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Gau Bayreuth
Gau of Nazi Germany

1933 – 1945
Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Gau Bayreuth
Map of Nazi Germany showing its administrative subdivisions, the Gaue and Reichsgaue
Capital Bayreuth
 - 1933 - 1935 Hans Schemm
 - 1935 - 1945 Fritz Wächtler
 - 1945 Ludwig Ruckdeschel
 - Establishment 1933
 - Disestablishment 1945
 - 17 May 1939[1] 2,220,873 

The Gau Bayreuth, until 1942 named Gau Bayerische Ostmark (English:Gau Bavarian Eastern March), was an administrative division of Nazi Germany in Lower Bavaria, Upper Palatinate and Upper Franconia,Bavaria from 1933 to 1945. Previous to that, since 1926, it was the regional subdivision of the Nazi Party in this region.



The Gau Bayerische Ostmark was formed in 1933, when Hans Schemm united the three Gaue of Oberpfalz, Niederbayern and Oberfranken into one in an internal power struggle. The term Bayerische Ostmark was coined after the First World War for the region to refer to the fact that the area now bordered the new Czechoslovakia, a country perceived as hostile to Germany. The term Mark (English: March) was historically used in Imperial Germany for border regions to hostile neighbors[2].

It was the only one of the Bavarian Gaue to incorporate more than one Regierungsbezirk, covering three of them.

Hans Schemm lead the Gau until his death in a plane accident in 1935, his successor, Fritz Wächtler, could not muster the same popularity with the population of the region.

After the occupation of Czechoslovakia, parts of this country were incorporated in the Gau. The districts (German: Kreis) of Prachatitz (population: 38,328) and Klattau were added to the Gau.[3]

From 1938, the Gau was also home to the Flossenbürg concentration camp and its many subcamps.

Because the Gau Bayerische Ostmark was not a border region anymore, it was renamed into Gau Bayreuth in 1942.

Wächtler was shot on orders of Hitler, having left his capital Bayreuth in April 1945. He was replaced by Ludwig Ruckdeschel, whose reign until the surrender of Nazi Germany remained very brief[4].


  • Hans Schemm - September 1928 to 5 March 1935
  • Fritz Wächtler - 5 December 1935 to 19 April 1945
  • Ludwig Ruckdeschel - 19 April 1945 to May 1945

Ludwig Ruckdeschel was also the deputy Gauleiter from 1 February 1933 to June 1941. In this position, he lead the Gau from Hans Schemm's death to the appointment of Fritz Wächtler in 1935. After Wächtler's execution for defeatism by an SS squad in 1945, he became Gauleiter himself[5].

See also



  1. ^ Bayrisches Landesamt für Statistik accessed: 26 June 2008
  2. ^ Bayerische Ostmark, 1933-45 (German) Historisches Lexikon Bayerns, accessed: 27 June 2008
  3. ^ Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschichte: Landkreis Prachatitz (German) accessed: 10 November 2008
  4. ^ Bayerische Ostmark, 1933-45 (German) Historisches Lexikon Bayerns, accessed: 27 June 2008
  5. ^ GAULEITER - Gau Bayreuth accessed: 27 June 2008


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