Herbert Kraft

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Herbert Kraft

Herbert Karl Oskar Kraft (born May 30, 1886 in Heidelberg , † January 15, 1946 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German politician ( NSDAP ). Kraft became known for his assaults in his time as a member of the Baden state parliament in the final phase of the Weimar Republic .


The son of a secondary school teacher passed his Abitur in 1904 after attending primary and secondary school in Heidelberg. After military service in the 11th Jäger Battalion , he began studying German and Romance languages at the University of Marburg in 1905 . In 1906 he moved to Paris to study, in 1909 to the University of Munich and in 1911 to the University of Heidelberg . After the philological state examination in 1913, Kraft worked as a private teacher in England from February to July 1914. Called up for military service in August 1914, he took part in the First World War until 1918 . Initially with the infantry , from 1917 Kraft belonged as an aerial observer to the newly established squadrons . After the war he was from February to August 1919 as a flyer during Border Patrol East , a fighting in the east of the German Empire Volunteer Corps . In September 1919 he entered the Baden state service and in April 1920 took the position of high school professor at the Pforzheim secondary school . In 1920 Kraft married Auguste Wiebel; the marriage resulted in a child.

Kraft officially joined the NSDAP for the first time in March 1923 ( membership number 23,447). Information on Kraft's early political activity is largely based on a letter from March 1940 to Adolf Hitler , with which Kraft sought to be awarded the blood order. In the letter, Kraft describes himself as "one of the oldest party comrades - if not the oldest - in Baden". At the suggestion of the Free Corps Leader Hermann Ehrhardt , he founded a group called Bund Wiking in Pforzheim in 1922 , which was part of the SA , which at that time was still limited to Bavaria . About three days before the Hitler putsch he had traveled to Munich to warn Hitler and Goering about the Württemberg General Walther Reinhardt , who had been ready to take decisive action against coup attempts in Bavaria. On November 9, 1923, Kraft had returned to Pforzheim and was arrested at midday, according to his own statements, when he was about to organize an armed group to travel to Munich. A case against Kraft for an offense against the Republic Protection Act was dropped for lack of evidence; Kraft received a penalty warrant for having been in possession of a revolver.

Kraft rejoined the NSDAP (membership number 90,659) on June 1, 1928, three years after the re-admission of the party that had been banned after the Hitler coup. He took over the leadership of the Pforzheimer NSDAP local group and appeared as a meeting speaker. In October 1929 Kraft was elected as one of six NSDAP representatives in the Baden state parliament.

Kraft's political activities had consequences under disciplinary law : he was temporarily dismissed in December 1928, later salary cuts followed and in 1929 he was transferred to Mannheim. In July 1930 Kraft was suspended by Adam Remmele , Baden's Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs , as the NSDAP was to be classified as an anti-state party. Kraft's state parliament mandate alone is not a reason to suspend the teacher, but his agitational activity in the sense of the NSDAP, which is incompatible with the loyalty of a civil servant, said Remmele.

Member of the Baden state parliament

As a state parliamentarian, Kraft was a member of three committees from 1929: the shop steward, the rules of procedure and a committee for physical exercise and youth care. From February 1932 he was also a member of the Petitions Committee . Kraft's speeches in the plenum marked "[b] sharp irony, quick-wittedness and eloquent speech duels". Kraft earned his reputation as the “ enfant terrible ” of the Baden state parliament - this is the assessment of center member Anton Hilbert - through his participation in two physical disputes in the plenum. In February 1930, after an interjection from Kraft in which he doubted the truthfulness of the government's statements, there were tumults in the state parliament, which, from the point of view of the observer of the national liberal Baden press , presented themselves as follows:

“The seat neighbors of the National Socialists, the center, pushed lively gesticulating on the Abg. Force one, the Center MP Kühn grabbed the National Socialist by the chest, and the blow to which the MP Amann lashed out was the signal for a general fight. The center member Heurich received a slap in the face from Kraft and acknowledged with interest. "

In February 1932, Kraft slapped the center member Anton Hilbert in the plenary. Hilbert had called Hitler an "Austrian deserter" and accused him of being insane . In total, Kraft received almost a dozen calls to order in the legislative period from 1929 to 1933 and was excluded from state parliament sessions four times, including two for 60 days. Three lawsuits were initiated against Kraft; Contrary to the previous vote of the responsible committee, the state parliament decided to lift Kraft's immunity after the latter had reiterated his statements in the plenary: “If we soldiers at the front had suspected what kind of rabble roamed the German parliaments, then we would not be open any longer French and English shot; we would have turned the guns ”. After the transfer of power to the National Socialists, the NSDAP parliamentary group decided in July 1933, in application of the law on the repeal of the service penalties and other measures suffered in the struggle for the national insurrection, to pay additional expense allowances in the amount of 1350 RM , which he missed due to the exclusion from meetings were.

On May 16, 1933, Kraft was elected President of the Baden state parliament , which has now been harmonized . In his inaugural address he announced

“To raise the intellectual level of the Baden state parliament, which has been terrifyingly low in recent years and was expressed in constant personal attacks and spiteful disparagements and in endless and pointless speeches. I vouch for the fact that such scenes as they have played out here in this roundabout in recent years - caused by the rape of a small minority by an overwhelming majority - will no longer take place in this beautiful hall in the future. "

After a last session in June, the Baden state parliament was dissolved in October 1933. In June 1934, Kraft moved to the Reichstag for the late Josef Wasmer . Kraft belonged to the parliament, which had no function during the time of National Socialism, until the end of the war.

time of the nationalsocialism

In April 1933, as a ministerial advisor, Kraft took over the management of the secondary schools department in the Baden Ministry of Culture and Education. After the demilitarized zone on the border with France, which existed as a result of the Versailles Treaty and which encompassed large parts of Baden, was abolished, Kraft was instrumental in introducing premilitary air sports training at Baden schools in 1935. From 1933 he was a member of the German Air Sports Association (DLV), which is responsible for the corresponding teacher training, as Fliegersturmführer in the Fliegersturm Karlsruhe. In the National Socialist Aviation Corps (NSFK), which emerged from the DLV in 1937, he held the rank of standard leader . In December 1935, Kraft took over the office of Gaufführer for Baden in the Reichsbund for physical exercises . He also headed the Baden Chess Association and organized the 1934 World Chess Championship .

