Max Winkler

Max Winkler (7 September 1875 - 12 October 1961) was Mayor of Graudenz (now Grudziądz, Poland), Reich Trustee and Reich Commissioner for German Cinema.

Born 7 September 1875 in Karresch (West Prussia, now Poland), Winkler, who came from a family of teachers, was working for the postal service by 1891, and as of 1914, he was a city councillor in Graudenz, and by November 1918, the mayor.

From 1919 he was a member of the Landtag in Prussia for the German Democratic Party, and between 1920 and 1933 as Reich Trustee for Ceded German Areas.

As head of Cautio Treuhand GmbH, a German holding company, Winkler was trusted with the task of economically and culturally supporting ethnic German communities in other countries, and establishing the "fortification" of German minority newspapers. After Adolf Hitler seized power, Winkler was therefore instrumental in the Gleichschaltung (bringing in line) in the press.

Winkler joined the Nazi Party rather late in 1937. In the same year, the Führer named him "Reich Commissioner for the German Film Industry". In this function, by order of the Propaganda Ministry, he decreed appointments and instructions which curtailed the industry's entrepreneurial freedom. This included buying up controlling interests in all German film production companies, thereby making them an organ of Joseph Goebbels's ministry. Between 1939 and 1945, Winkler was leader of the Main Trusteeship East (Haupttreuhandstelle Ost).

After the war, Winkler found himself in an internment camp. By 11 August 1949, however, the main Denazification court in Lüneburg had classified him as "uncharged" and released him.

Right afterwards, Winkler became a staffer at a film company. Under orders from the new West German government, Winkler was also involved in the Denazification of Universum Film AG.

Winkler was involved in both the execution of Gleichschaltung of the press and the nationalization of the film industry. As leader of the Haupttreuhandstelle Ost he was responsible for the administration of seized state and private industrial and property assets in Poland.

Winkler died 1961 in Düsseldorf.


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