Albert Hoffmann (Nazi)

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For other uses, see Albert Hoffman.

Albert Hoffmann (24 October 1907 in Bremen – 26 August 1972 in Heiligenrode near Bremen) was a German entrepreneur and during the Third Reich the Nazi Gauleiter of Westphalia-South.

Early life[edit]

After his apprenticeship, he first took up a job as a raw tobacco salesman. In 1925 Hoffmann joined the National Socialist Worker Youth (Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterjugend) and was among the founding members of the SA and NSDAP in Bremen.

Nazi career 1933-1945[edit]

Shortly after Adolf Hitler's seizure of power, Hoffmann gave his profession up and first held functions in the NSDAP's Bremen District Leadership, until he was appointed Political Leader on Rudolf Hess's staff in 1934 and went to work at the Brown House in Munich. In 1936, Hoffmann joined the SS. He was appointed Stillhaltekommissar for Austria and later also in the Sudetenland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which mainly involved taking care of property law matters. At the same time, he was responsible for building up the Party in the aforesaid areas.

Hoffmann participated actively in the Invasion of Poland. In 1941, while retaining his other functions, he was also made acting Gauleiter of Upper Silesia, and also gained a seat in the Reichstag as the next candidate on the list. From 1942 he undertook, as Martin Bormann's representative on the OKW's Unruh staff, personnel examinations in the service posts in the occupied eastern territories and Ukraine.

Hoffmann advised Hitler on the Holocaust. He gave insights into actions of the Einsatzgruppen murders and on the death camps of operation Reinhard, on which he spoke at the party Chancellery. He made 'suggestions for improvement, or 'Verbesserungsvorschlägen," to Hitler and Joseph Goebbels.

"In the course of the travel of the DB by the "eastern territories", Hoffmann won deep insights in the extermination of the Jews, Germanization policies and the brutal measures to recruit "Eastern workers." To leading representatives of the "Final Solution", including the General Governor of Poland, Hans Frank, and Odilo Globocnik, head of "Action Reinhard." He had to portray the work processes and "Successes" of their campaigns. In his reports to Bormann, who came to discuss it with Goebbels and Hitler, Hoffmann forged the image of a ruthless occupation policy. (trans. from German)[1]

In 1943 came Hoffmann's appointment to Gauleiter of Westphalia-South. In the same year, Hoffmann was appointed by Joseph Goebbels to manage his Reich Inspection for Civil Aerial Warfare Measures. Hoffmann, who did not enjoy widespread popularity even within the Nazi Party's top ranks owing to his arrogance and bossy manner, was said to have been a staunch Nazi right through to the war's end. Shortly before the war ended, in April 1945, Hoffmann dissolved the NSDAP and the Volkssturm in Westphalia-South and went into hiding.

Post-war trial, conviction, and sentence[edit]

After his arrest by British troops he was first questioned as a witness in the Nuremberg Trials and was later himself charged. However, nothing could be proved about his alleged responsibility for the murders of Allied soldiers or forced labourers, so that he had to be acquitted for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, he received a prison sentence of 4 years and 9 months, only part of which he served, receiving a pardon.

Later life and family[edit]

After his release in 1950, Hoffmann earned considerable assets as an entrepreneur in Bremen. Hoffmann was married. His son Bolko Hoffmann is likewise a successful entrepreneur and the founder of the Pro DM Party, a rightwing, conservative fringe party in Germany whose main policy is to campaign for the reintroduction of the Deutsche Mark.

Literature[edit]

  • Ralf Blank: Albert Hoffmann, in: Westfälische Lebensbilder 17, Münster 2005 [= Veröffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission für Westfalen XXVII A, 17].
  • Ralf Blank: Albert Hoffmann als Reichsverteidigungskommissar im Gau Westfalen-Süd, 1943-1945. Eine biografische Skizze, in: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus 17 (2001), S. 189-210.
  • Ralf Blank: "... der Volksempörung nicht zu entziehen". Gauleiter Albert Hoffmann und der "Fliegerbefehl", in: Märkisches Jahrbuch 98 (1998), S. 255-296.

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