SS-chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner joined the Nazi Party in 1932, and became leader of the Austrian SS 1935. He agreed with Himmler on the establishment of gas-chambers for execution 1942, became head of the security police 1943, and sent millions of Jews and political suspects to their deaths in concentration camps. He was also responsible for orders sanctioning the murder of prisoners of war.

Toward the end of the war, Kaltenbrunner's power increased greatly, especially after the attack on Hitler of 20 July 1944. He gained direct access to Hitler.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner was captured by U.S. troops on May 15, 1945 and was indicted for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg and sentenced to death. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.