Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father targeted (2024)

"It's a dark subject. So, when we talk about the Austrian police under National Socialism, we are dealing with a particularly dark chapter of Austrian contemporary history," said editor and contemporary historian Barbara Stelzl-Marx from the University of Graz and head of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on the Consequences of War.

The police were responsible for arrests and war crimes from the very beginning. Of course, there was the entire spectrum: perpetrators and accomplices, but also victims and resistance fighters. The personal scope for action was central here - something that could also be of interest for today and for the training of police students.

From left to right: Martin Zellhofer (Böhlau), Mathias Vogl (BMI Head of Section III Legal Affairs), Gregor Holzinger (Head of the MM Research Center), Barbara Stelzl-Marx (Head of BIK), Andreas Kranebitter (Head of DÖW), Stephan Mlczoch (Head of the Historical Affairs Department within Section III)


How people behaved in this extreme situation of violence has now been described in the book "Exekutive der Gewalt: Die österreichische Polizei und der Nationalsozialismus". The book was presented almost hot off the press last Friday at the Ministry of the Interior. The biographies in the "book with uncomfortable truths" are particularly exciting, explains Stelzl-Marx.

The story of the father of the Austrian Hollywood star and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has also been included: Gustav Schwarzenegger. The research was triggered by a request from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Simon Wiesenthal Center asking them to investigate his father's involvement in the war.

Gustav Schwarzenegger

(Bild: Österreichisches Staatsarchiv)

As we now know, Gustav Schwarzenegger was accepted into the army as a musician in 1930. In 1939, he accompanied the invasion of Poland as a field gendarme. During the campaign in the Soviet Union from 1941 onwards, he was involved in battles and securing the terrain. However, as he was wounded and contracted malaria, he dropped out relatively quickly. He was discharged and from 1944 until the end of the war held the rank of chief constable in the gendarmerie in Mürzzuschlag in Upper Styria. After the war, he denied having been part of the NSDAP, which he had joined in January 1941 according to the files. He was believed. He therefore remained "unencumbered" in the Federal Gendarmerie.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father targeted (1)

The Ministry of the Interior is the first department in Austria to openly face up to its Nazi past. Through in-depth scientific research by an external consortium consisting of the University of Graz/Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on the Consequences of War, the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance and the Mauthausen Memorial Federal Institute, supported by a project team in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, a comprehensive picture of the Austrian police from the Nazi era to the Second Republic, with all its ruptures and continuities, has been compiled.

Innenminister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP)

Austrian police officer executed in Moscow
The life of Johann Scheiflinger, who was employed by the police in Vienna from 1938, is particularly sensational. In 1941, he was sent to Stryj in Galicia (western Ukraine) with a protection police regiment. When the German troops withdrew in July 1944, he joined the Wehrmacht and was taken prisoner of war by the Soviets. He returned to Austria in 1947 and worked again as a gendarme in Carinthia. Shortly afterwards, however, he was arrested on suspicion that he had been involved in war crimes. He was subsequently handed over to the Soviet occupying power, which initiated proceedings against him and other former police officers from Stryj. In the indictment, he was accused of having participated in killings as part of the campaign to make the area "free of Jews". During mass shootings, he was part of the cordon that cordoned off the scene and shot the fugitives. The Soviet military tribunal in Baden near Vienna sentenced Scheiflinger to death. He was the only police officer to be executed in Moscow for the crimes in Stryj.

(Bild: Böhlau)

Book tip

  • Editors: Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Andreas Kranebitter, Gregor Holzinger

  • Published on 6.5.2024
  • 824 pages

The role of the police in the Holocaust
Today we know that the police played a central role in enforcing and maintaining National Socialist rule. The basis of this "order" was surveillance, repression and terror.

Political "opponents" or people classified as "criminal" or "asocial" were imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp and its satellite camps, which were established in 1938. The prisoners suffered hunger and were forced to do hard labor. The senior officers of the "Political Department" stationed there were mostly criminal police officers. They kept records of the prisoners, interrogated them and decided who had to go to the gas chamber or be shot in the neck.

"The police also came into play when there were escapes from the camp," explains co-editor Gregor Holzinger from the Mauthausen Memorial. The most famous of these was the mass escape of Soviet prisoners of war in February 1945, which cynically went down in history as the "Mühlviertel Hare Hunt". Police teams from all over the area were involved and also took part in the other murders.

