Kurt Schmitt

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Kurt Schmitt (1940)

Kurt Paul Schmitt (born October 7, 1886 in Heidelberg , Grand Duchy of Baden , German Empire ; † November 2, 1950 in Heidelberg, Württemberg-Baden , Federal Republic of Germany ) was a German business leader who supported the NSDAP before 1933 and was the second Reich Minister of Economics in the Hitler's cabinet .


The lawyer Kurt Schmitt did his doctorate in Munich in 1911 on the current information file, in particular the information contract, and in 1913 joined the Allianz AG insurance company . From 1914 to 1917 he took part in the First World War and was dismissed as captain of the reserve. In 1917 he became a member of the Board of Management of Allianz AG, and from 1921 to 1933 he headed the group as CEO. During these years he made a name for himself as one of the most talented leaders in terms of organization in the insurance industry in the Weimar Republic .

The top management of Allianz AG, represented by directors Kurt Schmitt and Eduard Hilgard , led a policy of rapprochement with the Nazis even before the seizure of power brought about. Contact with Hermann Göring was established as early as October 1930 . These contacts were established through attending business lunches and through settling private financial debt. Heinrich Brüning and Franz von Papen tried unsuccessfully to win Schmitt for a ministerial office.

Schmitt, who was also general director of the Stuttgarter Verein-Versicherungs AG as early as 1931, was included in Hjalmar Schacht's objectives in mid-1931 . He belonged to a group of industrialists who met with Hitler in the Hotel Kaiserhof in mid-1931 and offered him financial support. Schmitt had close ties to the Nazi leadership and took part in the secret meeting of February 20, 1933 with Adolf Hitler , where he made an election campaign donation of 10,000 Reichsmarks to the NSDAP . According to the memories of a close confidante of Schmitt, the son of Martin Niemöller , Heinz Hermann Niemöller, Schmitt donated between 1 and 5 million Reichsmarks to the NSDAP before the transfer of power. In the spring of 1933 Schmitt joined the NSDAP ( membership no . 2,651,252). He also accepted the post of Vice President of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1933.

In the meantime Schmitt was convinced that the National Socialists could overcome the problem of unemployment if the economy were run by people like him. In addition, he thought Hitler was a great statesman and believed that he would develop politically less radically in the course of time. He also had a latent anti-Semitic attitude, which Gerald D. Feldman describes as follows: “Schmitt shared the notion that Jews were overrepresented in the academic world and that the role they played in politics, law and the arts was significant limited, if not completely canceled. But he believed that they deserved a place in German economic life and made it one of the maxims of his year in office as Reich Economics Minister that there was no 'Jewish question in the economy'. "

On June 30, 1933, Schmitt was appointed Reich Minister of Economics as successor to Alfred Hugenberg and accepted honorary membership of the SS (SS No. 101,346). In August 1933 he took over the function of the Prussian representative in the Reich government. In September 1933, with the number 21, he was one of the first hundred members of Hans Frank's National Socialist Academy for German Law . In October 1933 he was appointed to the Prussian State Council. After the seizure of power u. a. Kurt Daluege , Roland Freisler , Hermann Göring , Reinhard Heydrich , Erich Koch , Hans Heinrich Lammers and Carl Schmitt were appointed Prussian State Councilors.

On March 13, 1934, he announced the new order of business economy. Philipp Kessler became the leader of the overall organization of the commercial economy as leader of the Reich Association of the Electrical Industry . When Schmitt wanted to replace the Reichsverband der Deutschen Industrie (RDI) with a state-wide control of the economy, he encountered concentrated resistance from the top of the group. Schacht also made efforts to push Schmitt out of the ministerial office in order to take it over himself. During a speech on June 26, 1934 in front of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce , Schmitt passed out. He took this opportunity to take a longer convalescence leave, and on January 31, 1935, Hitler approved his dismissal as minister. On July 30, 1934, Schacht succeeded him as Reich Economics Minister.

After his vacation, Schmitt took over the chairmanship of the supervisory boards of AEG AG and the Deutsche Continental Gasgesellschaft in Dessau in 1935 . From 1937 to 1945 he was chairman of the board of the Munich Reinsurance Company . At Allianz AG he was a member of the supervisory board until 1945. As a member of the Friends of the Reichsführer SS , Heinrich Himmler promoted him to SS Brigade Leader on September 15, 1935. Since Schmitt was also chairman of the supervisory board of AEG AG, Himmler donated between 12,000 and 15,000 Reichsmarks annually, and the Munich Reinsurance Company and the Continental Gas Company between 6000 and 8,000 Reichsmarks.

From 1945 to 1949 Schmitt had to undergo a denazification process by the US Army . He lost all offices and was banned from working . In 1946 he was classified as the "main culprit". This classification was checked in several court proceedings and repealed in 1949. Now he was only referred to as a “fellow traveler”, but had to pay a fine and the court costs.

Schmitt had been a member of the Corps Franconia Munich since 1906 .



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gerald D. Feldman: The alliance and the German insurance industry 1933 to 1945. CH Beck, Munich 2001
  2. ^ August Heinrichsbauer : Heavy Industry and Politics. Essen 1948
  3. ^ Carlos Collado Seidel: From the Reich Minister of Economics to the opponent of the Nazi regime. The economic leader Kurt Schmitt: Financier of Hitler and the resistance? In: Detlef J. Blesgen (Ed.): Financiers, finances and forms of financing for resistance. Berlin 2006, p. 56 ( books.google.de )
  4. Gerald D. Feldman: On the history of the alliance in the time of National Socialism .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( MS Word ) allianzgroup.com.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.allianz.com  
  5. ^ "Preußische Justiz" magazine, No. 41 of September 28, 1933, p. 478.
  6. see “Growing opposites”  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.kzverband-ooe.at  
  7. Heinz Höhne : The time of illusions. Hitler and the Beginnings of the Third Reich 1933–1936. Düsseldorf / Vienna / New York 1991, p. 225, ISBN 3-430-14760-3 . (In contrast, many years later, in his memoirs, Hans Kehrl wrote that Schmitt passed out at the end of January 1934 during his speech to the Industry and Commerce Day. He was present as Chamber President, see Hans Kehrl: Krisenmanager im Third Reich. With critical comments and an afterword by Erwin Viefhaus. Düsseldorf 1973, p. 57.)
  8. ^ Schmitt as a member of Himmler's circle of friends
  9. ^ Ulrich Völklein : Business with the enemy. Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-203-83700-5 .
  10. Kösener Corpslisten 1930, 108 , 731