|Reichsgau of Nazi Germany|
|Nazi Germany showing its administrative|
subdivisions (Gaue and Reichsgaue).
|•||Anschluss||12 March 1938|
|•||German surrender||8 May 1945|
|Today part of|| Austria |
The Reichsgau Oberdonau (English: Reichsgau Upper Danube) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany consisting of Upper Austria and parts of Southern Bohemia. Parts of the Salzkammergut were annexed from Styria.
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. In 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria, with the latter being sub-divided into Reichsgaue.
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. Local Gauleiter were in charge of propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onwards, the Volkssturm and the defence of the Gau.
The Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp was located in the Reichsgau Oberdonau. Of the 199,404 prisoners that were sent to the camp 119,000 died in the harsh conditions of the camp through overwork, malnourishment and exhaustion.
- Kriechbaumer, R. 1998, Geschichte der österreichischen Bundesländer seit 1945, p. 117
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