Otto Bräutigam (14 May 1895 – 30 April 1992) was a German diplomat and lawyer, who worked for the Auswärtiges Amt as well as the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories of Alfred Rosenberg in Nazi Germany. In this position Bräutigam was involved in the Holocaust. After the end of World War II he joined the Auswärtiges Amt of West Germany.
In 1913 and 1914 Bräutigam studied law in Grenoble, Oxford and Strasbourg. He fought in World War I and finished his studies in Münster in 1919. In 1920 he joined the Auswärtiges Amt. In 1922 he received his PhD and worked in various German embassies. In 1928 Bräutigam was sent to Moscow, where he met Alfred Rosenberg.
Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
At the Nuremberg trials Bräutigam was not charged but acted as a witness against the prominent members of Nazi Germany. According to William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich). 13 pages Document from Berlin presented at the Nuremberg trails showed that Otto Bräutigam wrote several requests to integrate the local factions into the Wehrmacht. Starting by avoiding unnecessary cruelty against the local population. Brautigam said:” when we came to the east we found the people of east Europe, ready to be our partners in destroying Bolshevism we need to re-place our cards. Promise them something that guarantee their future…due to our cruel policies the Russian nationalist are uniting with the Bolsheviks against us”. “It did not take the population of the east long to recognize that, we are not there to destroy Bolshevism, but we are there to replace it”. Bräutigam's top secret report to his superiors in the (Reichskommissariat Ostland) fell on deaf ears. William L. Shirer described the report as Daring and Exceptional. "We now experience the grotesque spectacle that after the tremendous starvation of prisoners of war, millions of foreign laborers must be recruited to fill the gaps which have appeared in Germany. With the usual unlimited abuse of Slav people, "recruiting" methods were used which can only be compared with the blackest periods of the slave trade. (They are allowed only the most limited education, and can be given no welfare services.) We are interested in feeding them only insofar as they are still capable (and they are given to understand that in every aspect we regard them as inferior)." Dr Otto Brautigam 25 October 1942 Goebbels and Himmler welcomed the idea by 1942. Pyotr Krasnov and Andrei Shkuro requested permission from Goebbels to fight along with Nazi Germany. They had mustered a Cossack force, largely from Soviet POWs in German captivity. These forces fell under the overall command of Helmuth von Pannwitz. In the following year, the 1st Cossack Division and Ukrainian Insurgent Army was supported or created. Although the Cossack units were formed to fight the Bolsheviks, by the time they were formed the Red Army had liberated most of the German-held territory.
In 1950 he was charged with multiple murder in Nürnberg-Fürth. Bräutigam was found not guilty like other Nazis during this time.
West German foreign ministry
In 1953 he joined the Auswärtiges Amt. After more evidence of his Nazi past came to the light he was temporarily suspended in 1956. In 1957 however a report concluded that Bräutigam attempted to avoid the killing he was reinstated in his position in 1958. He worked as Consul general in Hong Kong until his retirement in 1960.
- Zitiert in: H.D. Heilmann, Aus dem Kriegstagebuch des Diplomaten Otto Bräutigam, in: Götz Aly u.a. (Hrsg.): Biedermann und Schreibtischtäter. Materialien zur deutschen Täter-Biographie, Institut für Sozialforschung in Hamburg: Beiträge zur nationalsozialistischen Gesundheits- und Sozialpolitik 4, Berlin 1987, S. 123-187.