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The Info List - Ernst Lerch


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ERNST LERCH (19 November 1914 – 1997) was one of the most important men of Operation Reinhard (German : _Aktion Reinhard_), responsible for "Jewish affairs" and the mass murder of the Jews
Jews
in the General Government (_Generalgouvernement_).

CONTENTS

* 1 Life and early career * 2 Activities in Poland
Poland
* 3 After the war * 4 References * 5 External links

LIFE AND EARLY CAREER

Lerch was born on 19 November 1914 in Klagenfurt . He briefly studied at the Hochschule für Welthandel in Vienna
Vienna
. From 1931 to 1934 Lerch learned the hotel trade by working as a waiter in various hotels in Switzerland
Switzerland
, France
France
and Hungary
Hungary
. On 1 December 1932, Lerch joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (_Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei_, NSDAP) (Party Number 1,327,396). On 1 March 1934, he became a member of the "Protective Squadron" (German: _ Schutzstaffel _, SS) (SS Number 309,700).

From 1934 until the unification of Austria and Germany (_ Anschluss _) in 1938, Lerch was employed in his father's Café Lerch. The café , located in Klagenfurt , became a meeting place for Nazis such as Odilo Globocnik and Ernst Kaltenbrunner , who frequented the café. While still in Austria, Lerch was promoted to an SS-Second Lieutenant (_ Untersturmführer _) on 9 September 1936. By 1937, he was promoted to an SS-First Lieutenant (_ Obersturmführer _). In 1938, Lerch moved to Berlin
Berlin
.

In Berlin
Berlin
he became an SS-Captain (_ Hauptsturmführer _) in the Reich Security Directorate on 12 March 1938. At his wedding to a "Secret State Police" (_ Gestapo
Gestapo
_) employee, Oswald Pohl
Oswald Pohl
and Globocnik acted as witnesses.

ACTIVITIES IN POLAND

In December 1938, Lerch joined the German Army . According to his testimony , he was involved in the 1939 Polish Campaign as a signals corporal . From February 1940 until September 1941, Lerch was employed at the "Reich Security Main Office" (_Reichssicherheitshauptamt_, RSHA ) in Berlin. Then he was appointed as _Rasse-und Siedlungsführer_ in Cracow . _ SS and Police Leader Odilo Globocnik in charge of Operation Reinhard_

From 1941-43, Lerch served in Lublin
Lublin
as chief of Globocnik's personal office and _ Stabsführer der Allgemeine SS _, responsible for the radio link between the _Aktion Reinhard_ headquarters and Berlin. On 21 July 1942, he was promoted to _SS- Sturmbannführer _. At the trial of Hermann Worthoff (former Gestapo
Gestapo
chief in Lublin) after the war, it was mentioned that Lerch had overseen the murder of thousands of Jews from the Majdan Tatarski ghetto in Lublin
Lublin
at the nearby Krepiec Forest.

When Operation Reinhard (_Aktion Reinhard_) was finished, Lerch was ordered to Italy
Italy
in September 1943. He went with most of the SS-men of Globocnik's staff. In Trieste
Trieste
, Lerch continued to serve as chief of Globocnik's personal staff in the OZAK (_Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland_). He was still Globocnik’s right hand but had also military-related tasks. Lerch was very much involved in anti-partisan operations. For a few weeks, Lerch was provisional police commander in Fiume
Fiume
.

AFTER THE WAR

After the German surrender in Italy
Italy
(1 May 1945), Lerch fled to Carinthia (Southern Austria), a region he knew very well. There, at an alpine pasture (Möslacher Alm) near the Weissensee Lake , he was captured by a British commando on 31 May 1945. Lerch was captured with his comrades Globocnik , Hermann Höfle and Georg Michalsen.

Being imprisoned in Wolfsberg detention centre , Lerch was interrogated by the British. He insisted on having spent just a short time in Lublin, and had nothing to do either with Globocnik or the mass killings of Jews
Jews
in Poland
Poland
. Lerch escaped from prison and lived in hiding from 1947 to 1950. He was captured again in 1950.

In 1960, Lerch was sentenced to two years of imprisonment by a de-Nazification court in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
(_8JS 1145/60 StA Wiesbaden_). In 1971, he was accused again of being involved in the Holocaust . The trial was held in Klagenfurt. His case was finally dropped on 11 May 1976 because Lerch denied having done anything in Poland
Poland
and for a lack of witnesses (_LG Klagenfurt: 25VR 3123/71_).

REFERENCES

* Ernst Klee: _Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich: Wer war was vor und nach 1945._ Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2007; ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8

EXTERNAL LINKS

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