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Odilo Globocnik prominent Austrian Nazi

Odilo Globocnik (April 21, 1904 - May 31, 1945) was a prominent Austrian Nazi and later an SS leader.

Early Life of Odilo Globocnik

Odilo Globocnik was born into an Austrian family of Slovenian descent in Trieste. He could claim partial German ancestry due to the fact that both his grandmothers had German names. He was the second child of Franz Globocnik, who was a Habsburg cavalry lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army. His father was unable to accumulate the money to apply for ‘bail’ out of the army, so was instead given a job in the reserves as a postman. In 1914, the family left Trieste for Cseklész where Franz Globocnik was pulled back into the army one year later. In the same year, Odilo joined the army in the form of a military school. He was described as a talented, industrious young man who showed great promise. However, the war ended his military education prematurely, so he and his family moved to Klagenfurt where they lived in a tiny, uncomfortable house. Odilo enrolled in a civilian high school there and graduated in July 1923 with honours. He also performed jobs such as carrying suitcases at the train station in order to help support the family financially.

Globocnik first appeared on the political front in 1922, when he became a prominent member of the pre-Nazi Carinthian paramilitary organizations and was seen to be wearing a swastika. His vocation at this time until 1932 was as a building tradesman. He was introduced to this career after he got engaged to Grete Micher. Her father, Emil Micher, talked to the director of KAEWAG, which was a hydropower plant, and secured Globocnik a job as a technician and construction supervisor.

Nazi Career of Odilo Globocnik

In August 1933, Odilo was arrested for the first time. This was also the same year that he became a member of the SS He was arrested because of his public support for the NSDAP, as he had become a member of the Nazi party three years earlier, in 1930. Although he was arrested four times between 1933 and 1935, he spent little over a year in jail. This was due to Himmler’s intervention, after two years of arguments between Globocnik and the authorities.

His first provable activity for the NSDAP occurred in 1931, when his name appeared in documents relating to the spreading of propaganda for the National Socialist party. By this point he had more or less abandoned his career as a building tradesman, and attached himself very closely to the NSDAP. This paid off for Globocnik, as he quickly climbed the ladder of the party. He became a Deputy Gauleiter for the whole of Austria in 1933 at the age of 29. He was a key player in the usurp of the Austrian government by the National Socialists, using underground tactics such as having the bishop of Klagenfurt distribute resources such as explosives to national socialists. He was rewarded for this activity, being made the Gauleiter of Vienna on May 24, 1938 by Adolf Hitler.

One of his tasks for the NSDAP was to construct a courier and intelligence service, which channelled funds from the German Reich into Austria. During this time, Odilo was also in contact with the SS, and was inducted on September 1, 1934 with the number 292,776.

But soon his decline commenced. One reason was that Globocnik was using an astonishing number of dirty tricks, particularly in financial matters. Another was that he was an absolutely uncompromising person who was extremely successful in finding new opponents and enemies in the party ranks, mainly in the Catholic wing of the NSDAP. Most importantly, however, Hermann Göring (Germany's economic dictator) endeavored to have Globocnik removed from his high party office. On January 30, 1939, Globocnik was suspended as a Gauleiter. Hitler proclaimed Josef Bürckel as his successor. Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler proceeded to pardon Globocnik.

Globocnik soon volunteered for the Waffen-SS and served as a non-commissioned officer with the SS-Verfügungstruppe SS-Standarte Germania from March until November 1939, serving with distinction in the German invasion of Poland.

The Holocaust

Himmler had not forgotten one of his most obedient servants: surprisingly enough, on November 9, 1939, Globocnik was appointed SS and Police Leader in the Lublin district of the General Government. After a disappointing party career, Globocnik now had a second chance in the ranks of the SS and the police. The following years proved what he was capable of.

Globocnik was responsible for:

  • 1) Liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto, which contained about 500,000 Jews, the largest Jewish community in Europe and the second largest in the world to New York
  • 2) Liquidating the Bialystok Ghetto, which stood out for its strong resistance to German occupation
  • 3) Resettling a large quantity of Poles under the premise of ethnic cleansing.
  • 4) The network of Arbeitslager labour camps, both small and large in the Lublin district. He was also in charge of over 45,000 Jewish labourers.

On October 13, 1941, Globocnik received a verbal order from Himmler to start immediate construction work on Belzec, the first extermination camp in the General Government. The construction of three more extermination camps, Sobibór and Maidanek in the Lublin district, and Treblinka at Malkinia Górna, followed in 1942. All in all, Globocnik was responsible for killing more than 1.5 million Polish, Czech, Dutch, French, Russian, Slovak, German, and Austrian Jews and non-Jews in the death camps which he organized and supervised. He exploited Jews and non-Jews as slave labourers in his own forced labour camps, and was responsible for seizing the properties and valuables of murdered inmates while in charge of Operation Reinhard.

After Mussolini's downfall, and because he looted some of the stolen assets from the extermination camps, Globocnik was transferred from the Polish General Government to Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the German-occupied portion of Italy in September 1943 and was stationed in his hometown of Trieste. He was appointed Higher SS and Police Leader of the Operation Zone of the Adriatic Littoral.

His main task there was combatting partisans, but again, he played a leading role in the persecution of Italian Jews. With the advance of Allied troops, Globocnik retreated into Austrian Carinthia and finally went into hiding high in the mountains in an alpine hut near Weissensee, still in company of his closest staff members.

Death of Globocnik

According to some accounts, he was tracked down and captured by British troops at the Möslacher Alm, overlooking the Weissensee Lake on May 31, 1945, and may have committed suicide the same day in Paternion by biting on his capsule of cyanide. To corroborate this version, there are at least two contemporary photographs showing Globocnik's body shortly after his death. Furthermore, there are several reliable reports, including the Regimental Diary and Field Reports of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, detailing the circumstances of his capture and suicide. Other sources put his death in either early May or June of 1945 at the hands of either partisans or a Jewish revenge squad.

There is a false story circulating that Globocnik did not die at all, but was turned over to U.S. intelligence by the British. This is based on a supposedly "official US document signed by US CIC S/A Operations Officer Andrew L. Venters, dated October 27, 1948, more than three years AFTER his supposed death". However this document was exposed as a forgery in the 1980s by the investigative writer and historian, Gitta Sereny; she gives all details in a long article in the Observer newspaper ("Spin Time For Hitler", London, April 21, 1996).

Trivia about Globocnik

Globocnik features as a major character in the alternate history Fatherland by Robert Harris. In the novel, which revolves around the notion that Germany had been victorious in World War II, Globocnik (commonly referred to by his nickname "Globus") has risen to become a feared leader within the Gestapo. Globocnik is the main villain in the story.

There is also a minor character in Harry Turtledove's novel In the Presence of Mine Enemies with the name Odilo Globocnik. However, the chronology of the story, set around the year 2010 in an alternate history of Nazi Germany, shows that this character cannot be the same person as the real-world Globocnik. Turtledove's character is described as being in his fifties, and thus would have been born sometime in the 1950's. The historical Globocnik, born in 1904, would have been over one hundred years old at the time in which the novel is set.

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