Karl Holz (Nazi)

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Karl Holz
Bundesarchiv Bild 119-1516-01, Karl von Holz.jpg
Gauleiter of Gau Franconia
In office
December 1944 – 20 April 1945
Preceded byHimself
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Acting Gauleiter of Gau Franconia
In office
4 April 1942 – December 1944
Preceded byHans Zimmermann
Succeeded byHimself
Deputy Gauleiter of Gau Franconia
In office
1 January 1934 – 20 April 1940
Personal details
Born(1895-12-27)27 December 1895
Nuremberg, German Empire
Died20 April 1945(1945-04-20) (aged 49)
Nuremberg, Nazi Germany
Political partyNazi Party
Other political
German Socialist Party
Military service
Allegiance German Empire
 Nazi Germany
Branch/service Imperial German Army
SA-Logo.svg Sturmabteilung
Years of service1915–1918
UnitReserve-Infanterie-Regiment 16
Infanterie-Regiment 144
Infanterie-Regiment 79
Jäger-Regiment 2
Battles/warsWorld War I

World War II

Karl Holz (27 December 1895 – 20 April 1945) was a German Nazi Party politician. He was Gauleiter of Gau Franconia and rose to the rank of Gruppenführer in the Sturmabteilung (SA).

Early years[edit]

He was born the fifth child of a heliographer, also named Karl Holz. He finished Volksschule and an apprenticeship as a salesman, working thereafter as a clerk. During World War I, Holz served in a number of Prussian units between 1915 and 1918: Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 16, Infanterie-Regiment 144, Infanterie-Regiment 79, and Jäger-Regiment 2 on the Western Front. He sustained a number of wounds. After the war ended, he returned in September 1919 and took a job as an official in Nuremberg, but eventually was discharged due to his political activities. In 1920 he joined the German-Socialist Party (Deutschsozialistische Partei). In 1921 its chairman, Julius Streicher joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP), bringing with him enough members of the German-Socialist Party to almost double the size of the NSDAP overnight.[1][2]

Nazi career[edit]

Holz officially joined the Nazi Party on 11 November 1922 and his membership number was 77. Holz also joined the Sturmabteilung (SA). Quite early on, Holz established a close relationship with Streicher. In 1924, Holz was elected to the Nuremberg City Council, serving till 1932 and eventually serving as leader of the Nazi faction. Between 1927 and 1933, he held the post of editor of Der Stürmer, Streicher's anti-Semitic weekly newspaper. He advanced to editor-in-chief during the years 1933 and 1938.[3] Holz boasted many penalties for political crimes (by his own count 17, and among those 5 prison sentences). In 1929, the Gauleiter office in Upper Franconia, went to the Bayreuth Kreisleiter Hans Schemm, despite Streicher's support for Holz. In 1932 Holz was elected to the Bavarian Landtag and in November 1933 he was elected to the Reichstag. Also from 1933 to July 1934 Holz served as NSDAP Kreisleiter of Nuremberg City.[4]

As of 1 January 1934, Holz became Deputy Gauleiter to Streicher in Gau Franconia. In November he was promoted to the rank of SA-Brigadeführer. However, on 20 April 1940, in connection with the Streicher irregularities involving the Aryanization of Jewish assets, Holz was temporarily stripped of all his offices.

World War II[edit]

He was called up for military service with Panzer Regiment 25 and saw combat in France, being severely wounded in June 1940. He also served in the Russian campaign the next year.[5]

On 4 April 1942, he was returned to party service, becoming the Acting Gauleiter in Franconia, in succession to Hans Zimmermann. On 9 November 1942, he was promoted to the rank of SA-Gruppenführer. On 16 November 1942, he was appointed the Reich Defense Commissioner for his Gau.[6] Finally, in December 1944, Hitler appointed Holz as the permanent Gauleiter for Franconia.[7]

Holz led the defense of Nuremberg with Wehrmacht and Volksturm troops. After American troops of the 3rd Infantry Division had all but taken Nuremberg on 18 April 1945, Holz barricaded himself in the Palmenhofbunker at the Nuremberg Police Presidium along with a small group, among whom was the city's mayor, Willy Liebel. It has been assumed that Holz shot Liebel in the Palmenhofbunker owing to the latter's efforts to surrender the city to put a stop to the fighting, and because of the longstanding rivalry between the two men over control of the local Nuremberg Nazi Party. Holz met his own end in the same place on 20 April – coincidentally Hitler's birthday – but whether it was suicide or an injury sustained in the battle is unknown.[8]


  1. ^ Evans 2003, p. 188.
  2. ^ Rees 2017, p. 23.
  3. ^ Miller & Schulz 2012, p. 530.
  4. ^ Miller & Schulz 2012, p. 531.
  5. ^ Miller & Schulz 2012, pp. 532–533.
  6. ^ "Holz, Karl". verwaltungshandbuch.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de (in German). Bayerische Landesbibliothek. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  7. ^ Miller & Schulz 2012, p. 533.
  8. ^ "Holz, Karl". verwaltungshandbuch.bayerische-landesbibliothek-online.de (in German). Bayerische Landesbibliothek. Retrieved 20 April 2016.