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Joseph Bürckel

In office
1933 – 1944
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Willi Stöhr

Gauleiter of Vienna
In office
1939 – 1940
Preceded by Odilo Globocnik
Succeeded by Baldur von Schirach

Member of the German Reichstag
In office
1930 – 1944

Born March 30, 1895(1895-03-30)
Died September 28, 1944
Neustadt an der Weinstraße
Nationality German
Political party Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei
Occupation Teacher

Joseph Bürckel (March 30, 1895, Lingenfeld, Germersheim—September 28, 1944, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Rhineland-Palatinate) was a German National Socialist politician, a member of the National Socialist Reichstag.



Joseph Bürckel was born in Lingenfeld, in the Bavarian Palatinate, as the son of a tradesman. From 1909 to 1914 he studied to become a teacher in Speyer.[1]

He took part in the First World War as a volunteer. After the war, he continued his training as a teacher and graduated in 1920. From 1921 onwards, he was engaged in nationalist groups, fighting separatism in the Palatinate.

An energetic Nazi organizer in the Saar-Palatinate since 1925, the former schoolmaster rose through the ranks to become Gauleiter (Nazi Party leader) for the region in 1934.

On March 13, 1938 Bürckel was appointed acting head of the Party to carry out the referendum on the Anschluss (Austria's absortion into Germany). From April 23, 1938 to March 31, 1940, he worked as Reichskommissar for the union of Austria with the German Reich, in charge of fully integrating it as the Ostmark politically, economically and culturally into the latter. Bürckel served as Gauleiter of Vienna and Reichsstatthalter (governor) of the region from January 30, 1939 to August 7, 1940, working diligently to further unification with Germany, including promoting anti-Jewish decrees and seizing Jewish property. His extravagant lifestyle, financed through confiscated Jewish money and property, earned him the displeasure of the Nazi hirarchy and he was eventually removed from his post in Vienna. Upon his return to the Westmark, he continued his previous lifestyle and spent large sums on purchasing artworks.[2]

Following his role as Gauleiter, Bürckel headed up the civil administration in Lothringen and from 1941 was governor of the Gau Westmark, composed of the Bavarian Palatinate district and the Prussian Saar territory. From November 9, 1937 he also held a leading position (Gruppenführer) in the Schutzstaffel and the staff of the Reichsführer-SS, Heinrich Himmler.

In 1944, he was awarded the German Order, the highest decoration that the Party could bestow on an individual, for his services to the Reich.

He, along with his wife, died in September 1944, apparently by their own hand, although there is some question as to whether Bürckel may have been killed as a result of power struggles that followed the attempt on Hitler's life at the Wolf's Lair. He was also blamed for the unauthorised evacuation of the party headquarters in Metz in 1944.[3]

External links



  1. ^ Josef Bürckel - Gauleiter der Westmark (German) Josef Bürckel biography, accessed: 10 February 2009
  2. ^ Google book review: Art As Politics in the Third Reich author: Jonathan Petropoulos, publisher: UNC Press, page: 239-240, accessed: 10 February 2009
  3. ^ Josef Bürckel - Gauleiter der Westmark (German) Josef Bürckel biography, accessed: 10 February 2009


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