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Fritz Reinhardt (born 3 April 1895 in Ilmenau; died 17 June 1969 in Regensburg) was a state secretary in the German Finance Ministry in the time of the Third Reich.
On the outbreak of the First World War, Reinhardt was staying in Riga - Latvia then being a part of Tsarist Russia - and he ended up spending the war in an internment camp in Siberia as an enemy alien. In 1919, he was the headmaster at the Thuringian Commercial School (Thüringensche Handelsschule) and in 1924 founded the first German Long-Distance Commerce School. He was furthermore an administrator at the Thuringian State Finance Office.
In October 1926 (or in other sources 1924), he joined the Nazi Party and quickly built up a career with them with his talent for speaking and his knowledge of economic and taxation systems. In the same year, he became the Local Group Leader (Ortsgruppenleiter) in Herrsching, in 1927 the District Leader (Bezirksleiter) in Upper Bavaria-South, and in 1928 (and until 1930) the Upper Bavaria Gauleiter. From 1928 until 1933, Reinhardt was the leader of the Nazi Party's Speaking School. During this time, 6000 Party members received propagandistic schooling.
In 1930, Reinhardt became a member of the Reichstag and took on the leading rôle in the NSDAP in financial issues. In 1933, he became an SA Gruppenführer and a member of Adolf Hitler's Deputy Rudolf Hess's staff.
On 6 April 1933, after Hitler's intervention, Reinhardt became State Secretary in the Reich Ministry of Finance under Johann Ludwig Graf Schwerin von Krosigk thereby succeeding Arthur Zarden, an adherent of the Jewish faith. In 1937 came Reinhardt's appointment as an SA Obergruppenführer.
Reinhardt could count on the Nazi Party's and Hitler's backing, which was why he held such a strong position from the outset. Reinhardt made the decisions as to taxation. Under him were the Tax and Customs School - set up by him in 1935 - and the Zollgrenzschutz ("Tariff Border Guards").
It was one of the engines in the programmes aimed at reducing joblessness, which were also known as the Reinhardt Programme.
Section 1 (§1) of the Taxation Adaptation Law (Steueranpassungsgesetz) of October 1934 traces itself back to Reinhardt. This law prescribed laying taxation laws out with regard to the Nazi Weltanschauung. Thus a cumbersome change of the individual regulations was redundant and at one blow the Nazi ideology was implemented. Even in the time that followed, a whole series of regulations and decisions against Jews bore Reinhardt's signature, for instance, 1942's statement on stolen gold from dispossessed and murdered Jews.
He was publisher of the Deutsche Steuerzeitung ("German Tax Newspaper"), which, along with all his other publications he made required reading for all finance officials.
It is debatable whether Reinhardt gave his name to Operation Reinhard.
As of 1945, Reinhardt was sitting in Allied custody, and on 17 June 1949 he was classified as a Hauptschuldiger (literally "main culprit") at a Denazification proceeding, and also sentenced to four years in labour prison. In an appeal proceeding late in 1949, the sentence was upheld, but the penalty reduced to three years. By late 1950 the sentence was definitively confirmed. Reinhardt's time in custody was to be counted towards his penalty, which led to his immediate release.
In the court proceedings, Reinhardt saw himself in the rôle of a financial expert who felt bound only by Reich finances, watered down penalties inflicted on Jews, and otherwise had to bend other ministries' decisions.
After the war
Reinhardt worked as a tax adviser, but otherwise was not to be seen in public life. His son Dr. Klaus Reinhardt became a general in the Bundeswehr.
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