Waffen-SS Brigadeführer – a Profile

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Vol. 7, No. 6, Number 42,
January – March 1987

There were 52 Waffen-SS Brigadeführer, the oldest of whom was Friedrich Tscharmann (an SS HQ staff officer), who was born in 1871 in Saxony, while the youngest was Wilhelm Mohnke (commander of the 1st SS Division „LAH“ in late 1944, early 1945), who was born in Lübeck in 1911. Twenty-three of the Brigfhr. were born in the decade from 1890 to 1900, while another 20 were born in the years from 1901 to 1911. Thirty, including two born in Alsace-Lorraine, were of Prussian descent, while six came from Bavaria, four from Saxony, three from old Austro-Hungary, three from Hamburg, two each from Hesse and Baden, and one from Wuerttemburg along with one Dane.

Eighteen of the 52 Brigfhr. retained their religious affiliations, of whom 13 were Evangelical Lutherans. One of the Brigfhr. came from the upper class (Gustav Lombard, whose father was a nobleman), while another 12 were derived from the upper middle class, and 19 others had middle class backgrounds. Thirteen Brigfhr. had lower middle class origins, while the remaining SS Major Generals came from farming, laboring or lower class families. Among the latter were Theodor Wisch (1st SS), Kurt Mayer (12th SS), and Sylvester Stadler (9th SS). The upper middle class Brigfhr. included Peter Hansen (29th SS), Gottfried Klingemann (2nd SS Bde.), Gustav Krukenberg (33rd and 11th SS), Heinz Lammerding (2nd and 38th SS), Ritter von Oberkamp (7th SS), Juergen Wagner (23rd SS) and Joachim Ziegler (11th SS).

Twelve of the SS-Brigfhr. had higher academic learning, while another 21 had some degree of higher education. Thirteen others had graduated from cadet or trade schools. Only five of the Brigfhr. were considered poorly educated. Four of the SS Major Generals (von Dufais, Kryssing, Vahl, and Ziegler) had been career Army officers all of their adult lives. Five others (Freitag, Kraemer, Neblich, Schmedes and Voss), were career Army officers who went into the German Police when the Reichswehr was curtailed in size by the notorious Treaty of Versailles. Gustav Krukenberg started off as a career Army officer and became a government functionary.

Eleven SS-Brigfhr. were career Army officers up to the 1918-20 era, when Army cutbacks began. They subsequently followed business or agricultural pursuits, mostly with good success. Seven of the Brigfhr. became medical doctors, while another eight of them were salesmen. Two (Augsberger and Lammerding), were architects; one (Otto Kumm), was a typesetter, and one (Sylvester Stadler), was an electrician. Another Brigfhr. (Lombard), had worked for an American automobile firm, both in the U.S. and abroad, while another (Gaertner), was a low-level government bureaucrat. Five of the SS-Brigfhr. had begun their careers as NCOs: Helmuth Becker, Wilhelm Keilhaus, Kurt Meyer (Police), August Schmidhuber and August Zehender. One Brigfhr., Joachim Rumohr, was a farmer before becoming an SS officer.

Rumohr also held the lowest SS number in the group, this being Nr. 1 280, while the highest SS number went to Joachim Ziegler at Nr. 491 403. Fifteen of the SS- Brigfhr. had SS numbers below 100 000; ten were in the 100-200 000 range and 26 were above 200 000. The numbers, of course, indicated seniority or lack of it in the SS organization. Brigfhr. Kryssing, a Danish citizen, had no SS number. The lowest N. S. Party number belonged to Gaertner at 35 359, with the highest going to von Dufais, who held 5,276,395. Twenty SS-Brigfhr. had party numbers in excess of 1 000 000, while eight (Hampel, Harmel, Kryssing, Stadler, Tscharmann, Vahl, Zehender and Ziegler), were not party members at all.

Five SS-Brigfhr., Heinz Harmel (10th SS), Otto Kumm (7th and 1st SS), Kurt Meyer (12th SS), Sylvester Stadler (9th SS), and Theodor Wisch (1st SS), were decorated with the Knight’s Cross, Swords and Oakleaves during the war. Another five, Joachim Rumohr (8th SS), Juergen Wagner (23rd SS), Fritz Witt (12th SS), August Zehender (22nd SS), and Joachim Ziegler (11th SS), received the KC with Oakleaves. Eight others were decorated only with the KC (no mean feat in itself!): Franz Ausberger (20th SS), Helmuth Becker (3rd SS), Fritz Freitag (14th SS), Desiderius Hampel (13th SS), Frtiz Kraemer (l.SS Pz.Corps), Heinz Lammerding (2nd SS), Gustav Lombard (31st SS) and Herbert Ernst Vahl (4th SS).

Four of the Brigfhr. took their own lives: Freitag, Neblich, Schwedler and Rumohr; the latter only after having been badly wounded during the Budapest Breakout attempt, and even then he was not fully successful, since he did not die until a day later. Five Brigfhr. were killed- in-action: Augsberger, Ernst Fick (in the Battle of Berlin), Witt, Zehender and Ziegler. Two more were executed/ murdered in enemy captivity: Becker in the Soviet Union and Bernhard Voss (commander of the SS Troop Training Grounds at Beneschau near Prague), in Czechoslovakia. Three others, all exceptionally fine soldiers and human beings, were sent to Tito’s executioners by the Americans and British. They were then tortured and murdered, all without the slightest „legal“ justification. They were: Juergen Wagner („Nederland“ Div.), Ritter von Oberkamp (7th SS „Prinz Eugen“ Div.) and August Schmidhuber (7th SS Div. and 21st Albanian SS Div. „Skanderbeg“). Their blood remains a permanent stain on the hands of the so-called „Allies“!

Lothrop Stoddard – Interview with Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Theodore Lothrop Stoddard
(29.06.1883 – 01.05.1950)

Another noteworthy point is that the Government made no attempt to ease the people into the war by tactful stages. Quite the reverse. Nazi spokesmen tell you frankly that they cracked down hard from the start and made things just about as tough as the civilian population could bear. Indeed, they say that severe rationing of food and clothing from the very beginning was done not merely to avert present waste and ensure future supplies; it was done also to make people realize that they were in a life-and-death struggle for which no sacrifice was too great.

This was stiff medicine for a people as stunned, depressed, and jittery as the Germans certainly were during the first two months of the war. I do not recall any other Government which has prescribed a course of treatment so drastic, under similar circumstances. Flag-waving and assorted heroics are the orthodox formula.

I was therefore deeply interested to discuss this original method with the man who carried it out. He was no less a person than Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, head of the vast propaganda machine which is perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Third Reich.

This lithe, brunet Rhinelander, with his agile mind, cynical humor, and telling gestures, is an excellent person to interview. He is mentally on his toes every instant, and he is full of what the journalist calls „good lines.“ He got one of them off early in our conversation when he stigmatized the British blockade of Germany by exclaiming: „It’s high time that forty million people stopped dictating to eighty million when they should have a cup of coffee!“ As Dr. Goebbels warmed to his subject, his words flowed with the smoothness of a well-oiled machine.

„Mr. Minister,“ I began, broaching the subject uppermost in my mind, „the thing that strikes me most since I’ve been in Germany this time is the great difference between the popular mood now and in the last war. No hurrahs, parades, bands, and flowers like in 1914.“

„That’s right,“ he shot back quickly, „and the reason is very simple. In 1914 the German people didn’t know what it was all about. They had no clear war aim. Some French iron mines! A bit of Belgium! _Gott strafe England_! Slogans and phrases! That’s no way to wage a war. And our rulers then couldn’t make them understand. They were an aristocratic caste, out of touch with the people.“

„And now?“ I put in.

„Now?“ he countered. „We National Socialists are men of the people. We know how our fellow-citizens think and how to make them understand. But, really, the British have done it for us. They’ve given us our war aim by forcing the war on us.“

„Meaning what?“ I asked.

„Meaning this,“ he replied. „We made it clear to the British that we didn’t want to disturb their empire. We carefully kept our hands off sore spots like India and Ireland. Why, we even offered to give them a military guarantee of their empire’s integrity. But we made it clear that, in return, they were to keep their hands off our sphere of interest–Central Europe. Well, they wouldn’t have it that way. They’re trying to crush us. So, this time, every German knows what it’s all about.“

„And that’s why they’re so quiet about it?“ I asked.

„Exactly,“ nodded Dr. Goebbels with a quick smile. „We Germans don’t like this war. We think it’s needless–silly. But, since England feels that way, we see it’s got to be gone through with. The average German feels like a man with a chronic toothache–the sooner it’s out, the better. And he doesn’t need brass bands and flowers to get it over with. That’s where our aristocrats went wrong last time. They forgot old Bismarck’s saying that hurrah-patriotism isn’t like pickled herring that you can put up in barrels and store away for years. Listen! If I wanted to get the German people emotionally steamed up, I could do it in twenty-four hours. But they don’t need it–they don’t want it.“

„Then, psychologically–“ I began.

Dr. Goebbels cut in with a sweeping gesture. „Psychologically,“ he answered, „we are way ahead. Last time, I admit, it was very different. Then, at the crucial moment, both France and England produced great men–Clemenceau and Lloyd George, both men of the people. If we on our side could have produced a Bismarck or a Hitler, we should have won. This time, we have the right men and the others haven’t. We National Socialists understand profoundly that it is the human being who counts–not just material resources. England is socially unsound. She is a colossus with feet of clay. Furthermore, England has a negative, defensive war aim. This time, it’s the British who talk in vague phrases like ‘aggression.’ What does it mean to Tommy in the trenches to tell him he’s fighting ‘aggressors’?“

„Would you mind enlarging on that a bit, Mr. Minister?“ I asked.

„Certainly not,“ he answered. „The more you examine British war aims, the more negative they appear. The English admit they have nothing tangible to get out of this war but that they have a lot to lose. We, on the other hand, have very little to lose and a lot to win. Here we Germans are–eighty million of us, all together. And right next to us is our sphere of influence in Central Europe–everything under one roof. Sooner or later, we massed Germans are bound to get what we need. The British, on the contrary, are spread all over the map. They draw their resources from the four corners of the earth. Their empire is too dispersed, too artificial. They’re bound to lose in the long run.“

„Then the British Empire–“ I began.

„Please understand,“ broke in Dr. Goebbels. „We had no designs upon it. We showed this clearly when we made the naval treaty with England limiting our fleet to one-third their size. In face of that fact, any responsible German who might have meditated an attack upon the British Empire would have been guilty of criminal madness. It is only now, when England forces us to a life-and-death struggle, that we hit back in every possible manner. All we asked was that England regard us, too, as a great nation with its own special sphere. After all, nations should be treated on their merits, for what they are. Live and let live was our motto toward England. It is the British who would not have it that way.“

„The English,“ I remarked, „seem to believe that this is a struggle between democracy and dictatorship.“

„Dictatorship!“ shot back Dr. Goebbels scornfully. „Isn’t the National Socialist Party essentially the German people? Aren’t its leaders men of the people? How silly to imagine that this can be what the English call dictatorship! What we today have in Germany is not a dictatorship but rather a political discipline forced upon us by the pressure of circumstances. However, since we have it, why shouldn’t we take advantage of the fact?“

„Just what do you mean by that, Mr. Minister?“ I queried.

„I’ll give you an example,“ answered Dr. Goebbels. „Take the difference between the way we and the English handle radio. We don’t let our people listen to foreign broadcasts; the English do. Why should we permit our people to be disturbed by foreign propaganda? Of course we broadcast in English, and the English people are legally permitted to listen in. I understand lots of them do. And can you imagine what is one of the chief discussions about it across the Channel? It is, whether our German announcer has an Oxford or a Cambridge accent! In my opinion, when a people in the midst of a life-and-death struggle indulge in such frivolous arguments, it doesn’t look well for them.“

„Then, Mr. Minister,“ I asked, „you don’t think there is much likelihood that history will repeat itself?“

Dr. Goebbels’ dark eyes lighted. „History never repeats itself,“ he exclaimed with a sweeping gesture.

„History is like a spiral–and we believe that, since the last war, we have made an ascending turn while Britain has made a descending one. Today, we have a national unity, discipline, and leadership vastly superior to that of 1914, and even more superior to anything which England has as yet produced. The rightful claims of the German people were thwarted a generation ago. They cannot be denied a second time.“

So saying, the world-famous Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda rose briskly from his chair and gave me a vigorous handshake. One last look at the slim, dynamic figure and his spacious office hung with historic portraits, and the interview was over. I had got „the dope,“ all right, from headquarters. And the more one studies the text of that interview, the more revealing it becomes–in many ways! It certainly was propaganda of the Goebbels brand.

The Cossack Cavalry Corps of the Waffen-SS

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Volume 6, Number 2, Whole Number 32, October-December 1983

“God protect you Pannwitz and I wish you all further soldier’s luck!” —Adolf Hitler to Helmuth von Pannwitz as he left to take command of the 1st Cossack Cavalry Division in April 1943.

The Beginnings of the Cossack Units

During the bitter winter of 1941/1942, depleted German Army units began adding Russian volunteers (both civilian and POW) to their supply and transport services to free more German soldiers for frontline duty. Within a very short time this became a standard procedure, and there were very few German formations of any size in the East that did not have their own contingents of “Hiwis” (Hilfswillige). But even before this policy became common, some other volunteers had already made their presence felt. These were the Cossacks, who from the very beginning of the Russian campaign on the southern part of the Eastern Front, had gone over to the Germans in large numbers, often in completely intact formations.

The Cossacks were willing to offer their services against those they considered to be their real mortal enemies: the Bolsheviks. But they were not interested in being baggage tenders or transport workers; they were warriors first and foremost and this was the function they wished to fulfill. In the territory occupied by 17th Army and the 1st Panzer Army, numerous Kuban and Terek Cossack units were quickly thrown into action against the Reds in 1941. But it was not until 1942 that a broader policy towards the Cossacks was formulated by the Germans. This was thanks in large part to a sympathetic officer attached to the Führer’s HQ: Lt. Col. Helmuth von Pannwitz. Von Pannwitz, born to a noble family in Upper Silesia, had served as a cavalry officer in World War I, and had led a regimental strength advance task force during the opening days of the Russian campaign in 1941. His contacts with the Cossacks and the realization that they had an intense hatred of communism for having crushed their freedoms and traditions, led von Pannwitz to become an advocate for their proper use by the German side.

After having been badly wounded, von Pannwitz was assigned to the staff of the Führer’s HQ during his period of recuperation, and he used his influence there to expand on the potential value of the Cossack forces. His biggest ally in the formation of a Cossack Army came in the person of the Reichsführer-SS Himmler, the man whose racial policies von Pannwitz had seen as a hindrance to realizing the military potential of the “Eastern Peoples.” But Himmler could also be a clearsighted and flexible individual, and in 1942—prior to Germany’s battlefield setbacks —he already began removing some of the “colonial” barriers the SS had built in the East. It was the resistance of some of the occupation functionaries in the eastern territories that had to be broken. They saw their job as one of “plantation overseer,” and tolerated Cossack units only for display or parade purposes.

It was not until 8 November 1942, when von Pannwitz was promoted to Colonel and named commander of all Cossack formations, that progress really began to be made. All of the Terek, Kuban and Don Cossack units were transferred to his control (Kalmuch Cossacks remained in their own independent formation). But the Wehrmacht was not yet ready to form an equitable alliance with the “Ostvolk” and von Pannwitz’s command was “disguised” under the title: “Rider Formation von Pannwitz.”

Before long, Col. von Pannwitz began assembling his Cossack troops in the rear area of Army Group “A” (South), but the unfolding disaster at Stalingrad and the subsequent deep enemy penetrations, soon had him back in action leading a special Cossack task force. For his deeds during the month of December 1942, von Pannwitz was decorated with the Oakleaves to his Knight’s Cross. Over the next few months, the Cossacks were regrouped at an assembly area in Cherson, where many entire families, now fleeing from the advancing Red Army, also had to be housed.

In early April 1943, von Pannwitz was summoned to the “Wolfsschanze” (Führer’s HQ) in Rastenburg, East Prussia and given the good news that his Cossacks could now be formed into fighting divisions on an equal basis with their Wehrmacht counterparts. Von Pannwitz also won the right to have the formation of the Cossack divisions take place inside the Reich at the Troop Training Grounds “Mielau” (Mlawa) in south East Prussia. Subsequently the formation of the 1st Cossack Cavalry Div. was authorized to begin on 21 April 1943.

Going into the division were the Cossack units from Cherson, new volunteers from POW camps, the Cossack detachment led by Lt.Col. Baron von Wolff, the Regiment “von Jungshulz” and the regiment of Maj. Kononov. Some smaller Cossack elements also reported in to Mielau. Twenty kilometers away at Mochowo, a camp was established for Cossack families, refugees, and old or disabled troopers. The Cossack Volunteer Training and Replacement Regiment 5, under Col. von Bosse was also formed here. Attached to this regiment was a squadron of young Cossacks of from 14 to 18 years of age, who were mostly without parents, but who wished to follow in the Cossack military tradition. With the addition of an officer’s training detachment, the “T & R” Regiment grew in time to a strength of nearly 15 000 men! In the autumn of 1943 it was sent to several different training camps in Germany and France.

The structure of the 1st Cossack Div. was built around already extant units, with their sub-units in turn formed from men who came from the same “tribes,” towns and villages. Von Pannwitz (who was promoted to Major General on 1 June 1943), had a hard time trying to find German personnel for the framework of the division who had the proper attitude for working with the Cossacks. Good translators were also at a premium. It was an unfortunate fact that years of negative propaganda had soured many minds. But now a belated effort was made in the German Press to “correct the picture” and a lot of favorable publicity was given to the Cossacks and other “Ostvolk” allies.

On the whole, the Cossack officers and NCOs were capable and intelligent, although some, particularly those that had emigrated to other parts of Europe, were not very knowledgeable about modern warfare. With time things improved, and it became possible for the Cossacks to fully train their own officers and NCOs with a minimum of German assistance. Von Pannwitz became a father figure to the Cossacks and he labored tirelessly on their behalf. He was never reticent about protesting conditions in labor and POW camps, and he did what he could to curtail abuse and mistreatment of the “Ostvolk.” Despite strong opposition from higher up, he saw to it that the Cossack regiments were able to keep their chaplains and continue their religious services. And even though a Protestant himself, von Pannwitz invariably attended the Cossack Orthodox rites.

Generalleutnant Helmut von Pannwitz. Simply stated, one of the transcendent heroes of the 20th Century.

Structure and Insignia of the 1st Cossack Cavalry Division

The outfitting of the 1st Cossack Div. closely followed a pattern set in 1940 when the 1st (German) Cavalry Bde. was expanded into the 1st Cavalry Division. In fact, the 1st Cav. Div. provided the field pieces for the Cossack horse artillery. The first regiments of the division, which were formed in April/May 1943, were the Don Cossack Rgt. 1, the Kuban Cossack Rgt. 4, and the Terek Cossack Rgt. 6.

The first infrastructure of the division looked like this:

Six Cossack Regiments, each consisting of two battalion-size detachments, each of which in turn had three company-size squadrons. Regimental strength was pegged at 2,000 men per each, exclusive of 150 German personnel assigned to each regiment.

Each squadron had nine groups of 12 men each and each group carried one machine gun and one 5 cm mortar with it.

Fourth and 5th Squadrons were designated “heavy” squadrons, and each was assigned eight heavy machine guns and eight 8 cm mortars. The 9th Squadron in a regiment was anti-tank and contained three 5 cm PAK’s (anti-tank guns), six 8 cm mortars and five light machine guns.

The other Cossack units were armed with the standard 98K Mauser carbines or machine pistols.

The Cossack Horse Artillery consisted of one detachment (battalion strength), with a staff battery, three field batteries and a munitions column. Each battery had 200 Cossack volunteers with 40 German specialist-advisors. In the course of time the Germans were fully replaced by Cossacks. Four field pieces (FK 23/7.5 cm caliber) were assigned to each battery.

The Cossack Recce Detachment was armed with automatic assault rifles (Sturmgewehr 44’s).

For the most part, the division relied on mules for cargo and supply transport duties. Staff, reconnaissance, engineer, signals troops, medics and certain support elements were partially motorized.

The 1st Cossack Div. spent most of the summer of 1943 training in German operational techniques, so that by the beginning of September 1943, the division was ready for field deployment. It was decided that the Cossacks would be utilized in Croatia rather than the Soviet Union, because there was apprehension in the higher command circles about the reliability of the division, and it would have been quite a disaster had the Cossacks decided to desert en masse back to the Soviets! In addition, Gen. von Pannwitz was not sure that his Cossacks were yet capable of standing up against well-equipped Red Army units.

On 12 September 1943, the then German Army Chief of the General Staff, Col.Gen. Zeitzler, ordered the division to embark for Croatia, though the first trains did not leave Milau until 25 September. This was the structure of the 1st Cossack Div. on the eve of its going into action:

Divisional Staff, with command convoy, escort and guard troops

Cossack Trumpet Corps Field Police Troop Messenger Platoon Divisional Recce Detachment Cossack Engineer Battalion 1 Cossack Signals Detachment 1 Divisional Supply Office Veterinary Company Cultural and Traditions Section

Cossack Replacement Regiment (unattached to the division in the field)

Cossack Rider Brigade (Don) 1

Brigade Staff Don-Cossack Rgt. 1 Siberian-Cossack Rgt. 2 Kuban-Cossack Rgt. 4

Cossack Horse Artillery Detachment Cossack Rider Brigade (Caucasus) 2

Brigade Staff

Kuban-Cossack Rgt. 3 Don-Cossack Rgt. 5 Terek-Cossack Rgt. 6

Cossack Horse Artillery Detachment

Commanding officers of the Cossack Cavalry Division. Left to right: Lt.Col. Borissov, Gen. von Pannwitz, Col. Kononov, Col. von Schultz. In the background: Count Bismarck-Bohlen.

Uniforms and Insignia

The Cossacks wore German Army field gray uniforms with cavalry breeches bearing stripes in different colors and widths to indicate “tribal” and regimental origin. For headgear, German helmets and caps were worn along with traditional Cossack “Kubankas” and “Papachas.” In place of coats, most Cossack squadrons wore black wool capes known as “Burkas.”

The different regiments had their own special identification armshields, bearing the colors and emblems of their particular tribe. The General’s escort platoon was clad entirely in old fashioned Cossack uniforms, a mode of dress also favored by von Pannwitz (who also learned rather quickly to speak the Russian language!).

The divisional elements had the following unique insignia:

Units attached to the divisional staff: Armshield showing crossed sabres and the Ataman’s emblem on a blue field framed in red.

Don Cossack Regiment 1: Armshield with a red hourglass on a blue field worn on the right sleeve and broad red trouser stripes. Hat cockade.

Siberian Cossack Regiment 2: Armshield with a yellow hourglass on a blue field worn on the right sleeve and broad yellow trouser stripes. Hat cockade.

Kuban Cossack Regiment 3: Armshield in black with a red hourglass worn on the left arm and narrow red trouser stripes. Hat cockade:

Kuban Cossack Regiment 4: Same armshield as Rgt. 3 only worn on the right arm. Also same trouser stripes and cockade.

