Amman as an SS-Gruppenführer
|Died||30 March 1957 (aged 65)|
|Political party||Nazi Party (NSDAP)|
Max Amann (24 November 1891 – 30 March 1957) was a German politician, businessman and a member of the Nazi Party. He was the first business manager of the Nazi Party and later became the head of Eher Verlag, the official Nazi Party publishing house. After the war ended, Amann was arrested by Allied troops and deemed a Hauptschuldiger (Prominent Guilty Party) and sentenced to ten years in a labour camp. He was released in 1953. Amann died in poverty on 30 March 1957, in Munich.
Amann was born in Munich on 24 November 1891. During the First World War he obtained the rank of Feldwebel (equivalent to the US Army staff sergeant) in the Royal Bavarian 16th Infantry Regiment. Amann was Adolf Hitler's company sergeant. He was awarded the Iron Cross second class during the war.
Amann joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in October 1921, as the Party's business manager, and held NSDAP membership number 3. After 1922, he also led the Nazis' publishing house, Eher Verlag. Eher Verlag published, among other imprints, the SS magazine Das Schwarze Korps. In 1924 he was elected as a NSDAP candidate to the Munich city council and in 1933 became a Nazi member of the Reichstag for the electoral district of Upper Bavaria/Swabia. Amann's most notable contribution was persuading Hitler to retitle his first book from Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit, ("Four and a Half Years (of Struggle) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice") to Mein Kampf, ("My Struggle") which he also published. The book became a major source of Eher-Verlag's income and Amann oversaw the book through many editions. He helped Hitler become a wealthy man. Amann also enriched himself through many Nazi publications. Amann published the daily Volkischer Beobachter, the weekly Illustrierter Beobachter and the Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte.
In November 1933, Hitler named Amann the president of the Reich Media Chamber and Reich Press Leader. He pursued a dual-pronged strategy to establish Nazi control over the industry. In his official role as president of the Media Chamber, Amman had the power to seize or close down any newspapers that did not fully support the Nazi regime. Then, as head of the Eher-Verlag, he bought them at a substantial discount–often at "auctions" at which the Eher-Verlag was the sole bidder. By 1942, Amann controlled 80% of all German newspapers through his publishing empire. Combined with the proceeds from Mein Kampf, this made the Eher-Verlag the largest newspaper and publishing company in Germany, and one of the largest in the world. His income increased from 108,000 RM in 1934 to 3,800,000 RM in 1944.
He rose to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer. However, as a party official Amann lacked talent, being a poor speaker and debater. In addition, his handwriting was illegible, thus his Chief of Staff and deputy, Rolf Rienhardt, performed these duties for him. Poor handwriting can be attributed in part to the loss of his left arm in an accident with a firearm while hunting with Franz Ritter von Epp on 4 September 1931.
Arrested by Allied troops after the war ended, Amann was deemed a Hauptschuldiger (Prominent Guilty Party) and sentenced to ten years in a labour camp on 8 September 1948. He was released in 1953, but was stripped of his property, pension rights and practically all of his fortune. Amann died on 30 March 1957, in Munich.
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