Otto-Heinrich Drechsler (1 April 1895 – 5 May 1945) was the General Commissioner of Latvia for the Nazi Germany's occupation regime (Reichskommissariat Ostland) during World War II. In this capacity, he played a role in setting up the Riga ghetto and was implicated in the extermination of the Latvian Jews. He committed suicide on 5 May 1945, after being captured by the British forces.
Dr Otto-Heinrich Drechsler
Dreschler in 1937, then mayor of Lübeck.
|Born||1 April 1895|
|Died||5 May 1945 (aged 50)|
|Occupation||Dentist, politician, Holocaust perpetrator|
Drechsler became an officer cadet (Fahnenjunker) in the Lübeck infantry regiment of the German Army in 1914. He was severely wounded and lost a leg. He was mustered out of the Reichswehr in 1920. During the Weimar Republic Drechsler began the study of dentistry, and obtained the degree of Doctor of Dental Arts. In this time, he became a member of the Nordic Union.
From 1 August 1932 to 31 May 1933, Drechsler was acting Gauleiter (a high rank in the Nazi party) for the party district ("Gau") encompassing Mecklenburg and Lübeck. On 26 May 1933, Lübeck together with both Mecklenburgs was placed under the authority of a National Governor (Reichsstathalter) named Friedrich Hildebrandt. He assumed office in Lübeck on 8 June 1933 and promoted his fellow veteran Drechsler as mayor (Bürgermeister) and Friedrich Völtzer as Senator for Finance and Economy. Additional senators included the Nazis Emil Bannemann (Labor and Welfare), Walther Schröder (Interior), Ulrich Burgstaller (Education and Theater) and Hans Böhmcker (Justice).
Between 1933 and 1937, Drechsler was mayor of Lübeck and President of the Senate of Lübeck as in the Prussian state council. Starting 1 April 1937 he was the first "Senior Mayor of the Prussian Hansa City Lübeck Metropolitan Area ("Oberbürgermeister des preußischen Stadtkreises Hansestadt Lübeck"), and simultaneously from 17 July 1941 through 1944, as Commissioner General (Generalkommissar) for the Nazi occupation authority Reichskommissariat Ostland, he was responsible for the concentration camps in Latvia.
As territorial commissioner for Latvia, Dreschler took up quarters in Riga at the beginning of August 1941. At that point in time the military administration had not yet handed over authority to the civil administration. A leading co-worker in the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Reichsministerium für die besetzen Ostegebiete or RMfdbO), Otto Bräutigam, noted in his diary of having had a conflict with the military authorities. These disputes, particularly those involving Drechsler's administrative superior, Hinrich Lohse, were never fully resolved. Based on a settlement with RMfdbO, formal assignment of authority over the administration of Latvian territory, including Riga, was effected on 1 September 1941. One historian, Lumans, states that like Lohse, Drechsler was sympathetic to a limited autonomy for Latvians, but unlike Lohse, he worked well with the SS, except for Friedrich Jeckeln, the organizer of massacres of Jews at Babi Yar, Rumbula and others. In addition to his other positions, Drechsler was a member of the board of overseers of an industrial firm called Hochofenwerkes Lübeck AG.
Throughout the time that Drechsler was in Latvia, large numbers of massacres, particularly of Jews, were carried out by the Germans, together with substantial assistance from Latvian collaborators. In addition, the Jews of Latvia were confined to ghettos, which facilitated their enslavement and murder. As early as July 1941, Drechsler was informed, by his subordinate Gebietskommissar Alnor, of the massacres of the Jews in Ventspils. By October 1941, Heinrich Himmler developed a plan (later abandoned) for establishing, near Riga, an extermination camp similar to those later developed for Operation Reinhard, the secretive Nazi plan to mass-murder most Polish Jews and Gypsies in the occupied Poland. Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia (the so-called "Reich Jews") were to be deported to this camp and then murdered. In late October, Himmler informed Lohse and Drechsler of this plan. Also in October 1941, Drechsler received another report from Alnor, this one concerning the ongoing massacres of the Jews in Liepāja. In autumn 1941 Drechsler was closely involved in setting up the Riga ghetto as a confinement zone for Jews. Historian Ezergailis states that Drechsler may have been present at the largest massacre, at Rumbula, on 30 November 1941. The great majority of the victims at Rumbula were from the Riga ghetto.
Drechsler was captured by the British Army after the occupation of Lübeck. Shortly thereafter, on 5 May 1945, he committed suicide.
Albert Sauer (17 August 1898, Misdroy – 3 May 1945, Falkensee) was a German commandant of Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.Arajs Kommando
The Arajs Kommando (also: Sonderkommando Arajs), led by SS commander and Nazi collaborator Viktors Arājs, was a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police (German: Lettische Hilfspolizei) subordinated to the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD). It was a notorious killing unit during the Holocaust.Drechsler
Drechsler is a German surname, literally meaning "lathe operator" and may refer to:
Charles Drechsler (1892–1986), American mycologist
Dave Drechsler (born 1960), former guard in the National Football League
Debbie Drechsler (born 1953), American illustrator and comic book creator
Hanno Drechsler (1931–2003), German political scientist
Heike Drechsler (born 1964), German track and field athlete
Otto-Heinrich Drechsler (1895–1945), German dentist, mayor of Lübeck, General Commissioner of Latvia for the Nazi occupation regime
Paul Drechsler, British businessman.
Werner Drechsler (1923–1944), German U-boat crewman
Wolfgang Drechsler (born 1963), member of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of GermanyEduard Strauch
Eduard Strauch (17 August 1906 – 15 September 1955) was an SS-Obersturmbannführer, commander of Einsatzkommando 2, commander of two Nazi organizations, the Security Police (German: Sicherheitspolizei), or Sipo, and the Security Service (German: Sicherheitsdienst, or SD), first in Belarus – then called White Russia or White Ruthenia – and later in Belgium. In October 1944, he was transferred to the military branch of the SS (Waffen-SS).Else Hirsch
Else Hirsch (29 July 1889 – 1942 or 1943) was a Jewish teacher in Bochum, Germany, and a member of the German Resistance against the Third Reich. She organized transports of Jewish children to the Netherlands and England, saving them from Nazi deportation to concentration camps and death. Hirsch perished in the Riga Ghetto, at the age of 53 or 54.Friedrich Panzinger
Friedrich Panzinger (1 February 1903 – 8 August 1959) was a German SS officer during the Nazi era. He served as the head of the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt; RSHA) Amt IV A, from September 1943 to May 1944 and the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe A in the Baltic States and Belarus. From 15 August 1944 forward, he was chief of RSHA Amt V, the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo; Criminal Police), also known as the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt (RKPA). After the war he was a member of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND; Federal Intelligence Service). He committed suicide after being arrested for war crimes.Fritz Dietrich (Nazi)
Fritz Dietrich (August 6, 1898 – October 22, 1948) was a German SS officer and member of the Nazi Party. He held a doctoral degree in chemistry and physics. His name is also seen as Emil Diedrich. He was hanged for war crimes.Hinrich Lohse
Hinrich Lohse (2 September 1896 – 25 February 1964) was a Nazi German politician and a convicted war criminal, best known for his rule of the Baltic states during World War II.Jelgava massacres
The Jelgava massacres were the killing of the Jewish population of the city of Jelgava, Latvia that occurred in the second half of July or in early August 1941. The murders were carried out by German police units under the command of Alfred Becu, with a significant contribution by Latvian auxiliary police organized by Mārtiņš Vagulāns.Jānis Lipke
Jānis Lipke (also Žanis Lipke; 1 February 1900, Jelgava – 14 May 1987, Riga) was a Latvian rescuer of Jews in Riga during World War II.
Lipke, a dock worker in the port of Riga, was determined to help save Latvian Jews from capture by the Nazis after witnessing actions against them in the streets. He retrained in order to become a contractor for the Luftwaffe, and then used his position to smuggle Jewish workers out of the Riga ghetto and camps in and around Riga, whom he concealed with the aid of his wife Johanna until the arrival of the Red Army in October 1944. The Lipkes and their various helpers saved forty people in this way, one fifth of the approximately 200 Jews who survived the war in Latvia.