Shortly before the beginning of the Second World War , Kraft was drafted into the Air Force , from which he was released in January 1940 as captain of the reserve . After the German occupation of France , the Baden Gauleiter , Robert Wagner , became head of the civil administration (CdZ) for Alsace ; In July 1940, Kraft was also appointed Ministerialrat in the CdZ department for education, instruction and popular education. On January 1, 1942, Kraft joined the General SS (membership number 422,526). For admission to the SS - for which admission had been banned since the beginning of the war - Kurt Kaul , the leader of the SS Upper Section Southwest , had advocated because strength was "of particular importance for the further development of construction work in Alsace for the SS". From 1940 onwards, as a “representative for repatriation matters”, Kraft apparently invested a great deal of time in the recovery of cultural and archival goods that had been transported from Alsace before the German occupation. The repatriation took place after disputes with the French Vichy government and the German embassy in Paris shortly after the Allied landing in Normandy in June 1944.

After the end of the war, Kraft was interned by the French military authorities. The archbishop of Freiburg, Conrad Gröber , who was controversial because of his stance on National Socialism , campaigned for Kraft's release at the end of 1945. Gröber, who stated that he did not know Kraft personally, certified that he had kept himself free from the "extreme sides" of the NSDAP, rejected them and suffered from them. Kraft did not get away from his office and the party without ruining himself and his family, according to Gröber. Kraft died in detention in early 1946.


Two biographical sketches of Kraft appeared in 1990 and 1997, some of which contain different assessments of his person. The political scientist Hans-Georg Merz came to the conclusion in 1990 that Kraft had continued his previous extra-parliamentary methods and behavior with his entry into the state parliament. Kraft had no knowledge of the constitutional duties of a member of the parliament, and he had used his mandate for reckless agitation and propaganda. For the period after the “seizure of power” in 1933, Merz noted an “only partial change of attitude” at Kraft, from which subordinates such as the later Baden President Leo Wohleb profited. These subordinates owed Kraft a reasonably secure professional existence, even if there was an obvious distance to the National Socialist regime or in conflicts with the party, according to Merz.

For Alexander Mohr, Kraft's bourgeois background and the impression of a capable and correct pedagogue resulting from his students' reports contradict his behavior in the Baden state parliament. Based on the protocols of the state parliament, the image of Kraft emerged more as a “cultivated and educated National Socialist” against whom the democratic parties “defended themselves with remarkable energy”. Kraft's reaction is reminiscent of that of a reserve officer who was injured in his “honor” and for whom “the slap in the face of an offender [...] was the classic opening of a duel ”. Krafts "pleasure in the battle of words was associated with a ruthlessness that effortlessly overcame the limits of good taste". It is a legend for Mohr that, after 1933, Kraft put himself “protectively before capable, but not system-compliant employees”. Kraft's behavior towards Leo Wohleb can be explained by a “peculiar correctness” of Kraft.


  • Joachim Lilla , Martin Döring, Andreas Schulz: extras in uniform. The members of the Reichstag 1933–1945. A biographical manual. Including the ethnic and National Socialist members of the Reichstag from May 1924. Droste, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-5254-4 , pp. 333–334.
  • Hans-Georg Merz: Kraft, Herbert Karl Oskar, Nazi politician in education and teaching, MdL. In: Baden biographies . New series, Volume III, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-17-009958-2 , pp. 157-159 ( online ).
  • Alexander Mohr: "A person who wants to be educated" Herbert Kraft, President of the Baden state parliament. In: Michael Kißener , Joachim Scholtyseck (Ed.): The leaders of the province: Nazi biographies from Baden and Württemberg. (= Karlsruhe contributions to the history of National Socialism. Volume 2) Universitätsverlag, Konstanz 1997, ISBN 3-87940-566-2 , pp. 311–332.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mohr, Mensch , p. 312 ff.
  2. ^ Remmeles' statement to the State Ministry of July 19, 1930, quoted in Mohr, Mensch , p. 317.
  3. This assessment in Mohr, Mensch , p. 318.
  4. Hilbert in the session of the state parliament on February 17, 1932, see Mohr, Mensch , p. 323.
  5. ^ Badische Presse of February 19, 1930, quoted in Mohr, Mensch , p. 322.
  6. Figures in Merz, Kraft , p. 158.
  7. parliament protocol cited by Ernst Otto Bräunche: The development of the Nazi Party in Baden until 1932/33. In: Journal for the history of the Upper Rhine. Volume 125 (NF 86th Volume) 1977, pp. 331-375. Here p. 357.
  8. Landtag protocol of May 16, 1933, quoted in Mohr, Mensch , p. 327.
  9. German chess sheets , issue 02/1934, p 27th
  10. ↑ Kaul's letter to the Reichsführer SS from 1941, quoted in Mohr, Mensch , p. 329.
  11. Mohr, Mensch , p. 330; Merz, Kraft , p. 158 f.
  12. Mohr, Mensch , p. 330; Merz, Kraft , p. 159.
  13. Merz, Kraft , p. 158f.
  14. a b Mohr, Mensch , p. 318.
  15. a b Mohr, Mensch , p. 319.
  16. a b Mohr, Mensch , p. 328.