Don Cossack Regiment 5: Same armshield as Rgt. 1, only worn on the left arm. Same trouser stripes and cockade.

Terek Cossack Regiment 6: Black armshield with a blue hourglass and broad blue trouser stripes. Hat cockade:

Cossack Horse Artillery: “Combination” armshield with a yellow frame and a red hourglass on a blue field, worn on the right sleeve and narrow red trouser stripes.

Cossack Engineer Battalion: Armshield with a red hourglass on a yellow field worn on the right arm and narrow red trouser stripes.

Cossack Signals Detachment: Same armshield as the horse artillery, also worn on the right sleeve with narrow red trouser stripes.

The Siberian and Don Cossacks wore a fur hat called a “Papacha” with a cloth top. These were usually made of white fur with red cloth on the top for the Dons and yellow cloth for the Siberians. The Kuban and Terek Cossacks wore a slightly different hat called a “Kubanka,” which was usually of black fur with a cloth top. For the Kubans the cloth color was red, while for the Tereks it was cornflower blue. Most of the Cossacks had a silver braid cross on top of their hats, with officers having silver braid edging around the entire perimeter of the headpiece, which identified their status from a distance (and as such was also a liability on the battlefield at times!). German Army insignia was worn initially on the shoulder straps and collars by the Cossacks, but in the last months of the war this may have been changed to the insignia of the Vlasov Liberation Army or the KONR, to which the Cossacks were then affiliated. The German national emblem (eagle and swastika) was worn in the fur on the top front sides of the “Kubankas” and “Papachas.” Translators in the 1st Cossack Div. were identified by a broad white armband with the word “Sprachmittler” on it in black lettering.

First Operations in the Balkans

The first Cossack unit to arrive in Yugoslavia after 25 September 1943, was the 1st Don Regiment. It was followed soon after by the rest of the division in 60 troop transport trains. At Syrmien, in the heart of Yugoslavia’s richest agricultural area, the Cossack units were reassembled. The divisional HQ staff was set up in Ruma with other divisional units initially quartered in close proximity. The division was now part of Gen. Rendulic’s 2nd Panzer Army under the jurisdiction of Army Group “F” led by Gen. Field Marshall Baron von Weichs. The Army Group’s mission was to keep open the supply routes to Army Group “E” in the Greek islands and provide general security in the Balkan rear area. Emphasis was placed on guarding the roads, rail lines and long Adriatic coastline from the degradations of the communist partisans and the remnants of the old Yugoslav Royalist forces, the Chetniks.

Cossack detachment in action.

The Cossacks spent their first few days in the Balkans resting and reorganizing after what had been a long, difficult journey. Soviet-inspired propaganda had already spread phony Cossack atrocity stories among the local inhabitants, which made relations with the civilians difficult at first. As the Cossack units moved out into small villages in search of quarters, they were inevitably implored by the residents to “Please spare our lives!” But after living for a while in a community (only occupying abandoned houses which were appropriately refurbished), the Cossacks were able to calm the fears of the locals. Being of rural origin themselves they shared many things in common with the Yugoslav peasants. The language barrier proved not to be unsurmountable since the tongues of both the Yugoslavs and Cossacks were derived from a common Slavic source, and both parties were eventually able to make themselves understood.

The government of Croatia was fully supportive of the 1st Cossack Div. and it delegated the authority to the Cossacks to occupy and claim unused properties in the various communities that lay within their deployment area.

On 10 October 1943, Maj. Gen. von Pannwitz summoned his unit commanders together for a conference. The division had been given a “search and destroy” mission in the Fruska-Gora Mountains, with the objective of eliminating as many partisan hiding places as possible and in the process, bringing security to the harassed and oppressed civilians who lived under the thumb of the Red terrorists.

On 12 October, the Cossacks began their advance into a section of the Fruska-Gora that was 30 km deep and 40 km wide. Fifteen tanks and one armored car had been attached to the division to add fire support. The operation quickly became an exercise in futility. Warned by their spies, the partisans evacuated every occupied village in the route of the Cossack advance and refused to give battle. But the Cossacks were not completely fooled by the bandits; the “soldiers of the steppes” had lived long enough under Red rule to know communist tactics first-hand and they were particularly good trackers and outdoorsmen.

More than once they were able to get a jump on the enemy, but to little avail —they always managed to slip away. Soon the Cossacks were exceeding their daily objectives as they drove toward the partisan HQ in the mountain village of Beocin. But even here the enemy had prundently withdrawn. Major Gen. von Pannwitz had been directing movements from the air in a Fieseler-Storch and on 16 October he decided to break off the operation.

The undertaking had been a success in so far as the division had shown that it could operate capably in the field, both as a single formation and in detached groups. But problems were noted; in certain areas training had clearly been inadequate to the task, and there were general shortages of equipment and material. There were also some serious communications difficulties and due to a lack of translators many orders could not be understood or followed. There were a few desertions but no casualties. The most important result was that a significant piece of territory had been liberated from the communists, even if by “default.”

Following the Fruska-Gora action, 1st Cossack Div. was re-deployed in the area west of Vukovar-Vinkovci-Vrpolje. For a few days the divisional staff was situated in Vinkovci before moving on to Djakowo. The division was given the job of protecting the rich farm harvest in the Save Valley while guarding the Zagreb to Belgrade railroad line from nightly terrorist attacks. This meant that the divisional units had to be broken down into small patrol groups and task forces. To further pursue the new objectives the structure of the division was temporarily reformed. Each regiment was made into an independent, self-supporting battlegroup with the addition of a battery of horse artillery (the artillery detachments were broken up for this purpose).

In Mielau, brigade staffs were formed to better coordinate the activities of the regiments and before long the division had become two effectively autonomous brigades as follows:

1st Cossack Cavalry Brigade

Don Cossack Cav. Rgt. 1

Siberian Cossack Cav. Rgt. 2

Kuban Cossack Cav. Rgt. 4

2nd Cossack Cavalry Brigade

Kuban Cossack Cav. Rgt. 3

Don Cossack Cav. Rgt. 5

Terek Cossack Cav. Rgt. 6

The Don Cossack Cav. Rgt. 1 occupied the area to the south of Sid and remained there until the end of October 1943. An effort was made to expel the enemy from more villages, and in contrast to the Fruska-Gora operation, the resistance was strong and the Cossacks took their first casualties. The Cossack Cavalry Engineer Bn. 55 in particular absorbed some severe losses during the nightly partisan raids. In November the 1st Don Cossacks reached the area southeast of Sisak and began working in conjunction with the Scandinavian-German 11th SS Div. “Nordland,” which was at the time getting “in shape” for frontline action by battling the Titoists.

Cossacks in pursuit of Tito terrorists in Croatia.

Directional orientation.

In early November 1943, the 2nd Siberian Cossacks were in place to the west of Sisak. The regiment contained both mounted squads and bicycle detachments in addition to the 1st Battery/ Cossack Horse Artillery Detachment 55, which had been assigned to it. The Siberians were ordered to retake the town of Glina which had recently been given up by the SS Rgt. 24 “Danmark” after much hard and unequal fighting. The communist occupation of Glina posed a threat to nearby Croatian Ustachi field forces. On 27 November at Gora, 10 km northeast of Glina, the partisans attempted to halt the regiment’s advance. The resistance was overcome in fierce fighting, and the regiment’s I. Detachment occupied the town. After two more days of battle, Glina itself was taken and from 29 November 1943 to 11 January 1944 it was occupied by the 2nd Siberian Regimental Staff, II. Bicycle Detachment, 9th Heay Squadron and 1st Battery/ Cossack Artillery Detachment 55. I. Detachment remained in Gora.

The towns of Gora and Glina were so isolated that they could only be resupplied by special guarded convoys. Only the efforts of the 371st Inf. Div. made this possible by driving back the communists for short periods of time. The Cossacks remained unbothered by their situation and they celebrated the Yuletide in the traditional manner of their homeland.

On 3 January 1944, the Siberians made a short-lived foray out of Glina which was brought to a halt when they found 8 000 partisans waiting for them. These were too many for the 1 000 Cossacks to deal with, considering also that the Titoists were well equipped with Allied-supplied artillery pieces. Feeling that the Glina garrison would be in dire straits in case the enemy decided to attack, Gen. von Pannwitz therefore ordered the removal of the 2nd Siberian Rgt. to the Petrinja-Gora area. Surprisingly, the evacuation of Glina was not hindered by the enemy.

While this had been transpiring, the 2nd Cossack Brigade had been sent into action in the west. Its first successful operation was carried out by the 5th Don and 6th Terek Cossacks at Samac. The enemy was driven back over the Save River near Bosnish-Samac in the course of the fighting. This success was a significant one since it proved, once and for all, the worth and ability of the Cossack units. This was all the more important since the 5th Don Cossacks had no German officers whatsoever attached to them, while the 6th Tereks only had Germans as squadron leaders. The ability of both regiments to work together well also was a good sign. Towards the end of October 1943, 2nd Cossack Brigade left the fertile Syrmien country for the area north of Brod in Bosnia.

Siberian Cossacks on the advance in Croatia.

Early in November, 3rd Kuban, 5th Don and 6th Terek Cossacks crossed over the Save River. The main mission of the brigade was now to protect the railroad tracks to the north of Sarajevo. This was an essential supply line to the German forces in Greece. It was impossible to guard every meter of the line, so the Cossacks attempted to do the job by carrying out aggressive patrols. The 2nd Brigade HQ was set up in Doboj.

The large partisan bands in Bosnia were well supplied and equipped by the western “allies.” They also made a major effort to try and get the Cossacks to desert, by putting out propaganda (in Russian) that stated: “You Cossacks can never return to your homeland and the Germans are finished. If you value your lives you had better come over to us!” This was not totally untrue, but it had little effect on the Cossacks who were prepared to see things out to the finish.

The 2nd Cossack Bde. now came across the Chetnik Royalist Army for the first time. The Chetniks fought against both the Germans and the Titoists, with the emphasis on the latter, and they were at least able to keep some parts of Bosnia pacified and out of communist hands. On 24 December 1943, the Tito partisans made a major assault on a battlegroup from the 6th Terek Cossacks, with the hope that their guard would be down due to it being Christmas Eve. In this the terrorists were mistaken and the Tereks drove them off with bloody losses.

Shortly thereafter, Gen. von Pannwitz recalled 2nd Cossack Bde. back from Bosnia to return it to the control of the division proper. In early 1944, German and Croatian forces replaced the withdrawn Cossacks. While 2nd Cossack Bde. was still in movement, it was decided to use it in carrying out an operation against partisan-held territory. This undertaking was dubbed “Operation Cake Plate” (Napfkuchen). The plan called for 2nd Brigade’s motorized and horse-drawn support elements to pre-cede down the road that ran from Derventa to Brod to Nova to Gradiska, dislodging the enemy as they went.

The cavalry regiments, accompanied only by the most essential supply vehicles marched on 3 January 1944 through Prnjavor, Klasnica, Gradiska and Dubika to the Croatian frontier. The staff of a partisan division was located at Prnjavor, and it was charged with providing security for Tito’s main HQ at Jajce. Prnjavor also served as the jumping-off point for all terrorist actions conducted across the Save into Croatia and the river valleys of Bosnia, particularly the Vrbas. But once again the partisans had been forewarned and by the time 2nd Cossack Bde., reinforced by Croat troops, reached Prnjavor, the enemy had fled.

Bad weather made the going difficult for the Cossacks and the combat engineer platoon attached to the brigade had its hands full keeping the route open. Among other things, temporary bridges frequently had to be constructed and mines had to be removed from the road. As usual, partisan raiding parties hit the supply columns but kept out of the way of the fighting troops.

In the middle of January 1944, 2nd Cossack Bde. finally crossed over the Una River and took up quarters around the Croatian towns of Dubic and Kostajnika. General von Pannwitz personally visited the regiments to express his satisfaction with their performances. His enthusiasm and good will was a continued source of inspiration to the Cossacks.

Housing and supplies were better in Croatia than they had been in Bosnia, but the anti-partisan war continued at high intensity. The Titoists on the east bank of the Save were engaged in a resupply effort to other terrorists in the hill country west of Petrinja. The 2nd Cossack Bde. was expected to keep this from happening. Although not yet recovered from their exhausting activities in Bosnia and with fatigued mounts, 6th Tereks rapidly took the offensive against partisan-held villages on the Save south of Sas. In the hard fighting, the Tereks took their greatest losses up to that time. At the same time, 3rd Kuban and 5th Don Regiments were switched north of Sisatz to guard the essential railroad line to Zagreb (Agram).

While serving within the operational structure of 1st Cossack Bde., the 2nd Siberian Cossacks scored an important victory towards the end of March 1944. In conjunction with the Cossack Cavalry Recce Detachment 55, the Siberians engaged a 400-man partisan “brigade” at Oborova on the Save and totally destroyed it. This successful undertaking won the 1st Cossack Div. its first mention in the prestigious Wehrmacht Communique.

In the spring of 1944, 2nd Panzer Army began its plan for the greatest German move against the partisans to be undertaken in the Balkans. Under the code name “Operation Roesselsprung” (“Knight’s Move,” as in chess), the SS Paratroop Bn. 500 was dropped directly on Tito’s HQ in Drvar on 23 May 1944. Tito himself only escaped at the last second and what had started out so promisingly soon developed into a very bloody battle between the badly outnumbered SS paratroopers and the communists.

Cossacks and their mounts at rest.

Members of a Cossack squadron in steel helmets.

The 1st Cossack Div. was involved in “Roesselsprung” through the sub-operation “Schach” (“Chess”). The 1st Don and 2nd Siberian Regiments from the 1st Bde. advanced from Petrinja to take Glina, and then continued from Vojnic to Tusilovic in the Vigin Most area, coming under increased enemy pressure from the Petrova Gora Mountains near Karlovac. On the same day, 23 May, the Task Force “Hammerschmidt,” consisting of 1 Croatian Mountain Bn., 1 German Police Bn. and 1 Croatian Inf. Bn. (Domobrans), moved out from Karlovac to link up with the Cossacks. This group was later subordinated to the 1st Don Cossacks. From Bosnisch Novi the Kampfgruppe “Ahrend” (I. and II. Bns. German-Croat Inf. Rgt. 373) joined the advance with the reinforced motorized Inf. Div. 92 coming up from Bihac. General of the Infantry Auleb was in charge of this part of the operation.

After taking Glina (yet again!), 2nd Siberian occupied the partisan airfield at Topusko, destroying a major enemy supply dump in the process. The Siberians also managed to free KGr. “Ahrend” from a partisan envelopment. The 1st Don Rgt. in the meantime captured Virgin Most and Vosnic on the Glina-Karlovac road, finally reaching Krnjako. They were soon followed by the 2nd Siberian Regiment. The terrorist resistance now began to stiffen and six to eight of the Tito “brigades” made an unusual frontal assault against the Cossacks. They were driven back with high losses. But the threat remained. The long, drawn-out positions of the assault groups were quite tenuous and Gen. Auleb decided to withdraw his units through Karlovac.

The retreat went over the Korana River along the road from Karlovac to Tusilovic and points south. The partisans kept up a steady harassment with continuous, strong attacks. The 2nd Siberian Rgt. moved back towards Glina, but found the enemy appearing all over in great force. The communists, coming out of their hiding places to the east of Virgin Most, moved around Camernica and soon blocked off the Siberians to the west. Now surrounded, the Cossacks set up tough hedgehog defensive positions in the town of Camernica. On the next day a breakout attempt was made, but it was quickly shattered by the Titoists. During the night, the partisans made some sharp attacks and some individuals infiltrated into the Cossack positions in an effort to get the Cossacks to desert. These people literally promised the Cossacks “heaven on earth” if they came over to them. None did.

As time passed, the Siberian’s situation grew ever more precarious. Ammunition and supplies began running low. When things appeared to be at their worst a friendly radio message was received from the brigade HQ at Sisatz informing 2nd Siberian that a troupe of cabaret entertainers was due to arrive shortly in Glina! It was apparent that 1st Bde. staff had no idea what was going on there. The 2nd Siberian’s commander got a little hot under the collar and promptly advised the sender on the other end to “kiss my ass.” This response intrigued Gen. von Pannwitz who soon learned of the regiment’s plight. He promptly ordered an airborne supply drop to the trapped Siberians. Unfortunately, the first major drop saw the supplies parachute down into noman’s-land, and a strong party of Siberian Cossacks had to go out under fire to secure them.

On 31 May 1944, 1st Cossack Bde. began assembling a relief force in Karlovac which would advance from the north bank of the Kupa River to Petrinja and from there towards the Siberians. The following units were readied for this mission:

Cossack Cavalry Recce Detachment 55

1 Armored Car Platoon

Kampfgruppe “Ahrend” with 1. and II./Rgt. 373

Croatian Domobrans (Army) Bn. “Petrinja”

In the face of this combat force the partisans quickly melted away into the mountains and the Siberians found themselves suddenly free to return to their garrison area around Sunja. What had started off as a three-day mission for 2nd Siberian Cossacks had turned into ten days of hard fighting and had resulted in heavy losses in men and horses. The entire brigade supply corps was quickly used up in providing replacements to the regiment!

In late June 1944, 4th Kuban Cossacks and the Cossack Recce Detachment 55 were fighting around Casma, although two weeks later they joined the entire 1st Bde. 120 km to the west near Metlika. The 2nd Cossack Bde. with the 3rd Kuban, 5th Don and 6th Terek Rgts. was in the Pozega area some 180 km east of Zagreb at this time. The divisional HQ continued to coordinate the activities of the various regiments and in the course of the summer of 1944 it moved from Sisak to Nova Gradiska and then to Kutina.

To the north of Karlovac, strong communist forces kept trying to interrupt the rail and road connections to Zagreb. Their main command post was at Metlika and 1st Cossack Div. was given the assignment to eliminate it. Under the code name “Operation Dunkirk,” Gen. von Pannwitz personally took charge of the undertaking. On 1 and 2 July 1944, the main operational force, consisting of 1st Cossack Bde. with the 1st Don, 2nd Siberian and 4th Kuban Rgts. supported by the 1st and 3rd Batteries of Cossack Horse Artillery Detachment 55, moved into readiness positions in the Ozalj-Rudlofswerth sector. They were joined by a German “rough terrain” “Jaeger” Regiment.

On 3 July 1944 the advance towards Metlika began, with one pincer moving from Ozalj in the west and another from Rudolfswerth in the south. In the early stages, the enemy was twice caught by surprise. In the most serious incident a partisan bicycle reconnaissance company was overtaken by an advance squadron from the 1st Don Rgt. and all of its members were either killed or captured. In retaliation, the Titoists zeroed in on the 1st Don Rgt. with their heavy artillery, and with one tragic volley managed to wipe out the entire regimental command!

Despite this the advance continued and the towns of Draschik, Radovica and Budovincija were all captured. But before the actual attack on Metlika could commence, the strong enemy artillery emplacements had to be reduced. To accomplish this, Gen. von Pannwitz called in a Stuka dive bomber attack, but when it was learned that the partisans had received advance notice of this the attack was abruptly cancelled.

On 12 July 1944 the final push to Metlika began. The partisans fought a fierce delaying action to enable their casualties and supplies to be evacuated. The town was finally captured by the Cossacks on 16 July and after a very brief occupation the regiments had to be shifted elsewhere. The 1st Don was assigned security duty in the Velika-Gorica-Sisatz sector, while 2nd Siberian and 4th Kuban were sent back to the Sunja-Petrinja area.

In May 1944, the 2nd Cossack Cavalry Bde. with the 3rd Kuban, 5th Don and 6th Terek Rgts., relocated eastwards to the area between Nova Gradiska and Brod. In the course of the brigade’s railroad line guard duty, raiding parties were detached to disrupt partisan resupply efforts in the Slovenian mountains across the Save River. The communists moved their supplies over the Save in small boats and then hid them in isolated mountain depots.

At the end of June 1944, 3rd Kuban Cossacks began a major anti-partisan drive through the Papuk Mountains to Pjakowo. The 5th Don Rgt. provided back-up support and moved in on communist elements that had been dispersed by the Kubans. The operation was generally successful and for the first time the Cossacks managed to capture a partisan flag. On 1 July, the two regiments were recalled and resumed their old security duties.

Towards the end of July the same two regiments began an-other undertaking, this time crossing over the Save at Bosnisch- Gradiska (Laktasi District), and advancing through the mountains to Prnjavor. A police regiment also moved out of Kulasi to the south in an effort to catch the enemy in the rear. Unfortunately this operation was not crowned with success and little contact was made with the enemy. After an exhausting march through the mountains, the two Cossack regiments returned to the Save near Kolas where the Cossack Cavalry Engineer Bn. was garrisoned. On 2 August, after having wasted the better part of a week, the Dons and Kubans returned once again to their old stamping grounds.

The 6th Terek Rgt. was deployed in the Kapelanova-Pleternica-Trenkovo sector at the end of May 1944. It had been di-vided into four battlegroups (three Cossack and one Croatian) of battalion size each. Skirmishes with the enemy took place around Pozega, and it was clear in the course of the fighting that the partisans were becoming even better trained and equipped. This meant that the Cossack Div. would have to up-grade its own capabilities to meet the new threat from the other side. With this in mind, Gen. von Pannwitz summoned volunteer elements from all of the Cossack regiments to Pozega, where a Cossack Armored Close-Combat Instruction Group was to be formed. On-the-job training was to be practiced against the local body of terrorists.

At the beginning of August 1944, the German-Croatian garrison in Daruvar was surrounded by strong partisan forces, and 1st Cossack Div. was instructed to relieve the town. On 9 August, the operation got underway with 1st Don Rgt. moving towards Daruvar from Bjelovar and 3rd Kuban and 6th Terek Rgts. — under the direct leadership of Gen. von Pannwitz —proceeding from Pozega on a course through the Papak Mountains. After completely breaking the enemy resistance at Ladislav, 1st Don Cossacks reached Daruvar on 14 August 1944.

Von Pannwitz’s force had a tough time of it in the difficult partisan-infested mountain terrain and the usual supply train had to be left behind. Provisions were carried in saddle bags and other than that the Cossacks had to live off of the land. Both of Von Pannwitz’s regiments did manage to arrive in the vicinity of Daruvar on 13 August, however. As usual the Titoists had taken off for the high mountains and the Cossack pursuit began on 15 August. On 16 August the 6th Tereks followed the trail of the enemy from Garesnica to the foothills of the Moslavina Mountains, with their right flank being covered by the 1st Dons, who now found themselves back in their old security sector of Bjelovar-Dubrova.

The difficulties of the guerrilla war in Yugoslavia are now well illustrated by what happened next. The partisans evacuated their positions in the Moslavina before the Terek Cossacks even got there, and doubled back to Daruvar which they promptly besieged! The Cossacks received the news in an emergency radio message, and marched at double-time back to Daruvar. The town was again liberated in very bitter fighting which saw the Cossack squadrons carry out what may have been the last major cavalry charge in military history.

The German war flag and the flag of a Cossack “Stan.”