But there was also resistance in the police force during the Nazi era, explains co-editor Andreas Kranebitter from the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance. This resistance was all the more courageous because "it had to go against its own institutions, it had to go against its own colleagues. And he was also persecuted by his own colleagues."

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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father targeted (2024)


Why didn't Arnold Schwarzenegger attend his father's funeral? ›

Schwarzenegger paid for Patrick's education and helped him to move to the U.S. Schwarzenegger's father, Gustav, died of a stroke on December 13, 1972. In Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger claimed that he did not attend his father's funeral because he was training for a bodybuilding contest.

Why did Arnold not go to his brother's funeral? ›

The star athlete also did not visit his brother's funeral because he didn't want to face his past. Therefore, shedding light on their adverse childhood and how his brother's life was badly influenced by it, Arnie once spoke in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger Chris Pratt's father-in-law? ›

Chris Pratt considers himself lucky to call Arnold Schwarzenegger family. Pratt married Schwarzenegger's daughter Katherine five years ago, and they share two daughters.

What ethnicity is Arnold Schwarzenegger? ›

Austrian born Arnold Schwarzenegger gained fame as a body builder, actor and governor of California. Significance: He was the 38th Governor of California.

How old was Joseph when he found out Arnold was his father? ›

Joseph was around 13 years old when he found out Schwarzenegger was his father - with the actor having had an affair with Baena in 1996 while still married to Shriver.

What happened to Arnold's brother? ›

Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about his Nazi Party-affiliated father in the new docuseries, "Arnold." He said that his dad's abuse made his brother turn to alcohol. His brother died in a drunk-driving accident. "The very thing that made me who I am today was the very thing that destroyed him," he said.

Does Arnold Schwarzenegger have a son in law? ›

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a strong bond with his son-in-law, Chris Pratt! On Wednesday's episode of Travis and Jason Kelce's New Heights podcast, the veteran action star opened up about his relationship with the Guardians of the Galaxy star, and the biggest conversation that brings them together.

Does Arnold Schwarzenegger have a son Patrick? ›

Patrick Arnold Shriver Schwarzenegger (born September 18, 1993) is an American actor. He is the son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Santa Monica, California, U.S.

How is Chris Pratt related to Maria Shriver? ›

During a Thursday appearance on "Today," the 44-year-old actor gushed over Shriver, 68, who is mother to his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger, 34. Shriver is also mom to Christina, 32, and sons Patrick, 30, and Christopher, 26, whom she shares with her ex-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Oh, my gosh.

Why did Arnold Schwarzenegger son change his name? ›

Joseph Baena doesn't want to be seen as just another nepo baby. That's why the son of Arnold Schwarzenegger has avoided using his father's iconic last name, instead favoring mom Mildred Baena's surname, as he forges his own path in Hollywood.

What accent does Arnold Schwarzenegger speak? ›

Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed on “The Graham Norton Show” that he once hired an accent removal coach to try and do away with his thick Austrian accent for good. Aside from his jacked muscles, the action star's accent is his most definitive quality as a performer.

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger vegan? ›

Arnold Schwarzenegger eats an 80% vegan diet, which he said has helped lower his cholesterol. His go-to protein sources are eggs, salmon, chicken, veggie burgers, and protein shakes. Schwarzenegger eats steak, hamburgers, and Austrian wiener schnitzel when he wants a treat.

How much did Arnold make for his funeral? ›

For playing the Brunner family's head who doubles as a CIA operative, Schwarzenegger made a hefty $25 million, making him the highest-paid cast member in the entirety of the show, with Barbaro taking home the next best figure of $1.2 million.

Why did Arnold Schwarzenegger change his name? ›

The Hollywood star, 75, was determined to make the breakthrough into the movie industry after years of cleaning up medals on the bodybuilding scene. But his first main acting gig saw him required to change his name, with the director wanting to make him more accessible to the viewing public.

Was Arnold Schwarzenegger a veteran? ›

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger has served in the military. The former governor of California served in the Austrian Army in 1965 as it was mandatory for Austrian males to serve in the army at the age of 18. The Austrian Oak served as a tank driver in the military.


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