Wilhelm Keppler (1882-1960) was an industrialist, financier and one of Adolf
Hitler's personal economic advisers. He was born on December 14, 1882.
Introduced to Hitler by Heinrich Himmler, Keppler greatly helped in securing
funding for the Nazi party. In March 1933 he was elected to the Reichstag, and
in July he was appointed Reich Commisioner for Economic Affairs. He briefly
served as Hitler's financial expert, but was replaced by Hjalmar Schacht.
He was the hub of The Keppler Circle, later known as the Circle of Friends
of Heinrich Himmler. This group of bankers was formed during the early 1930s at
Hitler's request, and ended up supplying the SS with essential financial
contributions. In 1936, he became personal adviser to Hermann Goering, helping
implement the Four Year Plan.
In 1938, he was sent to Austria to in preparation for the Anschluss. He
became Reich Commissioner there, and managed to become chairman of two
I.G. Farben subsidiaries (Braunkohle-Benzin AG & Kontinental Oil AG). These
two companies were vital to the German war machine. He became Secretary of
State during World War II, and in January 1942 was promoted to
Obergruppenfuhrer of the SS.
After the war, Keppler was sentenced to ten years in prison at the
Wilhelmstrasse Trial on April 14, 1949. He was released less than two years
later because of a clemency act by the American High Commissioner. He died
on June 13, 1960.