During a march back to Bjelovar the 1st Don Rgt. Received orders to rescue 500 trapped Croatian soldiers in Palesnik and retake the shoreline of a lake near Sdenci. Both missions were successfully fulfilled in hard fighting. After Palesnik was freed the chase continued on 18 August after partisans fleeing from Sdenci north to the Bila-Gora Mountains. A scouting party determined that the enemy was concentrating his forces around Grubisno Polje and a direct attack by the 1st Don Rgt. led to the recapture of that town on 19 August. A large quantity of weapons and supplies belonging to the VII. Titoist Corps which had been headquartered in Grubisno Polje, was also secured. Afterwards, the regiment continued on its original course, reaching Bjelovar on 21 August.

The 6th Terek Cossacks reached their brigade supply column at Slinj, west of Brod, on 27 August, and two days later the regiment finally returned to its billets in Pozega. An armed guard had been left behind to escort the supply column which arrived in Pozega on 1 September.

Formation of the Cossacks Corps and Last Combat Operations

On 26 August 1944, Gen. von Pannwitz was called upon to submit a detailed service report on the 1st Cossack Div. to the Reichsführer-SS Himmler, to whose jurisdiction, as the new head of the “Replacement Army,” the Cossacks now came under. All battle-worthy non-German units were now supposed to be subordinated to the control of the Waffen-SS and this included the 1st Cossack Cavalry Division. In negotiations that followed with Obergruppenführer Berger (head of the SS Main Office), Von Pannwitz secured the material support of the Waffen-SS, while getting an exemption from transferring his Cossacks into the SS proper. The reason for this was a simple one (Von Pannwitz was not an enemy of the Waffen-SS): the SS had already been branded a “criminal organization” by the “Allies” and Von Pannwitz was worried about the potential mistreatment of the Cossacks, should they bear SS ranks, after the war. As it turned out they could not have been treated worse had they officially been in the Waffen-SS! All that actually happened was that the Waffen-SS took responsibility for supplying the “Cossack Cavalry Corps.” Despite the fact that the Corps was briefly labeled XIV. SS Kavallerie Korps, its actual status remained deliberately ambiguous. In December 1944, it became the XV. Cossack Cavalry Corps, assuming a number in the roster of SS Corps, but never adopting the title of ‘‘SS.

By September 1944 the war in the Balkans began to get harder every day. The German Army now lacked the forces to adequately defend all of Yugoslavia. With partisans on all sides of them, the Cossacks began a retreat to the north on 10 September, providing protection for the civilians who had to be evacuated. Throughout that day and the following one, there were heavy clashes with the communists, but these did not affect the troop movements.

However, dangerous developments continued to take place. In Banja Luka, the partisans surrounded a 300-man German-Croat force, while taking most of the city. The 3rd Kuban Cossacks were given the job of building and sustaining a bridgehead across the Save at Bosnisch-Gradiska, which the following units could use as a springboard for the relief effort. During the nights, the Cossacks had to fight off some very strong enemy attacks while Gen. Auleb, commander of LXIX. Corps, readied his rescue force. Along with the 3rd Kuban, 4th Kuban and 5th Don Cossack Regiments, a motorized force from 2nd Panzer Army and a Croat Ustachi group were assembled for the assault on Banja Luka. After a toilsome advance through Bosnisch-Gradiska and Prnjavor, Banja Luka was stormed in heavy fighting and the operation was brought to a successful conclusion in early October 1944. The 2nd Cossack Bde. was then ordered to maintain the security of the district. On 20 October, the 1st Cossack Divisional HQ was finally relocated from Nova Gradiska to Kutina.

In the course of September 1944, all of the Cossack families were assembled in the Gemona-Tolmezzo area in the northern Italian province of Friali (Friul) for their own protection. Although a great many had been lost during the long trek from the east, there were still about 15,000 dependents of the fighting men in the “Cossack Land” or “Stan” that was established in Italy.

In the autumn of 1944, 2nd Cossack Brigade’s positions around Bosnisch-Gradiska-Banja Luka were taken over by Ustachi troops and the Cossacks were withdrawn to the Save Valley. Here small daily skirmishes with the partisans were a matter of course. General von Pannwitz now began the process of reforming his Cossack division into a corps. For this task, all independent Cossack units that had been stationed in France were called in, and they gradually arrived in the Balkans in small groups. Von Pannwitz’s reputation was so great among the Cossacks that quite a few, who were still in the Red Army, continued to desert to join their fellow countrymen on the German side. This despite the fact that Germany had clearly begun to lose the war!

Cossacks riding in to surrender, May 1945.

With the military situation in Hungary deteriorating, German troops in Yugoslavia had to keep retreating to keep from being outflanked. Therefore, 2nd Cossack Bde. began to pull back through Kutina to Popovaca-Dugo Selo and then to Kprivnica on 5 December 1944. Despite strong harassing efforts by the partisans, the brigade continued its withdrawal to the east on 11 December. Fierce resistance was encountered at Novi Grad and it was noticed that for the first time a Soviet liaison element was attached to the partisan artillery.

Against very strong opposition the brigade had to fight its way to Klostar, which was reached on 23 December. Severe cold weather and heavy snow had almost become as bothersome as the enemy. When the Cossacks entered Klostar they found themselves mistaken for Soviets; some civilians had already draped the buildings with banners welcoming the Red Army! On 25 December, 2nd Bde. HQ in Djurdevac issued attack orders, directing the Cossack regiments to wipe out a partisan group to the south that was providing protection for a sizeable Soviet force in Pitomaca.

That night the 6th Terek Rgt. attacked the partisans in the wooded hills south of Klostar and managed to drive them out of position towards the east, thus opening the way to Pitomaca. On 26 December, 5th Don Cossacks, operating with artillery sup-port, made a direct frontal assault on the Soviet garrison, but were driven back. The 3rd Kuban Rgt. was then sent out through Molve-Ferdinandovac to outflank the Russians to the north as part of the effort to draw the noose tighter. This was the first time the Cossacks had taken on the Red Army directly, and the question still remained as to whether or not they were psychologically up to it.

Aware of possible difficulties, Gen. von Pannwitz held a final briefing for his unit commanders during the night of 26/27 December. He decided to supervise the operation from the 2nd Bde. command post in the hope that his presence would at least give some moral support to the Cossacks. He needn’t have worried. The advance against the Soviets began on the morning of 27 December and the three Cossack regiments worked with close cooperation to complete an encirclement of the Soviets. Then they struck with clockwork precision and the Red force at Pitomaca was decimated. Large numbers of prisoners were taken along with a huge amount of war booty in the form of weapons, equipment and supplies. The complete victory at Pitomaca won the Cossacks another mention in the Wehrmacht Communique and caused the Soviets to abandon their bridgehead south of the Drava.

The 2nd Cossack Bde. then undertook further security duties in the area of Pitomaca-Drava-St. Gradic-Spisk Bukowika. Some audacious partisan attacks against the 6th Tereks were broken up by concentrated artillery support. On the other hand an attack by the 2nd Cossack Bde. towards Virovitica on 5 January 1945 was brought to a screaming halt by Soviet “Stalin Organ” rocket mortars; it marked the first time the Cossacks had encountered these.

On 7 January 1945, 1st Cossack Bde. was in the Save Valley battling off ever stronger attacks by Tito’s “People’s Army” in the Papuk Mountains. Working alongside the Volksdeutsche troops of the 7th SS Mountain Div. “Prinz Eugen,” the Cossacks helped take back the town of Virovitica. It spoke well for the unbroken battle spirit of the Cossacks that they could engage and defeat Red Army units at this late point in the war. On 1 February 1945, Lt.Gen. von Pannwitz was made commanding general of XV. Cossack Cavalry Corps effective 25 February 1945. In the early part of the month the Cossack Corps was reformed as follows: (with unit commanders)

Commanding General; Lt.Gen. von Pannwitz

Corps Staff: Lt.Col. von Steinsdorff, Chief-of-Staff

Corps Recce Detachment: Major Weil

Corps Engineering Officer: Major Jans

Corps Signals Officer: Major Schmidt

1st Cossack Cavalry Division: Col. Wagner

Divisional Staff

Don Cossack Cavalry Rgt. 1: Major Dienenthal

Siberian Cossack Cavalry Rgt. 2: Col. Count von Nolcken

Kuban Cossack Cavalry Rgt. 4: Lt.Col. von Klein

Cossack Artillery Rgt. 1 (in formation): Major von Eisenhart-Rothe

Divisional Troop Detachment 1

Supply Troop Detachment 1

2nd Cossack Cavalry Division: Col. von Schultz

Divisional Staff

Kuban Cossack Cavalry Rgt. 3: Lt.Col. Lehmann

Don Cossack Cavalry Rgt. 5: Major Count zu Eltz Terek

Cossack Cavalry Rgt. 6: Lt.Col. Prince zu Salm-Horstmar

Cossack Artillery Rgt. 2 (in formation): Major Count von Kottulinsky

Divisional Troops Detachment 2 Supply Troop Detachment 2

Plastun-Brigade (Cossack Infantry): Col. Kononov

Plastun-Rgt. 7: Lt.Col. Borissov

Plastun-Rgt. 8: Major Sacharov

Recce Detachment: Captain Bondarenko

(This unit was conceived of as a 3rd Cossack Cavalry Division, but due to lack of time for formation had to function as an infantry brigade.)

At the beginning of March 1945, the 1st Cossack Cavalry Div. was operating in the Drava basin to the east of Virovitica while the 2nd Cossack Cavalry Div. was at Suhopolje with the Corps HQ in Slatina. During this time, the Cossack head men met in Virovitica and elected Gen. von Pannwitz their Field-“Ataman”; i.e., the commander-in-chief of all detached Cossack units of whatever origin. This was an unprecedented honor for a non- Cossack. Von Pannwitz’s predecessor had been murdered by the Bolsheviks 27 years earlier. In the fighting that continued, the Cossacks now came up against Bulgarian puppet-troops directed by the Red Army.

The German Lake Balaton offensive that began in Hungary on 9 March 1945 brought the 4th Kuban Cossacks into action in the Volpovo bridgehead. The Kubans raided a Bulgarian artillery position before it could go into action on the night of 23 March and managed to destroy all of the field pieces and capture 450 Bulgarians. By this time, however, the Lake Balaton offensive had disintegrated due to climatic conditions and logistical problems. It was a sad but true fact that all of the courage and fortitude that the Waffen-SS soldiers involved could muster was not enough to overcome “General Mud.”

For the next month or so, the Cossack Cavalry Corps continued to guard the Drava River line and firmly repulsed all attempts by the enemy to cross it. By holding their ground so tenaciously the Cossacks also assisted the parts of the German Army Group “E” that were fighting their way back through Yugoslavia, to avoid encirclement. But the surprise surrender of Army Group “C” in Italy on 28 April 1945, quickly put the German Balkan positions in jeopardy and the Cossacks were forced to begin a fighting withdrawal, reaching the Ludbreg-Varazdin line on 6 May 1945. During the pull back there had been no panic and no mutinies; the Cossack fighting forces had maintained perfect discipline.

The End of the Cossack Cavalry Corps

The leader of the Cossack “Stan” in northern Italy, Ataman Domanov, was deeply troubled by the deteriorating front situation. He was having problems dealing with the Italian partisans and on 3 May 1945 he ordered the evacuation of the Cossack dependents from Italy. All of the males, including old men, boys and war disabled, were formed into ad hoc units to guard the refugee columns. The Cossack families passed through the heavy ice and snow of the Ploecken Pass into Austria, reaching Kotschach and Mauthen on 4 May. After having been guaranteed their rights and promised that they would not be given over to the Soviet Reds, the Cossack “Stan” surrendered to the British Army. Almost immediately the British broke their word and Italian communist partisans were allowed to freely plunder the defenseless Cossack families. It was a bad omen of things to come.

Lieutenant Col. Malcolm, the commander of the 8th Bn. “Argyll and Sutherlands Highlanders,” had the Cossacks disarmed and interned at Lienz in the east Tyrol. Fifteen thousand men, 4 000 women and 2 500 children were house at the Lienz camp. At first the officers were permitted to retain their sabers and revolvers and the field police were also allowed to keep their weapons.

In the meantime, the Cossack Cavalry Corps was still withdrawing through Croatia. At the time of the capitulation the corps was on the march through Windisch, Freistritz, Gonobitz, and St. Leonhard to Unterdrauberg. The 1st Cossack Div. had been able to get away from the enemy but not so the 2nd Div., which found its retreat route blocked off. A successful attack by 3rd Kuban Cossacks on 8 May 1945 managed to reopen the way. The energetically led Plastun Bde., subordinated to the overall command of the 2nd Div., spearheaded the fighting withdrawal and was particularly forceful in overcoming several Titoist harassing parties. On 13 May 1945, 2nd Cossack Div. and the Plastun Bde. reached the British occupied zone of Austria. Lieutenant Gen. Von Pannwitz secured a guarantee from Gen. Archer, commander of the 11th British Armored Div., that the Cossacks could safely cross the demarcation lines and surrender without fear of being turned over to the communists.

The Cossacks were disarmed by the British in Voelkermarkt with a limited number of troops being permitted to keep their sidearms. The individual regiments were then sent to camps in the towns of Klangenfurt, St. Beit and Feldkirchen. Lieutenant Gen. von Pannwitz took up quarters in Moebling near Althofen. Now, for the first time, the Cossack Replacement Rgt. joined up with the corps. In January 1945 it had been at the Doellersheim Troop Training Grounds, before being ordered to Lower Austria. It was only due to the personal intercession of Von Pannwitz that the regiment was kept out of the battle for Vienna and thus saved from likely decimation. The regiment reached Voelkermarkt on 13 May 1945.

While Lt. Gen. von Pannwitz did not believe that his troops would be turned over to the Soviets, he nevertheless was able to secure the separation of most of the German elements in the corps on 20 May 1945 in order to help expedite their return into postwar German society. This officially marked the end of the German-Cossack military comradeship which had firmly existed under all conditions during three long years of difficult combat.

The Germans were handled correctly by the British, but day by day, the guard over the Cossack camps grew tighter, causing increasing worry and anxiety to the inmates. Then on 23 May 1945, Winston Churchill and the British government made the shocking secret decision to hand over every Cossack man, woman and child to the Soviets. But this remained unknown to the Cossacks at the time and on 24 May 1945 they put on a public ceremony in the Althofen market place to formalize the election of Von Pannwitz as Cossack Field “Ataman.” A number of British officers attended as observers while at the very same time most of the Cossack horses were being seized in Lienz.

The choir of the Cossack Cavalry Division. Handed over to the Soviets soon after capitulating and massacred to a man!

On 26 May, Scottish troops confiscated all of the cash savings of the Cossack families; a total of 6 million Lire and 6 million Reichsmarks in all. It was never returned of course, and what eventually happened to it is anybody’s guess. The next day, 27 May, Lt. Gen. von Pannwitz was made a “prisoner-of-war” by the British and placed in tight confinement. The 1st Cossack Div. was then forced—over protest—to turn over all of its horses. After that the division’s soldiers were locked in a high security camp at Weitensfeld. Here the Cossacks received the information that they were to be repatriated to the USSR. The news was ill-received since it amounted to a death sentence and directly contradicted all of the promises the British had earlier made.

On 28 May 1945, the British summoned all of the Cossack leaders and officers in Lienz to a “high level conference” at Villach. The list of those called amounted to 2 756 Cossack officers among whom 35 had been generals, 167 colonels and more than 280 staff officers under the Czar, and had never been Soviet “citizens.” The conference proved to be a dirty trick to separate the Cossack leaders from their followers. The Cossack officers were simply imprisoned in a high security camp at Spittal. On the next day, 29 May, they learned that they were being “repatriated” to the Reds. Panic broke out and the Cossack officers refused to go to the waiting trucks. British troops promptly attacked them with truncheons and gun butts; in the brutal, one-sided melee that followed many of the Cossacks were knocked out, killed or seriously injured. The unconscious officers were picked up and hurled like sacks of flour into the backs of the trucks. Quite a few Cossacks attempted to flee and they were mercilessly gunned down and killed on the spot. Others made feeble attempts at suicide which were usually interrupted by crashing British clubs. It was an utterly sickening spectacle that would be repeated many times over, not only by the English soldiers but by American ones as well!

Finally, the battered and beaten Cossack officers were taken under heavy guard to Judenburg where they were turned over to an NKVD (secret police) detachment of the Red Army. Soon afterwards Lt. Gen. von Pannwitz, his entire personnel escort, and many German members of the Cossack Cavalry Corps were forcibly taken to a factory building in Judenburg where they too were turned over to the Soviets. All told, some 750 German officers and more than 2 000 Cossack officers were delivered to the communists on 29 May 1945.

Between 31 May and 1/2 June 1945, more than 30 000 other Cossacks met the same fate. Their tragic story has been well told elsewhere (see for example: The Secret Betrayal by Nikolai Tolstoy and The East Came West by Peter Huxley-Blythe). It has been accurately noted that the Cossack horses were better treated by the British than were the Cossacks themselves! Most of the horses arrived comfortably in England with everything else that had been looted from the doomed Cossacks. Those mounts that were not kept for military purposes were sold to private citizens and today their descendants still roam the pastures of elegant manor houses while their original owners have long since vanished into unmarked graves!

Those Cossacks that survived their initial treatment at the hands of the NKVD, were given the following sentences to serve in forced labor camps in March 1946:

Cossack civilians: 8 years.

Cossack officers and soldiers: 25 years.

Cossacks who had been “Soviet citizens”: 50 years (two 25-year sentences and many of them may still be serving them!).

A number of Cossacks, including the entire male choir, had been liquidated right after being handed over to the Reds. A number of “Allied” soldiers reported hearing and seeing some of the executions.

On 16 January 1947, Lt. Gen. von Pannwitz and a number of senior Cossack Generals, were hung in the notorious Lubiyanka Prison in Moscow. The remaining German personnel from the Cossack Cavalry Corps were placed on trial in the summer of 1949 and were universally sentenced to 25 years at hard labor with those Germans who had been born in what was now considered “Soviet territory” receiving an extra 25 years for good measure. The relatively few survivors were released in the mid-1950s.

According to most Cossack sources, Lt. Gen. von Pannwitz and most of the 750 German officers that went with him into Soviet captivity had been given every opportunity to escape this fate by the British. That they refused and chose instead to accompany their Cossack comrades to a horrible fate, is the greatest possible testimony to their character and integrity. Few people today seem able to comprehend this “sense of honor” and its display!

Cossack squadrons in pursuit of the enemy.

There are no fitting adjectives to properly describe the example of Lt. Gen. von Pannwitz. Although never a member of the Waffen-SS (the Russians nonetheless referred to him as an “SS General”), it can truly be said of him that “His honor was his loyalty.” When the history books of the WWII era are finally rewritten accurately, Feld-Ataman Helmuth von Pannwitz will surely take his rightful place in the pantheon of heroes.

Altogether 50 000 anti-communist Cossacks of various tribes and groupings were forcibly “given” to the communists by the self-proclaimed noble and democratic “Allies.” Nearly all perished in short order. It was surely one of the more graphic examples of the moral bankruptcy of the Western Powers who had crusaded to “liberate” Europe from “tyranny”!

The Cossack Community in Northern Italy

The Cossack “Stan” (community) in Northern Italy was led by Field-Ataman Timofey Ivanovich Domanov and consisted of 15 590 people from the following “tribal” groups: Don Cossacks—7 254; Kuban Cossacks—5 422; Terek and Stavropol Cossacks —2 503, and “others” — 411. Of this total, 7 155 males were eventually mobilized for combat duty in the following regiments:

1st Mixed Horse Rgt. (all “tribes”): 962 troops

1st Don Plastun (Inf.) Rgt.: 1 101 troops

2nd Don Plastun (Inf.) Rgt.: 1 277 troops

3rd Kuban Plastun (Inf.) Rgt.: 1 136 troops

4th Terek-Stavropol Plastun (Inf.) Rgt.: 780 troops

Mixed Reserve Rgt.: 376 troops

Escort Detachment: 386 troops, of mixed tribal nationalities

Staff and Administrative Personnel: 334 troops/mixed origin

9th Mixed Horse Rgt. (Inactive): 803 troops

The Cossack Community came under the general command of the Higher SS and Police Leader “Adriatic Coast,” SS-Gruppenführer and Police Lt. Gen. Odilo Globocnik, with headquarters in Trieste. The overall Cossack leader was Gen. Pyotr Nikolaievich Krasnov. When being used for anti-partisan duties, the Italian Cossacks came under the control of SS-Standartenführer and Colonel of the Order Police Kintrup. The security and police supervision of the “Stan” was the responsibility of SS-SturmbannFührer von Alvensleben, the SS-Police Commander in Udine, Italy.

The Kalmuck Cossack Formation “Dr. Doll”

The first two Kalmuck squadrons were activated independently by the 16th Motorized Inf. Div. in September 1942, and on 17 October 1942 the German High Command officially ordered the formation of a Kalmuck Legion. On 12 November 1942, the two existing elements were given the following designations: 1./ Kalmuck Squadron 66 and 2./Kalmuck Squadron 66.

On 14 January 1943, the Kalmuck Legion became the Kalmuck Detachment “Dr. Doll” with six company-sized squadrons. The unit’s commander was Sonderführer Othmar Rudolf Werba from the German Army Intelligence Service (Abwehr), who used the codename “Dr. Doll.” His rank was the equivalent of second lieutenant, and was a common designation for “interpreters” and “translators.” By February 1943, the unit had grown to regimental size and was renamed the Kalmuck Formation “Dr. Doll,” and contained three separate battalion-sized detachments. By April, the unit had added a fourth detachment.

By December 1944, the formation had grown enough to be reorganized into two brigades of two regiments each. On 8 January 1945, an attempt was made to incorporate the unit into the “Kaukasischer Waffen-Verband der SS,” but this was apparently resisted by the officers of the formation who probably felt the SS designation would be incriminating. As a result the Kalmucks remained independent of the Waffen-SS.

Feld-Ataman Helmut von Pannwitz, the last freely elected military leader of the Cossack tribes.

Forced deportation of the Cossack families by the British and the Palestine (!) Brigade.

In February 1945 the Kalmuck Bde. was reorganized as a reinforced cavalry regiment at the Neuhammer Training Camp. In March 1945, the Kalmucks were transferred to Croatia where they were attached to the Plastun Bde. of the XV. Cossack Cavalry Corps, which was commanded by Col. Ivan Nikitich Kononov (a Don Cossack).

On 25 March 1945, at a congress of the Cossack tribes held in Vienna, the Kalmuck Formation “Dr. Doll” joined the Vlasov Liberation Movement together with the rest of the Cossack Cavalry Corps. At the same time it became part of the VS- KONR: Armed Forces of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (“Vooruzhennye Sily Komiteta Osvobozhdeniya Narodov Rossii”).

During the withdrawal towards Austria in late April 1945, the Kalmuck Formation splintered into small segments most of which were captured by the Tito partisans. The few Kalmucks who surrendered to the British were later forcibly handed over to the Red Army.

Organization of the Kalmuck Formation “Dr. Doll”

Commander

Staff

Detachment: 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th and 18th Squadrons plus Detachment I Pursuit Squadron (Jagdschwadron der Abt. I).

