Rainer, Friedrich.

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Rainer, Friedrich

Rainer, Friedrich, born 28-01-1903 in Sankt Veit an der Glan in Carinthia, the son of a German nationalist vocational teacher at a municipal Bürgerschule, a secondary school. He attended the Realgymnasium in Klagenfurt  and, having obtained his Matura degree, studied law at the Universaty of Graz while he earned his living by working in a local banking institution or in general labor. After successfully completing his law examination, Rainer    began working in a notary’s office and completed his doctorate in 1926. From 1931 he worked as a notary public in Klagenfurt.

Since Rainer was a student in high-school, he engaged as a member of right-wing organizations in Sankt Veit and also participated in the armed Austro-Slovene conflict in Carinthia. Prior to his graduation from law school in Graz, he joined the Austrian SA in 1923 and joined a Burchenschaft student fraternity.  In October 1930, Rainer joined the Nazi Party  establishing the local branch in Sankt Veit. A close friend  of Odilio Globocnik,  he joined the SS in 1934 and also the Sicherheitsdienst (SD)  intelligence agency. In the same year he took up a post at the office of Nazi Gauleiter Hubert Klausner  in Klagenfurt. Hubert Klausner died suddenly, age 46 on 12-02-1939 in Vienna. As the Nazi Party had been banned by the Austrian government under Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in 1933, Rainer was in August 1935 sentenced to one year in police custody, presumably for high treason. He was released early for good behaviour the following March, nevertheless like Klausner and his deputy Globocnik he had to step down from his administrative role in the party, transferring sole leadership to the rival Austrian Nazi leader Josef Leopold . As Leopold soon fell out of favour with Adolf Hitler and came as a Oberstleutnant on the Russian front where he was killed in action, age 52 on 24-06-1941.

Friedrich was in May 1936 again assigned to the Nazi Party’s provincial body in Carinthia. In the course of the Austrian Anschluss  to Nazi Germany on 13-03-1938, Rainer was recruited to serve as the organizational staff leader in the office of Josef Bürckel, the Reichskommissar responsible for the annexation of the Austrian lands. On 22-05-1938, Rainer was personally appointed by Hitler to oversee the Nazi Party in the Reichsgau of Salzburg.  Upon the 1938 elections, he also was appointed member of the Reichstag legislature in Berlin. Rainer remained in his Gauleiter role at Salzburg, until 18 November 1941, when he was succeeded by Gustav Adolf Scheel   Gustav Adolf Scheel (22-11-1907 – 25-03-1979) was a German physician and Nazi politician. As a SS member and Sicherdienst employee, he became a “multifunctionary” in the time of the Third Reich , including posts as leader of both the National Socialist German Students Leaque  and the German Student Union, as an Einsatzgruppen commander in occupied Alsace, as well as Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter in Salzburg from November 1941 until May 1945. As Einsatzgruppen commander, he organized in October 1940 the deportation of Karlsruhe’s Jews to the extermination camps in the east. Gustav Scheel survived the war and died, age 71 in Hamburg, on 25-03-1979..

When World War II broke out, Rainer was appointed as Reich Defence Commissar of the military district XVIII.

 On 15-03-1940, he was additionally appointed as the Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor) of Salzburg. On 18-11-1941, Rainer was appointed as the Party’s Gauleiter of Carinthia, while simultaneously functioning in the role of a governor, thereby also ruling over the adjacent occupied Yugoslavian territories in Upper Carniola. On 11-12-1942, Rainer was made Reich Defence Commissar of Carinthia, much like his role in Salzburg. After Italy abandoned its German ally on 08-09-1943, Rainer took over the Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral as High Commissioner in the rank of a SS–Obergruppenführer. This act established him as the chief of the civil administration in the Italian region of Friuli, as well as in Yugoslavian Istria and Inner Carniola.

The Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral was a Nazi German district on the northern Adriatic coast created during World War II in 1943. It was formed out of territories that were previously under Fascist Italian control until its takeover by Germany. It included parts of present-day Italian, Slovenian, and Croatian territories. The area was administered as territory attached, but not incorporated to, the Reichsgau of Carinthia. The capital of the zone was the city of Trieste.

On 30-04-1945, several thousand volunteers of the Italian anti-fascist Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale rose up against the Nazis. On 1 May, Globocnik was given command of a chaotic assortment of German and collaborationist troops converging on Trieste as they retreated from Italy and Yugoslavia. These units were immediately engaged by the Partisans’ 4th Army before surrendering to the New Zealand 2nd Division commanded by NZ Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg on the evening of 2 May. However, fighting continued between Josip Broz Tito‘s army and remnant Wehrmacht and collaborationist forces for several days. The Partisans began to withdraw from areas west of the Isonzo river on 15-5-1945. On 11 June Yugoslav troops began to withdraw from Trieste.

Death and burial ground of Rainer, Friedrich.


On 07-05-1945, eight days after Hitler’s suicide, Rainer transferred his official functions to an executive board and fled to the mountainous area around the Weissensee lake in Carinthia. After being given leads by the local population, British occupation troops arrested Rainer and transferred him to Nuremberg, where he was compelled to testify in the Nuremberg Trials against the 24 main defendants, specifically in the case against the former Austrian chancellor Arthur Seyss Inquart..


On 13-03-1947, Rainer was extradited to Yugoslavia. On 10-07-1947, he was brought before a military court of the Yugoslav 4th Army at Ljubljana. He was found guilty of crimes against the people and sentenced to death on 19-07-1947. His widow received a death certificate from Yugoslavia after the war, which showed that same date. Nevertheless, as in similar cases, rumours lingered on into the 1950s that Rainer was still alive, working for the Yugoslav Departement of State Security. There is a stone of honor for Rainer on the Friedhof Klagenfurt-Annabichl; with Elhaz-Rune  and Hitler-quotation.  “Only the past and the present are building the future”

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