b. 19 June 1896, d. 12 November 1986, Barczewo, Poland.

Koch joined the Nazi Party in the early 1920s, and served as Gauleiter (governor) of East Prussia from 1933. After the occupation of Ukrainian territories in 1941, Koch was appointed Reichkommisar of Reichskommissariat Ukraine. Koch was known for his cruelty; he described himself as a ‘brutal dog.’ Under Koch, Reichkommissariat Ukraine became the most brutal occupied Reich territory. Koch was responsible for the deaths of some 4 million people in his three years of rule in Reichkommissariat Ukraine, including almost the entire Jewish population of the region.  Entire villages were routinely destroyed as reprisal for Ukrainian nationalist and Soviet partisan actions.

Koch considered the Ukrainians, and Slavs in general, of being an inferior race to be used as a source of slave labor for the German war effort. Under his rule, some 2.5 million Ukrainians were deported to work in the German Reich as slave labor. Furthermore, because Ukrainians were to be used solely as labor, they were denied everything but the most rudimentary education.

After the re-occupation of Ukrainian territories by the Red Army in 1944, Koch once again became Gauleiter of East Prussia. After the War, he escaped to the British zone of occupation where he lived until 1949. He was discovered and sent to Poland for trial; convicted for war crimes, he was sentenced to death. This sentence was never carried out, ostensibly because of Koch’s poor health. Strangely, the USSR never demanded his extradition to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity that he committed in his three years of brutal rule over Reichkommissariat Ukraine. Nor did Soviet authorities ever publicly pressure the Polish government to carry out Koch’s death sentence.  Koch lived in relative comfort in a Polish prison until his death from natural causes in 1986.