Robert Ley was leader of the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945, who in Mai 1942 declared: "It is not enough to isolate the Jewish enemy of mankind, the Jews have got to be exterminated .."
Ley was born Feb. 15, 1890, in Niederbreidenbach, Germany.The son of a small landowner, Ley studied at the universities of Jena and Bonn, received a Ph.D. in chemistry, and worked for IG Farbenindustrie, before he was discharged in 1928 for "political activity." He was elected as Nazi member to the Prussian Diet in 1929 and to the Reichstag in 1932.
Robert Ley was made head of the German workers' front after Hitler's accession to power. To weld German labour into a solid organization backing Hitler, Ley abolished the democratic trade unions and built up a powerful labour organization designed to facilitate German militarization and war preparations. He was also head of the Union of Germans Living Abroad.
During World War II, Robert Ley supervised the mobilization of foreign as well as German labour for war work. Near the war's end he fled to the mountains near Berchtesgaden, where he was captured by U.S. troops on May 16, 1945.
A local citizen passed a note to the military governor, telling him the hiding place of Ley "I went over to the house mentioned in the note," the military governor later recalled, "and sure enough there was my good friend Dr. Robert Ley, asleep in his sack. I told him to get up and make it snappy. . . . He said he couldn't understand why we wanted him. I had a man from the company with me who was a German Jew. I thought he was going to kill Ley ..."
Ley attempted to poison himself at the time of his capture but was thwarted by an Allied soldier who knocked the bottle out of Ley's hand. The prisoner was wearing a ring, a cyanide capsule hidden in it, a common practice among high-ranking Nazi officers. In the end, Ley cheated the justice system by hanging himself with a towel in the lavatory in the Nürnberg prison on October 25, 1945, while awaiting trial.