Kaltenbrunner was born in Ried im Innkreis, Austria. Later
the family moved to Linz, where he attended the State Real
Gymnasium. He studied law and obtained a law degree in
1926. He spent the first year as apprentice lawyer at
Linze-on-Danube and then worked as a lawyer-candidate,
first at Salzburg and after 1928 at Linz.
He joined the Nazi Party in 1932, and became leader of the
Austrian SS 1935.
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was a life-long fanatical Nazi. He had
much to do with developing the Mauthausen KZ camp and
visited it frequently. He agreed with Himmler on the
establishment of gas-chambers for execution 1942, became
head of the security police 1943, and sent millions of
Jews and political suspects to their deaths in the
concentration camps. He was also responsible for orders
sanctioning the murder of prisoners of war.
Toward the end of the war, Kaltenbrunner's power increased
greatly, especially after the attack on Hitler of 20 July
1944, and he gained direct access to The Führer. So
powerful had Kaltenbrunner become toward the end that even
Heinrich Himmler feared him.
Ernst Kaltenbrunner was captured by U.S. troops on May 15,
1945 and was indicted for war crimes by the International
Military Tribunal at Nuremburg and sentenced to death. He
was hanged on October 16, 1946.
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