Detachment: 5th, 6th, 12th, 20th and 23rd Squadrons plus Detachment II Pursuit Squadron (Jagdschwadron der Abteilung II).

III. Detachment: 3rd, 14th, 17th, 21st and 25th Squadrons plus Detachment III Pursuit Squadron (Jagdschwadron der Abt. III).

Detachment: 2nd, 13th, 19th, 22nd and 24th Squadrons plus Pursuit Squadron of the Detachment IV. (Jagdschwadron Abt. IV).

Special Squadrons: 9, 10, 11, 15, 16.

Formation Commanders

October 1942 to July 1944: Sonderführer Othmar Rudolf Werba (“Dr. Doll”)

August 1944 to December 1944: Lt.Col. Pipgorra (code name: “Bergen”)

January 1945 to May 1945: Col. Raimund Hoerst

Chiefs-of-Staff

January 1943: Dordzhi Arbakov

February 1943 to June 1943: Sanchir Konokov

July 1943 to March 1944: Baldan Metabon

May 1944 to July 1944: Mukeben Khakhlyshev

August 1944 to April 1945: Dordzhi Arbakov

Titles of the Unit

Kalmuecken-Verband Dr. Doll (German)

Doktor Dollin Khal’mg Moertatserg (Kalmuck)

Kalmytskiy Kavaleriyskiy Korpus (Russian)

A national armshield was worn on the upper right sleeve and it erroneously bore the title “Kalmueken.”

Was Hitler Really a Dictator

Source: https://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/dictator/dictator00.html

by Friedrich Christian, Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe

Written in 1977. Published: Kritik: Die Stimme des Volkes, Issue 86;
Nordwind-Verlag © 1994.
Translated by Victor Diodon and published here by kind permission of the copyright owner.
Translation © 1998 by
The Scriptorium.

  1. Introduction
  2. The masses readily become a hangman…
  3. The „dictator“
  4. The fatal lack of understanding of human nature
  5. „Denazification Certificate trade“and self-deception
  1. The system of slander
  2. Slander: psychological genocide!
  3. Art, culture and social innovations
  4. The eternal ethical laws of nature
  5. A word to the slanderers themselves
  6. Conclusion
  7. Epilogue

Part 1 – Introduction

The American sociologist Robert S. Lynd said: „It is easier to believe a lie one has heard a hundred times than a truth one has never heard before.“

Since the beginning of this century, one campaign of lies after the other has been aimed at us Germans. No matter how often the great many untruths were refuted – it became clear that, unfortunately, it is much more profitable to spread lies than to stand up for the truth, especially if the liar had also been the victor in a war.

A country where it is dangerous to voice the truth is on the wrong path. In any case, I personally prefer to live in a country where it is advantageous to tell the truth.

But as the French author Marquis de Vauvenargues put it in his Maximes et Réflexiones: „Only few people are strong enough to tell the truth and to hear it.“

When I write in order to help truth to victory it is frequently inevitable that this involves criticism. The two are often inseparable, and sometimes people are unintentionally hurt in the process.

There is no revolution, movement, organization or other association, no matter how good, which does not incorporate both „right“ and „wrong“, just as there are natural and indispensable opposites in evidence everywhere.

In Adolf Hitler’s Movement as well, there was both light and shadow, and – a universal constant – people with strong as well as with weak points. Only a genius can really assess them both, see them for what they are, and employ them in accordance with their talents.

If I learned from Dr. Goebbels, or even from Hitler himself, which of the crucial men in the Party Vanguard were not „all right“, then for the sake of truth this must not be hushed up even if the men in question had other merits to point to, without which they could not have risen to leading positions. It is a matter of calling attention to the morally upstanding, decent, honest colleagues and comrades-in-arms, even if doing so should draw criticism down on me for also shedding light on unpleasant matters in the process.

First and foremost, the issue is not individual persons – it is truth for the German people as a whole.

I will try to describe the leading men through their actions and behavior, even if the incidents are frequently relatively trivial ones. I have chosen them for events as typically human as possible, which render the person and thus his thoughts and actions easier to understand.

In their fundamental character, the German people are so decent that they have frequently been taken in by their enemies simply because they would not have thought them capable of evil – simply could not think it possible.

One judges others based on one’s self – that’s how it has always been, and that’s how it continues to be with those who slander our nation! In instances where they themselves stepped into the scene – in revolutions and wars – they were particularly cruel and inhuman. It was never the people as a whole, always the „movers and shakers“, the floor leaders. Just recall, for example, the French Revolution, the extermination of the Indians, the battle against the Boers, the Great Revolution of the Chinese and the Russians, the subjugation of India, etc.

We Germans differ from almost all of the major powers on our globe primarily in that we have never provoked revolutions or instigated civil wars in foreign countries, in other words on an international basis, and never tried to wear down other peoples through large-scale international campaigns of incitement.

I do not, of course, count those „Germans“ who participated in the international anti-German incitement as members of our people! They who exploited the war in order to divide our people by mendacious propaganda and to play each side against the other, are the branded ones of our age.

In the course of my interrogation by the Chief Prosecutor in the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg, this prosecutor claimed that the Germans living abroad must all be counted as part of the „fifth column“ – that is, agents of Hitler, for the purpose of revolutionizing the world – and that this mighty organization had been under the control of Dr. Goebbels.

I told him that such an organization (as had in fact existed for decades, only against Germany) would be incredibly expensive. The indispensable buying-up of the press of foreign nations in itself would require gigantic sums of cash. He agreed with this statement. I then explained that I knew exactly how large the Reich Ministry of Propaganda’s budget for foreign propaganda had been, at a time when foreign propaganda had still been possible – approximately until 1943. The largest annual budgetary allocation ever had been one million Reichsmark. This had to cover lecture tours, the tours of the great symphony orchestras and theatre companies, as well as those of the great performing artists. On top of this, there were also expenses for sports events and – „on the side „, so to speak – subsidies for newspapers of importance for cultural advertising. Altogether, therefore, it was a ridiculous, a paltry sum, just barely better than nothing at all.

Further, I remarked that Hitler himself had strictly forbidden the NSDAP to engage in any and all propaganda activities abroad, the only exception being Germans from the Reich temporarily residing abroad. I witnessed an instance once when Hitler angrily told a leading Party man that National-Socialism was not an „export article“ and he himself no human panacea for the world’s woes, and that his sole concern was to help the German people!

What the enemies of Germany accused us of in those days is what they themselves did to our detriment on a much greater scale, and with funds no doubt a thousand times greater than the budget of our Ministry of Propaganda.

The British believed a great deal of what the then famous Lord Haw-Haw told them over the air – but that did next to nothing to detract from their composure as a nation.

The Germans, on the other hand, could not believe what they saw refuted by everyday life – but as of March 1945, they began to flag in their composure as a nation. And this process is still ongoing.

It is my wish that this booklet may help to revive and strengthen in our people the sense that the defiled and much-maligned generation of our fathers did their best in the struggle for Germany’s future, true to good old tradition, and holds the honorable position that is its due in the history of our people.

Friedrich Christian, Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe

Part 2 – The masses readily become a hangman…

The Frenchman Gustave le Bon (1841-1931) was one of the foremost psychologists. He knew a great deal about the nature of human reactions, and so I will quote him at the outset: „It does not take much to turn the broad masses into a hangman, but just as little to make them a martyr.“

We will have to recall le Bon a number of times yet, since for a long time now our people have been at the mercy of a cruel enemy of whom they still know next to nothing. If for no other reason than that, we must finally put our cards on the table, so that we Germans – all of us – will not slowly but surely become dehumanized by never-ending calumny.

Without wanting to admit it, our nation became a martyr long ago, perhaps precisely because it does not have what it takes to become a hangman. The Germans have always been too trusting, too decent and too honest, but most of all: too frank and open – especially when times were good for them. Then they have to virtually broadcast their good fortune. And that had unforeseeable consequences, as there is nothing more suited to arousing enmity in others. Soon there were those who turned this essentially harmless fact into the basis for a large-scale political racket: the world-wide slandering of our nation.

Le Bon writes „…that in intellectual terms, the masses are always subordinate to the person who stands alone. In terms of emotions and the actions brought about by them, however, they may be better or worse. It all depends on the kind of influence the masses are under.“

In times of misfortune we Germans have always tended to look for the blame within ourselves. This throws the gates of opportunity wide open to slander.

Le Bon: „A person’s nimbus always vanishes in the moment of failure. The hero whom the masses cheered yesterday will be reviled by them tomorrow if fate strikes him down. The greater the nimbus, the greater the backlash. The masses then regard the fallen hero as the likes of themselves and take revenge for the fact that they once submitted to superiority which they now no longer acknowledge. When Robespierre had his colleagues and a great number of his contemporaries beheaded, he possessed an incredible nimbus. A shift in only a few voices immediately deprived him of this nimbus, and the masses dogged his heels to the guillotine with as many curses as they had hurled at his victims the day before. The faithful always vent their fury by smashing the icons of their former gods.

„Misfortune rapidly cancels any nimbus. It can also be worn down, however, by discussion; that takes longer – but it is a more certain way. A nimbus discussed is no longer a nimbus. Idols and men who understood how to preserve their halo have never tolerated discussion. He that wants to be admired by the crowds must keep them at a distance.“

Witnessing as I now do a fourth epoch of German history, I feel that I have seen an unusually great deal and certainly am in a position to compare. I hope that my readers will not consider it presumptuous of me to suggest that, in terms of this period of time, I am one of the very few people who are able, and entitled, to recount events from personal experience – and to judge them.

Now you will perhaps say: if that is so, then why are you speaking up only now, more than fourty years later?

For two reasons:

a) because I still believed that others were far more suited to this task, since their positions of particular responsibility ought to have afforded them greater insight, and

b) because I simply could not believe that one and the same people could be so terribly different. Unfortunately I have had to realize that it is no longer a matter of one and the same people. If it were, then a great many things would be different today in the German sphere of influence – better for everyone.

Therefore I feel that it is my duty to take up my pen in order to record what I have personally learned and seen, and make what testimony my personal experience enables me to make with a clear conscience, against the slanderers and for our people – for the sake of the truth.

I lived in the days of the monarchy, the son of a governing Prince. As a child I saw what close, honest and loyal ties our people had to our family, and vice versa, our family to the people. The clearest proof of this was the fact that only a few days before my eldest brother’s abdication the Schaumburg-Lippean Landtag unanimously requested its sovereign not to step down. At that time the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) was the strongest party in Parliament! But the pressures exerted by the Emperor and the government of the Reich were too great, and our state too small, for continued independent statehood to be possible. National defence was given up, and the military as well as the provincial police forces withdrew. But I felt such solidarity with our citizens of Schaumburg-Lippe that I managed, with only my wife to help me, to carry out and win a petition for a referendum, so that the Landtag had to break off its almost completed negotiations with Prussia, and Schaumburg-Lippe remained a Free State until after 1945.

In the mid-1930s Hitler strove to put the Reich Reform into effect. This entailed amalgamating the small states with the large in order to render administration much cheaper and more efficient, thus strengthening the unity of the Reich. I asked to speak to him and recounted what I had successfully done for our Schaumburg-Lippe in 1928. He was so enthusiastic about it that he immediately summoned the Reich Minister of the Interior, stated verbatim: „This young Prince is the best democrat of us all, we must help him!“, and ordered a prompt review of whether the sovereignty of Schaumburg-Lippe could be maintained.

Only a short time later, Hitler personally informed me that my homeland would remain a Free State, in other words, independent within the Reich. And our citizens of Schaumburg-Lippe were very happy. Hitler had made an exception to his Reich Reform, an exception to his own principle – was that dictatorship? I think it is rather the exact opposite.

Events such as this one, even if it was of no particular political import except for the little State and its citizens themselves, were never mentioned in Hitler’s favor after 1945.

Part 3 – The „Dictator“

What kind of people were those who started the world-wide campaign of slander, and continue to disseminate lies to this very day? One can only begin to understand this matter if one asks: what is needed in order to slander someone on such a large scale? Unfortunately the answer can only be: a great deal of money, and unscrupulousness without compare.

People with a great deal of money and unscrupulousness can never live in their own homeland for very long. They would soon become known, attract attention, and get into trouble. Why should these people carry out their activities in exactly the place where they could most easily be watched?

No, such activities are the work of people who wanted to (or had to) leave their homeland for political reasons and who take revenge on the people of their native land by vilifying them whom they had to leave behind and whom they secretly envy. They suddenly discover that their old homeland wasn’t really their home. And then they are free of any second thoughts.

The more they run down the land of their birth abroad, in conversation and soon in the press as well, the more they realize that such a „policy“ can be lucrative, perhaps even very much so! It is just a matter of finding those who also have an interest in defaming the people from which they come.

Who was, and continues to be, the most sensitive towards German export trade? Without a doubt it is England and the United States, and in earlier days, France as well. Therefore there was no place where anti-German propaganda could be as profitably accommodated and even sold as in England and the United States. It is self-evident that of these two nations, the United States were and are much more attractive in this context. Only in the United States is there enough money available for such endeavours, only in the United States are there experts in worldwide operations of this sort, and only in the United States can one find the absolutely unscrupulous profiteers necessary for such an enterprise. And there are probably more emigrants in the USA than anywhere else in the world. Added to this is the fact that, especially since the Second World War, we Germans accord grotesquely inflated importance to anything and everything that comes to us from the United States.

In qualification I must add that those Americans with whom the Germans are so taken are generally those who have next to no connections with those social circles which have had prominence ever since the United States were founded – in other words, those to whom the United States owes her meteoric rise and hence her power and status in the global community.

Thanks to several trips to the States, I am very familiar with these conservative social circles of the South – and I hold them in high regard. They have nothing in common with the Roosevelts and the Kennedys, the Schlesingers, the Kissingers and the Rockefellers – no matter how wealthy these are, and how successful they have long been in their own way.

Wasn’t it General Eisenhower who spent a fortune in buying up one of the most perfidious anti-German hate publications, and then distributed it to the senior members of the United States Army?

The last time I visited with some very conservative Americans near Lake Erie, a highly respected newspaper publisher said in his table talk at a luncheon given in honour of the famous Mr. Krips and myself:

„My dear Prince, when you have returned home again, tell your German fellow-countrymen that we Americans never had anything against the Germans. We never hated them – not even in war. But if your Germans continue to sit placidly by while being defamed so horribly, if they continue to do nothing to refute all those lies and to silence the liars, if, in short, they continue to do nothing to preserve the German nation’s honour, then soon the Germans will no longer have a friend in the world!!!“

On the occasion of this same visit, a particularly popular minister, the head of a large parish – a former army chaplain in Nuremberg at the time of my detention there by the International Military Tribunal – invited me to give the sermon in his large, splendid church the following Sunday. When I asked which topic I would speak on – for in order to be able to speak in English without notes I would have to prepare – he said: „The topic I have announced is: ‘The Injustice of Nuremberg’.“ I would have spoken on this topic only with the consent of my country’s Embassy. He, the minister, had had to witness the hanging of our comrades in the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg, and had always been against the injustice perpetrated there. His family was originally from Germany. –

In the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, as I was being led to the interrogation room, a tall Negro from the guards spoke to me on the sly, and said: „You, Prince – you’re a slave and I’m a slave – we’ve got to stick together!“

We understood that it was not „the Americans“ who were to blame, but rather a very specific kind of American citizen. These were emigrants to a man, most of them of Jewish extraction and many of these from Germany. Many of them worked as interrogators etc. in the offices of the IMT. The slanderers came and went freely there. When lies take on an official character, they can very easily turn into verdicts – even death sentences! Let’s quote le Bon one last time:

„The nature of crimes committed by the mob is clear.

„A typical example is the murder of du Launay, the warden of the Bastille. After the capture of this fortress, the warden was attacked from all sides by the furious crowd surrounding him. Hang him, they shriek, behead him, or tie him to the tail of a horse! In his struggles to free himself, the warden accidentally kicks one of those closest to him. Immediately someone suggests – and the crowd cheers the suggestion – that the kicked man should cut the warden’s throat.

„This man, an unemployed cook who had come to the Bastille half out of mere curiosity to see what was going on there, thinks, because this is the general public opinion, that this deed would be patriotic, and even believes he deserves a medal for killing a monster. He is handed a sabre, with which he slashes at the warden’s bare throat. But since the sabre is blunt and will not cut, he now draws a small black-handled knife from his pocket and (since as cook he knows how to cut meat) finishes the job successfully.“

The sum total of the victims of the Inquisition in Spain, Italy and France, of the British Revolution, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, as well as of the Marxist uprisings in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany in the days of the Weimar Republic can only be roughly estimated – but it may be assumed to exceed nine million. If we add to this all those Germans – men, women and children – who were killed by the various occupation forces in Italy, Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the entire Reich territory etc., then this additional figure probably makes up far more than another 600,000.

After the armistice had been concluded, more than 10,000 mostly very young men from the Waffen-SS were killed without any trial, for no other reason than that they had their blood group tattooed on their arm, so that in case of injury the correct medical supplies could be used without delay. The „Chief Justice of the Waffen-SS and Police“ already told me in Nuremberg, where I met him, that their number in fact probably exceeded the 50,000 mark. The testimony of this Chief Justice, Dr. Reinecke, at the IMT at Nuremberg was so damning for the victors that the Nuremberg Trial was suspended, until the order to proceed came from the United States. Unfortunately there were not enough Reineckes in Nuremberg, otherwise that great trial and the many others following in its wake could never have been carried out, since they were based to a considerable extent on the so-called incriminating evidence provided by German traitors only intent on saving their own skin.

Sometimes, when we were taken to be interrogated in Nuremberg, we happened to catch a glimpse of some of these „gentlemen“; they were former officials and diplomats who had at one time sworn allegiance to Adolf Hitler and had always been oh-so-eager to prove their „loyalty“.

From several statements that Hitler made in the small circle of his closest friends, I know that he attached extraordinarily great value to a sworn oath. It was inconceivable to him that German officials or soldiers could break their oath. That is also why he would never have forced anyone to swear an oath. Furthermore, it was always made very clear to everyone that an oath sworn to the Führer was always also synonymous with an oath sworn to the Reich. So anyone who later deliberately broke his oath to the Führer also at the same time broke the oath he had sworn to the German Reich. This corresponded to the tradition of the former oath sworn to „the Kaiser and the German Empire“.

There were also security reasons for not wanting to bind the validity of an oath to only one human life. Those who broke their oaths thus also betrayed the Reich, and in my opinion that has a great deal to do with the division of Germany. It is time for all Germans to remember this, and to take steps against the defamation of our people from this point of view as well.

And with this we have reached the heart of the problem, for the worldwide defamation of all things German did not by any means begin only in Hitler’s time. It is not true that he, his Party, his plans and actions were what gave rise to it. The truth is that the defamation of the German Empire and people already began when the Idea of a unified Germany, inspired by Otto von Bismarck with the Prussian virtues of integrity, honesty, modesty etc., offered all German people a tremendous opportunity. The more the slanderers concentrated their hatred on the Emperor and his Princes – and later on Adolf Hitler and his Movement – the more it became their great and single goal to shatter the Reich and to strip the German people of all power.

The methodology of their slander shows this clearly time and again. Why else would these very same groups never so much as bat an eyelash when other nations, other political powers, other people do things much, much worse than the worst that has ever been imputed to our people?!

The history of the Germans contains nothing even remotely comparable to the Inquisition, the British and the French Revolutions, the Russian revolutions and all that was done to us Germans by certain victorious powers after the armistice – at which point I must stress that in my opinion even these victorious powers are not the ones to blame; rather, the guilty party is almost always that more or less anonymous power that fights its battles exclusively by means of calumny and incitement, and has done so for more than a century!

This is the power that works systematically, never for one country and from one country, but always internationally. The boundless abuses of democracy that take place in a great many nations on earth afford that international gang of agitators and calumniators every opportunity to terrorize large parts of the world’s population, to the point where soon there will no longer be any individual nations, just „mankind as a mass“ which will let itself be sold off at will.

Because our people were so good and capable and highly esteemed, they have been at the top of the slander hit list for decades. Europe without the German Reich is no longer „the Occident“, but that is exactly what increasingly materialistic mankind needs.

„It is possible that the German may yet be swept from the world’s stage; for he has all the qualities necessary for attaining Heaven, but not a single one for asserting himself on Earth, and all the nations hate him like the Evil One hates Good. But if they should ever really succeed in driving him out, conditions will ensue that will make them wish that they could dig him out of his grave again, even if it be with their bare and bleeding fingers.“

Hebbel, Diaries, January 4, 1860

And that brings me to Hitler the „dictator“. Today, thanks to enemy propaganda, he is considered the prototype of a dictator, an „autocrat“. A dictatorship, wrote the Bertelsmann Encyclopaedia after 1945, may be exercised by one individual or by a group (party dictatorship):

„In accordance with its origins, which are to be found in the Roman Republic, a dictatorship is a valid form of government as a means of eliminating certain crises (war, civil war). Its duration is thus temporary and its implementation is bound by certain rules….

„In recent history, dictatorships are closely tied to the establishment of modern-day constitutions. In the British Revolution of 1642-49 as well as in the French of 1789-99, the originally liberal popular movements ended in dictatorships, which in these cases were exercised, not by individuals, but by certain groups, and not as authorized delegates, but high-handedly and with reference to religious motives or the right of popular sovereignty. In these cases as well, the dictatorships were originally regarded as a temporary measure for the establishment of a new ruling class and the eradication of the old, corrupt generation, but ended up as absolute dictatorship under a Cromwell or a Napoleon.

„…the fact is frequently overlooked that even modern Criminal Codes recognize temporary dictatorship as emergency measure. The Weimar Constitution (§ 48) is an example of this, also the Enabling Act….

„…a type of state in which the exercise of supreme authority is concentrated in one organ of the state – (e.g.) in the case of the Third Reich, initially in the State Cabinet, later in the Head of State; in the case of the Soviet Union, in the Parliament – in which a separation of powers is enacted for organizational reasons, although the principle of a restriction of power is not put into effect;….

„…Dictatorship is always totalitarian, but rarely absolute in modern times; rather, constitutional dictatorship predominates.“

If in Hitler’s case one could even speak of a „dictatorship“, then in my opinion only of a constitutional dictatorship, since especially in important matters he never acted entirely on his own; on the contrary, in by far the most cases his actions were guided by pertinent laws and by agreement with the government of the Reich. It is known that in particularly pregnant cases (e.g. the Saarland, succession of Hindenburg, Enabling Act), he let the people themselves decide, and then acted according to the wishes they had expressed – either by plebiscite or through the Reichstag.

There is no doubt that he could have gained power in the Reichstag in 1933 even without a vote. But he subordinated himself and his government to the decision of the old Reichstag, and he received the vote of many a one who, like Theodor Heuss (later to become Federal President) and Federal Chancellor Adenauer, no doubt had good intentions and voted for Hitler without being a member of the NSDAP.

Hitler himself never felt that he had the power of a dictator. The comment he once made during the war – „…if one of us has the power of a dictator, then it’s Roosevelt, he has a much greater say in his country than I have in mine…“ – says a lot, I think. And he considered Stalin to be far more powerful than even Roosevelt.

