Riecke, Hans-Joachim Ernst, born 08-10-1899 in Dresden, 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 and Gauleiter Alfred Meyer of the small Free State of Lippe. Alfred Meyer attended the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 with Reyhard Heydrich,
as a representative for Alfred Rosenberg. In November that year, he was also made Reichsverteidigungskommissar (Reich Defence Commissioner) of Defence District VI (northern Westphalia). Alfred Meyer was found dead on 11-04-1945, age 53, by the River Weser. The cause of death was suicide, most likely prompted by Germany’s impending defeat in the war.
In 1936 Riecke switched as a head of department (Ministerialdirektor) to SS Obergruppenführer Herbert Backe in the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture. In allied captivity, Backe was interrogated during the Nuremberg trials of 21 February and 14-03-1947. In his prison cell in the Nuremberg war criminals’ prison, Backe wrote two treatises: a so-called big report about his life and his work on National Socialism, and also on 31-01-1946, a testament outline for his wife Ursula and his four children. Because of his fear that he was to be delivered to the Soviet Union, he committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell on 06-04-1947, age 50.
During World War II Riecke was the most important accomplice of Herbert Backe. Riecke headed the agricultural section of the Economic Staff East, whose guidelines appeared on 23-05-1941 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. From 1942, Riecke was acting Permanent Secretary (Staatssekretär); in 1944 he officially became Permanent Secretary. In the same year he switched from the SA to the SS, receiving the rank of SS Gruppenführer.
Riecke was arrested on 23-05-1945 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 NS Politieker and SS Obergruppenführer, Reichsminister of Food and Agriculture. Richard Walther Darré.
Death and burial ground of Riecke, Hans-Joachim Ernst.
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 to the Toepfer company, and from 1976 to his death in 1986 an honorary member of this Foundation. Hans-Joachim Ernst. Riecke died on 11-08-1986, aged 87 in Hamburg. He is buried on the Friedhof /cemetery of Giebichenstein Halle (Saale).