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|Joseph Bürckel in circa 1938.|
|Gauleiter of Westmark|
|Succeeded by||Willi Stöhr|
|Gauleiter of Vienna|
|Preceded by||Odilo Globocnik|
|Succeeded by||Baldur von Schirach|
|Member of the German Reichstag|
30 March 1895|
|Died||28 September 1944
Neustadt an der Weinstraße
|Political party||Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei|
Joseph Bürckel (30 March 1895, Lingenfeld, Germersheim—28 September 1944, Neustadt an der Weinstraße) was a German politician and a member of the German parliament (the Reichstag). He was an early member of the NSDAP party and was influential in the rise of the National Socialist movement.
He took part in the First World War as a volunteer. After the war, he continued his training as a teacher and graduated in 1920. From 1921 onwards, he was engaged in nationalist groups, fighting separatism in the Palatinate.
On 13 March 1938 Bürckel was appointed acting head of the Party to carry out the referendum on the Anschluss (Austria's absortion into Germany). From 23 April 1938 to 31 March 1940 he worked as Reichskommissar for the union of Austria with the German Reich, in charge of fully integrating it as the Ostmark politically, economically and culturally into the latter. He declared: "This is a revolution. The Jews may be glad that it is not of the French or Russian pattern." Saying Vienna was "overfilled with Jews" he stated his aim to leave them with no more than five percent of their property.
Bürckel served as Gauleiter of Vienna and Reichsstatthalter (governor) of the region from 30 January 1939 to 7 August 1940, working diligently to further unification with Germany, including promoting anti-Jewish decrees and seizing Jewish property. His extravagant lifestyle, financed through confiscated Jewish money and property, earned him the displeasure of the Nazi hierarchy and he was eventually removed from his post in Vienna. Upon his return to the Westmark, he continued his previous lifestyle and spent large sums on purchasing artworks.
Following his role as Gauleiter, Bürckel headed up the civil administration in Lothringen and from 1941 was governor of the Gau Westmark, composed of the Bavarian Palatinate district and the Prussian Saar territory. From 9 November 1937 he also held a leading position (Gruppenführer) in the Schutzstaffel and the staff of the Reichsführer-SS, Heinrich Himmler.
Burckel died at approximately 1104 hours in Neustadt-an-der-Weinstrasse. A report from Burckel's personal physician (since 1936), Gaugesundheitsfuhrer Professor Dr. Medicine Ewig, dated 28 September 1944, stated that Burckel was physically and mentally worn out, spending all of his time at work because of the deteriorating situation in his Gau. He suffered an inflammation of the intestine with diarrhea, eventually becoming too ill to continue. Professor Dr. Ewig was called in on 26 September 1944. Burckel soon contacted pneumonia and blood failure. Dr. Josef Rowies stated on 23 October 1944 that the report of his death sent to the SS-Personalhauptamt by Himmler's personal staff office on 9 October 1944 had been "doctored" to conceal his mental breakdown. The consensus was that he gave up the will to live, dying at 1104 hours on 28 September 1944 basically of the symptoms shown in the death certificate plus exhaustion. On 8 September 1944, in a letter to Martin Bormann (with whom Burckel didn't get along), Burckel opined that the lack of combat-ready troops to occupy the defensive line of the Moselle from the boundary of Gau Westmark via the arsenal of Metz-Diedenhofen-south of St. Avoid (part of the Maginot Line) to Saaralben made construction of such defensive positions useless. Bormann responded by dispatching Willi Stohr (who was to succeed Burckel after his death on 28 September 1944) to oversee the construction work.
Five days after Bürckel's death, Hitler awarded him the German Order, the highest decoration that the Party could bestow on an individual, for his services to the Reich.
- Reichsgau Wien (German) at Verwaltungsgeschichte.de
- Josef Bürckel - Gauleiter der Westmark (German) Josef Bürckel biography
- Josef Bürckel - Gauleiter der Westmark (German) Josef Bürckel biography, accessed: 10 February 2009
- MacDonogh, G. 1938: Hitler's Gamble. New York: Basic Books, 2009. p 137.
- MacDonogh 2009, p. 137.
- Google book review: Art As Politics in the Third Reich author: Jonathan Petropoulos, publisher: UNC Press, page: 239-240, accessed: 10 February 2009
5. Gauleiter: Regional Leaders Of The Nazi Party And Their Deputies, 1925-1945 (Herbert Albrecht-H. Wilhelm Huttmann)-Volume 1 by Michael D. Miller and Andreas Schulz R. James Bender Publishing, 2012.