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Hans-Joachim Riecke (20 June 1899 – 11 August 1986) was a German Nazi politician and Gruppenführer in the SS. During World War II Riecke was Permanent Secretary (Staatssekretär) to Herbert Backe in the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture and Backes accomplice in planning and implementing the Hunger Plan.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Riecke was born in Dresden, Germany. He studied agriculture at the University of Leipzig and graduated in 1925 with a degree in farming. He joined the Nazi Party in June 1925. From 1925 to 1933 Riecke worked in the Chamber of Agriculture of Münster/Westphalia, most recently as Head of the Department of Agriculture. From 1933 to 1936 he was Minister of State (Staatsminister) under Reichsstatthalter Alfred Meyer of the small Free State of Lippe. In 1936 he switched as a head of department (Ministerialdirektor) to Herbert Backe in the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture.[2]

During World War II he was the most important accomplice of Herbert Backe. Riecke headed the agricultural section of the Economic Staff East, whose guidelines appeared on 23 May 1941 and took into account the mass starvation of the Slavic civilian populations under German occupation by directing all food supplies to the German home front and the Wehrmacht deployed on the Eastern Front.[3] From 1942, Riecke was acting Permanent Secretary (Staatssekretär); in 1944 he was officially Permanent Secretary. In the same year he switched from the SA to the SS, receiving the rank of Gruppenführer.[4] Riecke was arrested on 23 May 1945 and interned until March 1949. At the Nuremberg trials he testified in April 1946 at the trial of Alfred Rosenberg as a defence witness in favour of the accused. During the Ministries Trial (Wilhelmstraßen-Prozess), one of the subsequent Nuremberg Trials, he appeared in February 1948 as a witness for the prosecution against Richard Walther Darré.[5]

From 1952 to 1970 Riecke was an official and head of the Economics Department of the Alfred C. Toepfer Company, which operated, among other areas, in global trade in agricultural products, particularly grain. After that, Riecke was vice executive until 1976 of the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S., which also provided substantial financial support the Toepfer company, and from 1976 to his death in 1986 an honorary member of this Foundation.[6]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Alex J. Kay: Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder. Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940–1941. Berghahn Books, New York/Oxford 2006, pp. 133-134.
  2. Wigbert Benz: Hans-Joachim Riecke, NS-Staatssekretär. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2014, pp. 13-34.
  3. Kay: Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder., pp. 133–135 ; Adam Tooze: The Wages of Destruction, Viking, 2007, p.669.
  4. Benz: Hans-Joachim Riecke, pp. 56-65.
  5. Benz: Hans-Joachim Riecke, pp. 73-91.
  6. Benz: Hans-Joachim Riecke, pp. 105-107.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Wigbert Benz: Hans-Joachim Riecke, NS-Staatssekretär. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86573-793-9.
  • Alex J. Kay: Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder: Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940-1941. (Studies on War and Genocide, Vol. 10) Berghahn Books, New York, Oxford 2006, ISBN 1-84545-186-4.

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