Friedrich Rainer
Friedrich W. Rainer was a leader
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

 in the Nazi Party, as well as an Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n State governor
Landeshauptmann is a former German gubernatorial title equivalent to that of a governor of a province or a state....

 of Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

 and Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

. He is the only Austrian governor who has ever held the same office in two separate states
States of Austria
Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder . Since Land is also the German word for a country, the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms...

. He was a native of Sankt Veit an der Glan
Sankt Veit an der Glan
Sankt Veit an der Glan is a town in the Austrian state of Carinthia. It is the capital of a district with the same name.-Location:This town is a major point on the Glan River in the north of the Zollfeld Valley....

, located in the Austrian state of Carinthia.

Personal background

Rainer was the son of a vocational school teacher at a Bürgerschule in St. Veit. Following his general education, Rainer studied law in Graz
The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students...

, working in a local banking institution or in general labor.

Political involvement

Prior to his graduation from law school in 1926, Rainer began working in a notary
Civil law notary
Civil-law notaries, or Latin notaries, are lawyers of noncontentious private civil law who draft, take, and record legal instruments for private parties, provide legal advice and give attendance in person, and are vested as public officers with the authentication power of the State...

's office. After successfully completing his law examination, he joined the Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

, and served as a member of organizations based in St. Veit that were propagating political rhetoric much like the Nazi Party.

Nazi Party

In October 1930, Rainer joined the Nazi Party and along with Hubert Klausner
Hubert Klausner
Hubert Klausner was an NSDAP Gauleiter and a Landeshauptmann of Carinthia....

, established local branch of the Party in St. Veit. Four years later, Klausner stepped down from his administrative role in the party, transferring sole leadership to Friedrich.

In August 1935, Rainer was sentenced to one year in police custody, presumably for high treason
High treason
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government. Participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its head of state are perhaps...

. He was released early for good behaviour the following March. In May 1936, Friedrich was assigned to the Nazi Party's provincial governing body in Carinthia.

At Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 on 13 March 1938, Rainer was recruited to serve as the organizational department leader by party leader Josef Bürckel
Josef Bürckel
Joseph Bürckel was a German politician and a member of the German parliament...

, the Reich Commissioner for Austria's Anschluss into Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...


On 22 May 1938, Rainer was personally appointed by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 to oversee the Nazi Party at Salzburg. That same year, he became a member of the Reichstag
Reichstag (German Empire)
The Reichstag was the parliament of the North German Confederation , and of the German Reich ....

. He remained in his leadership role at Salzburg, until 18 November 1941, when he was succeeded by Gustav Adolf Scheel
Gustav Adolf Scheel
Gustav Adolf Scheel was a German physician and "multifunctionary" in the time of the Third Reich...


When the Second World War broke out, Rainer was appointed as the Reich Defence Commissar. On 15 March 1940, he was additionally appointed as the Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor) of Salzburg.

On 18 November 1941, Rainer was appointed as the Party's provincial leader of Carinthia, while simultaneously functioning in the role of governor. On 11 December 1942, Rainer was also made Reich Defence Commissar of Carinthia, much like his role in Salzburg.

After Italy abandoned its German ally on 10 September 1943, Rainer took over the Operation Zone of the Adriatic Littoral as the Reich Defence Commissar. This act established him as the chief of the civil administration in the Italian provinces of Friuli
Friuli is an area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the province of Udine, Pordenone, Gorizia, excluding Trieste...


Nuremberg Trials

On 7 May 1945, eight days after Hitler's death, Rainer transferred his official functions to an executive board and fled to the area around the Weißensee (a lake in Carinthia). After being given leads by the local population, British officials arrested Rainer and transferred him to Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

, where he was compelled to testify in the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 against the 24 main defendants, specifically in the case against Arthur Seyß-Inquart.

Sentencing and death

On 13 March 1947, Friedrich was extradited to Yugoslavia. On 10 July 1947, he was brought before a military court of the Yugoslav 4th Army. He was found guilty of crimes against the people and sentenced to death on 19 July 1947. His widow received a death certificate from Yugoslavia after the war, which showed that same date. Nevertheless, as in similar cases, rumours lingered on into the 1950s that Rainer was still alive.

Published works

  • Rainer, Friedrich. On Brecht and Eisenstein, New York: Telos Press, issue 31, 1977.
  • Rainer, Friedrich. My Internment and Testimony at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, Edwin Mellen Press Ltd; illustrated edition edition, 2006. ISBN 978-0773456655
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