Martin Mutschmann

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Martin Mutschmann

Martin Mutschmann (born March 9, 1879 in Hirschberg ; † February 14, 1947 in Moscow ) was a German entrepreneur , National Socialist politician and NSDAP Gauleiter of Saxony from 1925 to 1945. From 1930 he was a member of the Reichstag , from 1933 Reich Governor in Saxony and also from 1935 Prime Minister of Saxony .


Mutschmann was born as the son of the master shoemaker August Louis Mutschmann and his wife Sophie Karoline Henriette, née Lieber, in Hirschberg , which was then part of the Principality of Reuss j. L. belonged to. His father was the mayor of Göritz . The mother was the daughter of a bookmaker from Rudolstadt . Both came from proletarian - petty-bourgeois relationships. His older brother Hugo was later a NSDAP functionary in Plauen , while his sister Klara married in Soest .

In 1909 Martin Mutschmann married the daughter of a brickworks and estate owner. Minna Auguste Mutschmann, née Popp, initially worked in her husband's factory. In 1927 she joined the NSDAP. From 1934 to 1945, due to the position of her husband, she was regional director of the German Red Cross . The marriage remained childless. As part of the Waldheim trials , she was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 16, 1950 . In 1952, the sentence was reduced to ten years by a general pardon. The 71-year-old was released from prison on December 31, 1955, left for the Federal Republic in 1957 and died in Jülich in 1971 .


The Plauener Handelsschule (left) in Melanchtonstrasse around 1905

Origin, education and occupation until the end of the war

The lack of jobs in the rural Hirschberg forced the family to move to the textile and lace metropolis of Plauen . From 1885 Mutschmann attended the Evangelical Lutheran Citizens' School there, from 1894 to 1896 the Plauen commercial school and at the same time began training as a master embroiderer. From warehouse manager and department head in various lace and lingerie factories in Plauen, Herford and Cologne , Mutschmann soon rose to become the managing director of a medium-sized company. He did his military service from 1901 to 1903 with the 3rd Lower Alsatian Infantry Regiment No. 138 in Strasbourg . In 1907, the 28-year-old Mutschmann and Karl Eisentraut founded the Plauen lace factory Mutschmann & Eisentraut at Bärenstrasse 61, initially with around 25 to 30 employees. In the following years he took part in other regional companies, so that he employed about 500 workers. The annual turnover including export business amounted to the equivalent of up to one million Reichsmarks . In 1912/1913, the top industry in Plauen suffered a worldwide drop in sales. This was favored by the Balkan wars , the high customs barriers in the United States and a change in the prevailing fashion trend. The Mutschmann & Eisentraut lace factory was also affected.

The top entrepreneurs from Plauen, including Mutschmann , quickly found their scapegoat in the Jews from Eastern Europe (" Eastern Jews ") who had gained a foothold in the top industry and, in association with the local group of the anti - Semitic German Social Party , demanded tougher measures against these "Jewish junkies". Since the mayor Julius Dehne did not react to these demands, the opposing side announced "self-help", which was released on August 2nd and 3rd, 1914 in the "junk war". In this context, Mutschmann's first public anti-Semitic derailment took place. Mutschmann's anti-Semitic outbreaks had already occurred before 1914. The later Reich Minister of Economics Walther Funk , a personal acquaintance of Mutschmann's as a master embroiderer and manager of a lace shop in Plauen, recalled that Mutschmann excelled in the occasional hate speech. He also treated important Jewish customers with subservience and was quite brutal towards poorer Jewish traders. During these days a crowd in Plauen, excited and incited about the outbreak of war, committed violence and threats against Jewish business owners. An escalation could only be suppressed by a massive police presence, for example a commercial building was guarded by the military with the declaration of martial law . According to Funk, Mutschmann was named in this context as the inspirer of the pogroms against the Jews in the Plauener Forststraße, where a large number of Jewish business people lived. Although Dehne condemned the pogroms in the strongest possible terms, no charges were brought.

