Wilhelm Gustloff (January 30, 1895 - February 4, 1936) was the leader of the Swiss NSDAP/AO (the Nazi party organization for German citizens abroad); he founded the Swiss branch of the NSDAP/AO at Davos in 1932.
Gustloff, who worked for the Swiss government as a meteorologist, joined the NSDAP in 1929 and put much effort in the distribution of the antisemitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to the point that members of the Swiss Jewish community sued the book's distributor, the Swiss NSDAP/AO, for libel. Gustloff was shot and killed in 1936 by David Frankfurter, a Croatian Jewish student incensed by Gustloff's antisemitic activism. Frankenfurter gave himself up immediately and was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was pardoned and exiled at the end of World War II.
Gustloff was given a state funeral in his birthplace of Schwerin in Mecklenburg with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Martin Bormann and Joachim von Ribbentrop in attendance. Thousands of Hitlerjugend members lined the route. His coffin, which was transported on a special train from Davos to Schwerin, made stops in Stuttgart, Würzburg, Erfurt, Halle, Magdeburg and Wittenberg. His widow, mother and brother were present at the funeral and received personal condolences from Hitler. Ernst Wilhelm Bohle was the first at Gustloff's funeral to recite a few lines in honour of the deceased. Gustloff was made a Blutzeuge of the Nazi cause and his murder later became part of the propaganda serving as pretext for the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom. His wife Hedwig (who had been Hitler's secretary) received from Hitler personally a monthly "honorary pay" (Ehrensold) of 400 Reichsmark.
The German cruise ship MV Wilhelm Gustloff was named after Gustloff by the Nazi regime; the ship was sunk in 1945 with the loss of over 9,000 lives. Also, the Wilhelm Gustloff Foundation or Wilhelm-Gustloff-Stiftung was named after him. The small arms factory Berlin Suhler Waffen und Fahrzeugwerke was renamed Wilhelm Gustloff Werke in Gustloff's honor in 1939.
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|1||Adolf Hitler||Familiar, Partymate, Idea mate|