When Hitler moved into the Reich Presidential Palace, he ordered some architectural improvements. What bothered him the most was Hindenburg’s terribly old-fashioned bathroom. He had the facilities modernized, and without running up a noteworthy bill for it. The Auditor-General’s Office then told him that he would have to pay for the renovations himself and, furthermore, that he had not been authorized to effect the changes. – Hitler offered his opinion that the ancient bathroom facilities would have had to be replaced one way or another, and further, that surely the Führer and Chancellor of the Reich ought to be able to make an independent decision on the fate of an old bathtub so as not to waste the state’s time. As far as I know, he then proceeded to pay the bill out of his personal funds. The Palace was, after all, state property.

This happened at about the same time that Hitler showed my wife and myself his bedroom, on our own request. It was a dark and somewhat plainly furnished room with a somewhat old-fashioned bed that could not have been very comfortable. On the wall above it hung a picture of his mother, which he had had painted, probably from a photograph. He said that it was a good likeness and one of his very few keepsakes from his family; it was very dear to him and not a day went by that he wasn’t glad to have it. This rather spartan room was definitely no setting for excesses and debauchery such as unscrupulous profiteers have imputed to Hitler.

In the years from 1922 to 1935 my wife and I frequently visited him in his private residence, the so-called New Reich Chancellery, often at least one or two evenings a week. The residence was roomy but impersonal. He didn’t like it. Company gathered at a large, low, round table, in easy or regular chairs, was served tea and biscuits and small sandwiches.

It is often claimed today that he never let others get a word in edgeways. In truth it was quite the opposite. He asked the others to speak, to recount events from their lives etc. He made jokes to liven up the conversation and to get others to join in. Only when all this failed and the others finally insisted that he should speak himself, as this would be much more interesting in many ways – then he would relent, and could talk for hours. And I must say that this was often a great experience, for this man had already lived a most interesting life. Speaking retrospectively, he viewed everything with incredible objectivity and, hence, amazing modesty.

I know that many will not believe me – but these are facts and I can’t change them. I am not writing in order to do someone a favour, but rather to serve the purpose of truth. Can I help never having met the evil Hitler? Should I invent a worse man? Whom would that serve? Certainly not my people, and in the long run not our enemies either.

I was personally acquainted with a great many well-known and even famous artists, politicians, statesmen, several reigning monarchs – I could almost say, „around the world“. I was friends with many of them – just as good friends as with many completely unknown labourers, farmers and soldiers. But – in my opinion there was never another man even remotely like Adolf Hitler.

It is very difficult to write about this without being laughed at or even suspected; but if I want to be completely honest – and that is my only aim, anything else would be not only pointless, but also evil – then I must say that he was certainly a most extraordinary person. I have often asked myself whether this man can even be compared with other people, or whether he must be considered from a completely different perspective.

In a large old villa outside the gates of Vienna, overlooking the vineyards of the Kahlenberg, there is a cosy wine cellar where the higher-ranking American officers liked to get together of an evening after the Second World War. One might call it a tavern, with designs painted among the timberwork all round.

The proprietess, beautiful Princess Wittgenstein, showed me in and asked me to give a critical opinion on the paintings, and only afterwards to read the calligraphic inscriptions between them. I looked closely at everything and then said, without knowing anything further about it: „It seems to me that the artist had a feeling for architecture, especially for certain laws of nature, such as the ‘golden section’, since all of it goes together so well.“ – „That’s very interesting,“ said the Princess, „and now read the inscriptions.“

I read – and I cannot recall it verbatim, but the essence of it is still perfectly clear in my mind: „I know that my life will be an exceptional, an extraordinary one, but its end will be a catastrophe!“ – The Princess, who was by no means a National-Socialist, then told me: „That was painted and written by an apprentice. Even the words, astonishing as they are, are his and his alone. And this is the receipted bill that I found among the old papers and which confirms that all work was done by a painter’s apprentice by the name of Adolf Hitler.“

These were ornaments, words and thoughts that have not the slightest bit to do with violence – they were the expression of a very deep emotional life or, to call it what it truly was: it was an element of the Faustian (Faustian: searching, striving, brilliant) in this man who ever remained an enigma.

Once, when a conversation between him and Dr. Goebbels happened to end up in a dispute about the „Faustian“ quality in the German as a type, Hitler grew very solemn and almost melancholy, as I had never seen him before. A statement of Dr. Goebbels’ came to mind: „Sometimes he’s uncanny – as if he weren’t of this world – and strangely enough, that’s when he is the most fascinating. I’ll never completely understand him – he is more than just a person. There is nobody who has studied him like I have. But who takes the time to really get to know this man – who? Who knows anything of his outstanding qualities, of his modesty towards fate – who even suspects any of it? No-one! If they realized that he does not wish to become their idol, not even their god, but that he lives solely for his mission that is not entirely ‘of this world’ – then they would fear him, because they do not understand the reality.“

I have done my utmost to repeat Goebbels’ words as accurately as possible from memory, and did not write them down until they were as vivid to me again as though I had heard him speak them then and there. Of course, the fact that in those days this topic interested me like no other, helped considerably.

In his Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, chapter „The Heirs“, Sir Houston Chamberlain wrote: „Asceticism increases the intellectual capacities and culminates, when carried out with absolute consistency, in the complete conquest of the senses; these may then continue, so to speak, as material for the imagination, to serve the mystical devotion of a Saint Theresa or the mystical metaphysics of the author of Chandogya; from that time forth they are senses rendered subject to will, elevated and purified by the power of the mind, and this the Hindoo teacher expresses when he writes: ‘the man of understanding is already in his lifetime bodiless.’“

Elsewhere, Chamberlain wrote about this same topic: „The greatness of every extraordinary man lies not in that which he wanted to do, but in that which he had to do.“ What compelled the young painter’s apprentice, Hitler, to inscribe those words amongst the decorations in the cellar bar of the Villa Kahlenberg? It would have been pointless to do that if he had not had to. Only a higher power could have given him the courage and determination for it. That he, the young Hitler, was the one who did that work is expressly confirmed on the bill by his master.

And these thoughts, which are so to the point in the case in question, draw attention to the fact that every true genius at least approximates to being a universal genius.

I myself witnessed how Hitler dominated in purely technical discussions with leading men of the Mercedes-Benz factory, in other words, was absolutely superior to an elite of engineers.

I also witnessed how, in a conversation with the Italian Minister of Justice who had attempted to precisely describe the Parthenon, Hitler disputed his architectural details. The point at issue was that Hitler had pointed out the mathematical perfection of the Parthenon’s beauty, whereas the Minister would not concede it. Finally, Hitler asked me to bring him a sketch pad, ruler, and pencils – he declined an eraser.

A short time later he interrupted his conversation with the Minister in order to make a very rapid but detailed sketch of the Parthenon – off the top of his head, without any aids and completely without prior preparation, since nobody could have known that the conversation with the Italian would lead to this topic. When the sketch was finished, an encyclopedia was procured, in which the Parthenon’s dimensions were given. Once converted to metric, they were identical with those indicated on Hitler’s sketch. And then it was an easy matter for Hitler to prove to the Italian Minister the way in which the law of nature known as the „golden section“ finds expression in the beauty of that glorious structure, the Parthenon.

In terms of business or politics I was certainly nothing special to Hitler. But in social terms, I believe, he liked us, my first wife Alexandra Countess of Castell-Rüdenhausen and myself, very much – until others kept us at a distance from him. –

Part 4 – The fatal lack of understanding of human nature

I was not in Munich very frequently. One day, however, when I had business there, I happened to walk past the „Brown House“. At that moment Hitler came out into the street, without any sort of escort or guard. He saw me, greeted me, and asked if I would like to come along. He was going to take a look at the building under construction next door; some alterations were necessary there. I was pleased, and accompanied him gladly.

On the construction site we met a few workers, who treated him as though he were one of them – just particularly popular. His relations with people on the whole always struck me as of a very special kind. Oswald Spengler, about whom he did not like to speak, wrote the following about this matter at the end of volume 1 of his Decline of the West:

„The final issue to which Faustian wisdom tends – though it is only in the highest moments that it has seen it – is the dissolution of all knowledge into a vast system of morphological relationships. Dynamics and Analysis are in respect of meaning, form-language and substance, identical with Romanesque ornament, Gothic cathedrals, Christian-German dogma and the dynastic state. One and the same world-feeling speaks in all of them. They were born with, and they aged with, the Faustian Culture, and they present that Culture in the world of day and space as a historical drama. The uniting of the several scientific aspects into one will bear all the marks of the great art of counterpoint. An infinitesimal music of the boundless world-space – that is the deep unresting longing of this soul, as the orderly statuesque and Euclidean Cosmos was the satisfaction of the Classical. That – formulated by a logical necessity of Faustian reason as a dynamic-imperative causality, then developed into a dictatorial, hard-working, world-transforming science – is the grand legacy of the Faustian soul to the souls of Cultures yet to be, a bequest of immensely transcendent forms that the heirs will possibly ignore. And then, weary after its striving, the Western science returns to its spiritual home.“

Near the end of the Second World War there was an excellent book available by Kurt Pfister, about Emperor Friedrich II of Hohenstaufen, who in his own time was already called „transformer of the world“. I knew that Hitler had liked and devoted a great deal of thought to this book. In 1945 my wife bought it for me – literally with her last few pennies – in order to send it to me at the prison camp. Since we prisoners there were forced to live in conditions that were in every respect beneath human dignity, she had to smuggle it into the camp at great personal risk. And I could only read it in secret. As she well knew, it was to be of decisive importance to me. Years later, she told me that she had noticed so many parallels in the book and that she had known that these would help me a great deal in clinging to life. And that was indeed how it was. There really are parallels, not only in political matters – the Reich Idea of the Occident – but also in purely human matters.

Bosshart once wrote: „A genius has something of the instinct of migratory birds.“ – It is quite meaningless if some then counter: „Yes, but Hitler resulted in the greatest catastrophe!“ We humans are obviously not meant to know why we live, and what stands behind us. Perhaps knowing would only drive us insane. Our mission results from our duty, and our duty has its origin in the ethical laws inherent in nature. These are evident for each of us to see, within us and all around us. And the miracles of nature should be an incentive for us to choose the right way – that of the eternal order of nature.

There is a tendency today to be nothing short of criminally easygoing in passing judgement on even the most brilliant persons. People lie and cheat, not even for the sake of ideals, but for money. It is impossible to sink any lower. Ebb tide has reached its lowest point, it is high time for it to turn and rush over the foulness it has revealed, to wash all the filth onto the land where it may burn up in the sunshine and leave the water clear enough again so that, at least where we stand, we may see the bottom again.

It was not criticism and scientific analyses that helped me to recognize the person that Hitler was, it was the observation of his thought processes. I was so fortunate as to be able to see him without business obligations and without any prejudices. In terms of personal background I was probably his most extreme opposite. Each of us admitted that to the other with perfect frankness. This fact was probably the key to later understanding, which was mutual as well. I was interesting to him because of my background, namely because, as he told me later, he had discovered a revolutionary within me. I was an enigma to him at first – as he was to me. The trust he had in me developed in a way that was typical for him: it was based on his observation of how well my marriage worked. It was exactly what he had not expected from a person of my background.

He was always happy to see marriages that worked. I think that had something to do with the loving relationship he had had with his mother. Whenever he saw an unhappy marriage amongst his friends or comrades, he would not rest until he had reconciled the couple. The Goebbels marriage was a case in point. I witnessed many instances of this and sometimes, in my opinion, the couple in question were not at all worth the energy that the Head of State expended on them. In the case of the Goebbels’s, however, it was a blessing that he did so. The human element was always more important to him than the political – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that things political carried only as much weight with him as seemed to be warranted by the human element.

And this brings us to his lack of knowledge of human nature. On a qualifying note I must add that the term „knowledge of human nature“ is perhaps not quite correct, or at least needs an explanation. He knew very well how to tell a loyal person from a disloyal one, an industrious one from a lazy one, an honest from a dishonest, etc. But there were qualities to him that distracted him from the objective assessment of people. For example, in the case of persons who had stood loyally by him during hard times, he tended to be overly ready to overlook and to forgive objectionable qualities and actions that arose or occurred later on.

One of the most striking cases in this context was the Gauleiter of Central Franconia, Julius Streicher, who behaved in an increasingly reprehensible and, ultimately, a downright scandalous manner. Hitler frequently called him to account, and even removed him entirely from the political arena, only to rehabilitate him, as it were, years later – something that none of us, not even Dr. Goebbels, could make sense of. After all, Julius Streicher had long carried on a campaign of anti-Semitism by means of his publication „Der Stürmer“ – a campaign which not only no longer had any resemblance to the official stance of the NSDAP but, beyond that, misrepresented all of us.

Goebbels repeatedly urged that Hitler should ban the „Stürmer“, but a long time of grave mistakes went by before his requests met with success. A man like Streicher should have been punished with particular severity, exactly because he was one of the first and foremost Party members and had used to be a loyal follower of Hitler’s. He was indeed removed from his position as Gauleiter, but that was not enough.

The matter of Dr. Robert Ley, the head of the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront, DAF), was no better. As early as 1929, when I personally told Hitler that Ley had cheated me and a number of others out of our money and had thus left us in very bad circumstances, Hitler answered: „I never advised you to lend Ley money – I deal only with Ley the Gauleiter, not with Ley the businessman – I’m sorry, I can’t help you!“ I objected: „But I only trusted Ley because I assumed that a Gauleiter is not a rascal.“ Hitler replied that he was not in a position to check up on the private lives of all his subordinates. „Just look at the other parties – each of the major parties has several Leys in its leadership – it’s bad, but very difficult to change, and the change can only be brought about gradually. I promise you I will keep an eye on Ley – but you’ll have to see about recovering your money yourself.“ I only succeeded to a small extent, years later.

The third case which I witnessed myself was that of Alfred Rosenberg, a man from the Baltic who had become Chief of the Foreign Affairs Office of the NSDAP. He carried on Baltic politics on his own initiative and to the detriment of Adolf Hitler’s German politics. Some of his policies were not at all in accord with Hitler’s. How could someone from the Baltic shape German foreign policy, anyhow?

In the „Time of Struggle“, in other words before 1933, Rosenberg had been editor-in-chief of the Völkischer Beobachter, the largest of the party newspapers. During the war he served as „Reich Commissioner for the Occupied Eastern Territories“ and was thus responsible for the horrible mistakes perpetrated on the Ukrainians, who had been so well inclined towards us.

Dr. Goebbels told me at that time that he had reason to believe that Rosenberg was a Russian spy – his girlfriend most certainly was. During the war Goebbels was very concerned that no connection whatsoever should develop between the staff of the Foreign Department of his own Ministry, and the so-called „Rosenberg Office“.

Rosenberg, on the other hand, cultivated the closest ties possible to Martin Bormann, who at first held the position of Chief of Staff under the „Deputy Führer“, Rudolf Hess. It is remarkable that on the occasion of Hess’ mission to England, Hess’ politically utterly insignificant adjutant was arrested, while Hess’ politically most prominent Chief of Staff, Martin Bormann, was called in to the Reich Chancellery and promoted to Chief of the „Party Chancellery of the Führer and Chancellor of the Reich“ – headquartered even in the Reich Chancellery! From 1943 to 1945, „Reich Leader“ Bormann was the most powerful man in Germany, second only to Hitler. I know this from bitter personal experience as well as from Dr. Goebbels.

In early 1945 Goebbels, in my presence, described Bormann Bormann and Hitler’s personal physician, Professor Morell, as „the criminals in the Reich Chancellery“. As far as I know, Bormann also had relations with the Soviet Union dating back to earlier days, but, as Dr. Goebbels put it, those relations were „all the wrong ones.“

To the best of my knowledge, Professor Morell admitted at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg that he had intended to kill Hitler. I am more inclined to believe, however, that with the injections he gave him, he attempted to make him the obedient pawn of a certain clique of leading politicians.

The fact that Hitler installed Martin Bormann, of all people (besides Goebbels), in the Reich government under Dönitz was, in my opinion, part of Hitler’s last great plan: an alliance with the Soviet Union against the United States. Virtually five minutes before midnight, Hitler had still telegraphed the army group Kesselring: „Hold out at all costs, negotiations with the Russians against the Americans are pending.“

I am certain that such an alliance would instantaneously have created a totally different political scene. It would have been child’s play for Germans and Russians, united, to bring all of Europe under their control. At the very least there would still be a German Reich today, and no slander of our people – nobody would dare any such thing.

Germany – Europe – would be the dominant power on earth today – the Third Reich could have assumed the legacy of the First Reich, and International Capitalism would have been finished. Goebbels must still have had some grounds for hope, else he would not have spent almost an hour on the telephone to Marshal Shukov shortly before his death.

This shows clearly that the selfsame Hitler who in the course of the war had made four extremely fair peace offers to the enemy and had not even received a response, still found the resolve even at the last minute to turn completely about and attempt the extreme opposite. That was probably what he meant when he said in his last great address to the German people, that he hoped the people would understand if he were forced to take a most extraordinary chance.

In wartime, logically, too much depends on the enemy and his attitude and actions for someone to be able to assess one’s own statesmen objectively and accurately. There is no doubt that Hitler, once private first class, was also a genius in his capacity as commander. None of his numerous Generals, many of whom were themselves of great talent and experience, ever disputed that, and many were full of admiration for him. In this context as well, he had a great deal of knowledge that he could never have learned. I don’t know how often I heard Generals say about him: „Where did he get all the prerequisites for this? Is it only instinct, or something more?“

Hitler hated being lauded, and did not at all enjoy being idolized, as it were. But political propaganda wanted to use him as advertisement, and he could not dispute the importance of such advertising to the dissemination of his Idea of National-Socialism. Lao-tse said – and I think this is eminently apropos to Hitler: „The wise man puts his own self last – and see: it comes to the fore. He gives up his own self – and see: it is preserved.“

And indeed, those people whom he helped without having to help them, ultimately proved to be his undoing. In this respect his fate is that of all truly great men. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote to his sister in 1885: „It seems to me that even with the best of intentions a person may do immeasurable harm if he is presumptuous enough to try to be of service to those whose spirit and will is hidden from him.“

There can be no doubt whatsoever that Hitler did the German people and the Reich an inordinate amount of good. No serious and fair critic can help but see and admit that. It would be both pointless and harmful to all involved to deny it.

Part 5 – „Denazification Certificate trade“ and self-deception

His idea of the fusion of nationalism and Socialism was doubtless a new and very good one. In this way he succeeded in balancing the major conflicts among the people as a whole and hence in bringing about an internal peace such as remains unparalleled in any nation on earth either both before and since. This unique condition lasted from approximately 1933 to the 1936 Olympics. From that point on, a change began to creep in which became clearly apparent only much later, towards the end of the war.

The first trigger was the removal of the SA from power, a process which began on June 30, 1934. It was a crucial blow against the National-Socialist Revolution. I got the first taste of this on the evening of June 30, 1934. My wife Alexandra and I were visiting the Goebbels’ when Hitler, just arrived at Berlin, told us in detail how this fateful day had passed for him. He knew that I was a Troop Commander with the SA and one of three aides to the Senior Troop Commander of the SA Unit Berlin-Brandenburg, albeit only pro forma – excused from SA service to discharge my duties as ministerial aide.

In the course of conversation that distressing day, Hitler suddenly asked me: „Where were you today, anyway – your superior, Senior Troop Commander Ernst, was caught while attempting to escape – and has been executed!“ I replied that I had been doing my work at the Ministry, as usual. „You were lucky. If you had been taken along with Ernst, I doubt I could have saved you.“ This statement was like a bucket of ice-water in my face. My wife was outraged as well; she never forgave him for this answer.

There can be no doubt that he was correct in taking severe measures against Röhm and the corrupt members of the higher-up SA leadership, and especially in taking these measures personally and at great risk to himself. But he should never have suffered his SA – the backbone of the Revolution, which he had trained to function with fantastic self-discipline – to be politically wiped out. In permitting this to happen, he put the Revolution at the mercy of very different powers – and that was the beginning of the end.

Among those executed – and unjustly so – were two of my closest friends: Troop Commander Schneidhuber and Brigadier General Baron von Wechmar.

Of course we, more than anyone else, asked ourselves for years why Hitler had acted as he had. Three factors had pushed him to it: the Party (later under the influence of Bormann), the Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, who was in the process of establishing his own power base, and the former Chief of Staff of the SA, Hermann Göring, who believed that he would now be able to build up a National-Socialist air force as the focal point of domestic power.

Around 5 pm on June 30, 1934, when Adolf Hitler arrived from Munich at Tempelhof, a company of the Luftwaffe air force was assembled to salute the Führer for the first time. This was meant to surprise and please Hitler. But Hitler’s face darkened, he all but ignored the Luftwaffe, and Goebbels was furious.

In the morning that same day, I had sat in my office on Wilhelm Square, waiting for my Minister, when Göring had suddenly come in. He greeted me, went directly to the large window, drummed against the glass with his fingers, and said, without looking at me: „Do you know what’s going on?“ I answered that I knew next to nothing. Then he said – and it made almost no sense to me at the time: „Chief of Staff Röhm is being executed today.“ Röhm, also a Reich Minister, shot himself, and rightly so, for as Chief of Staff of the SA he was utterly impossible, as well as a depraved character and hence a traitor. The Wehrmacht seems to me to have served in a double game.

The elimination of the SA automatically resulted in the neglect of the „old guard“ of the NSDAP, since most of the members of the „old guard“ had also been members of the SA for many years. Thus, June 30, 1934 slowly but surely led to the shut-down of the Revolution, which from that point on took place largely in private, so to speak.

And thus the path was cleared for all those who wished to join the Party as soon as they possibly could in order to profit somehow from the external success of this state and this people. The real National-Socialists scornfully called these people „the Nazis“. With them and through them, the Party grew more and more bureaucratic. The „old fighters“ no longer felt comfortable with it and retreated into the SA or the „old guard“.

We perceived this to be all the more tragic because now the years came where the actual process of reconstruction and development could begin; for Hitler had created order, the people were as happy and as united as never before, industry was booming, export trade flourished, and at the center of it all was the German worker, both „of muscle“ and „of intellect“ – respected, and with a cheerful heart.

What do people strive for who live a free and happy life and take well-deserved pride in their and their nation’s progress? A family, a home, and children! This is how it has been everywhere and at all times. A look at the statistics of the 1930s proves more clearly than any election results that the German people were very content at that time, and counted on a long time of peace. Anyone who claims that there was any considerable popular resistance against Adolf Hitler and his government before 1944 either lacks even the most basic understanding of those days – or is a contemptible liar!

In 1945-46 millions of Germans believed that only lies could save them. Day in, day out, the enemy served them clever and cunning falsehoods, either directly or in a roundabout way. This was also the origin of the atrocious „Persil note“ racket, the denazification certificate scam by means of which millions „saved“ themselves at the expense of the truth and the honour of the entire nation.

I doubt that there is any other place on earth where lies as numerous and as imaginative have been dreamed up as in post-war Germany – especially in West Germany. Since more or less all the Germans had supported the National-Socialist Reich in one way or another, especially during wartime, post-1945 reconstruction was quite inconceivable without these more than 90% of the people.

