Second Career Nazis

Second careers did not mean sinecures. In 1933 and 1935 decrees were passed allowing thousands of Old Fighters, especially Ehrenzeichenträger, into the civil service. Often presented as an unemployment measure or NSDAP welfare, it was more the act of a new regime securing its hold on power by replacing independent actors with men who owed their new careers purely to the Party. Most took their new careers seriously.

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Arthur H. (b. 1895 in Leipzig) had his education cut short by wartime Notmatur, and spent the 1920s as a sales representative before 1930 found him unemployed. Having joined the SA in 1927, he devoted himself fully to Party service during the Kampfzeit, and in 1933 exchanged his SA brownshirt for a civil service position and Politischer Leiter in the NSDAP. By 1938 he had passed the two civil service exams, rising to Stadtinspektor in Hamburg-Altona. Hearing that the Warthegau offered a path forward in the New Germany, he became Amtskommissar of Zloczew.

Herbert L. (b. 1906 in Dresden) had his training as a Verkehrsbeamter interrupted by the Hyperinflation in 1923. He joined the Brigade Ehrhardt, then the Frontbann Dresden, and finally the SA and NSDAP in 1927. He left the SA in 1929 in order to build up the Hitler Youth in Baden, which he did until his party service earned him a civil service job in 1936. By 1939 he had passed his Inspektor exam and volunteered immediately for service in the East. The Landrat of Kreis Lask noticed him and made him Amtskommissar of Buscheck in 1940, where he remained until 1944, when he was transferred to Seebreiten/Jeziorsko following accusations of appropriating public property for personal use.

Hans J. (b. 1908 in Rügen) grew up in Kolberg, Pomerania. After reaching the Obersekunda, he did an apprenticeship with AEG and then moved to Berlin to try his luck as a bookkeeper. He lasted until the slowdown of 1929. Jobless, he moved back in with his parents in Kolberg and joined the NDAP – and in, 1931, the SS. Half the year he did bookkeeping for one of the beach resorts, the other half for the local SS branch. This went on until 1936, when he joined the civil service as Betriebsprüfer in the local Steueramt. He applied unsuccessfully to be Bürgermeister of Kolberg in 1937; in 1938 he tried to get on in the Sudetenland; then in 1940 he pursued a position in the East. Finally in 1941 he convinced somebody to let him be Amtskommissar in the Kreis of Wielun. He wanted to be a mayor so badly he was willing to go almost anywhere. He was also an SS man and a reader of Das Reich, suggesting Nazi bourgeois attitudes.

Karl M. (b. 1895 in Seligenthal) preferred reading the Stürmer. After fighting in the Great War, he started a successful business that employed 5-10 people. He joined the NSDAP in 1930 and became Ortsgruppenleiter of Seligenthal. It is logical, then, the he became voluntary (ehrenamtlicher) Bürgermeister of his village of birth in 1933. Unfortunately the post continued to be voluntary even as the workload increased, so that by 1939 his business was suffering. With a choice to make, he volunteered for the Warthegau and was made Amtskommissar of Chabielice. Thus he became a real mayor without taking a single civil service exam. Wilhelm N. (b. 1905 in Berlin) was a master miller who followed a similar path, joining the Party in 1930, except that he was volunteer mayor of Gross-Kreutz until a 1940 transfer to the Warthegau.

Bernard T. (b. 1907 in Dorsten) was a Westphalian Catholic whose education did not extend beyond the Volksschule. Throughout the 1920s he was a shop assistant and bookkeeper. He became a Hitler Youth Führer in 1928 and joined the NSDAP in 1929, in which he served as a Blockleiter and Zellenwart. Between 1935 and 1939, he worked in the Arbeitsamt, passing the exam for unemployment insurance. Then he became a teller at the Kreiskommunalkasse in Soest, where he gained Beamter status. By 1940 he had made it out of the savings bank and into the Kreis administration. He transferred to the Landratsamt in Turek in 1941, at which time he also passed the Inspektor exam. His career was on the rise, thanks to the magic number 144673.

