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Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1980-128-63, Erich Raeder-1

Robert Ley (German: [ˈlaɪ]; February 15th, 1890 – October 25th, 1945) was a Nazi politician and head of the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945. Despite his failings, Ley retained Hitler's favour; until the last months of the war he was part of Hitler's inner circle along with Martin Bormann and Joseph Goebbels.[11] In November 1941 he was given a new role, as Reich Commissioner for Social House-Building (Reichskommissar für den sozialen Wohnungsbau), later shortened to Reich Housing Commissioner (Reichswohnungskommissar). Here his job was to prepare for the effects on German housing of the expected Allied air attacks on German cities, which began to increase in intensity from 1941 onwards. In this role he became a key ally of Armaments Minister Albert Speer, who recognized that German workers must be adequately housed if productivity was to be maintained. As the air war against Germany increased from 1943, "dehousing" German workers became an objective of the Allied area bombing campaign, and Ley's organisation was increasingly unable to cope with the resulting housing crisis.

He was aware in general terms of the Nazi regime's program of extermination of the Jews of Europe. Ley encouraged it through the virulent anti-Semitism of his publications and speeches. In February 1941 he was present at a meeting along with Speer, Martin Bormann and Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel at which Hitler had set out his views on the "Jewish question" at some length, making it clear that he intended the "disappearance" of the Jews one way or another.[12]

In May 1944, Ley addressed a nationwide gathering of merchants in Passau.[13]

Ley was arrested by US troopers on May 16th, 1945 dressed in his pajamas. Before he could be put on trial during the Nuremberg trials, he committed suicide while awaiting trial at Nuremberg for war crimes.[1]

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