Edmund Veesenmayer (12 November 1904 in Bad Kissingen – 24 December 1977 in Darmstadt) was a German politician, officer (SS-Brigadeführer) and war criminal. He significantly contributed to The Holocaust in Hungary and Croatia. He was a subordinate of Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Joachim von Ribbentrop; and collaborated with Adolf Eichmann.
Veesenmayer was the son of school teacher Franz Xaver Veesenmayer from Oberstaufen in Kempten (Allgäu). From 1923–1926 he studied political science in Munich where he received doctorate in political science in 1928. After, he taught at the Political-Economic Institute of the Munich Technical College for four years.
Veesenmayer joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in November 1932 and the SS in 1933. By 1934 he had obtained a position in Hitler's economic affairs office in Berlin. Before the failed Nazi putsch in Austria, he worked on aligning rivaling fractions of the outlawed Austrian Nazi Party, forcing resignation of the Chancellor Schuschnigg, and establishing key economic connections between Austria and Germany. For this effort he was promoted to SS-Standartenführer in March 1938. His next job was dismembering Czechoslovakia and making Tiso's Slovakia subservient to Nazi Germany in March 1939. In August of the same year he worked on information gathering in Danzig where he worked on various measures designed to heightening tensions between Poland and Germany. For these efforts he was awarded the Danzig Cross Second Class.
He joined influential business circles, making many friends in high places. From March 1940 to July 1943 he was entrusted with planning to move the (neutral) Irish against Britain. In February 1942 Veesenmayer met in secret a high ranked Irish government representative in order to see the Irish position if Germany invades Britain and Ireland's ability to fight Britain. At the beginning of 1941 he was attached to the German diplomatic staff in Zagreb. Here, he arranged with Ustashe Slavko Kvaternik proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia, four hours before Germans entered the city. What Pavelic meant by "independence" he explained to Veesenmeyer. Pavelic had only two wishes, Veesenmayer reported to Berlin: first to obtain German recognition of Croatia; and second, an opportunity to thank Hitler in person and promise him "to live and die for the Führer".
He played an important role in the persecution and murder of Croatian and Serbian Jewry. On 15 March 1944 he was promoted to SS-Brigadeführer and became Reich plenipotentiary in Hungary after the German occupation, from March to October the same year where he was engaged in anti-Semitic activities and involved in the "Final Solution". In a telegram dated 13 June 1944 he reported to the Foreign Office: “transport Jews from Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania space … with a total of 289,357 Jews in 92 complete trains of 45 cars”. On 15 June 1944 Veesenmayer told Ribbentrop in a telegram that some 340,000 Jews had been delivered to the Reich. He also announced that after final settlement of the Jewish question, the number of deported Hungarian Jews would reach 900,000.
War crimes trial
In the Ministries Trial in 1949 he received a sentence of 20 years' imprisonment for crimes against humanity, slavery and membership in a criminal organization. This was reduced to 10 years in 1951. He was released on 16 December the same year, thanks to the intervention of the US High Commissioner in Germany.
After his release, between 1952 and 1955, Veesenmayer was working as a representative for the Toepfer, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, in Tehran. At the end of his life, he lived in Darmstadt, where he died in 1977.