August L. (b. 1887 in Schwerin) repeats the theme with an interesting twist. He followed his father into the bookbinding trade. He does not mention unemployment in his Lebenslauf, only that he worked as Abteilungsleiter for the Dietsch firm in Schwerin from 1920, joined the NSDAP in 1929. Serving variously as Zellenobmann, Kreisleiter, Sektionsleiter, and Gaubeauftragter, he gained employment with the Niederdeutscher Beobachter in 1933 and then with the Mecklenburg civil service in 1935. This suggests a period of unemployment filled with fulltime Party work. His move to the Warthegau in 1940, to become Amtskommissar in Gruszczyce, coincided with his divorce. Having spent his life in Schwerin, it looks like he wanted a fresh start where the number 170669 meant more than a sinecure.

Franz N. (b. 1903 in Oberschöneweide/Berlin) was a bookkeeper by profession – yet another member of the Angestellter class – who did not go beyond the Obersekunda. His encounter with the Eastern Frontier came through his employment, at the same time as his Nazi involvement. He worked Lower Silesia as a sales representative for a Wittenberg chocolate factory, and then spent several years in East Prussia for a different company. Politically he was a Jungdo man, finding his way to the NSDAP in 1930 while in East Prussia. Although he continued employment with his company even through the war and his service in the Warthegau, his spiritual home was the SA. Because he was too old for the Wehrmacht in 1939, he volunteered for the SA Gruppe Ostmark. He helped organize the Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz in the Warthegau in 1939. His Standartenführer became Bürgermeister of Wreschen in the Posen Regierungspräsidium, and talked him into coming with. Bureaucratic work did not sit well with him, so after a week he asked to be relieved. Instead, he was made Amtskommissar and Ortsgruppenleiter of a village in the Warthegau. Some of his SA friends were also in the Kalisch area, so he was able to focus his energies on building up the SA in Kalisch.

Second careers did not mean sinecures. In 1933 and 1935 decrees were passed allowing thousands of Old Fighters, especially Ehrenzeichenträger, into the civil service. Often presented as an unemployment measure or NSDAP welfare, it was more the act of a new regime securing its hold on power by replacing independent actors with men who owed their new careers purely to the Party. Most took their new careers seriously.

Arthur H. (b. 1895 in Leipzig) had his education cut short by wartime Notmatur, and spent the 1920s as a sales representative before 1930 found him unemployed. Having joined the SA in 1927, he devoted himself fully to Party service during the Kampfzeit, and in 1933 exchanged his SA brownshirt for a civil service position and Politischer Leiter in the NSDAP. By 1938 he had passed the two civil service exams, rising to Stadtinspektor in Hamburg-Altona. Hearing that the Warthegau offered a path forward in the New Germany, he became Amtskommissar of Zloczew.

Herbert L. (b. 1906 in Dresden) had his training as a Verkehrsbeamter interrupted by the Hyperinflation in 1923. He joined the Brigade Ehrhardt, then the Frontbann Dresden, and finally the SA and NSDAP in 1927. He left the SA in 1929 in order to build up the Hitler Youth in Baden, which he did until his party service earned him a civil service job in 1936. By 1939 he had passed his Inspektor exam and volunteered immediately for service in the East. The Landrat of Kreis Lask noticed him and made him Amtskommissar of Buscheck in 1940, where he remained until 1944, when he was transferred to Seebreiten/Jeziorsko following accusations of appropriating public property for personal use.

