German politician. Born in Elberfeld, Germany in 1896. Died in a Polish prison, 1986.

Erich Koch saw service with the German Army during World War I. After the war, he became a railway clerk.

Koch joined the NSDAP (the Nazi party) in 1922, and was active in party-organised riots in the Ruhr, being imprisoned repeatedly by the French.

He became Nazi Gauleiter of East Prussia in 1928, and was elected to the Reichstag for the NSDAP in 1930. In 1933, after the Nazi takeover, Koch became President of East Prussia.

During World War II, and especially from 1941 to 1944, Koch administered with brutal enthusiasm the policy of subjugating the Slavic population of East Prussia and the Ukraine. Many were deported to Germany to serve as slave labour, while those of "Aryan" appearance were forcibly "Germanised".

By his command, hundreds of thousands of people (Jews and other persecuted groups) were sent to concentration camps.

When the Soviet Red Army recaptured the Ukraine in 1944, Koch retreated to East Prussia. In 1945, during the final months of the war, he went into hiding in West Germany. In 1949, however, he was captured by the British in Hamburg.

Koch was wanted by both the Polish and Soviet governments for extradition, but the British decided to hand him over to Poland. He was extradited in 1950, but was not tried until 1958. On March 9, 1959, he was found guilty of the murder of 400,000 Poles (his other crimes were not addressed in the trial), and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to life imprisonment. Erich Koch died in prison, 27 years later.