When he died in 1987, the Jews of Riga arranged his funeral, and he is honoured as one of the Righteous among the Nations.Kaiserwald concentration camp
Kaiserwald (Ķeizarmežs) was a Nazi German concentration camp near the Riga suburb of Mežaparks in Latvia.
Kaiserwald was built in March 1943, during the period that the German army occupied Latvia. The first inmates of the camp were several hundred convicts from Germany.
Following the liquidation of the Riga, Liepāja and Daugavpils (Dvinsk) ghettos in June 1943, the remainder of the Jews of Latvia, along with most of the survivors of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, were deported to Kaiserwald.
In early 1944, a number of smaller camps around Riga were brought under the jurisdiction of the Kaiserwald camp.
Following the occupation of Hungary by the Germans, Hungarian Jews were sent to Kaiserwald, as were a number of Jews from Łódź, in Poland. By March 1944, there were 11,878 inmates in the camp and its subsidiaries, 6,182 males and 5,696 females, of whom only 95 were gentiles.Karl Jäger
Karl Jäger (20 September 1888 – 22 June 1959) was a Swiss-born German mid-ranking official in the SS of Nazi Germany and Einsatzkommando leader who perpetrated acts of genocide during the Holocaust.Konrāds Kalējs
Konrāds Kalējs (26 June 1913 – 8 November 2001) was a Latvian soldier who was a Nazi collaborator and an alleged war criminal during World War II. He gained notoriety for evading calls for his prosecution across four countries, more than once under the threat of deportation.Kurt Lottner
Kurt Lottner (30 October 1899 – 15 March 1957) was a German general during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.
Lottner was Kampfkommandant of Lübeck in April/May 1945. On 2 May, British troops prepared to conquer Lübeck. Lottner, NSDAP-Kreisleiter Bernhard Clausen, mayor Otto-Heinrich Drechsler, Police chief Walther Schröder and officers in place agreed that a fight against the advancing 11th Armoured Division was senseless. They gave orders to remove the explosive charges already put in place at bridges and harbour facilities.Lübz
Lübz is a town in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. It is situated on the river Elde, 12 km northeast of Parchim. It is home to the Mecklenburgische Brauerei Lübz, the largest local employer and one of the larger regional breweries.Rollkommando Hamann
Rollkommando Hamann (Lithuanian: skrajojantis būrys) was a small mobile unit that committed mass murders of Lithuanian Jews in the countryside in July–October 1941, with a death toll of at least 60,000 Jews. The unit was also responsible for a large number of murders in Latvia from July through August, 1941. At the end of 1941 the destruction of Lithuanian Jewry was effectively accomplished by the Rollkommando in the countryside, by the Ypatingasis būrys in the Ponary massacre, and by the Tautinio Darbo Apsaugos Batalionas in the Ninth Fort in Kaunas. In about six months an estimated 80% of all Lithuanian Jews were killed. The remaining few were spared for use as a labor force and concentrated in urban ghettos, mainly the Vilna and Kaunas Ghettos.Rudolf Batz
Rudolf Batz (10 November 1903 – 8 February 1961) was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era. From 1 July to 4 November 1941 he was the leader of Einsatzkommando 2 and as such was responsible for the mass murder of Jews and others in the Baltic states.Rudolf Joachim Seck
Rudolf Joachim Seck (15 July 1908 – 1974) was an SS-Oberscharführer (staff sergeant) during World War II during the course of which he committed a large numbers of crimes against humanity, for which he was later sentenced to serve life in prison by a West German court.Šķēde
Šķēde is a suburban settlement near Liepāja, Latvia, in Medze parish. It is located on the north border of the city. Šķēde was the biggest dacha cooperative in Latvia in the time of the Latvian SSR. One of Šķēde's notable features is its street names, which are known as "lines" and numbered from 1 to 18. Typical Šķēde addresses may thus appear as: Šķēde 1-15-2. Until 2005, the main Liepāja landfill was located near Šķēde.
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|Ghettos and camps|
|War crimes investigations and trials|
|Righteous Among the Nations|