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Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland

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Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland (1902-1969), who identified himself in Nuremberg Trials testimony as Gustav von Steengracht, was State Secretary in the Reich Foreign Office and member of the personal staff of Joachim von Ribbentrop. He held the rank of Brigadefuehrer in the Sturmabteilung (SA).

He was a defense witness in Ribbentrop's trial at Trial of the Major War Criminals, and a defendant in Ministries Case (NMT), where he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.[1]

Ribbentrop promoted him to permanent personal assistant after a 1943 reorganization in which he replaced many career diplomats, such as Ernst von Weizsaecker, Ernst Woermann and Friedrich Gaus, put presumably more loyal professionals (Andor Hencke, Erich Albrecht and Emil Wiehl) in the Political, Law and Trade Departments, and his own loyalists in all other new posts.[2]

His testimony, with respect to Ribbentrop, is consistent with the now-challenged role that the Reich Foreign Office had a relatively minor role in the war, principally due to competition by other agencies' foreign initiatives. Challenges come from a report release in 2010 by the German Foreign Ministry. According to Eckart Conze, professor of modern history at the Philipps University of Marburg and one of the authors of the report,"The sheer scale of the participation of Germany's Foreign Ministry in the Holocaust is bewildering. It wasn't just one department; it was the whole institution. The ministry collaborated with the Nazis' violent policies and took part in all aspects of the discrimination, deportation, persecution and genocide of the Jews."[3]

From the beginning of the war, the Foreign Minister had his office in the neighborhood of Hitler's headquarters; that is to say in most instances several hundred kilometers distant from Berlin. There he carried on business with a restricted staff. The Foreign Office in Berlin had duties of a routine and administrative nature. But above all, its duty was also the execution of the regular intercourse with foreign diplomats.
The foreign policy, not only on its basic lines, but also usually down to the most minute details, was determined by Hitler himself. Ribbentrop frequently stated that the Fuehrer needed no Foreign Minister, he simply wanted a foreign political secretary. Ribbentrop, in my opinion, would have been satisfied with such a position because then at least, backed by Hitler's authority, he could have eliminated partly the destructive and indirect foreign political influences and their sway on Hitler. Perhaps he might then have had a chance of influencing Hitler's speeches, which the latter was accustomed to formulate without Ribbentrop, even in the foreign political field. [4]

He is mentioned in discussion of communications between Hitler and Mussolini about Italy’s role in Greece in October 1941, but principally to pass messages from Ribbentrop, which in turn spoke of Hitler’s decision not to send questions to Rome. [5]


  1. Report, the Ministries Case, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
  2. Christian Leitz (1999), The Third Reich: the essential readings, Wiley-Blackwell, p. 62
  3. Tristana Moore (27 October 2010), "Were German Diplomats Complicit in the Holocaust?", Time
  4. Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 10, NINETY-FIRST DAY, Tuesday, 26 March 1946, Morning Session, at 106-108
  5. MacGregor Knox (1986), Mussolini unleashed, 1939-1941: politics and strategy in fascist Italy's last war, Cambridge University Press, p. 225