also the Reich Governor of Austria and Deputy Governor to Hans Frank in the General Government of Occupied Poland and Reichkommissar for the German occupied Netherlands.

Seyss-Inquart was seriously wounded during World War I and later returned to Austria where he studied law. In 1931, he secretly joined the Austrian Nazi party, rising quickly through its ranks. In 1937, he was appointed Austrian state councillor and Austrian Minister of the Interior. In March 1938, pressure from German Chancellor Adolf Hitler forced the resignation of Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schussnigg and Seyss-Inquart was tapped as his replacement. The very next day, at Seyss-Inquart's invitation, German troops crossed the Austro-German border, implementing the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to the German Reich.

Following the Anschluss, Seyss-Inquart was appointed Reich Governor of the Ostmark (Austria) and SS Obergrupppenfuehrer (General). In 1939, Seyss-Inquart was named deputy to Governor-General Hans Frank in the General Government of Occupied Poland. In 1940 Seyss-Inquart became Reichkommissar for the German occupied Netherlands. In that capacity, he was responsible for the deportation of 5,000,000 Dutchmen to Germany for forced labor and 117,000 Dutch Jews to the east.

Seyss-Inquart was arrested by Canadian troops in May 1945 and was convicted for crimes against humanity by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was executed in Nuremberg prison in 1946.

Sources: USHMM, Who's Who in Nazi Germany; Encyclopedia of the Third Reich; Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Photo Harry S. Truman Library, courtesy of the USHMM