Kurt Kaul

October 5, 1890, Brodowo - February 13, 1945 Budapest

Kurt Kaul, born in Brodowo, Silesia, on 5 October 1890 and died in Budapest about 13 February 1945, came from a landowning family in Brodowo, then in the German Empire. He took part in the First World War as a fire officer. In 1919 he joined right-wing forces being set up in the Baltic. In 1920, he became involved in trading vehicles and vessels, but continued to take part in ultra-right activities. In 1925 he became head of an events team in the NSDAP. After spending a few years abroad, he joined the SA in 1929 and the SS in 1930. In 1938 he was elected a Reichstag member. (Only NSDAP candidates could stand.)

Kaul’s SS career rose rapidly, to be a major-general (Gruppenführer) in 1937. In March that year Kaul headed the south-east SS command for Baden-Württenberg. He took a central part regionally in the Kristalnacht of November 1938, a radical vengeance campaign against local Jewry. (An outrage in Paris was cited by the NSDAP as the prompt for the successive semi-official pogroms in Germany that cost 300 lives.) In September 1939, Kaul was appointed the regional “Higher SS and Police Leader” in the region, in charge of the police and the concentration camps there as well.

His career ran up against a love of luxury. While on leave in the spring of 1943, he went off secretly to ski in Switzerland, but broke his leg while doing so. He gave a false report of the accident, as it was forbidden to visit a neutral country on private grounds at the time. The truth turned out and on 21 April 1943 Himmler dismissed him and transferred him to the SS cavalry.

However, Kaul’s rank was not reduced and he took part in the Posen (Poznań) conference on 4 October 1943, where Himmler’s two speeches openly spoke of total, mass annihilation of Jewry. On that he found it important to note only that this “should never be written and never appear in the glorious paper” of German history, so that except for weakness among a few exceptional persons, it could remain “reputable”.

1944 nyarán Kault a 22. SS-lovashadosztályhoz vezényelték, itt a seregtest tüzérezrede II. osztályának lett parancsnoka. Budapest ostroma alatti tevékenysége teljesen ismeretlen. Kaul részt vett a kitörésben és ennek során tűnt el. Személye példa azokra az összefonódásokra, amelyek az SS-en belül viszonylag gyakoriak voltak és ami miatt nehéz szétválasztani a fegyveres SS vezetőit a náci terrorapparátus vezetőitől.