- "Do you know who I am, peasant?"
"I believe you are Ernst Kaufmann, head of the Sturmabteilung's special weapons division..."
"Graf Von Kaufmann to you."
- ―Ernst Kaufmann and Johann Schmidt
- "You come near Adolf Hitler again, and I make you disappear."
- ―Ernst Kaufmann to Johann Schmidt
After the 1933 election in Germany, when the Nazis came to power, Kaufmann was the commanding officer of the SA's special weapons division. In February 1934, Kaufmann and Hitler were at the Deutsches Opernhaus in Berlin where they watched one of Richard Wagner's operas. After the opera, they met Johann Schmidt, the German physicist who revealed to them his theory that magic could be “the oldest science ever known”. Hitler was intrigued by Schmidt's ideas, but Kaufmann was less impressed. Still, Hitler ordered Kaufmann to arrange a meeting between him and Schmidt.
But when Hitler left the scene, Kaufmann and his men took Schmidt out of the opera. Schmidt offered to conduct research in Kaufmann's special weapons division, but was violently rejected. Kaufmann threatened to kill Schmidt if he came near Hitler ever again.
On June 30, 1934 Kaufmann was at the Hanselbauer Hotel in the Bavarian town of Bad Wiessee. Schmidt, now an officer of Heinrich Himmler's Schutzstaffel, came to the hotel and killed Kaufmann in a painful way. On that day, which later became known as the Night of the Long Knives, almost the entire leadership of the SA was eliminated by the SS troops. Schmidt later took control of Kaufmann's weapons program.
Ernst Kaufmann was a ruthless Sturmabteilung officer who enjoyed his status as Adolf Hitler's second-in-command. A violent man, his violent tendencies unleashed so easily that even Hitler had to remind him to calm down, like when they first met Johann Schmidt. When Schmidt gained the Fuhrer's attention, Kaufmann grew to become jealous of him to the point he threatened him with death and pushed him down some stairs despite Schmidt's offer to aid him on his weapons division. This action costed Kaufmann some months later, when Schmidt came to kill him and took control of his program afterwards.
A man who believed that his noble origins gave him the the power to walk over others in his way, Ernst Kaufmann demanded respect even if he didn't demonstrated it to others, insisting to be referred as "Graf Von Kaufmann" by those he disliked, like Johan Schmidt, whom he contemptuously referred as a "peasant". When Schmidt was send to kill him on the hotel he was staying under the orders of Heinrich Himmler, Kaufmann's immediate reaction was why Schmidt was present there if the hotel was reserved for Sturmabteilung officers only.
Unlike Hitler, Ernst Kaufmann was also skeptical in regards of magic, which he regarded as "mystic drivel". As with most Nazi supporters, Kaufmann despised the works of Albert Einstein, whom he dismissed as a decadent Jewish.