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Hinrich Lohse

Nazi propaganda photograph of Hinrich Lohse, as published in a Latvian newspaper in 1941
Born September 2, 1896(1896-09-02)
Mühlenbarbek, Schleswig-Holstein
Died February 25, 1964 (aged 68)
Mühlenbarbek, Schleswig-Holstein
Occupation Farmer, politician, Holocaust perpetrator

Hinrich Lohse (2 September 1896 in Mühlenbarbek, Schleswig-Holstein – 25 February 1964 in Mühlenbarbek) was a Nazi German politician.

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Early life

Lohse, who trained as a salesman, was born into a family of crofters. From 1903 to 1912 he went to the Volksschule in his hometown, and afterwards the higher trade school. In 1913 he worked as an employee at the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in Hamburg. During the First World War, he served from 23 September 1915 until his discharge for war wounds on 30 October 1916 in the army.

Political career

Lohse was first from 1919 an associate at the Schleswig-Holstein Farmers' Association, and then as of 1920 General Secretary of the Schleswig-Holstein Country Party. In 1923 he joined the Nazi Party and became on 27 March 1925 the NSDAP Gauleiter for Schleswig-Holstein. In 1924, as a member of the Völkisch-Sozialer Block list, he became the only Nazi to be elected to the city representative college (Stadtverordnetenkollegium) of Altona/Elbe. During this time, he led various nationally-oriented farming associations in northern Germany, such as the Landvolkbewegung ("Country People's Movement"), into the Nazi Party. Between 1928 and 1929, Lohse also temporarily administered the Nazi Gau of Hamburg.

Rise in power

Lohse, who had been a member of the Reichstag since 1932, was appointed shortly after the Nazis' seizure of power as High President (Oberpräsident) of the Province of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1934, he took over the chairmanship of the Nordic Association (Nordische Gesellschaft). In 1942, Lohse was appointed Reich Defence Commissar, as were all Gauleiters.

Occupation official in the East

On July 17, 1941, after the German occupation of parts of the Soviet Union, Lohse was appointed the Reich Commissar for the Ostland. Lohse retained his functions in Schleswig-Holstein and shuttled between Riga and Kiel. After taking office, Lohse filled many important posts with likeminded old friends from Schleswig-Holstein. He held this function until he left, or rather fled, the Reichskommissariat Ostland in the autumn of 1944. In Schleswig-Holstein, during the time when Nazi Germany was losing power, he still exercised absolute rule as Reich Defence Commissar.

Post-war trial and life

On 6 May 1945, owing to British demands, Lohse was unseated as High President of Schleswig-Holstein by Reich President Karl Dönitz. Shortly thereafter, he was seized by the British military. Lohse was sentenced in 1948 to 10 years in prison, but was released in 1951 due to illness. Two inquiries were launched by prosecutors against him; the grant of a High-Presidential pension which Lohse was fighting for was withdrawn under pressure from the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag. Lohse spent his twilight years in Mühlenbarbek.

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