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Friedrich Rainer

Friedrich Rainer
Friedrich Rainer was a Nazi Gauleiter and an Austrian Landeshauptmann of Salzburg and Carinthia.

Friedrich Rainer (born 28 July 1903 in Sankt Veit an der Glan; died 19 July 1947 (date unconfirmed) in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia - now in Slovenia) was a Nazi Gauleiter and an Austrian Landeshauptmann of Salzburg and Carinthia. Friedrich Rainer is thus far the only Austrian Landeshauptmann who has ever held this office in two Austrian Bundeslšnder.

Rainer, whose father was a teacher at a Bürgerschule (a now obsolete kind of vocational school) in St. Veit, studied law in Graz and earned money between semesters as a worker and a bank employee. After successfully completing his examination, he worked in a notary's office before he graduated late in 1926. Already while he was studying, Rainer joined the SA, and was a member of some organizations based in St. Veit that already had leanings much like the Nazis.

In October 1930, Rainer joined the NSDAP, and was a co-founder of the St. Veit Ortsgruppe ("local"). A mere four years later, the Gauleiter Hubert Klausner handed his own office over to Rainer. For high treason - the exact circumstances are unknown - Rainer was sentenced to one year in police custody in August 1935, but was released early for good behaviour the following March. In May 1936, Rainer was assigned to the NSDAP's provincial governing body in Carinthia.

At Anschluss on 13 March 1938, Rainer was hired by Gauleiter Josef Bürckel, the Reich Commissioner for Austria's Anschluss into Nazi Germany, as leader of the organizational department on his staff. In May 1938, Rainer was personally appointed by Adolf Hitler to be the Gauleiter of Salzburg, and in the same year a member of the Reichstag.

Once the war broke out, Rainer's appointment as Reich Defence Commissar followed, and on 15 March 1940 came his appointment as Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor) of Salzburg. On 18 November 1941 Rainer was given the NSDAP Gau leadership of Carinthia, and he also took on the function of Landeshauptmann. As in Salzburg, Rainer was also made Reich Defence Commissar here on 11 December 1942. After Italy forsook its German ally on 10 September 1943, Rainer furthermore took over the Operation Zone of the Adriatic Littoral as the Reich Defence Commissar, thereby becoming chief of the civil administration in the Italian provinces of Friuli.

On 7 May 1945 - eight days after Hitler's death - Rainer transferred his official functions to an executive board and fled to the area around the Weissensee (a lake in Carinthia). After being given leads by the local population, the British arrested Rainer and transferred him to Nuremberg, where he was compelled to testify as a witness in the Nuremberg Trials in the proceedings against the 24 main defendants, specifically in the case against Arthur Seyss-Inquart.

In March 1947, Rainer was handed over to Yugoslavia and sentenced by a military court in Ljubljana on 19 July 1947 to death. His widow received a death certificate from Yugoslavia after the war which showed that same date. Nevertheless, as in similar cases, rumours lingered on into the 1950s that Friedrich Rainer was still alive.

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