Hans J. (b. 1908 in Rügen) grew up in Kolberg, Pomerania. After reaching the Obersekunda, he did an apprenticeship with AEG and then moved to Berlin to try his luck as a bookkeeper. He lasted until the slowdown of 1929. Jobless, he moved back in with his parents in Kolberg and joined the NDAP – and in, 1931, the SS. Half the year he did bookkeeping for one of the beach resorts, the other half for the local SS branch. This went on until 1936, when he joined the civil service as Betriebsprüfer in the local Steueramt. He applied unsuccessfully to be Bürgermeister of Kolberg in 1937; in 1938 he tried to get on in the Sudetenland; then in 1940 he pursued a position in the East. Finally in 1941 he convinced somebody to let him be Amtskommissar in the Kreis of Wielun. He wanted to be a mayor so badly he was willing to go almost anywhere. He was also an SS man and a reader of Das Reich, suggesting Nazi bourgeois attitudes.

Karl M. (b. 1895 in Seligenthal) preferred reading the Stürmer. After fighting in the Great War, he started a successful business that employed 5-10 people. He joined the NSDAP in 1930 and became Ortsgruppenleiter of Seligenthal. It is logical, then, the he became voluntary (ehrenamtlicher) Bürgermeister of his village of birth in 1933. Unfortunately the post continued to be voluntary even as the workload increased, so that by 1939 his business was suffering. With a choice to make, he volunteered for the Warthegau and was made Amtskommissar of Chabielice. Thus he became a real mayor without taking a single civil service exam. Wilhelm N. (b. 1905 in Berlin) was a master miller who followed a similar path, joining the Party in 1930, except that he was volunteer mayor of Gross-Kreutz until a 1940 transfer to the Warthegau.

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Bernard T. (b. 1907 in Dorsten) was a Westphalian Catholic whose education did not extend beyond the Volksschule. Throughout the 1920s he was a shop assistant and bookkeeper. He became a Hitler Youth Führer in 1928 and joined the NSDAP in 1929, in which he served as a Blockleiter and Zellenwart. Between 1935 and 1939, he worked in the Arbeitsamt, passing the exam for unemployment insurance. Then he became a teller at the Kreiskommunalkasse in Soest, where he gained Beamter status. By 1940 he had made it out of the savings bank and into the Kreis administration. He transferred to the Landratsamt in Turek in 1941, at which time he also passed the Inspektor exam. His career was on the rise, thanks to the magic number 144673.

\r\n

August L. (b. 1887 in Schwerin) repeats the theme with an interesting twist. He followed his father into the bookbinding trade. He does not mention unemployment in his Lebenslauf, only that he worked as Abteilungsleiter for the Dietsch firm in Schwerin from 1920, joined the NSDAP in 1929. Serving variously as Zellenobmann, Kreisleiter, Sektionsleiter, and Gaubeauftragter, he gained employment with the Niederdeutscher Beobachter in 1933 and then with the Mecklenburg civil service in 1935. This suggests a period of unemployment filled with fulltime Party work. His move to the Warthegau in 1940, to become Amtskommissar in Gruszczyce, coincided with his divorce. Having spent his life in Schwerin, it looks like he wanted a fresh start where the number 170669 meant more than a sinecure.

Franz N. (b. 1903 in Oberschöneweide/Berlin) was a bookkeeper by profession – yet another member of the Angestellter class – who did not go beyond the Obersekunda. His encounter with the Eastern Frontier came through his employment, at the same time as his Nazi involvement. He worked Lower Silesia as a sales representative for a Wittenberg chocolate factory, and then spent several years in East Prussia for a different company. Politically he was a Jungdo man, finding his way to the NSDAP in 1930 while in East Prussia. Although he continued employment with his company even through the war and his service in the Warthegau, his spiritual home was the SA. Because he was too old for the Wehrmacht in 1939, he volunteered for the SA Gruppe Ostmark. He helped organize the Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz in the Warthegau in 1939. His Standartenführer became Bürgermeister of Wreschen in the Posen Regierungspräsidium, and talked him into coming with. Bureaucratic work did not sit well with him, so after a week he asked to be relieved. Instead, he was made Amtskommissar and Ortsgruppenleiter of a village in the Warthegau. Some of his SA friends were also in the Kalisch area, so he was able to focus his energies on building up the SA in Kalisch.

January 12, 2008 in History