Kurt Christmann

12.04.2016 ( Last modified: 14.06.2016 )
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Kurt Christmann was born on 1 June 1907 in Munich, Germany. He was the son of an administrative inspector. In 1920 Christmann became a member of “SA-Sturm Klintsch” and two years later, in 1922, he became a member of “Jungsturm Adolf Hitler”. In 1923 he participated in the Hitler putsch (8 – 9 November 1923 in Munich, Germany).

Christmann joined the SS and the Nazi party NSDAP in 1933. The following year, in 1934, he obtained a PhD in law (Dr. iur.). Kurt Christmann was a successful athlete. He won the German championship in canoeing as well as the German police skiing championship. Due to his athletic activities he became head of division for winter sports in the SS. In 1938 Christmann was sent to work with the Gestapo in Vienna, Austria. Later on he was sent to Innsbruck and from 1939 until 1942 he was Gestapo leader of the Austrian town of Salzburg.

From August 1942 onwards he held a post as leader of the Einsatzkommando 10a in the Russian town of Krasnodar, which was occupied by German forces from August 1942 until February 1943. During the time of the occupation he participated in committing war crimes, notably the killing of partisans and their relatives, amongst them children, using a gas wagon. He was also involved in the killing of suspected partisans and communists.

Thereafter Christmann was Gestapo leader in Klagenfurt, Austria, and Koblenz, Germany, until he was promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer in 1942.

After World War II, Kurt Christmann was captured and held at the detention center in Dachau. However, he managed to escape in 1946. Christmann then worked under the name Dr. Ronda for the British occupying power, but soon afterwards fled via Rome to Argentina. There he was involved in the Kameradenwerk, an organization supporting Nazis who fled from Europe, many of whom had committed war crimes.

In 1956 Kurt Christmann returned to Germany. He was not allowed to register and practice as a lawyer, so he launched into the real estate business and was soon running his own real estate company.

On 19 December 1980, after eight years of delaying the trial due to Christmann’s ill health, the district court of Munich, Germany, condemned him to 10 years imprisonment for his participation in the war crimes committed in Krasnodar.

legal procedure

On 19 December 1980, after eight years of delaying the trial due to Christmann’s ill health, the district court of Munich, Germany, condemned him to 10 years imprisonment for his participation in the war crimes committed in Krasnodar. The German Federal Court of Justice affirmed the verdict of the Munich court on 11 November 1982.

Kurt Christmann died on 4 April 1987.


After the Second World War numerous trials against war criminals and those responsible for Nazi crimes took place in Germany and other countries. It is not possible here to give an overview of all the trials. Below are the main facts concerning the major trials of war criminals at Nuremberg.


The German armed forces surrendered unconditionally on 7-8 May 1945. The Allies (USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France) took over all governmental functions in Germany, instituted the Allied Control Council and divided Germany into four zones of occupation.

After the adoption of the London Charter of 8 August 1945, the Allies set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in order to judge the major German war criminals. Annex III of the Agreement contains the Statute of the International Military Tribunal (IMT Statute [2]).


According to Articles 1-3 of the London Charter, war criminals with offenses having no particular geographical location were to be judged by the IMT. However in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the Convention, the principle of territoriality was to apply to the other German war criminals, with the courts of those states where crimes had been committed having the competence to try these criminals on the basis on their national laws.

Crimes within the jurisdiction of IMT:

– Crimes against peace;

– War crimes and

– Crimes against humanity (Article 6 of IMT Statute).

The IMT was composed of four judges and four substitutes who were appointed by the four Allied powers (Article 2 IMT Statute). In application of Article 13 of the IMT Statute, the Tribunal drew up its own Rules of Procedure

The IMT indicted 24 people in total. The trials took place from 14 November 1945 until 1 October 1946. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death, three were acquitted and seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. In one case, the procedure was suspended for health reasons and in another the defendant committed suicide before his trial.