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Odilo Globocnik

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Odilo Globocnik
Odilo Globocnik
21 April 1904(1904-04-21) – 31 May 1945(1945-05-31) (aged 41)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2007-0188, Odilo Globocnik.jpg
Odilo Globocnik Signature.svg
Globocnik in 1938 at the rank of SS-Standartenführer
Nickname Globus
Place of birth Trieste, Austria-Hungary (now Italy)
Place of death Paternion, Austria
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Schutzstaffel
Rank Obergruppenführer[1]
Battles/wars World War II

Odilo Lotario Globocnik[2] (21 April 1904 – 31 May 1945) was a prominent Austrian Nazi and later an SS leader. He was one of the persons most responsible for the murder of millions of people during the Holocaust.[3]

Early life

Odilo Globocnik was born into a family of Slovene descent in the Imperial Free City of Trieste, in what was then the capital of the Austrian Littoral administrative region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Italy). He was the second child of Franz Globocnik from the Upper Carniolan town of Neumarktl (now Tržič in Slovenia) who served as a Habsburg cavalry lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army. His father was unable to accumulate the money to apply to resign from 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 recalled to active duty with the outbreak of World War I.

The same year, Odilo Globocnik joined the army via a military school. The war ended his military education prematurely. Odilo and his family moved to Klagenfurt. Globocnik enrolled in a civilian high school and graduated in July 1923 with honours. He performed jobs such as carrying suitcases at the train station in order to help support the family financially.

Globocnik first appeared in politics in 1922, when he became a prominent member of the pre-Nazi Carinthian paramilitary organizations and was seen wearing a swastika. At this time he was a building tradesman. He was introduced to this when he was engaged to Grete Michner. Her father, Emil Michner, talked to the director of KAEWAG, which was a hydropower plant, and secured Globocnik a job as a technician and construction supervisor.

Nazi career

Enlarge picture
Gauleiter of Vienna, 1938

In August 1933, Globocnik was arrested for the first time. This was also the same year that he became a member of the Austrian 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 Heinrich Himmler’s intervention, after two years of arguments between Globocnik and the authorities.

His first documented 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. One of his tasks for the NSDAP was to construct a courier and intelligence service, which channeled funds from the German Reich into Austria. Globocnik was inducted into the SS on September 1, 1934 with the number 292,776.

In June of 1933, in Vienna, a bomb was thrown at the shop of Jewish jeweler Norbert Futterweit, killing him. This became one of the first murders in Austria attributable to the Nazis, and it is believed that Globocnik was involved in the attack.

His fanatical devotion to the Nazi cause paid off for Globocnik, as he quickly climbed the ladder of the party apparatus in his native Austria. He became a Deputy Gauleiter for the whole of the country in 1933 at the age of 29, and was a key player in the usurpation of the Austrian government by the National Socialists. Globocnik was rewarded for his diligence, being appointed Gauleiter of Vienna on May 24 1938 by Adolf Hitler.

As corrupt as he was fanatical, Gauleiter Globocnik was relieved of his post and stripped of his party honours in 1939 when it was discovered he was involved in illegal foreign currency speculations. Himmler transferred Globocnik to the Waffen SS in the rank of corporal as punishment, where he served with SS Standarte Germania during the Polish campaign.

Himmler liked Globocnik and recognized the value of the ruthless Austrian. In late 1939 Globocnik was pardoned, promoted to SS-Brigadeführer, and assigned to Lublin province.


On November 9, 1939, Himmler appointed Globocnik 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:

  • Liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto, which contained about 500,000 Jews, the largest Jewish community in Europe and the second largest in the world after New York
  • Liquidating the Bialystok Ghetto, which stood out for its strong resistance to German occupation
  • Resettling a large quantity of Poles under the premise of ethnic cleansing.
  • Implementation and supervision of the Lublin reservation, to which 95,000 Jews were deported, with its adjacent network of forced labour camps 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. Before, Belzec was part of Himmler's and Globocnik's Burggraben project. The construction of three more extermination camps, Sobibór and Maidanek in the Lublin district, and Treblinka at Małkinia Górna, followed in 1942. All in all, Globocnik was complicit in the extermination of 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. Since 1942–1943 he also oversaw the beginning of the Generalplan Ost, the plan to expel Poles from their lands and resettle those territories with German settlers (see Zamość Uprising).

