|Gau of Nazi Germany|
|•||Disestablishment||8 May 1945|
|Today part of||Germany|
The Gau Westphalia-South (German: Gau Westfalen-Süd) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany encompassing the Free State of Lippe, Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe and the northern half of the Prussian province of Westphalia between 1933 and 1945. From 1928 to 1933, it was the regional subdivision of the Nazi Party for these areas.
The Nazi Gau (plural Gaue) system was originally established in a party conference on 22 May 1926, in order to improve administration of the party structure. From 1933 onwards, after the Nazi seizure of power, the Gaue increasingly replaced the German states as administrative subdivisions in Germany.
At the head of each Gau stood a Gauleiter, a position which became increasingly more powerful, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War, with little interference from above. Local Gauleiter often held government positions as well as party ones and were in charge of, among other things, propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onward, the Volkssturm and the defense of the Gau.
The position of Gauleiter in Westphalia-South was held by Josef Wagner from 1928 to 1941, followed by Paul Giesler from 1941 to 1943 and Albert Hoffmann from 1943 to 1945. Wagner was stripped of his Gauleiter position in 1941 and expelled from the Nazi Party. Arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 died in May 1945 under unclear circumstances. Giesler, a well connected member of the top-hierarchy of Nazi Germany, held a number of high offices during the era, last of those as the German Minister of the Interior in the final days of the war. He was involved in the repression of the German resistance and, after a suicide attempt, was shot by his adjutant on 8 May 1945. Hoffmann, the last Gauleiter of Westphalia-South, initially went into hiding after the war. Arrested in October 1945 he was called as a witness in a number of trials and imprisoned for almost five years. He died in West Germany in 1972 after a successful business career, not charged with any further crimes committed during the Nazi era.
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