17 August 1907|
|Died||1 December 1972
Weiz, Steiermark, Austria
|Resting place||Weiz Cemetery, Weiz, Steiermark, Austria|
|Spouse(s)||Aurelia Jadrny (1945 – 1972)|
|Children||Arnold and Meinhard Schwarzenegger|
Gustav Schwarzenegger (17 August 1907 – 1 December 1972) was an Austrian police chief (Gendarmeriekommandant), postal inspector, a senior non-commissioned military police officer. He was the father of bodybuilder, Hollywood star and Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Gustav Schwarzenegger was born in Austria-Hungary, the son of Cecelia (née Hinterleitner) and Karl Schwarzenegger. He married war widow Aurelia Jadrny (29 July 1922 – 2 August 1998) on 5 October 1945, in Mürzsteg, Steiermark, Austria. He died in Weiz, Steiermark, Austria at the age of 65, where he had been transferred as a policeman. He is buried in Weiz Cemetery, Weiz, Steiermark, Austria. Aurelia Jadrny Schwarzenegger died of a heart attack at the age of 76 while visiting Weiz Cemetery in 1998 and she 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. News reports about Gustav's Nazi links first surfaced in 1990, at which time Arnold asked the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organisation he had long supported, to research his father's past. The Center found Gustav's army records and Nazi party membership, but did not uncover any connection to war crimes or the paramilitary organization, the Schutzstaffel (SS). Media interest resurfaced when Arnold ran for Governor in the 2003 recall election.
Nazi Party and SA membership
According to documents obtained in 2003 from the Austrian State Archives by the Los Angeles Times, which was after the expiration of a 30-year seal of his records under Austrian privacy law, Gustav Schwarzenegger voluntarily applied to join the Nazi Party on 1 March 1938, two weeks before the country was annexed. Austria became part of the German Reich through the Anschluss on 12 March 1938. A separate record obtained by the Wiesenthal Center indicates he sought membership before the annexation but was only accepted one day of January, 1941. He also applied to become a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the NSDAP's paramilitary wing, on 1 May 1939, the 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 decline in SA membership was the result of The Night of the Long Knives which was a political purge carried out by Hitler against the SA which was seen as too radical and too powerful by senior military and industrial leaders within Nazi Germany.
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, he was a Hauptfeldwebel (Master Sergeant) of the Feldgendarmerie, which were military police units. He served in Poland, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia. His unit was Feldgendarmerie-Abteilung 521 (mot.), which was part of Panzergruppe 4 (later Panzerarmee 4). Wounded in action in Russia on 22 August 1942, he had the Iron Cross First and Second Classes for bravery, the Eastern Front Medal (during the especially bitter Russian winter of '41/'42) or the Wound Badge. Schwarzenegger appears to have received much medical attention, initially, he was treated in the military hospital in Łódź, but according to the records he also suffered recurring bouts of malaria, which led to his discharge in February, 1944, considered unfit for active duty, when he returned to Graz, Austria, where he was assigned to work as a postal inspector.
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, and no evidence has emerged that has directly linked him with participation in war crimes or abuses against civilians. He resumed his police career in 1947.
Notes and references
- Nick Gillespie (July 31, 2003). "Hasta la Vista, Arnold: How Schwarzenegger could have liberated U.S. politics". Retrieved 2006-11-13.
- Tracy Wilkinson and Matt Lait (August 14, 2003). "Austrian Archives Reveal Nazi Military Role of Actor's Father". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2006-11-14.
- Spotlight Thrown on Nazi Past of Schwarzenegger's Father
- "Records: Arnold's father was member of Nazi storm troops", AP wire services via USA Today 8/24/2003