Following Italian leader Benito Mussolini's downfall, and, having looted some of the stolen assets from the extermination camps, Globocnik was transferred from the General Government of occupied Poland to the Julian March 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 combating Yugoslav 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.


According to some accounts, Globocnik was tracked down and captured by British troops at the Möslacher Alm, overlooking the Weissensee on May 31 1945, and may have committed suicide the same day in Paternion by biting on his capsule of cyanide. To corroborate this, 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. However, Globocnik actually was arrested in Carinthia at the end of the war by Sgt John Sowler of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars. Sowler was under the command of a Major Ramsey from SIS (MI6), and this group had been tracking and arresting potential war criminals in Austria. Shortly after capture, Globocnik committed suicide by means of a cyanide capsule hidden in his mouth. He was taken to be buried in a local churchyard, but the priest reportedly refused to have 'the body of such a man' resting in consecrated ground. A grave was dug outside the churchyard, next to an outer wall, and the body was laid to rest without ceremony.[4]

Urban legends

Other sources put his death in either early May or June 1945 at the hands of either partisans or a Jewish revenge squad.

A false version of Globocnik's fate has circulated indicating that he was turned over to U.S. intelligence by the British. This is based on an "official US document signed by US CIC S/A Operations Officer Andrew L. Venters, dated 27 October 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).

In popular culture

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 1950s. The historical Globocnik, born in 1904, would have been over one hundred years old at the time in which the novel is set. It is unknown whether the Globocnik described in the novel is related to the real Globocnik.

Globocnik appears also in Jonathan Littell's novel Les Bienveillantes.

See also


  1. ^ Joseph Poprzeczny, Odilo Globocnik, Hitler's Man in the East, ISBN 0786416254
  2. ^ full name as noted by Mark C. Yerger in German Cross in Silver: Holders of the SS and Police
  3. ^ Mazower, Mark (2008) Hitler's Empire, page 382, 384-387, ISBN 978-1-59420-188-2
  4. ^ Poprzeczny, Joseph (2004). "Globocnik's Capture and Death: The Seven Accounts". Hitler's Man in the East – Odilo Globocnik. Jefferson and London: McFarland & Company. pp. 366–382. ISBN 0-7864-1625-4. Retrieved June 24, 2009.

Further reading

  • Rieger, Berndt (2007). Creator of Nazi Death Camps. The Life of Odilo Globocnik. London/Portland OR: Vallentine Mitchell. ISBN 9780853035237.
  • Pucher, Siegfried J. (1997). ... in der Bewegung führend tätig". Odilo Globocnik - Kämpfer für den "Anschluss", Vollstrecker des Holocaust. Klagenfurt/Celovec: Drava Verlag. ISBN 3-85435-278-6.
  • Poprzeczny, Joseph (2004). Hitler's Man in the East – Odilo Globocnik. Jefferson and London: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-1625-4.
  • Hamilton, Charles (1996). Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich Vol.2. San Jose: Bender.
  • Snyder, Louis L. (1989). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: Paragon House.
  • Caldwell Stewart, Emilie (1996). Signatures of the Third Reich. New Jersey.
  • Wistrich, Robert S. (1995). Who's Who in Nazi Germany. London: Routledge.
  • Yerger, Mark C. (2002). German Cross in Silver: Holders of the SS and Police. San Jose: Bender.
  • Josef Wulf: "Das Dritte Reich und seine Vollstrecker", München 1978, ISBN 3-598-04603-0

External links

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