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Karl Kaufmann

Karl Kaufmann (born October 10, 1900 in Krefeld; died December 4, 1969 in Hamburg) was a Nazi Gauleiter in Hamburg.

A founding member of the NSDAP in 1921, after the re-establishment of the party, he rejoined in 1925 and quickly became one of Hitler's favourites. He was appointed Gauleiter of the Ruhr in 1925-6, then Gauleiter of Hamburg in 1928, a post he was to hold until 1945. After Hitler gained power in 1933, Kaufmann was appointed Reichsstatthalter (Regional Governor) of Hamburg with absolute power over some 1.8 million people. One of his first acts was to turn over control of the city's Fuhlsbüttel Prison to the SA and SS, where it quickly became the nucleus of the notorious "Kola-Fu" concentration camp.

In September 1941, after Allied bombing of Hamburg had rendered many people homeless, Kaufmann petitioned Hitler to allow him to deport local Jews so that he could confiscate their property to rehouse bombed-out citizens. Adolf Hitler quickly responded, allowing Kaufmann the dubious distinction of being the first Nazi leader to deport German Jews, in this instance to the Lódz Ghetto in Poland.

Arrested shortly after the occupation of Hamburg by British forces in 1945, he was subsequently tried for war crimes and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, but released soon after on the grounds of ill health. He was to be arrested twice more before being finally released in 1953.

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