Syrup was born in Lüchow in Lüchow-Dannenberg district, Province of Hanover. The postal official's son studied engineering science as well as law and political science. In 1905, he joined the Prussian Industrial Inspection Service, staying until 1918, and making a name for himself in this time with various scientific publications on issues such as occupational health and safety and the work force's social status. In November 1918, Syrup was delegated by the Prussian Ministry for Trade and Industry to the Demobilization Ministry, where he was responsible for reintegrating former soldiers into civilian industrial life. While in this job, Syrup created the Reich Office for Work Placement, whose president he was appointed in 1920. From 1927 until the end of 1938, he was president of the Reich institution for Work Placement and Unemployment Insurance. When the central office of the hitherto autonomous institution was integrated into the Reich Labour Ministry, Syrup was appointed State Secretary in this ministry.
In Kurt von Schleicher's cabinet, the last before Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Syrup was Reich Labour Minister (independent); however, he was sent back to his old job by Hitler. Hermann Göring, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Four-Year Plan, appointed Syrup in 1936 leader of the Geschäftsgruppe Arbeitseinsatz (Labour Deployment Business Group). In 1941, Syrup suffered a complete breakdown. After a long illness, he took up work once again, but only part-time. This was the deciding factor in appointing the Gauleiter of Thuringia, Fritz Sauckel, to General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment on 21 March 1942, effectively putting Syrup under Sauckel.
When the war ended, Syrup stayed in Berlin, although he could have fled. On 7 June 1945, he was taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he died a few months later.
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