Gau Essen

Gau Essen
Gau of Nazi Germany



Gau Essen on the left, bordering The Netherlands
Capital Essen
  19281945 Josef Terboven
  Establishment 1 August 1928
  Disestablishment 8 May 1945
Area 1,900 km2 (734 sq mi)
Density 1,473.7 /km2  (3,816.8 /sq mi)
Today part of  Germany

The Gau Essen was an administrative division of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945 in the northern parts of the Prussian Rhine Province. Before that, from 1928 to 1933, it was the regional subdivision of the Nazi Party in that area.


The Nazi Gau (plural Gaue) system was originally established in a party conference on 22 May 1926, in order to improve administration of the party structure. From 1933 onward, after the Nazi seizure of power, the Gaue increasingly replaced the German states as administrative subdivisions in Germany.[1]

At the head of each Gau stood a Gauleiter, a position which became increasingly more powerful, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War, with little interference from above. Local Gauleiter often held government positions as well as party ones and were in charge of, among other things, propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onward, the Volkssturm and the defense of the Gau.[1][2]

The position of Gauleiter in Essen was held by Josef Terboven throughout the history of the Gau.[3][4] After the German conquest of Norway in 1940 Hitler promoted Terboven Reichskommissar for the occupied country, where he ruled with almost absolute power. He committed suicide on 8 May 1945 by detonating 50 kilograms of explosives in a bunker.[5]

The Gau had a size of 1,900 km2 (2,741 sq mi) and a population of 2,800,000, which placed it in mid-table for size and population in the list of Gaue.[6]


  1. 1 2 "Die NS-Gaue" [The Nazi Gaue]. (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. "The Organization of the Nazi Party & State". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. "Übersicht der NSDAP-Gaue, der Gauleiter und der Stellvertretenden Gauleiter zwischen 1933 und 1945" [Overview of Nazi Gaue, the Gauleiter and assistant Gauleiter from 1933 to 1945]. (in German). Zukunft braucht Erinnerung. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  4. "Gau Essen". (in German). Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  5. "Josef Terboven (1898-1945)". (in German). Historisches Centrum Hagen. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. "Gau Köln-Aachen" [Gau Cologne-Aix-la-Chapelle]. (in German). Landschaftsverband Rheinland. Retrieved 26 March 2016.

External links

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