VoMi's Prewar Activities
Having an SS officer of Werner Lorenz's stature directing the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle was an important preliminary step in Himmler's campaign to extend his influence over the German minorities of Europe. By no means was this step an end goal. Much still remained to be done before Himmler could claim the Volksdeutsche as his exclusive auxiliaries and exploit them for SS purposes. Kursell and others had already initiated efforts to nazify the minorities, and the new leaders actively continued the effort. But nazification abroad required completing the Gleichschaltung at home.
In pursuit of this objective, Lorenz focused on securing direct VoMi control over the VDA, the most important Volkstum organization. He allowed it to continue its activities both at home and abroad as before, but under VoMi's guidance. At the outset he tried to work with the VDA leadership. For instance, he demonstrated how he could use his SS influence on behalf of the VDA when he warned Ernst Bohle that unless the AO ceased its attacks on the VDA, he would veto Bohle's promotion to SS Gruppenführer.1 But VDA chief Steinacher, who had nothing but contempt for Lorenz, was unimpressed and doubted Lorenz's sincerity in protecting the VDA. Finding Steinacher unre-