Mutschmann himself was called up for military service on August 4, 1914 and assigned to the Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 133 . The regiment was initially stationed in the Posen Fortress and stayed on the Eastern Front until the end of the war . Mutschmann must have left this regiment at an unknown point in time, as he was wounded on the western front off Verdun in April 1916 . In December 1916 he was able to return to Plauen, classified as unfit for war, with the rank of private and holder of the Iron Cross II. Class and the Friedrich August Medal . Mutschmann himself later stated that he had been discharged from the army because of a chronic nephritis. In addition, Funk reports that Mutschmann and his wife are said to have applied anonymously to the authorities to be recalled to Plauen and his partner Eisentraut, who was still in the business, to be confiscated. Eisentraut was actually drafted into military service towards the end of the war and fell. Mutschmann thus rose to become the sole managing director of the company, which he is said to have saved from bankruptcy until the end of the war with slide business.

Weimar Republic

In 1919 Mutschmann joined the anti-Semitic Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutzbund and in 1922 the NSDAP with membership number 5346. In the post-war turmoil Mutschmann's anti-Semitism merged with that of anti-Marxism , the reasons for which can be found in the new political situation in Saxony. In March 1919, Georg Gradnauer, who came from the Jewish bourgeoisie, was appointed Prime Minister of Saxony . The subsequent attacks by the councilor communist Max Hoelz in the Vogtland brought Mutschmann to the conviction that Marxism and Judaism would mean the "decline of Germany". The victory of the red labor movement in Saxony and the economic problems in post-war Germany promoted Mutschmann's political radicalization.

Mutschmann quickly made a career in the NSDAP, which was founded in Saxony in 1921. He was able to benefit from his entrepreneurial networks. He pushed the first chairman of the Saxon NSDAP Fritz Tittmann out of the leadership and then entirely out of Saxony. Mutschmann's early connections to Adolf Hitler , whom he visited in 1924 while imprisoned in Landsberg and supported financially, helped his career . During the ban on the NSDAP, Mutschmann founded the Völkisch Social Block in Saxony . After the re-establishment of the NSDAP, Mutschmann was appointed Gauleiter for Saxony by Hitler in June 1925 and transferred the bloc to the party. Mutschmann delegated the construction of the Saxon NSDAP from Plauen, where the headquarters of the Gauleitung was located. He probably financed election campaigns with the proceeds of his company. With alleged further generous monetary donations, he secured a career in the NSDAP. The Gau Sachsen became one of the largest of the NSDAP in terms of membership. In the summer of 1930 Mutschmann founded the daily newspaper Der Freiheitskampf . In 1930 Mutschmann's company went bankrupt due to the global economic crisis . In the Reichstag election in 1930 Mutschmann was a member of the Reichstag for the constituency 30 of Chemnitz-Zwickau. In the NSDAP parliamentary group there, he took over the field of trade and industry and was a member of the intergroup Reichstag committee for trade policy. In Saxony, Mutschmann was on friendly terms with Gregor Strasser . In July 1932, Mutschmann was appointed regional inspector of the newly created NSDAP Reich Inspection. Within the Saxon NSDAP, Manfred von Killinger was Mutschmann's fiercest rival. Killinger, head of the Saxon SA and faction leader in Saxony since 1929, rose to the position of Inspector East of the Supreme SA leadership in 1932.

time of the nationalsocialism

Martin Mutschmann with Adolf Hitler at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1934
Mutschmann to the left of Goebbels

Personal seizure of power (1933–1935)

After the seizure of power in January 1933, Mutschmann publicly accused his sponsor Strasser of being a Jew. Strasser had resigned from all his offices in December 1932 (see Strasser crisis ). Mutschmann had exposed the “Strasser conspiracy” to Hitler and thus strengthened his relationship of trust with him. As a result of the reorganization of the Reich Party, Mutschmann lost the title of State Inspector of Saxony and Thuringia, but on May 5, 1933, in addition to his post as Gauleiter of the NSDAP, he also became Reich Governor of Saxony. The power struggle for leadership positions within Saxony intensified between him and the eloquent SA leader and now Saxon Prime Minister Manfred von Killinger , who came from the Freikorps . After Mutschmann tried ex officio to control the Prime Minister's business, the " Röhm Putsch " ended the dispute in the summer of 1934. Mutschmann remained the winner, Killinger was initially locked in a concentration camp and later "dumped" in the Foreign Service.

