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Robert Ley, Head of the German Labor Front (DAF) (1936)
Robert Ley joined the Nazi Party in the 1920s and held a series of party offices, including the position staff chief of NSDAP political organizations. From 1930 on, he was also a member of the Reichstag. After Hitler seized power, Ley led the "Action Committee for the Protection of German Labor," whose goal was to "coordinate" all German labor unions under Nazi control. On May 10, 1933, he organized the takeover of German unions by the German Labor Front [Deutsche Arbeitsfront or DAF], a unified association of employees and employers. By the end of the war, the DAF and its numerous collateral organizations boasted more than 22 million members. As the leader of the DAF, Ley headed the regime’s largest mass organization – a responsibility that he managed despite his escalating alcoholism, which earned him the nickname the "Reich drunkard" [Reichstrunkenbold]. In 1945, he was named a defendant in the war crimes trial organized by the International Military Court in Nuremberg. He hanged himself in his cell before the trial started. Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann.