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Jordan was born in Großenlüder, Hesse-Nassau. His family's background was in farming, although his father was also a salesman. After finishing Volksschule, Jordan became a worker in the armament industry between 1916 and 1918. He earned so much money doing this that after the First World War, he found himself able to begin training as a teacher in Fulda. He nevertheless got involved in the military, serving from 1920 to 1922 as a temporary volunteer in the Reichswehr. In 1922, Jordan became a member of the Freikorps Oberland, and alongside this service ended his teacher training in 1924. At 22, he was already a Volksschule teacher.
The high joblessness rate in Germany at this time, however, kept him from finding a teaching job, leading him to take such jobs as workman, office worker or freelancer, among others, at publishing houses and in advertising to keep his head above water financially. Only in 1927 could he break into teaching, and he worked as a teacher at, among other schools, the "Army Vocational School for Economics and Administration" ("Heeresfachschule für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung") in Fulda.
Already by 1924, Jordan was active as a speaker for the Völkisch-Social Bloc and the German-völkisch Reich Party, without ever becoming a member of either one, however. Through these rather nationalistically oriented groups, Jordan came into contact with the NSDAP, which he joined in May 1925.
In 1925, Jordan's first writings came out:
- "Der wissenschaftliche Sozialismus" ("Economic Socialism")
- "Deutschland als Kolonie der Wallstreet" ("Germany as Wall Street's Colony")
In November 1929 Jordan got into Hesse-Nassau's Provinziallandtag for the Nazi Party, and in December of the same year he got elected as Fulda's only Nazi city councillor. Owing to this appointment, he was dismissed from his teaching job a few days later. Also in December 1929, Jordan founded the party newspaper Fuldaer Beobachter ("Fulda Observer"), whose name was freely borrowed from the Party's official paper, the Völkischer Beobachter.
From 19 January 1931, Jordan was appointed Nazi Gauleiter of Halle-Merseburg, and then began rising within the Party ranks, acting as member of the Prussian Landtag between April 1932 and October 1933 and being appointed to the Prussian State Council and made an SA Gruppenführer.
In the same year began the publication of the Mitteldeutsche Tageszeitung newspaper, led by Jordan himself. In March 1933 came his appointment as Plenipotentiary for the Province of Saxony in the Reichsrat and in November 1933 his election as a member of the Reichstag. On 20 April 1937, Adolf Hitler personally appointed him Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor) in Braunschweig and Anhalt and NSDAP Gauleiter of Magdeburg-Anhalt. Jordan was succeeded as Gauleiter of Halle-Merseburg by Joachim Albrecht Eggeling.
In the same year came Jordan's promotion to SA Obergruppenführer.
In 1939, Jordan became Chief of the Anhalt Provincial Government and Reichsverteidigungskommissar (Reich Defence Commissar, or RVK) in Defence District XI. On 18 April 1944 came Jordan's last leap up the career ladder when he was appointed High President (Oberpräsident) of the Province of Magdeburg.
In the war's dying days, Jordan managed to go underground with his family under a false name. He was nonetheless arrested by the British on 30 May 1945, and in July of the next year, the Western Allies handed him over to the Soviets.
Late in 1950 – after four years in custody in the Soviet occupation zone – Jordan was sentenced to 25 years in a labour camp in the Soviet Union. Only Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's visit to Moscow managed to persuade the Soviets to reconsider Jordan's sentence, and then he was released on 13 October 1955.
In the years to come, Jordan earned a living as a sales representative, and worked as an administrator for an aircraft manufacturing firm. He died in Munich.
Publications after the war
- 1971: "Erlebt und erlitten. Weg eines Gauleiters von München nach Moskau" ("Experienced and Suffered. A Gauleiter's Way from Munich to Moscow")
- 1974: "Im Zeugenstand der Geschichte. Antworten zum Thema Hitler" ("On History's Witness Stand. Answers to the Theme of Hitler")
- 1984: "Der 30. Juni 1934. Die sog. "Röhm-Revolte" und ihre Folgen aus der Sicht eines Erlebniszeugen" ("The 30th of June 1934. The so-called "Röhm Revolt" and its Aftermath from a Witness's Point of View")