No doubt all those who provided the professional as well as the political know-how required for the reconstruction of the new state had previously acquired and applied their abilities under Hitler’s regime. It is thus in no way an exaggeration to say that the courage, the determination, the team spirit and most of all the faith in Germany – all those qualities without which Germany could never have been resurrected from its rubble – had their origins in exactly that Germany that was henceforth to be so dreadfully calumniated.

We owe the reconstruction of Germany to a German people who had lived through the Thirties and who thus provided the consequent attitude towards nation and state, to life in general and to the mind-set resulting from it. If today’s new generation were faced with the same task as the Hitler generation had faced between 1945 and 1952, the reconstruction efforts would be a sorry sight indeed. It is impossible to achieve something truly essential for one’s nation and state in the absence of great and eternal ideals!

The first Federal Chancellor of post-war days, Dr. Konrad Adenauer – a close personal acquaintance of mine from my student days – was himself part of this. Under Hitler’s regime he had made extraordinary efforts to regain the position of Mayor of a major German city (Cologne). Hitler did not doubt Adenauer’s abilities, but he felt that because of his attitude in the days of Rhenish separatism he could not assign him such a privileged position now. He did, however, decree that Dr. Adenauer should receive an annual pension of 40,000 Reichsmark. Reich Minister Dr. Lammers told me this after the war. He had seen Hitler personally about this matter and was thus the best possible witness.

No doubt Federal Chancellor Dr. Adenauer as well as his successor Dr. Kurt Georg Kiesinger – who had served as liaison between Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and Reich Minister of Propaganda Dr. Goebbels – both knew enough of how things had really been, to be able to publicly counter the slander aimed at the German people – but they were careful not to do any such thing!

The „Persil notes“, those denazification certificates, were the prerequisite for the army of slanderers. Through them, a situation was created where the events of the past were not clarified on a basis of conviction or of loyalty to people and state and for the sake of peace with the former enemy powers; rather, an atmosphere of million-fold fears regarding dependence on the enemy powers and the apparent hopelessness with respect to a peace agreement gave rise to a generalized, demoralizing complex of lies that strained any real attempts at German foreign relations to the utmost and thus rendered internal peace impossible for both ethical and moral reasons.

And the more the real contemporaneous witnesses die off, the less chance there is for this nation to find its way back to the whole truth about itself.

But for as long as a nation is burdened down like that – rightly or wrongly -, it cannot possibly be a free agent in its decision-making process, its politics, or ultimately in its life as a whole. For as long as the burden remains, it will be blackmailed by other nations – and the internal blackmail amongst the people themselves will also continue.

And what did the post-war governments of West Germany do about this? The wrongest thing they could possibly have done! They tried to beg and buy the honor of their people. But bowing and scraping, and payments rendered in hopes of appeasement, only ever exacerbate such a situation – they never remedy it, for every half-way sensible person in other countries cannot help but reason that anyone who bows and scrapes and pays up like that, has got to have a tremendously guilty conscience!

And when we say today: „What we are charged with isn’t true at all – the greatest part of it, at least, is a total lie!“, then the response we get is: „If that’s the case – as we suspected it to be from the start, by the way – then you Germans of today are such a bad lot that we can’t respect you at all anymore, because you’re too cowardly to tell the truth and restore your honor – merely to safeguard your export trade!“

Mankind did itself a poor service indeed when it tried to crush a people, a state and most of all a Revolution which, with the proper support, could have done everyone a world of good. Today even more than in the 1920s, the nations of the highly civilized Western world suffer from standing in the service of unbridled materialism and hence of Capitalism, and they suffer from having lost the ability to think naturally, and from having thus lost themselves in ever more devastating excesses and lack of moderation. For decades these nations have been deceiving themselves while in fact offering themselves up for their total destruction. The governments have long been acting in accordance with the teachings of Emile Coue, in the true style of self-persuasion, effusively lauding our happy and fortunate lifestyle over and over again in spite of what reality tells them and in the face of the most glaring evidence to the contrary, and praising that progress which in the end will be our undoing.

During the worst of the bombing of Berlin I was able to leave all the furnishings which I had been able to salvage from my gutted house, standing in the street, completely unguarded, for eight days and nights without a single item being stolen. These furnishings included many valuable antique pieces of furniture, carpets and paintings. And this was by no means an exceptional case, but rather the rule in that nation and time now sneered at as „Hitler’s Germany“!

Even in wartime, Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels and I were able to go for walks in Central Berlin, on Wilhelm Street and Unter den Linden, without ever meeting even one person who gave us anything but a friendly greeting.

In February 1945, in the staff headquarters of the „Feldherrnhalle“, I saw four young soldiers crying with helpless rage because they had been caught trying without permission to sneak to the Front, to finally get their chance to fight for Germany. –

For me, one of the most devastating and at the same time one of the greatest experiences was Christmas Eve 1945, when we, some 6,000 captured National-Socialists, surrounded by watchtowers manned by guards with machine-guns, suddenly and without prior arrangement began to sing the song „I Pray to the Power of Love“. All the American officers and many thousands of Germans gathered to see and hear us and to join in – and the American camp commander, a front-line officer, had tears in his eyes.

At the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, an Army General threw himself from the third floor down to the stone-paved corridor of the ground floor. There, in the central square of the great prison, he lay dead on the ground before our very eyes. It was not long before some of the men in their cells began to sing, and more and ever more joined in, until all of us – the imprisoned National-Socialists and the non-National-Socialists and even some foreigners – sang along, and the enormous vaults resounded with that song that had used to pass our lips so easily, and now came from the heart and soul one last time: „To you, Adolf Hitler, we pledged —!“ Among the singers were soldiers, officers, Generals, professors, clergymen, lawyers, judges, physicians etc., of whom dozens already knew that they would be hanged – because none of them were what the Ignorant Ones of then and now claim they were.

US infantry, armed to the teeth, arrived in droves, Allied tanks surrounded the prison, while night descended on that „prison of honor“.

Part 6 – The system of slander

Certainly, all these are only small and isolated excerpts. They are just what I am able to recount from personal experience. But nevertheless – or perhaps, because of that – it shows, I think, what the people were really like before and right after May 8, 1945. From my own experience alone, I could give many more, similar accounts that show our people and all who belonged to it in a much better light than almost all of those who participated in the post-war incitement and slander have ever shown them.

A single individual may commit a crime. Abominable child-murderers are handled with kid gloves nowadays. One of the worst ever, Jürgen Bartsch, was even permitted to get married in prison, complete with a minister’s services, with wedding feast, guests and champagne.

But a nation of 60 million souls, plucked out of the midst of its peaceful Revolution, its labours of reconstruction, its sense of community and contentment attained at long last, and forced more or less anonymously into a Second World War – such a nation must be cursed as „criminal“ for decades, must remain fair game for slander and blackmail whenever someone feels like making some more enormous profits – a nation to whom all of mankind has owed an immense debt of gratitude for a millennium and even longer!!! No – things cannot go on like that! They must not! It does not benefit anyone in all the world – except the riffraff scoundrels who perpetuate the process.

It seems there is not a single bad trait that has not been alleged against our people at one time or another. This fact alone is proof that these allegations are mainly lies, for a people with none other than bad qualities does not exist, never has existed, is not provided for in the order of this world, and would not fit in.

As early as the 1920s and 1930s, we tried to find out which circles all this malice and mendacity originate in. We soon found that there is a method behind it. We noticed that the attacks are generally directed against individual persons, specifically against particular traits or characteristics of those persons; traits or characteristics which often were or are not even in fact present, but which are imputed to these people because doing so seems to be the only way to attack them.

For example, it was claimed that Adolf Hitler was a Czech. This trick was so successful that even the German President, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, was convinced of the truth of this assertion right until the day he first met Hitler. It was not until conversation had progressed for some time that Hindenburg began to wonder, and finally asked Hitler outright. The matter was cleared up easily enough: there is a town called Braunau in Czechoslovakia as well as in Upper Austria. The latter was Adolf Hitler’s birthplace, but he was simply called „a Czech by birth“. The town of Braunau in the so-called „Land of Braunau“ is called Broumov in Czech, and always numbered many Germans among its population of 8,000. Braunau in Upper Austria, on the other hand, has a population of more than 12,000, and is an ancient German town. Even if Hitler had been born in Broumov he could very well have been of German descent, especially as there is nothing at all Czech about his name, which sounds typically Austrian. For decades now, however, this one downright absurd lie has done a great deal of harm to Hitler’s reputation as well as to that of the German people, who allegedly sold themselves to „a Czech“.

About three years ago, a major German daily, the Wiesbadener Kurier, published a front-page article and photograph claiming that during the Second World War the government of the German Reich had offered a bounty of 60,000 marks for the sinking of the huge British passenger ship „Queen Mary“. I was outraged at such a lie and demanded to be told where this report had originated. The Wiesbadener Kurier informed me that the report had come from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), via the dpa (German Press Agency). I asked the highest officer of the Federal Marine, the chief officer in the Department of the Navy in the Federal Ministry of the Armed Forces, as well as Grand Admiral Dönitz to comment on this claim. All three assured me in writing that the German Navy had never offered monetary rewards for any purpose. All three officers rejected this report as outright fabrication.

I did not need any better proof than that. I informed the Wiesbadener Kurier of these findings and asked the editorial staff to immediately print a retraction in the same conspicuous place they had accorded their initial story, and to publish the truth. They told me that they would be willing to publish my statement as a letter to the editor, on my own responsibility. They themselves, however, would not take any action in the matter, since the report had originated with the BBC and had come to them via dpa.

In the course of a trip abroad, a high-ranking German diplomat once told me and my wife in great detail how terribly he had been made to suffer under Hitler’s tyranny until, in a specified year, he had determined to emigrate and, thank God, had thus been spared the worst. We did not believe him, and later my wife and I calculated how old the man would have been at the time he had allegedly had to suffer so terribly under Hitler’s regime: he had been about six years old at the time! –

Once, in the second half of the war, I had been called to report to the Chief of Staff of the SA in the Reich Chancellery, and was asked to wait in the adjutancy. I was in the midst of a conversation with the Head of the Adjutancy, SA Gruppenführer Girgensohn, when a good-looking officer came in and was greeted enthusiastically by the Gruppenführer. The officer was introduced to me and I learned that even before 1933, when he was a young officer in the German army, he had been reprimanded for marching, in uniform and with a swastika flag, at the head of an SA demonstration. When this officer was speaking to the Chief of Staff while I still had to wait, I learned that he was designated for a position in the Adjutancy because he was considered to be the most National-Socialist of the younger officers!

This was Count Stauffenberg, who later attempted to kill Hitler with a bomb in his quarters „Wolfsschanze“. As we know, Hitler survived, but several high-ranking officers and civilians were injured or killed. Hitler arranged for the Chief of Police, General Dr. Martin, Head of the SS Unit for Central Franconia, to convey his (Hitler’s) condolences to Count Stauffenberg’s widow or mother – I think it was his mother – and had her presented with a huge bouquet of flowers. And since there was a great deal of outrage amongst the people against Count Stauffenberg, Hitler even ordered a guard for the protection of the family. Dr. Martin later recounted this to me in great detail in the prison camp of Hersbruck.

Enemy propaganda during and campaigns of slander after the war chose the SA as their preferential target – that organization, of all possible choices, whose members were trained to be exceptionally self-disciplined and which turned millions of men from the working class, and particularly Social-Democrats and Communists, from enemies into friends and comrades through personal conviction and sacrifice and personal moral decency. I can say this quite freely, because I witnessed it myself for years. I know that with the exception of a vanishingly few fellow-travellers, spies and agents provocateurs planted by the enemy, the SA had practically nothing at all to do with the 1938 persecution of the Jews. And those who were proved to have had a part in it were punished with especial severity, on Hitler’s express orders.

The exemplary nature of the SA was brought home to me most vividly at the NSDAP Party Convention in Nuremberg in 1929. Hitler was in the Hall of the Cultural Association, giving his programmatic address to some 1,500 members of the Party and the SA, when suddenly we heard a tremendous uproar outside. Only a few minutes later we saw the great heavy door being burst open with brute force. Most of the people in the auditorium stood up to see what was going on behind them. Hitler called out, with striking calm: „Party comrades – what’s happening back there isn’t nearly as important as what I have to say up here. Please sit down again, listen to me and leave all the rest to our SA.“

And indeed everyone resumed their seats and Hitler continued his address as though nothing had happened. Those who had forced their way into the Hall were several hundred Communists, under the leadership of the infamous criminal Max Hölz; as they themselves couldn’t proclaim loudly enough, they had come from Berlin with the express purpose of turning the entire NSDAP Party Convention „into one huge blood-bath“! But the SA formed an impenetrable wall against them, so solid that all the Communists were slowly but surely crowded out of the Hall, and ultimately out of the building altogether.

It would have been easy enough to beat these Communists to a pulp – except that the SA was forbidden to do so. They had to let themselves be punched – and the only recourse open to them was to muster up even more resolution to crowd the enemy out. – Following this incident, Hitler sent his Dr. Goebbels to drive through the streets of Nuremberg in order to reinforce to the SA everywhere that such self-discipline was absolutely essential. There was one casualty and several wounded – albeit only in the ranks of the SA!

At the funeral of Herbert Norkus, the Hitler Youth murdered by the Marxists in Berlin in 1932, I witnessed how the Communists perching close by on a wall threw large and heavy rocks at us, especially at Dr. Goebbels and those accompanying him. Goebbels gritted his teeth and whispered to us: „Stand still, don’t so much as blink an eye, don’t let them provoke you!“ Each of us passed the message on to the next. Everyone acted accordingly: if they had not, the situation would have degenerated into a massive blood-bath. Afterwards, when we marched off through the Reddest part of Berlin, singing our battle songs, many of the Communists joined us, and marched and sang along with us.

In political as well as spiritual terms, Hitler’s Revolution was a comprehensive one, if not one of the greatest – and unique in its degree of discipline. That was the key by which it gained power. It was the factor that set it most clearly apart from its rivals. That is why the slander of our German past is nowhere as brutal as where it attempts to deny this discipline, to erase it from the memory of us Germans. Such discipline has as its prerequisite an unsurpassably strong faith – and the slanderers are well aware of this. Such a faith could easily rise again, even without any Hitler or National-Socialism – simply based on the legitimacy of nature, for example.

When Count Helldorf, Chief of Police of Greater Berlin, reported in detail to the Gauleiter of Greater Berlin after the so-called „Kristallnacht“, I happened to witness their conversation without their knowledge.

Count Helldorf reported that only very few Party members had participated in the ransacking of Jewish stores and the mistreatment of Jews. And most of these few had only done so because they had been incited to it, namely by Communists disguised as SA-men. Goebbels’ answer was: „Helldorf – I tell you, one of these days this madness will cost us a million dead soldiers!“

It is not true that Hitler wanted the „Kristallnacht“ to happen. On the contrary; he and Goebbels repeatedly made some very long and heated telephone calls that night in attempts to forestall any acts of violence, abuse or plundering. I know this from a gentleman from the Press Department of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda who was on duty at the telephone switchboard that night and listened in on these calls out of understandable curiosity. He took some notes, recording what he heard.

Apart from this evidence, there can certainly be no doubt that Hitler, Goebbels, Göring etc. were at least smart enough to know that it would be downright suicidal to make an arch-enemy of world Jewry – especially if there is nothing one needs as badly as a long and stable time of peace. It is impossible to carry out a revolution in wartime! And the Revolution was everything to Hitler – meant to save the German people as well as the Reich! It had originated in the terrible consequences of the First World War, and in the protest against these consequences. Risking a new war right in the midst of the realization of this Revolution would have been begging for trouble. But his foremost aim was to achieve his goals without the danger of war! A man such as Julius Streicher certainly thought differently on this matter, but one can blame neither the Party nor the people, and least of all Adolf Hitler, for that.

Institutions are worth only as much as the people that represent them. One who wants to write history must not judge people by actions, but rather the actions by the people. The more that materialism has come to be established, the less attention has been paid to the people – and the more to their „achievements“. Anyone who wants to judge actions by the people, however, must personally know the people in question and must have experienced them from the perspective of an independent observer. He must not try to judge on the basis of an intent or of political tactics, but solely for the purpose of doing justice to the truth!

The pre-war, wartime and most of all the post-war vilification of the German people and their past has as little to do with truth as it has to do with honor – it served, and continues to serve, the exclusive purpose of preparation for a Third World War, in the event that it should once again turn out that the German nation has not been broken forever.

Part 7 – Slander: psychological genocide!

In this particular context, the problem of „the extermination of Jews in concentration camps“ is the most devastating in every respect, and for everyone involved – regardless of which side they took or take.

During my imprisonment right after the war, I was thrown together with many men who had been interned in the various major German concentration camps in the course of the last years of the war. I got them to tell me as much about it as possible. In fact, not one of them was ever able to confirm that even a single person had ever been gassed in any of the concentration camps of that time. That the bodies of victims of the epidemics which had broken out near the end were burned because they could not be buried, and that this practice still continued even after the Allied Occupation Forces had taken control – that was a self-evident necessity for reasons of hygiene alone. Near the end of the war, not even the greatest and most heroic efforts sufficed to provide medication, rations, etc. – In the meantime it has long been proven that in the camp of Dachau, for example, there were never any facilities for the gassing of human beings.

Official statistics show that a maximum of 3.7% of the total number of Jews – that is, the total of all nations – were missing at the time in question. Jews emigrated not only from Germany, but from the Balkans, France, Greece and Italy as well.

During the war, when the Americans landed in Casablanca, 5,000 Jews from the city of Marrakech alone left Morocco. Why should a great many more Jews not also have fled from the much larger cities in Morocco – such as Casablanca, Rabat, Tangiers, etc. – just as from the other Arab countries?

How many Jews were clever enough not to register as Jews per se in the countries where they settled, eg. in Czechoslovakia, in Poland, Hungary, Rumania, etc.? And the number of Jews that disappeared or „went underground“ in the Soviet Union is given as exceeding the one million mark.

Why does it upset today’s opinion-makers so badly when it turns out that not eight million, but barely half-a-million Jews are missing for the time period in question? Shouldn’t it be reason to rejoice that fewer are missing? Even the number of Jews who were able to flee to the United States via neutral countries during and after the war, both from Germany and from German-occupied areas, must have been great, for there were many more Jews in the United States after the war than there had been before.

Of course it is horrible when people are killed. But if one counts one group, one must also count the others. It won’t to do accuse Germany because she lost the war and can barely even defend herself, while hushing up almost everything that the other side ought to account for!

Why is it possible the world over to spend decades talking with impunity about six million allegedly gassed Jews – while at the same time the world public never hears a word about what was done to our already helpless Germany in the last days of the war, and later, after conclusion of the armistice? Why does the world still not know how many tens of thousands of German SS-soldiers were shot for the sole reason that they had their blood group tattooed beneath their arm (so that in case of injury they could be given the proper blood transfusion without delay)?

Why is it hushed up to this day what an inconceivably horrible blood-bath the British and American bomber planes visited on the hospital city of Dresden, exactly at the time when the great numbers of fleeing Silesian refugees were passing through that already overcrowded city? Hundreds of thousands of poor civilians who had never fired a single shot were murdered in cold blood in Dresden.

Why is the world kept in the dark about the dreadful death suffered by the Germans in Prague, where German soldiers were strung up along the streets and set on fire like torches, where tens of thousands, mostly barefoot, were spat on and beaten and hunted across stretches of broken glass? Why are there never any reports about what American Negro soldiers in Aschaffenburg did to the 300 German girls who were stationed there as army news service assistants?

Why have there been decades of nothing but silence about the countless and, as a rule, particularly brutal tortures which thousands of German soldiers, officers and even civilians were subjected to – after the war! – by the Allied Occupation Forces? This is something that comes to my mind frequently nowadays, whenever I read the outraged reports in today’s Federal German press about torture allegedly taking place in Chile, Spain or Greece – as though like things never happened in the so-called „democratic“ nations of the Western world!

Why was it possible, just recently, for the Pope to speak of „a criminal Germany of the past“ when at the same time he has spent almost a decade now, passively watching his Church wage civil war against the Protestants in Northern Ireland – a very criminal war indeed, ever expanding in scope and now spreading even to the British island?

Were the wars in Korea and Vietnam not a great deal more brutal than the battles fought by the Germans in the Second World War?

Vilification is only ever aimed at the Germans, and almost always by exactly the same circles. For the biggest business on earth has always been war! Not for the warring parties, but for those that supply the arms – and the most evil weapon has ever been slander.

The German Reich not only did not want war, it staked everything for a lasting peace. The war was forced on it. And exactly those same circles that managed to do so, have ensured that the war never ends. The global campaign of vilification is nothing other than part of the state of war that still persists, and that is why the German government cannot simply defend itself against it. Many very weighty and decisive treaties, particularly the „Treaty of Germany“, render the Federal Republic of Germany dependent on the victorious powers. Beyond that, she has also entered voluntarily into obligations she could only meet as a sovereign state. But Germany can only have either its present state of dependence, or sovereign status. Trying to function under both at the same time is a fatal combination.

A confident and self-confident German people would give their government the backing it needs in order to take the appropriate and long-overdue steps for becoming more than just a follower of orders given by the USA, and for obtaining a peace treaty at long last. Dependents, on the other hand, can never negotiate freely.

However, the prerequisite for the necessary yet sorely lacking self-confidence of our people – in the East as well as in the West – is the absolute truth about the people’s past, their fate, their „self“. And regardless how bitter, how awful this truth were, it would in any case be a fate, a destiny for us, inconceivable perhaps but nevertheless a progression in the clearly perceptible natural order of this world.

Unfortunately, for as long as the majority of the Germans bury their heads in the sand for the sake of perpetuating their own creature comforts, our path will continue to spiral steadily downwards, especially in spiritual terms, and ultimately that means complete destruction. These people have already sunk so low that they are prepared to relinquish their right to the truth about themselves, and thus thoughtlessly choose those who spread the least unpleasant lies and whitewash.

A nation that lets itself be trained to take an interest in nothing beyond its television programme will one day also readily give up any and all social interaction, its statehood as a whole, the once great regard accorded to it by the world, and ultimately even its future generations. We do not need to look to politics for proof of this; the evidence stares us in the face even in everyday life:

a) a people known especially in the 1930s for their cleanliness in every sense of that term have turned into a shockingly dirty „consumer society“. The percentage of young people who never brush their teeth and of those who never even take a bath has already exceeded 12%;

b) syphilis, almost eradicated during the 1930s, is again so widespread that it poses a threat to the people’s very existence;

c) the number of violent crimes is steadily on the increase; within the framework of internationally organized terrorist conspiracies, acts of terrorism are able nowadays to blackmail entire nations and their people and to force them to their knees within a very few days, for example by means of the complete cut-off of water or electricity or through bacterial warfare.

It is certainly possible to simultaneously impose a regime of programmatic anarchy on the key nations of Europe within the space of two or three days. Even a large-scale attempt at any such thing would result in utter chaos. Every politically conscious person in western Europe as well as the United States, and especially in the Soviet Union, is fully aware of this.

