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Martin Franz Julius Luther (1895-1945) was an early member of the National-Socialist Party. He served as an advisor to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, first in the Dienststelle Ribbentrop ("Ribbentrop Bureau"), and later in the Auswärtiges Amt ("Foreign Ministry") when von Ribbentrop replaced Konstantin von Neurath. He is perhaps most remembered for having participated in the infamous Wannsee Conference, in which the Final Solution was planned.
Luther ran a furniture removal and interior decorating business. He was hired by Ribbentrop to move his furniture from Berlin when he was sent to London as Ambassador in 1936. Following this, Luther was employed by Ribbentrop and his wife to do the interior decorating on the new German Embassy that Ribbentrop had built in London. Luther was a master schemer and plotter, and these qualities led Ribbentrop to offer him a position in his own foreign policy organization, the Ribbentrop Bureau. Luther accepted, and henceforward became one of Ribbentrop's favorite hatchet men.
In May 1940, he was appointed to the position of Foreign Ministry liaison to the SS. He represented the Foreign Ministry at the Wannsee Conference, which was convened by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich in order to work out the details of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". At this conference, he voiced concern about the large-scale "resettlement" required throughout occupied Europe, which seemed to indicate that he did not fully understand what was being planned.
After January 1942, Luther's principal task was to persuade or pressure German satellites and allies to hand over their Jewish populations for deportation to the death camps, a job which he performed with considerable aplomb. Bizarrely enough, during this period Luther continued to work as an interior decorator for Frau Ribbentrop, helping her with the design of her various houses, as well as her clothes. Luther resented having to work for Ribbentrop's wife, stating that she treated like him one of her household servants. This was the origin of the break between Luther and the Ribbentrops.
Late in the war, with the aid of Franz Rademacher, he tried to supplant von Ribbentrop as Foreign Minister, but was thwarted and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He was freed by Soviet troops in May 1945, but died shortly after.
A year after his death, Luther's copy of the Wannsee Conference minutes was found by American investigators in the archives of the German Foreign Ministry. According to the film Conspiracy, it is the only record of the conference that survived the war.
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