At the beginning of 1935, Hitler appointed Mutschmann Prime Minister, so that the positions of party Gauleiter, Reich Governor and Prime Minister coincided in one person. In addition, Mutschmann, who had been honorary leader of the SA at SA Standard 100 since 1933, secured the loyalty of Killinger's former party army by assuming the function of SA Obergruppenführer.

Political program

As Reich Governor, Mutschmann supported the German Labor Front (DAF) on a sustainable basis. When the DAF slowly ran out of money stolen from the unions at the end of 1933, it developed models for further enrichment. They aimed at a card-based recording of all workers in order to induce the entrepreneurs to deduct the DAF contribution together with the taxes from the wages in advance and to require a DAF membership from all employees in the company. Mutschmann was the initiator for this direct deduction of DAF contributions from wages.

Mutschmann was a particularly active advocate of the National Socialist ideology . He developed a particular hatred against the representatives of the democratic system and Jews. He used all his strength to drive them out or destroy them. This also applied to people he knew personally. He had Hermann Liebmann , the former Saxon interior minister and SPD chairman of Leipzig, arrested in 1933 and made sure that he was constantly mistreated. Liebmann died immediately after his release from the consequences of this torture in September 1935. After the seizure of power, anti-Semitism was able to develop freely. Together with Julius Streicher , Mutschmann rushed for “Jewish-pure” residential areas in Dresden . In the Dresden state parliament building , Mutschmann, together with SS men and at gunpoint, hunted down NS-renegade party comrades and members of other parties. The SPD parliamentary group leader Karl Böchel had to be hospitalized after being mistreated. A Jewish parliamentary journalist barely survived Mutschmann's hunt. Mutschmann was also not afraid of the murderous actions of the guards of the first concentration camps, e.g. B. that of the Hohnstein concentration camp to legitimize and even to encourage them. It remains unclear whether Mutschmann had a direct or indirect influence on the murder of Hermann Liebmann, Eugen Fritsch and Julius Brandeis. When people from the guards of the Hohnstein concentration camp were charged with the murders and mistreatment that had occurred there before the Dresden Regional Court, Mutschmann successfully advocated the early release of the perpetrators by Hitler.

His stocky figure, his uncharismatic, sometimes irascible demeanor and his Saxon dialect formed a basis for mockery and caricature depictions, against which he vehemently resisted. Mutschmann was seen as high-handed and self-centered. He was called King Mu (h) by the people . At his instigation, however, Saxon was paradoxically considered unheroic .

Mutschmann was a hunter and held the office of Gaujägermeister for the state of Saxony. In 1936 the Saxon Jägerhof was set up in the Tharandt Forest in the Jagdschloss Grillenburg and the New Jägerhaus was built as a guest house in 1938/39 . Because Mutschmann also liked to use this building privately from time to time, it was popularly referred to as the “ Mutschmann Villa ”, as was his residence in Dresden .

Second World War

When the Second World War began, Mutschmann, in addition to his numerous posts, was also appointed Reich Defense Commissioner and was thus largely responsible for the implementation of the T4 's homicide program in Saxony in the Nazi killing center in Sonnenstein . Before that, he had already been responsible for converting all Saxon industrial companies to the production of goods essential to the war effort. During the war he neglected the construction of air raid shelters , but in 1943 he had a private bunker built at his Dresden residence, Comeniusstraße 32 . In December 1944 he declared Dresden a defense area. After the air raids of February 13 and 14, 1945 , Mutschmann carried out the business as Reich Governor of Saxony in Grillenburg and that of the Gauleiter in his provisional command post in Lockwitzgrund near Dresden. The Gauleiter found a supporter of this idea in General Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner , whose Army Group Center was deployed in the area of ​​Saxony and Bohemia .