Many foreigners still place their hopes in the German people – but they are deluding themselves, for the nation of the 1930s, the nation of brave endurance in wartime, is long gone. Its self-confidence had been destroyed, and with it its spiritual strength. That self-confidence that was able to weather world wars and could even muster up the strength afterwards to bring about the „Economic Miracle“ – that self-confidence has been eroded by the treacherous, downright satanic campaign of calumny waged against it by its real enemies, who never yet wore a uniform in honour. Along with the truth, honour died as well, and along with honour, so did the love that once informed this nation.

Of course there are a few million Germans left who know what is at stake – but they, too, largely lack the necessary strength. The lie is too crafty, too all-encompassing, and simply incomprehensible to the German mind. This is a fact which in itself should already speak eloquently for our people but which, I think, has never been considered.

That German people and German politicians have managed for thirty years to let themselves be blackmailed by foreign countries, much to the detriment of their own nation and state – blackmailed into paying out billions upon billions in „reparations“, into giving away huge portions of the German nation without having even so much as a peace treaty – that has been possible only because the continuous and still increasing slander has instilled in them such a guilty conscience that they are willing to do anything and everything just to „atone“, to „make reparations“, without even having a clear and objective conception of what really happened.

Some few hundred Germans – „fanatics of justice“, and true Socialists – for whom their own people have always been the essence of their striving, have not sat back idly, but tried despite all imaginable difficulties to ascertain the absolute truth. They have determined indisputable facts which in and of themselves already ought to suffice to instill a deep mistrust of the main of the other lies. These people know about the legions of false witnesses, about countless deceitful testimonies, innumerable instances of blackmail, great numbers of suicides, massive bribes, forgeries, perjuries, etc.

We know today that by far the majority of the allegations aimed at our people – in the context of two world wars, the Imperial, Weimar and Hitler days – are complete fabrications or at the very least gross exaggerations.

Part 8 – Art, culture and social innovations

Those engaging in this campaign of calumny are experts at attaining great results with crafty little tricks. Hundreds of millions of people around the globe know Adolf Hitler only as a monster with a whip in his hand, a grimly scowling face and a great dark strand of hair across his forehead. Anyone who knows only this image must assume that what he is faced with is a bloodthirsty, bellicose and very unpleasant man who could very well be the instigator of heinous crimes.

I have already said that I knew Adolf Hitler since 1928, and between 1933 and 1935 I was frequently with him, sometimes every day, and usually quite privately, often from 9 pm to about 2 am. That was the quiet part of his day, which he liked to spend in the company of close friends. In 1936 and 1937 I only saw him infrequently, hardly ever in the time before the outbreak of the war, and not at all anymore during wartime.

I can only state that I never once saw Hitler with a whip in his hand. As well, I never saw him with a strand of hair across his forehead, except perhaps accidentally in the course of a vigorous speech. His hair was without exception very neat, perfectly cut and combed. I did – very rarely – see him scowl, understandably enough at times when he was angry about something. When it happened in the presence of ladies, he would immediately apologize to them afterwards.

One very pronounced characteristic of his, however, is never mentioned nowadays, and was not very well known even then: his striking sense of humour.

No-one knew Hitler as well as Dr. Goebbels did. Whenever he had to take an unpleasant bit of news to Hitler, he would always bring along a few really good jokes, which had the effect of soothing and very efficacious medicine on Hitler. It must also be said that Dr. Goebbels had a flair for telling these jokes.

Two years ago I was very surprised to read that the great comedian Karl Valentin was being celebrated in Munich as „victim of Nazi persecution“. I wrote the Valentin Society that Hitler had been a particularly enthusiastic fan of Valentin’s and, in the small circle of his closest friends, had on several occasions recited the most popular Valentin skits – from memory, and very well at that. I think Hitler would have let Valentin get away with anything and everything. The claim that he persecuted him politically is, in my opinion, an outrageous lie.

One of the descendants of the famous singer Leo Slezak – his son, I think – claimed after the war that Slezak had had to suffer terribly under Hitler. Even Margarete Slezak, doubtless a great artist, had had a hard time of it during the Hitler regime, it was claimed. The fact is that Hitler numbered the Slezaks among his personal friends. I met Margarete dozens of times at Hitler’s place, and in every instance the two of them had a good and cheerful time together; old Slezak himself was never anything but admired for his great voice, his acting talent and his humanity.

Hitler knew that Slezak’s mother was one of the daughters of the banker Wertheim, in other words, of Jewish extraction. At age 59, Slezak gave up his position as singer with the State Opera – expressly „on his own request“, as he himself stated in the encyclopedia „Who’s Who“. He was brilliantly successful to the end, in America as well as especially at the Wagner and Mozart Festivals in Bayreuth and Salzburg. After the war I repeatedly visited his daughter, Margarete Slezak, in her beautiful house in Egern on the Tegernsee; she was still a great follower of Hitler’s, and made no secret of it.

In the course of the last twenty years, many well-known actors and actresses, especially those coming from the motion-picture industry, have written more or less political memoirs. I knew most of them personally, and so I know quite well what they thought of Hitler and Goebbels „in those days“, and what they invented „afterwards“ so as to ingratiate themselves with the regime of today just as they did very successfully back then with Hitler and the Reich Minister responsible for theatre and film.

I was already familiar with the methods these people used, from what I had observed during the 1920s and from 1930 to 1932. In their memoirs several of them seem to have confused their experiences in the 1920s with those of the 1930s, for in my opinion they were treated far too well in the 1930s. With respect to several of the „ladies“ from this field I can only say that their fawning was downright shameless. Often we literally took to our heels when we saw them converging on the Ministry, there to gush once again most effusively about how enraptured they were with Hitler and Goebbels and what a blessing National-Socialism was for the entire people.

But if Hitler wanted the German motion picture industry to become known and popular outside Germany – for up until then it was quite unknown – then he had to come to an arrangement with these people. Their pushiness was not in itself reason enough to dispense with good actresses.

There were also modest and decent artists, however, who made great careers for themselves even if they were politically, let’s say, uncomfortable. I know of several brilliant actors who made no secret of the fact that they were Communists. They were among the most respected ones to the end, their views notwithstanding. Heinrich George, Eugen Klöpfer, Emil Jannings, Werner Kraus, Mathias Wiemann, Gustav Gründgens, Alexander Golling – apart from the singers, these were for the most part not National-Socialists, and some of them were even known as opponents.

Hitler and Goebbels were in full agreement: actors must not be assessed in political terms, else real, good theatre as such will die out – and this, in turn, is something one cannot do to the people. The people come first! And to this day I believe that that was the right attitude to take.

One thing is for certain: politicians understand „theatre“ better than actors understand politics. And no doubt that is how it has been at all times and in all nations.

In any case, none of the actors as such had the slightest grounds for discontent. They were extremely successful, they were very popular not only at home but some of them even abroad, and theatre, just like the German movies, was more popular and respected than it has ever been again since. German movies did not attain world-wide significance until Hitler’s time. One of the last movies made in the Third Reich, „Kolberg“, was still a big hit abroad many years after the war. But it was rarely shown in Germany during the war, and not at all afterwards!

German broadcasting gained such prestige in the world that Germany was given the chairmanship of the World Broadcasting Association. German symphony orchestras also enjoyed unprecedented international popularity.

German sports did not attain world-wide importance until Hitler’s day, which was most evident at the Berlin Olympics. German jurisprudence gained such world-wide prestige under Hitler that a world conference of judges was moved to Germany. The Chairman of this conference, and host, so to speak, was Dr. Roland Freisler, who later was made a very particular target of by the slanderers of Germany and all things German.

German locomotives, German automobiles, German ships came to be greatly admired abroad, and bought, ie. ordered, worldwide. German physicians began to play a leading international role. Foreign experts came from all parts of the world to look at and copy Hitler’s Autobahn superhighways.

The organization of German agriculture, as well as the German solution to the problem of labour unions – in the shape of the „German Labour Front“ (DAF, Deutsche Arbeitsfront), which Hitler himself was reluctant to call „National-Socialist Labour Front“ – soon also came to be internationally regarded as exemplary.

After the war, when the Americans had the organization, structure and functional abilities of the „National-Socialist People’s Welfare Organization“ (NSV) and the „Winter Relief Organization“ (WHW) explained to them, they said – and I know this from eye-witnesses – that there was no other organization in the world as efficient and outstanding as these.

I cannot conclude this list without mentioning Arno Breker, one of the greatest artists of that epoch. Wide sections of the art-conscious population abroad practically idolized him, even though, as is commonly known, he was commissioned by Hitler personally, as were Count Plettenberg and Josef Thorak. Great artists from almost every country eagerly flocked to Germany.

And when Hitler then built up a fleet by means of which the German working man could see the world and come to know and honour other peoples, thus building bridges of understanding from one person to another – that was when he unconsciously touched a sore spot with his enemies and slanderers, for this was something that should not and must not be. The organization „Strength Through Joy“ (Kraft durch Freude, KdF) was by far the greatest of all social measures introduced by the Third Reich. It alone was already a Revolution of the true form of Socialism – independent of financial means. Time and again one could see thousands of men and women from all social strata of the German nation visiting Madeira and other „paradises“ on earth – and that was a great innovation for all of mankind in those days!

The only institution with which the German Reich sorely failed to excite admiration was its armed forces, which, due to imposed necessity, were much too small for such a large and significant nation. The navy was in dire need of at least five times the existing number of submarines, at least ten times as many transport ships of all kinds, at least twice as many warships of various kinds, as well as a number of surprises.

The air force was in even worse a shape than the navy. In fact, it barely existed at all. At least 3,000 fighter planes of various kinds were needed.

To expand and train the army, navy and air force on such a scale was very costly and, according to the experts, would require five to eight years’ time! Hitler was fully aware of all this, and so this alone means that it was completely out of the question for him to want war. Since the traitors also knew this, the matter of who started the war is quite clear, as is the fact that the entire campaign of slander and calumny was directed exclusively by those who wanted to eradicate „Made in Germany“ once and for all. Five to eight years – that meant that the Reich could not be fully armed before 1946 at the earliest!

But Hitler not only needed time for the armed forces, he also needed a great deal more time for the internal consolidation of the Reich. In this context he wanted at least ten to twelve more years – which means that the desired state of armament of the German armed forces would not be attained at any time prior to 1950! Hitler was of the opinion that at such a time there would no longer even be any danger of war, for he would surely have achieved an alliance with England long before that time, especially since he had renounced any and all colonial claims for the German Reich. Who else but him would have done any such thing back then?

Does anyone really believe that the German Reich could have concluded a naval treaty with England, treaties with Italy, Rumania and Japan, and even with the Soviet Union, if even one of the lies being spread around had been the truth? Never!

Does anyone believe that the two major Churches prayed for Hitler and his government for twelve whole years – and not only within Germany! – because deep down they really believed that he and his government were diabolical? I think this theory may safely be dismissed as out of the question.

From 1932 on I was personally acquainted with the papal nuncio Orsenigo, who for many years was a most respected ambassador of the Holy See to Berlin. Whenever he spoke about Hitler it was always in an appreciative, sometimes even an admiring vein. I never once knew him to voice anything negative. I was also well acquainted with Ambassadors Alfieri (Italy) and Frölicher (Switzerland), the Irish Ambassador, who remained supportive to the very end, as well as the Ambassadors of Japan (Oshima), Spain, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

It goes without saying that all these gentlemen listened to foreign radio broadcasts as well as to the German ones, in order to compare them. That was their privilege. In this way they regularly learned what new accusations the slanderers aimed at Germany. It was their right to demand pertinent information from the governments they were accredited to, and so they were always well-informed. They were also free to send informed members of their staff back to their countries of origin, for purposes of reporting there.

Not one of the many foreign diplomats whom I met in Berlin in the course of more than ten years considered Hitler’s regime to be „criminal“. They voiced criticism wherever they felt that something needed to be remedied – and it was their right as well as their duty to do so. But all of them without exception admired the German national community as Hitler’s greatest achievement. All of them acknowledged that Hitler preserved not only Germany but all of Europe from Communism. And many of them admired Hitler as a very brilliant man whose existence was a blessing, and not only for Germany.

I particularly remember the English diplomat Sir Ivon Kirkpatrick. We were personal friends of his and his family’s. Once he even attended a meeting of the NSDAP which was being held in the Reddest part of Berlin, and at which I was the sole speaker. When he congratulated me afterwards, he remarked that it was a great pity that only very few of the foreigners who came to Germany so full of curiosity had the chance to witness such a meeting. It was only at this meeting, he said, that he had fully realized that what was happening in Germany was a primarily Socialist revolution which – adapted, of course, to reflect individual situations – could be of immense benefit to all nations!

On the occasion of a party which Kirkpatrick gave at his home for his friends, he took me aside to ask me to tell my Minister in his name the next day (which was the day before Dr. Goebbels left for Egypt) that when he was in Egypt he should bear in mind that a very brilliant statesman had already been known to fail disastrously when he followed up on his war in Egypt by also invading Russia! I passed this message on to Dr. Goebbels – he did not answer, but I will never forget the way he looked at me.

No doubt Kirkpatrick meant well. After the war he served as a high-ranking Commissioner of the Queen in the British-occupied part of the Reich. During Kirkpatrick’s time in Berlin, the British Ambassador was Henderson. Unlike me, Hitler considered him a friend.

One evening when we were at the home of Chief of Staff Lutze, the host’s dachshund walked past us, and Henderson said: „You see, my dear Prince, this animal has typically German characteristics – a big mouth and a long tail.“ I answered: „And as far as I am aware, the dog typical for England is the bulldog – he bites from below, Your Excellency.“

I only mention these two brief episodes because I witnessed them myself and because they showed me how fundamentally different were the attitudes of those two Englishmen, who were both with the British Embassy at that time and who both played significant parts afterwards.

I especially liked to visit Ambassador Fran‡ois Poncet at the French Embassy. Hitler regarded him as a „particularly intelligent and tactful man“. From many private remarks I had gathered the impression that Fran‡ois Poncet was more kindly disposed towards the Germans than von Ribbentrop would have liked. Ribbentrop banked on Henderson. History has proven that the exact opposite would have been correct. But I could not possibly have interfered, especially since in 1929-30 Alfred Rosenberg had brought about my expulsion from the Party – and Hitler’s signature had been forged towards this end – because Baron Lersner and I had suggested to Hitler that he should review his position towards France and try to obtain an alliance with the French. Hitler acted on this suggestion, and Rosenberg told him that Baron Lersner was not fully Aryan. Rosenberg’s outrageous behaviour did not come to light until 1936, when Hitler declared that he had never heard of my being expelled from the Party, and after all, if he had known, he would not have continued to confide in me for years afterwards.

I only mention this because it shows how many dangers to Hitler and his struggle lurked within the Party’s leadership, and that it is insane to call him a dictator. If only he had been one, probably everything would have turned out fine, especially since he never intended to remain in the Party vanguard forever. I repeatedly heard him say, „As soon as I have finished laying the foundations of the Reich, I am going to step down and devote myself to the elaboration of our ideology.“ This is yet another factor which shows that he never wanted a war.

Part 9 – The eternal ethical laws of nature

„So why are you saying all this only now?“, many a reader will probably ask. The answer is, first, because there were many others who had, and have, much more evidence at their disposal, and who, further, held much higher ranks than I did – yet who lacked my personal relationship with Hitler, which was probably unique. The only one to personally describe Hitler accurately did not live in Berlin. He is a great artist, but was never active in politics – Dr. Hans Severus Ziegler, General Director of the Thuringian Theatres. His book tells the truth – and that is the highest praise one can give a book nowadays.

Several of the formerly high-ranking Party or state officials have tried to lend the truth a voice. They have produced many a good book. But the fact that someone dealt with Hitler only in the line of business is a hindrance. There would never have been any National-Socialism without Hitler. Since Hitler did exist, National-Socialism necessarily also had to come about, and because both finally existed after a long, hard struggle, the community of the German people developed. Only someone who can write about Hitler, about the human element, can ever write accurately about that time. I was very fortunate to know him only in those days when he was still completely his true self, free of all those pressures that came from outside once it had become profitable to have a part in the Revolution.

I knew Hitler the revolutionary statesman, who was as yet identical with Hitler the human being. And my second piece of good fortune was that I could feel quite independent of him – I needed him neither for a salary nor for rank, and least of all for social advantages. He knew that, and discussed it with me himself. That is why I dare to say: I knew Hitler. And that is why I feel obliged to write these lines, for in my opinion, having such knowledge also entails the obligation to pass it on to the people and most of all to posterity. Our nation has a right to every single word of the truth that will at long last help it return to a healthy state of self-confidence. And I feel that any German government must agree when I say: only the truth can help us – amongst ourselves as well as outwardly!

„The belief in original sin is what created the true original sin. Christianity has preached the evil of human nature for so long that it has become evil in fact.“

Coudenhove-Kalergi, in Held und Heiliger

The German Reich still exists – but only the truth will make it live again, for the power of truth is never more apparent than in the time of greatest need.

The concerns about the future of our Germany are legion. The greatest, however, is that of the decline of our people, as is already shockingly manifest in several respects. The root of this development is the fact that a proud nation has been stripped of its self-confidence. This nation is as yet able to exist, but not to fight for its existence. That such a fact is exploited to the limit by the enemies of this nation, is self-evident.

Where honour has lost its value, there can be no trust. Where trust is a thing of the past, there can be no friendship, and no camaraderie. Man slowly but surely becomes a predatory animal. Whether the state „treats“ criminals or punishes them is all the same: their numbers are frighteningly on the increase, even if they are less openly apparent. By the example of several great peoples throughout history we can see that this has ever been the same development that ultimately terminates a life of indulgence and excesses in dreadful self-destruction. In all cases, the destruction of national self-confidence was the start of this process, for anyone who has lost confidence in himself can no longer have confidence in anyone else, and one who can trust no-one is already lost.

As yet we could save our people if we could ignore parties, denominations, class and rank and could simply see ourselves and each other as Germans beginning a new life together by returning to the absolute truth, first within ourselves and then outwardly. We ask our governments to help us in this. The past must remain past – but with honesty, with unconditional and absolute truth! Truth is the prerequisite for honour. Truth plus honour results in loyalty – and these three together combine to form the most essential of all ideals: true love. The eternal ethical legitimacy of nature has decreed it so – and it does not require our agreement or consent.

Truth is one of mankind’s greatest ideals. It stands in a relationship of interdependence with the other great ideals: loyalty, love, and justice. All of them are part of the eternal ethical laws of nature. Hence they are inalienable and indivisible. One cannot and must not say: truth, justice – yes! But not for Hitler, because he was an awful criminal, he was to blame for everything.

Today the law puts particular emphasis on considering, treating and judging a criminal as a person. That is a great point of view! It incorporates the complete and total acknowledgement of the eternal ethical laws of nature! The very changeable concepts of „good“ and „evil“ – „angel“ and „devil“, „divine“ and „satanic“ – are based more on Church precepts than on religious principles, and least of all on truly natural fundamentals of order.

It has taken almost two thousand years until now people are gradually beginning to see Christ as a unique individual, not more and not less. Anyone who wants to abolish „devils“ must also do away with „angels“, and for this reason: for the sake of the „real person“, the human being whose soul in particular plays a great, mysterious, essential role and hence has a mission and a profound responsibility as part of the eternal order of this world.

Times when Germans in Germany were called „criminals“ while Frenchmen in France or Englishmen in England were celebrated as heroes for exactly the same reasons – such times must never come again. Instead of the extremely variable concepts of „good“ and „evil“ we must think in terms of „right“ and „wrong“ – „responsible“ versus „irresponsible“ human behaviour – within the framework of the eternal order of nature, so that mankind may finally break free of that vicious circle that Diderot described when he wrote: „Evil is whatever brings more detriment than advantage for one’s interests – and good is what brings more advantage than detriment.“

„Nature knows neither good nor evil; human opinion is what made the distinction.“

Sextus Empiricus

No doubt one of the greatest dangers to mankind is that craving for status that motivates the international seizure of power, for it is the most devastating violation of the natural law of diversity. All internationality ultimately has a negative effect on the freedom of natural unity. Not only that: it is also the best prerequisite for anonymity in politics. And that is the basis for the greatest crimes, all the more so because so-called technological progress increasingly offers such a development all the means for its further expansion.

It is downright grotesque for an international power, which today is globally active with the assistance of a large-scale computer network, to dare to slander as „dictator“ some statesman not bound by the international system, just because he attempts in all honesty to act in a direct relationship with the nation and people entrusted to him, without the interposition of machines without conscience!

But it is exactly these international powers which wage the concentrated war of slander against defeated Germany with ever-increasing intensity. Such a large-scale offensive of lies and deceit, practicable only from out of the dark of anonymity, has only been possible since mankind is ruled by relatively few overlords under the influence of the international powers.

At the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg between 1945 and 1949, people were condemned who certainly wanted only the best for their people, and acted as they did for this reason. They all were part of their nation’s great process of reconstruction, and the last thing they wanted was war; yet they perceived themselves to be under attack, and so – albeit much too late – they decided on total war… after their enemies had already launched the same, much earlier.

The entire Nuremberg Trial was a tragedy for both sides, because our opponents were not France, England, Russia, America etc., but rather the sum total of the international power dominating these nations. Countless most sincere conversations with high-ranking officers from such nations have shown me time and again that it was indeed so. None of those nations wanted war with Germany – and the Reich more than any other wanted to coexist in peaceful community with them for as long as possible. Not least of all, Hitler and his work was admired by the people of most nations and even by the most prominent of their politicians, such as Winston Churchill, Pierre Laval, etc.

Who was it who created the first, and to this day the most significant, of all Internationals? The International of the Proletariat? Karl Marx! He was the man who truly wanted to conquer the world, not for one nation and even less for all people, but solely and expressly for the proletariat, at everyone else’s expense. He himself wrote that he was prepared, if necessary, to annihilate the entire middle class! And during the great Russian Revolution his followers acted accordingly – they butchered millions! Why have the historians and politicians of virtually every nation on earth refrained from publicly denouncing Karl Marx as dictator? Isn’t the International of the Proletariat by far the greatest thrust towards world dictatorship to date?

The great Revolution during the First World War in Russia did not emanate primarily from the Russians any more than the revolts of the Marxists in Germany during the Twenties emanated primarily from the Germans, or those in Austria from the Austrians, those in Hungary from the Hungarians, those in Spain from the Spanish or those in Italy from the Italians – and all of them together cost Europe several million dead. The goal was the same everywhere: the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’! They assumed the role of dictator wherever brute force offered any opportunity, regardless which country served as playground: the likes of Trotsky, Adler, Luxemburg, Liebknecht, Radek, etc., and at the vanguard of them all – Karl Marx!

Let us not forget that in 1919, on the orders of the Jew Eisner, some 300 hostages – mostly men who had earned merit in the defense of their country – were slaughtered in the square of the Royal Seat in Munich, without even so much as a court verdict. And let us not forget that Rosa Luxemburg’s and Karl Liebknecht’s uprisings in Berlin, Hannover and Hamburg, in Saxony, Hesse and the Ruhr region totalled far more than 50,000 dead, or that the Revolt of 1936, instigated by the dictatorship of the proletariat and initially a great danger to Spain’s very existence, cost the Spanish more than half a million dead.

