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Alfred Rosenberg was born in Tallinn, Russia (now Estonia), on 12th January, 1893. He studied architecture at the Riga Technical Institute where he joined a pro-German student group.
Rosenberg supported the Whites during the Russian Revolution and after the Bolsheviks gained control of the country he escaped to France. In 1918 he moved to Germany where he settled with the large community of White Russians in Munich.
Rosenberg joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and in 1923 became editor of the party newspaper, Voelkischer Beobachter. He regularly visited Adolf Hitler in Landsberg Prison and it is claimed he helped write Mein Kampf. He also wrote several pamphlets that reflected his rabid anti-Semitism.
In 1929 Rosenberg founded the Militant League for German Culture. The following year he was elected to the Reichstag. He hoped to become Germany's foreign minister but lost out to Joachim von Ribbentrop. Instead he was given the task of supervising ideological training and education in the NSDAP.
After the initial success of Operation Barbarossa Rosenberg became minister for eastern territories. However, he had to share power over the occupied areas with Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Erich Koch. During this period he plundered art and antiques owned by Jews living in Poland and the Soviet Union.
(1) Alfred Rosenberg, speech at a meeting of Reichskommissars (August, 1942)
It does no harm if one or another Commissar acts in a decent fashion once in a while to one or another Ukrainian. He should, however, not be comradely with them. But he can clap a man on the shoulder and give him good advice and buy them a bottle of schnapps. But he must not get drunk with them and keep his distance; that is essential for a proper master in the East.
A master is one for whom a man placed under him allows himself to be beaten to death. The population must realize there is no way out but to accept German leadership. The question for us is: What spares us most in German manpower and what brings us best to political success? We have the job not only of raising production in the occupied European territories, but of raising it considerably.
(2) The journalist, Kingsbury Smith, observed the execution of Alfred Rosenberg and nine other leaders of the Nazi Party on 1st October 1946.
Rosenberg was dull and sunken-cheeked as he looked around the court. His complexion was pasty-brown, but he did not appear nervous and walked with a steady step to and up the gallows.
Apart from giving his name and replying 'no' to a question as to whether he had anything to say, he did not utter a word. Despite his avowed atheism he was accompanied by a Protestant chaplain who followed him to the gallows and stood beside him praying.
Rosenberg looked at the chaplain once, expressionless. Ninety seconds after he was swinging from the end of a hangman's rope. His was the swiftest execution of the ten.