Klausener, Erich, born 25-01-1885 in Düsseldorf to a strict Catholic family, followed his father’s career in public service, serving for a time in the Prussian Ministry of Trade. Klausener served as an ordnance officer in Belgium, France, and the Eastern front in World War I; he was decorated with the Iron Cross Second Class in 1914 and with the Iron Cross First Class in 1917. Klausener’s participation in boycotts during the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 and 1924 earned him a sentence of two months’ imprisonment.
Beginning in 1924, Klausener served in the Prussian welfare ministry, and later led the police division of that state’s interior ministry. Beginning in 1928, Klausener became head of the Katholische Aktion (Catholic Action) group. Prior to 1933, Klausener energetically supported the police battle against unlawful National Socialist activities. After Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists came to power in 1933, Hermann Goering became minister-president of Prussia. Klausener was shunted aside to the Prussian transportation ministry to make way for Göring to Nazify the Prussian police.
A close associate of vice chancellor Franz von Papen, Klausener contributed to his Marburg speech delivered on 17-06-1934. The speech, though moderate in tone, criticized the violence and repression that had taken place since Hitler became chancellor. Adolf Hitler was furious that Von Papen appeared to be questioning Hitler’s government. He made a speech at Gera where he described Von Papen as “the pygmy who imagines he can stop with a few phrases the gigantic renewal of a people’s life.” Joseph Goebbels also banned the planned publication of a pamphlet that included Von Papen’s speech. Klausener spoke at the Catholic Congress in Berlin’s Hoppegarten on June 24; where he spoke out against political oppression in front of an audience of 60,000. His impassioned and improvised criticism of the National Socialists’ repression of their opponents was viewed by the Nazis as open defiance.
Death and burial ground of Klausener, Erich.
Six days later, as on 30-06-1934, the Night of the Long Knives erupted, a squad of SS men, apparently acting on the orders of Goering and Reinhard Heydrich, entered Klausener’s office at the transportation ministry and SS officer Kurt Gildisch shot him dead at his desk. Other figures involved in Von Papen’s speech, Edgar Jung age 40 , Herbert von Bose, age 41, and SA Fuhrer George von Detten age 46, , were also murdered.
After the killing, Gildisch was promoted in rank to SS-Sturmbannführer . Gildisch was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and died 03-03-1956, aged 52, of incurable liver disease in a Wilmersdorfer private hospital after the criminal sentence was suspended due to his poor health and lack of available medical treatment in prison…
“Klausener’s murder sent a clear message to Catholics that a revival of independent Catholic political activity would not be tolerated”. Not one German cardinal or bishop protested about the killing of Klausener. After the end of Nazi rule after World War II, a memorial to Klausener was erected in Berlin. Since 1963, his ashes are reposing in a grave in the Catholic Church Maria Regina Martyrum, commemorating the martyrs of the Nazi period.
Klausener’s relationship with the future Pope Pius XII has at times been a matter of controversy. While writers like Guenter Lewy have expressed criticism at Pius for not intervening more forcefully during the affair, other authors like Joseph Bottum and David G. Dalin have presented a more positive appreciation of Pius’ attitude during that time. Klausener, Erich ashes.is buried at the cemetery/ Friedhof der St. Matthiasgemeinde (Berlin-Tempelhof)