Seyss-Inquart, Artur von, 1892-1946

Seyss-Inquart was an Austrian Nazi who prepared the way for the Anschluss and later became Reich Commissioner of the Netherlands from 1940 until 1945. Acting as secret Austrian representative for the Nazis while the party was still illegal, Seyss-Inquart finally came to the fore in 1938 when HITLER demanded on threat of invasion the legalization of the Nazi Party and the appointment of Seyss- Inquart as Minister of Interior with control over the police. This was accomplished in February 1938 and Seyss-Inquart began taking his orders directly from Berlin, acting independently of the Austrian Chancellor. On 11 March 1938 with German troops at the Austrian border, he was appointed Chancellor and organized the Nazi take-over of power.

In October 1939 Seyss-Inquart was made Deputy Governor-General of the Polish General Government which comprised territories not officially annexed by Germany or Russia. In May 1940 he became Reich Commissioner of the Netherlands with total control of the entire Dutch administration which he subordinated completely to the demands of the German war effort. Directly responsible to Hitler and without interference from even the Dutch Nazis whom he excluded from government, in March 1941 he was given power of summary justice in any case of suspected resistance or dissension. He issued heavy collective fines and reprisals, confiscated the property of Jews and all enemies of the Reich. He deported 117,000 Jews, forced five million Dutch to work for the Germans and in 1943 seized textiles and consumer goods for Germany. In May 1945 Seyss-Inquart was arrested by the Canadians and executed for war crimes after a trial.

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