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Gustav Simon

Gustav Simon
Gustav Simon was the Nazi Gauleiter in the Moselland Gau from 1940 until 1944.

Gustav Simon (born 2 August 1900 in Malstatt-Burbach, nowadays part of Saarbrücken; died 21 December 1945 in Luxembourg, or possibly Paderborn) was, as the Nazi Gauleiter in the Moselland Gau from 1940 until 1944 the Chief of the Civil Administration in Luxembourg, which was occupied at that time by Nazi Germany.

Family, schooling and profession

Gustav Simon's father was a railway official. His parents farmed small plots on the Hunsrück. Simon went to a Volksschule in Saarbrücken, and thereafter underwent training as a schoolteacher in Merzig. Although he got his diploma, he did not get a teaching job. He then decided to fake his Abitur, and meanwhile he helped out on the railway and with customs. After his Abitur, he studied economics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main with a view to becoming a teacher in the subject. After completing his studies in 1927, he taught in Völklingen. Before the year was even out, though, he left the school and began as his main occupation working for the National Socialist German Workers' Party - the Nazis.


Already by 1923, Simon was a member of a völkisch College Group (völkischen Hochschulgruppe) in Frankfurt. On 14 August 1925, he joined the Party, thereby becoming one of the "Old Fighters" ("alte Kämpfer") who would later be decorated with the "Golden Party Emblem". Shortly after joining, Simon founded the Hochschulgruppe Frankfurt of the National Socialist German Students' Federation. In 1927, he was chosen by the majority of students to be the National Socialist President of the Students' Board.

Not only was he already active for the Nazis during his time studying, but he furthermore set up more Party locals (Ortsgruppen) in the Hunsrück.

Beginning in 1928, Simon quickly rose in the Party hierarchy. In 1928 he became NSDAP "district leader" (Bezirksleiter) for the Trier-Birkenfeld district, and in 1929 also for the Koblenz-Trier district, as well as a member of the Rhineland Provincial Landtag. In 1930, he became a member of the Reichstag for the electoral district of Koblenz-Trier. On 1 June 1931, Adolf Hitler appointed him Gauleiter of the newly created Gau of Koblenz-Trier. Unlike almost all other Gauleiters, Simon did not belong to the SA or the SS; however, he was an Obergruppenführer in the National Socialist Motor Corps (Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrerkorps or NSKK).

Chief of Civil Administration in Luxembourg

After the German aggression on 10 May 1940, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg first fell under the administration of the German Military Commander of Belgium and Northern France in Brussels, namely General Alexander von Falkenhausen. Under this commander, Gustav Simon took over civil administration of Luxembourg on 25 July 1940. The occupation status ended on 2 August 1940, when Simon was appointed Chief of the Civil Administration by a decree from the Führer. His representative in this function was the district president (Regierungspräsident) of Trier, Heinrich Siekmeier. His job was to give the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - now the "Chief of Civil Administration Zone" of Luxembourg - German administrative structures, and to make it into an integral part of the Greater German Reich.

Simon's death

When the war ended, Simon went into hiding using his mother's maiden name in Upsprunge, a community in Salzkotten, Westphalia, where he posed as a gardener. On 10 December 1945, he was seized by British soldiers and taken to a British Army prison in Paderborn.

About his death there have been since late 1945 - and there still are - many rumours that contradict each other as to where and under what circumstances Simon met his end. The stories, however, can be grouped into two fundamental versions. The official version has it that Simon died in Paderborn, as the registry office there put on the death certificate. Simon is said to have hanged himself shortly before he was to have been handed over to Luxembourg. It does stand out, though, that the registration number 66/1946 was only written in February 1946, some two months after the date of Simon's death.

The second - and to this day unofficial - version has it that Simon died in Luxembourg. After the British Occupation Administration agreed to hand him over, he was to have been taken by car by two Luxembourgers from Paderborn to the Luxembourgish capital (also called Luxembourg) so that he could be brought to book before a court there. Shortly before reaching Luxembourg, at Waldhaff, there was an incident provoked by Simon in which he was killed. Simon's body was nonetheless taken to the prison in Grund, a neighbourhood in the capital, where it was photographed by the press, and then in the end buried. His premature death thwarted any trial. To suppress the whole business, the media, among them the agency DANA (Deutsch-Amerikanische Nachrichtenagentur) and the Tageblatt published by the British Captain Alexander, were furnished with made-up information about the "suicide in Paderborn"

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