Lede: In his latest historical profile, CARR Senior Fellow Mr Chris Webb takes a deeper look at SS and Police Leader Lublin, Odilo Globocnik. A personal beneficiary of the Holocaust, Globocnik was the Head of Aktion Reinhardt. In the below excerpt from his forthcoming book on the Belzec Death Camp, Webb details his rise and downfall.
Born on 21 April 1904, in Trieste, Odilo Globocnik was the son of an Austrian Croat family of low-ranking officials and a builder by profession. He joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Carinthia, Austria in 1930, and became a “radical” leader of its cells in the province. In 1933, Globocnik entered the SS and was appointed Deputy District Leader of the NSDAP in Austria.
Globocnik was, however, eventually imprisoned for over a year on account of political of offences (though, he re-emerged as a key liaison figure between Hitler and the Austrian National Socialists). He was appointed provincial Nazi Chief of Carinthia in 1936, and was further promoted to the post of Gauleiter (or regional Nazi party leader) of Vienna on 24 May, 1938. He was dismissed from this position for illegal speculation in the foreign exchange on 30 January, 1939, and was replaced by Josef Burckel.
Globocnik was pardoned by Himmler and he was appointed to the post of SS and Police Leader for the Lublin district on 9 November, 1939. He was chosen by Himmler as the central figure in Aktion Reinhardt, the mass murder program of Polish Jewry, no doubt because of his scandalous past record and well-known virulent anti-Semitism.
Globocnik built up a special company of SS men, not subordinate to any higher authority, and responsible only to Himmler. Globocnik established three death camps in Poland – Bełżlzec, Sobibóor, and Treblinka, as part of Aktion Reinhardt. He also had a hand in the creation of Lublin (Majdanek) Concentration Camp.
In addition, Globocnik built up an economic empire, including the Jewish Labor Camps at Budzyn, Krasnik, Poniatowa, Trawniki, as well as a number of camps in Lublin itself, such as Lipowa and the Old Airfield, and various enterprises throughout the Lublin district. Globocnik had offices in Lublin and Warsaw. The Lublin SS und Polizei headquarters office was located on Ostland Strasse, and the Warsaw office was in the Befehlstelle at 103 Zelazna Street, which also housed the Einsatz Reinhardt staff from Lublin, during the Grosaktion.
Globocnik was also responsible for clearing Polish peasant farmers from the Zamośćsc Lands and replacing them with ethnic Germans. Globocnik and some of his cohorts amassed rich rewards from the slaughter of approximately 1.6 million Jews whose property and valuables were seized by the SS, and his various business interests. As his situation reports showed (Yad Vashem Archive), Globocnik carried out Himmler’s orders with brutal efficiency and by November 1943, Aktion Reinhardt had been completed and the three death camps under his control had been liquidated.
On 13 September, 1943, Himmler wrote to Globocnik appointing him to the post of Higher SS and Police Leader for the Adriatic Coastal Zone in Trieste, and replacing him in Lublin by Jakob Sporrenberg. Himmler instructed Globocnik to produce a final accounting statement regarding the assets and economic achievements of Aktion Reinhardt by December 31, 1943. Globocnik provided a portfolio and on January 5, 1944, produced a detailed appendix.
This appendix demonstrated that 178 million Reichmarks had been added to the Reich’s finance coffers, as a result of Aktion Reinhardt.
Odilo Globocnik married Lore Peterschinegg, in October 1944. She was head of the Carinthian BDM (Bund Deutscher Madel or ‘Band of German Maidens’, the girls’ wing of the Nazi Party youth movement). They had one son, Peter, who was born in January 1946.
At the end of the Second World War, Globocnik succeeded in evading arrest by returning to his native country, in the mountains south of Klagenfurt. He was eventually tracked down and arrested by a British army patrol at Wiessensee. He committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule at Paternion, Austria, on May 31, 1945.
Chris Webb is a Senior Fellow at CARR and Founder at Holocaust Historical Society. See his profile here.
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