The Nazi leaders who built this force needed experienced police officers, said Michael Holzmann, son of an Austrian Nazi who has been researching Gestapo activities in this country for many years. “Huber seized this opportunity and became from a small investigator to a most successful leader of the Gestapo terrorist regime in the former Austria,” he said.
In March 1938, after Germany annexed Austria, Huber was made the Gestapo chief of the most important part of the country, including Vienna, the capital. Shortly afterwards, the Gestapo began an extensive hunt for dissidents in Austria, and Huber ordered “the immediate arrest of unwanted, especially criminally motivated Jews, and their transfer to the Dachau concentration camp.”
Huber remained in his position until the end of the war and gained more and more staff and authority. During this time, 70,000 Austrian Jews unable to leave the country were murdered, close to 40 percent of the original community, while their property was looted by the Nazis.
Eichmann confirmed during his trial that he was involved in the deportation of Jews, but refused to plead guilty to genocide, saying, “I had no choice but to follow the orders I was given.”
Huber took a different approach. Speaking to an official from the war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg in 1948 – who interviewed him as a witness and not a suspect – he said he had known nothing about the extermination until the end of 1944, when his deputy told him something vague.
“But the historical evidence paints a completely different picture,” says Prof. Moshe Zimmerman, a historian and Holocaust researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “Eichmann may have been a face better known to the Jewish community, but the one who shared the responsibility for carrying out the terror against the Jews, their gathering, their forced boarding on the trains and their deportation to the camps was the police and the Gestapo police under Huber. ”