From March 1945 Mutschmann was assigned the corvette captain Werner Vogelsang as a military advisor, who also became the Gauleiter's deputy. In April 1945, Mutschmann ordered pupils to build positions in Dresden's old town and on April 14, 1945 declared Dresden a fortress. On April 17, 1945, when the US Army was attacking Leipzig and the Red Army was in East Saxony, he called for resistance and for the fight to continue “to the last”. Any violation of this order, e.g. Mutschmann viewed such as hanging out white cloths as treason that was punished with death. Until the end of the war there were still dozens of such death sentences against its own soldiers and civilians in Saxony. At the end of April 1945 Mutschmann entrusted his deputy with the creation of resistance groups using werewolf methods, which were supposed to continue the fight undercover. When Vogelsang did not consider this idea to be feasible, Mutschmann insulted him as a “capitulator”.

On May 1, 1945, Labor Day, Mutschmann again demonstrated his readiness to fight at his last public appearance in Meißen . Four days later he gathered his district leaders in Lockwitzgrund. a. ordered the destruction of all important documents. He also ordered that order be maintained until the last day and that the refugees be dealt with. Three days later he called in the struggle for freedom not to rest until the "hated and pitiless enemy has been destroyed or driven out".

Escape and condemnation

On May 7 and 8, 1945, Dresden was occupied by the Red Army without a fight , and Mutschmann fled the city on May 8 with his confidante Werner Schmiedel, Nazi economic leader and director of the state-owned company Sächsische Werke (ASW). On the morning of May 9th they were surprised by units of the Red Army in Glashütte (Saxony) . However, both managed to escape to the nearby woods. A day later they set out on foot for Grillenburg . Since this place was already occupied by the Red Army, they hid for three days in a hunting lodge outside the town.

On the morning of May 14, the two men decided to follow the district government and Mutschmann's wife to Oberwiesenthal, 90 kilometers away . It is doubtful that the 66-year-old Mutschmann, who was physically badly damaged, covered this distance on foot within a day. Rather, the historian Mike Schmeitzner assumes that the two men sometimes used a means of transport on their escape and that Mutschmann's walk was later only stated to protect helpers. They reached the place on May 15, but saw no one. Mutschmanns personal assistant Eugen Schramm had already fearing a Soviet arrest by May 10 headshot killed. On the same day, the stenographer who was traveling with the Gau government also committed suicide. On May 12th, Martin Hammitzsch was also found dead with a shot in the head. The Cologne Gauleiter Josef Grohé , who had fled the advancing Western Allies and had been in Mutschmann's surroundings for a few weeks, and Mutschmann's wife, however, continued to flee. These fled only towards Tellerhäuser and then on to Rittersgruen why it the next day to the 5 kilometers away Tellerhäuser moved on and arrived there in a secluded house.

In the early evening of May 16, 1945, Oberwiesenthal's mayor, Hermann Klopfer, who had been appointed just a few days earlier, learned from an anonymous call from Tellerhäuser that Mutschmann was staying in the house of the coal merchant Kaufmann. In the evening the house was surrounded and the two were arrested. On May 17, Mutschmann was interrogated in Annaberg and put on public display on the market square. The denunciation with the tolerance of the Soviet troops was accompanied by a speech by the KPD Mayor Max Schmitt, in which he expressed that the criminal had finally been caught. Then Mutschmann was brought to Moscow via Chemnitz and to the Lubyanka prison. There he was tried in a military tribunal on June 22, 1946, sentenced to death on January 30, 1947 and shot in prison on February 14, 1947 .

Secondary literature

  • Mike Schmeitzner : Martin Mutschmann and Manfred von Killinger. The "leaders of the province". In: Christine Pieper, Mike Schmeitzner, Gerhard Naser (Eds.): Braune Karrieren. Dresden perpetrators and actors in National Socialism. Sandstein-Verlag, Dresden 2012, pp. 22–31, ISBN 978-3-942422-85-7 .
  • Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag, Beucha u. a. 2011, ISBN 978-3-86729-090-6 .
  • Mike Schmeitzner, Andreas Wagner (ed.): Of power and powerlessness. Saxon Prime Minister in the Age of Extremes 1919–1952. Sax-Verlag, Beucha 2006, ISBN 3-934544-75-4 .
  • Andreas Wagner: Mutschmann against von Killinger. Lines of conflict between Gauleiter and SA leader during the rise of the NSDAP and the "seizure of power" in the Free State of Saxony. Sax-Verlag, Beucha 2001, ISBN 3-934544-09-6 .
  • Agatha Kobuch:  Mutschmann, Martin. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 18, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-428-00199-0 , p. 659 f. ( Digitized version ).


  • Striking words from the speeches of the Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter Pg. Martin Mutschmann. From the time of the struggle for power up to the completion of the Greater German Reich, Editor Kurt Haupt , Dresden, Gauverlag 1939.
  • Oskar Kramer : The Saxon Jägerhof Grillenburg. In: Communications of the State Association of Saxon Homeland Security. Vol. 25, Issue 9/12, 1936, pp. 193-210.
  • Walter Bachmann : Grillenburg. In: Messages from the Saxon Homeland Security Association. Vol. 25, Issue 5/8, 1936, ISSN  0941-1151 , pp. 97-149.

Film and sound

  • Mercilessly powerful - Saxony's Gauleiter Martin Mutschmann. Documentation, Germany 2002, 30 minutes, script and direction: Ernst-Michael Brandt, production: MDR , first broadcast: October 28, 2007, table of contents ( memento from January 1, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) of the MDR.
  • Martin Mutschmann. Report in the series: History of Central Germany , Germany, 2007, Production: MDR, Synopsis of the MDR.
  • King Mu - the dictator of Dresden . Conversation between Peter Neumann and Mike Schmeitzner about the rise and fall of Martin Mutschmann. Germany, 2012, 55 minutes, production: MDR 1 Radio Sachsen , broadcast: February 15, 2012, summary of the MDR.

Web links

Commons : Martin Mutschmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Andreas Wagner: Mutschmann against von Killinger. Lines of conflict between Gauleiter and SA leader during the rise of the NSDAP and the seizure of power in Saxony. Sax-Verlag 2001, p. 17.
  2. Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, p. 152.
  3. Uwe Lohalm: Völkischer Radikalismus. The history of the Deutschvölkischer Schutz- und Trutz-Bund 1919–1923 (= Hamburg contributions to contemporary history. Volume 6). Leibniz-Verlag, Hamburg 1970, p. 317, ISBN 3-87473-000-X .
  4. ^ Andreas Peschel: Fritz Tittmann - The "forgotten" Gauleiter . A biographical sketch (=  Sächsische Heimatblätter . Issue 2, No. 56 ). 2010, p. 122-126 .
  5. ^ German Central Archive , DZA Potsdam, RWM, Vol. 10287, Bl. 187–191. When compulsory membership should be included in the company regulations, the Reich Ministry of Labor and the Reich Ministry of Economics , RWM , initially contradicted . In contrast, in October 1934 both ministries approved the direct wage deduction of the DAF contribution. In 1939 around 70% of the companies were already collecting contributions for the DAF.
  6. Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, p. 49.
  7. Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, p. 52.
  8. quoted from Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, p. 54.
  9. Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, p. 55 f.
  10. Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, pp. 57–59.
  11. Mike Schmeitzner: The Mutschmann case. Saxony's Gauleiter before Stalin's Tribunal. Sax-Verlag 2012, pp. 63, 66.