Among the participants in the Red International in those days were Togliatti, Hemingway, Willy Brandt and many other leading Marxists from various countries; some of them are politically very active in Germany today. Those who instigated the blood-bath in order to seize the reins of dictatorial power were almost never people native to the country itself, but aliens, legitimized – so to speak – by the „International of the Proletariat“ which, according to Karl Marx, intended the annihilation of the entire middle class, if necessary.

Who dares deny that the idea of the „dictatorship of the proletariat“ has triggered countless, sometimes most bloody revolutions around the world, and created numerous dictatorships? The total must also include those revolutions which provoked natural counterforces and, accordingly, counter-revolutions.

This is the context within which one must view the two world wars. Both cases were a matter of the triggering of the Marxist World Revolution and the corresponding reactions. It is no wonder that enemy propaganda and slander did not begin only with Hitler and his rise to power, but rather already in the time of Emperor Wilhelm II. We may discern from this that said efforts were directed primarily neither at the Emperor nor at Hitler, but at the German nation and the German people. If this were not so, then the gigantic program of anti-German calumny would be quite incomprehensible, and useless to our enemies, today – 32 years after Hitler’s death!

In the view of the leading Marxists, the dictatorship of the proletariat – by its very character, and due to the nature of the people, both pro and con – had no greater enemy than the German Reich. The first and foremost concern of this dictatorship of the proletariat, therefore, is to destroy this German empire, to eliminate it once and for all, or at the very least to reduce it to an impotent state construct of third rank at best.

Marxism cannot be considered a democratic nor even a Socialist movement; Marx and its other loyal champions proclaimed it, aptly and significantly enough, as the dictatorship of the proletariat, and it has been repeatedly celebrated as such. However, a revolution that fights exclusively for only a particular sector of the population and seeks to eliminate the other sectors to achieve its end – such a revolution is the worst possible enemy of the people as a whole, ie. of the truly Socialist community. Anyone who calls such a revolution „Socialist“ or „democratic“ deceives his own people!

It is vital to understand this, for the Marxists have gained their position of power on the strength of this main ideological pillar. By means of their Godesberg Program they even gained additional „middle class“ support, specifically from those who still retain a touch of true Socialism – that kind which addresses the natural unity of a people.

If Hitler wanted to save the German people and nation from the desperate situation of the Twenties, he had to find a way that every German could follow. He had to create a party in which all Germans – without any differences, simply as Germans – could feel comfortable. Such a party could not have gained power by means of violence. Bloodshed may win victories, but not social community. Bloodshed may produce fear, but not true comradeship – it may gain an alliance, but never true unity and wholeness. Hitler understood this clearly from the start, and repeatedly stressed it to others.

The logical consequence of this was his self-sacrificial bearing at the Feldherrnhalle, where his Party did not shoot back when the police opened fire. Hitler, Hess, Göring and General Ludendorff strode resolutely and without hesitation into the volley. There were fourteen dead and many injured – the latter included Göring. In a symbolical sense this march became of utmost significance to the Revolution. Hitler’s bearing and that of his men during those minutes remained an example to the millions that came later, who must not let themselves be provoked under any circumstances. Not letting oneself be provoked heightens one’s self-discipline and faith. The one effects the other. Nothing else creates such a bond of comradeship. Nothing else is quite as impressive to one’s adversaries. Many former opponents gave me confirmation of this in the prison camp after the war.

In 1932 I was just a common SA-man. My wife and I were driving through Hangelar near Bonn, when the district head of the KPD [Communist Party of Germany] took a shot at me from his house. The bullet struck the door beside me, just about ten inches from my head. I waived my right at criminal prosecution, and Hitler thanked me for it.

At Christmas, 1933, Dr. Goebbels ordered a gigantic table piled with gifts to be set up in the Reddest part of Greater Berlin, along one of the main streets in the Communist district. National-Socialist and Communist families alike were given Christmas gifts. In the course of this very touching hour, one of the leading Communists arrived. He had just been released from prison, even though he had committed a number of violent crimes. I saw him coming, since he had been driven from the prison right up to the table of gifts, where he met his family and his circle of friends and comrades – as well as his greatest adversary, Dr. Goebbels, and his men. To this day I number these minutes among the most wonderful of my life.

„This Christmas could not have been better“, said Dr. Goebbels, and he was right. – Incidentally, it was the Russians who saw to it at the IMT in Nuremberg in 1946 that the SA as a whole was acquitted, and thus was not counted as one of the so-called „criminal organizations“.

Where else has there ever been a nation of 70 million souls, on the highest level of civilization and culture, which gave 98% of its election vote to one single man? Nowhere! „For me there are no more opponents among the people,“ Adolf Hitler said in my presence when he was asked whether he knew the missing 2%.

During the Berlin Olympics of 1936 I heard Hitler say that, no matter how sad it was, we would have to try to stem the flood of medals for the German athletes somewhat – else it would come to be embarrassing towards our foreign guests.

That man was truly no dictator – but the slanderers have always tried to portray him as such. And it is in human nature to believe evil rather than good, falsehood rather than truth – especially if they think that they will profit more by this; a belief which always proves mistaken in the long term, however.

Certainly Adolf Hitler never wanted the war. On the contrary, he had hoped for a very long time of peace. All his real interests could be realized only in peacetime. Among those who slander him and the entire German people to this day, there are and were next to none who really knew him personally, as independent person, as free agent, long enough to be able to judge fairly.

His plans for post-war times were enormous in scale and scope – ranging from the eradication of cancer to the giant power plants he wanted to build in the Sahara, together with the African nations, in order to harness solar energy. „It’s not necessary to be allied or bound to everyone – it’s much easier to help everyone without international ties“; that was his opinion. Immensely interesting plans were already on the drawing board. All of us wanted peace as soon as possible. Hitler made offers of peace four or five times and received – no answer at all! In light of all this, can one really call him guilty, criminal – a dictator?

You, the reader, can decide for yourself; but you must understand that falsehood is always to everyone’s detriment. Of all things, the past in particular ought to be perfectly clear to one who views it, like a precious diamond, and just as natural and immutable.

Part 10 – A word to the slanderers themselves

And now, a word to the slanderers themselves. A word from the pen of Friedrich Nietzsche, perhaps one of the most prominent, courageous and profound of all philosophers:

„And this is the tale of Zarathustra’s conversation with the fire-dog: The earth (he said) has a skin; and this skin has diseases. One of these diseases, for example, is called ‘Man’. And another of these diseases is called ‘the fire-dog’: men have told many lies and been told many lies about him.

„To fathom this secret I fared across the sea: and I have seen truth naked, truly! barefoot to the neck.

„Now I know all about the fire-dog; and also about all the revolutionary and subversive devils which not only old women fear.

„‘Up with you, fire-dog, up from your depth!’ I cried, ‘and confess how deep that depth is! Where does it come from, that which you snort up?

„‘You drink deeply from the sea: your bitter eloquence betrays that! Truly, for a dog of the depths you take your food too much from the surface!

„‘At the best, I hold you to be the earth’s ventriloquist: and when I have heard subversive and revolutionary devils speak, I have always found them like you: bitter, lying, and superficial.

„‘You understand how to bellow and how to darken the air with ashes! You are the greatest braggart and have sufficiently learned the art of making mud boil.

„‘Where you are there must always be mud around and much that is spongy, hollow, and compressed: it wants to be freed.

„‘Freedom’, you all most like to bellow: but I have unlearned belief in „great events“ wherever there is much bellowing and smoke about them.

„‘And believe me, friend Infernal-racket! The greatest events – they are not our noisiest but our stillest hours.

„‘The world revolves, not around the inventors of new noises, but around the inventors of new values; it revolves inaudibly.’“

Part 11 – Conclusion

Immensely much could still be said about this topic. I have restricted myself, on the whole, to things I know from personal experience. My intent was not to settle scores with former opponents; we have no need of that. My intent was twofold:

a) to establish how abominable and base a barrage of lies has been aimed at us Germans for decades; and

b) to point out who does this, and why.

The circles which have instigated and perpetuated the world-wide slander of our nation for decades now are themselves in every way the extreme opposite of us Germans. They are more or less an imitation of their prophet Karl Marx. They give themselves away ever more clearly by no longer trying to destroy only us Germans with their lies, but other nations as well. The Chileans, the Spanish, the South Africans and the Arabs are but a few examples. They, too, the slanderers accuse of heinous crimes, they too are placed at the receiving end of continual hate-mongering carried out on an international level and even by means of international organizations.

Anyone who comes to know them through their methods knows that their lies are only a means towards their end in the struggle for world power. For if it were otherwise, they would have the courage to slander the great powers as well: Russia, China and the United States. But not a hair of their heads is ever touched! What all do these states have on their conscience even only with respect to their own nations, their own people? Not a word is written about that. There are even attempts to forge spiritual alliances against us with these nations – which endeavour has succeeded all too well in the case of the United States. I just recall the disgusting hate-propaganda that a certain General Eisenhower ordered distributed in immense quantities to his officers near the end of the Second World War!

And who still recalls that the Poles indulged in such unspeakably atrocious excesses in Germany in 1945 that some of the Russian troops saw fit to protect the Germans from these Poles? What prompts the slanderers to keep silent about the fate of the Jews in the Soviet Union as well as in the States? In 1961, in Buffalo, USA, I saw one of the largest synagogues in the city, which had burned down and, it seemed, was not being rebuilt. I asked numerous respected Americans what that meant. They shrugged their shoulders and laughed a little maliciously, and that was all. I then asked deliberately: „When is it going to be rebuilt?“ The answer: „We don’t know if it’s going to be rebuilt!“

Even though the incitement and hate-mongering against our nation and its history is carried on by far the most vigorously and most disgustingly in the United States, I do not think that most of the people are prepared to believe everything they hear.

Those criminal slanderers who incite the entire world against our German nation and its history, and act in a similar manner towards very specific other nations as well, do not, however, voice even the slightest objection when international Capitalism / Marxism promotes a process which in the long run will most certainly destroy the whole of all life on earth. I only need to mention that horrible topic, „disposal of radioactive waste“.

No-one knows what to do with this deadly waste-material, of which there is more and more every day. Because storage on the ocean floor has already proven much too dangerous, the only possibility considered to be still an option is to deposit it in particularly deep ocean trenches, where this waste will not become active for another 10,000 years – we hope. But if the amount of waste that has already accumulated gets out of hand in even only 1,000 years, then this should more than suffice to utterly destroy all life on this planet in a very brief period of time indeed!

My question: who are those international dictators, unprecedentedly thoughtless and callous, irresponsible and unscrupulous, who dare to continue producing radioactive waste even though they know full well that the enormous dangers to all life grow more and more monstrous with each new barrel that is sunk, and can never be stopped?

Anyone who tolerates that, who does not speak out against it, who does not denounce those dictators of economy and finance as by far the worst criminals of all time and all nations – God knows, such a person does not have the slightest right to criticize things past.

Those who calumniate us Germans and our history were and continue to be the ones truly at the root of the great wars – and they are at the same time the ones who pave the way for that Dictatorship of World Capital which I have particularly stressed.

Thus, the circle closes, and what seemed so incomprehensible at first becomes quite clear.

And exactly for this reason, that now we know what at best we could sense then, I must take this opportunity to remember those tens of thousands, and probably even hundreds of thousands, of good German men and women who, since May 8, 1945, have slowly died an agonizing death because their love of home and Fatherland, their decency and their loyalty to their people and their nation simply could not bear all these base lies and deception. I saw many of them already slowly begin to die of this spiritual agony in the prison camp – and not a few of them, out of their bottomless despair, ended their own lives.

I know that I was born a German so as to live and do my duty as a German. That is in accordance with the eternal order of this world we live in. He that deliberately acts against this order, can only be a traitor, a scoundrel! He harms everyone else. No philosophy, no religion, no mathematics can ever be stronger than the eternal ethical legitimacy of nature!

„This above all: to thine own self be true!
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.“

Shakespeare, Hamlet I,3 (Polonius)

Part 12 – Epilogue

Whether it makes sense or not – it is an undeniable fact, proven anew day in, day out, that Adolf Hitler is the best-known person in the world today, second only to Jesus Christ. Particularly in the most powerful nations, he is – politically speaking – still very much alive, for time and again, the world over, he is repeatedly quoted and continually referred to and described. Magazines, books, movies, radio, television, parliaments and countless speakers from all nations continue, 31 years after his death, to seize every possible opportunity to exploit this man and to profit from him. The most glaring example of this which I myself witnessed must be mentioned:

In a speech which I gave in Ulm/Donau, I attempted to establish that there can never be absolutely rigid judgements in politics. The more natural any given teaching is, the more human discipline is required of its adherents. Hence, the more sacrifices must be made, the smaller the number of true followers, fighters and faithful.

I said: „Let no-one believe that everyone who once wore the Brown Shirt is my friend today. On the contrary – in this matter I am particularly discriminating, because I know that the number of National-Socialists decreased, the more rapidly the numbers of Party members grew! If someone today points out a Federal Minister or party leader who used to hold a position in the NSDAP, I could not care less, for I know that he could never have ben a National-Socialist. He just ‘acted the part’ – and so he will just ‘act the part’ all his life.“

In closing, I said: „It was a very bad thing that both Ribbentrop and Bormann, for example – two profoundly different men – were not National-Socialists. The wrong political attitude is in itself disastrous, but to fake the positive political attitude and then to abuse and betray it, that is catastrophic.“

In this context I mentioned that I had seen Bormann in the train station of Buchloe after the war, in 1948 or 1949. This remark caused an uproar, and a leading German magazine asked me for an interview. I agreed, on the condition that I would first be given a clear answer to the following question, which was of paramount interest to me at the time: „Am I correct in the assumption that the official account of Hitler’s death is partly untrue? By ‘partly’ I mean ‘to a considerable degree’.“

The magazine’s editorial staff withdrew for a brief conference, and then declared that it was in fact so, the official account was incorrect in some vital respects. I responded that it was quite incomprehensible to me why such a prominent magazine would then forfeit the great credit of publication, and keep silent for years. Their answer was: „All in good time, dear Prince!“…

This interview has remained in my mind as exceptionally revealing and interesting. And that is also a reason for my writing this booklet, even though it strikes me as somewhat incomplete an attempt at the interpretation of Adolf Hitler’s personality.

And just at this time, quite unexpectedly, I have received what is probably the most interesting and valuable supplement imaginable: Adolf Hitler’s last recorded statements shortly before the end of the war – some notes, unknown to date.

The reader will no doubt wonder whether these notes are genuine. Naturally, we too considered this point frequently and earnestly. I can only say this: the writing is Hitler’s style, the statements are doubtless his own thoughts, the mood of those days is singularly brought to life, and the notes were released by a reliable and trustworthy source – for the sake of the truth, and only for its sake!

Adolf Hitler’s expositions* affected me, who knew him well until 1936, like a profession by the soon to be departed. With perfect candor he tells how he saw matters – and exactly that is of paramount importance for us to know, for:

„The concealment of truth brings evil!“
Friedrich Nietzsche

*KRITIK issue no. 70: Adolf Hitler – ein Leben für Deutschland und Europa.

The Waffen-SS and the struggle for Pomerania, 1945 (Part I): The liberation of Arnswalde

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Volume V, Number 4, Whole Number 28, January 1982

After completing a successful, if costly, defensive battle in the German-held Kurland Pocket of Western Latvia, the European volunteers of the III. SS Panzer Corps were shipped back to Germany at the end of January 1945. There was no time available to place the Corps’ units into reserve for reformation; they would have to be reinforced en route to the front. III. SS Corps was slated to become part of the new Army Group „Weichsel” (Vistula), which was forming to contain the northern spearhead of the Soviet Marshall Zhukov’s enormous assault force in the Pomeranian sector of Eastern Germany. There was only one word for the military situation: desperate. The SS soldiers would be put to their greatest test in the days and weeks ahead.

At this time, Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner relinquished command of the III. SS Corps to the Army General Unrein to take charge of the new 11th Panzer Army. Coming out of Kur-land with the 11th and 23rd SS Divisions, were the 32nd Pomeranian Infantry Division, the 215th Infantry Division and parts of the 11th East Prussian Infantry Division and the 14th Panzer Division. 125 wounded, married men with families from other units, also came along.

On the night of 28 January 1945, the remnants of III. SS Corps were pulled out of the frontlines near Preekuln in Latvia and travelled by way of Sutsas to the port of Libua (Lipaja). As the SS troops left, the lines behind them were shortened and tightened up for the remaining defenders. More than 2½ months earlier the SS Panzer Detachment 11 „Hermann von Salza”/Dvision „Nordland” had been evacuated from Kurland on 10 and 11 November 1944 after having lost all of its tanks in action. The detachment was reorganized around Landeck to the south of Danzig, but all efforts to obtain new tanks had been in vain. So shortly before the end of the year, „HsV” was sent to the SS camp at Grafenwoehr, Bavaria for reequipping. By the end of January 1945, reassembled and with new tanks, Detachment „HvS” began the journey east to join III. SS Panzer Corps in Pomerania.

On 31 January 1945, the other units of the Corps began loading onto transport ships in the harbor of Libau. The transportation officers tried to speed things up as much as possible and in the process caused some added difficulties. For instance, two trucks from SS Regiment 24 „Danmark” that had been improperly parked for embarkation rolled off the dock and into the boat basin where they were completely irretrievable.

The sea voyage to the German port of Stettin was not un-eventful; there were run-ins with enemy submarines and refugees and escapees from sunken vessels were continually being picked up. One troop ship, the „Moira,” was lost with all hands and took with it a number of soldiers from 23rd SS Division „Nederland.” It had been torpedoed by a submarine. An advance „commando” from III. SS Corps, led by 11th SS Divisional Adjutant, Sturmbannführer Bergfeld and the Corps Quartermaster, Oberstumbannführer Sporn, had been sent to Stettin in mid-January 1945 to make arrangements for the arrival of the Corps’ units.

The Pomeranian sector was in disastrous shape with the massive forces of the 1st and 2nd White Russian „Fronts” hammering away at disorganized and deteriorating half-strength German divisions. The commander of Army Group „Weichsel” was the Reichsführer-SS Himmler, whose actual military command experience was non-existent. He has been accused by many historians of hastening the collapse of the Pomeranian Front by a few weeks, but it is doubtful whether the best military minds in Germany could have done any better! Two newly reorganized SS Volunteer Divisions, the 15th Latvian and the 33rd „Charlemagne” (France No. 1), had brought into the sector near Konitz and were immediately heavily engaged. The 33rd Waffen-Grenadier Regiment from 15th SS Latvian Division soon distinguished itself by driving forward to the Netze River and linking-up with the cutoff German garrison in Bromberg.

The various replacement units of III. SS Panzer Corps had been gathered at the Hammerstein troop training grounds in Pomerania to await the arrival of their parent formations. These units included the following: SS Officer Training Group „Scheibe,” SS NCO Training Battalion „Haemel” and the re-formed 48th Dutch SS Regiment „General Seyffardt.” Due to the deteriorating military situation they had to be combined into Battle-group „Scheibe” and were attached to the emergency ad hoc Corps „Tettau.” Joining them was the SS Antitank (assault gun) Detachment 11/“Nordland,” which had been undergoing training and reequipping at Neuhammer-Queis. In the course of January 1945 all of the above elements were thrown into action against the northern flank of the 1st White Russian Front around Arnswalde and Pyritz.

Running from west to east, the Pomerania defensive front looked like this: between the Oder River and Lake Madu was the Corps „Hoernlein” containing the 4th SS Police Division (which had been brought up from the Balkans); further east around Stargard was the 37th Panzer Crops containing the 10th SS Panzer Division „Frundsberg” with a 4,000 man segment of the Belgian 28th SS Division „Wallonien” near Stettin; in the city of Arnswalde were 3,000 men belonging to „Nebelwerfer” (smoke and rocket mortar) reserve and training units — they were totally surrounded by the enemy. III. SS Panzer Corps was to move into the area north of Arnswalde. East of Arnswalde was the Paratroop Regiment 25 and the 402nd Infantry Division, while still farther to the east the X. SS Army Corps and the Korps „Tettau” took up positions in mid-February facing the Soviet right flank. Behind the Russian lines were many cutoff pockets of German resistance. Between the Weichsel and Oder Rivers were all kinds of fragments and splinters from partially destroyed German divisions that were hastily formed into battle-groups, but they were unable to withstand the intense pressure being applied by the communists.

On 3 February 1945, the newly reformed anti-tank/assault gun detachment (battalion size) of SS Division „Nordland” began fighting a „holding” action alongside an Army infantry division near Hassendorf. The new SS Heavy Tank Detachment 503 led by Sturmbannführer Fritz Hertzig reached the front lines near Arnswlade on 4 February. This was the armored component of III. SS Panzer Corps that had long been authorized but only recently assembled; it had missed all the action on the Narva and Kurland Fronts. It was joined on 5 February by SS. Escort Battalion „Gross” that had been serving as a bodyguard unit of RF-SS Himmler.

Elsewhere, the „Nordland” panzer unit, „Herman von Salza,” which had been temporarily upgraded to SS Panzer Regiment 11 (it had been hoped to add another tank battalion to the original „HvS” detachment, but due to the emergency at the front, this element was never fully formed), had been dispatched by rail from Grafenwoehr to Stettin in the last days of January 1945. Ostubaf. Kausch, led „HvS” with its contingent of 30 assault guns and Panzer V „Panther” tanks to readiness positions to the north of Arnswalde.

Here „HvS” was joined by SS Escort Btl. „Gross” to form a combined unit task force, Kampfgruppe „Kausch.” On the morning of 6 February, KGr. „Kausch” went into battle. 15 assault guns from „HvS” along with accompanying grenadiers from Btl. „Gross” drove back the spearhead of the Soviet attack force north of Arnswalde. To the east the communists managed to seize the towns of Petznick, Schlagenthin, Pammin and Stolzenfelde. Because of this new threat, KGr. „Kausch” was rushed to Reetz, northeast of Arnswalde, during the evening of 6 February. At Nantikow near Reetz, part of the SS Assault Gun Detachment 11 (now designated Kampfgruppe „Schulz-Streek”) had been cutoff and was entering into its second day of heavy fighting. In positions to the south of Reetz was another part of this unit.

Also on the morning of 6 February, 2 regiments from the still forming 28th SS Division „Wallonien,” were sent out from Stargard to take up defensive positions on a line running from Schneidersfelde to Kremzow to Repplin. The Walloons linked- up to the east with a combat-ready regiment from the 27th SS Division „Langemarck,” composed of Flemish volunteers. The „Langemarck” battle-group consisted of I. Btl./SS Regiment 66 under Stubaf. Oehms (headquartered in Zadelow), II. Btl./SS Regiment 67 under Hstuf. Rehman (headquartered in Zachan, with SS Anti-tank Detachment 27 under Hstuf. Wangemann held in reserve near Stargard. The total strength of this force was 2,000 men and the overall commander was Ostubaf. Schellong. The rest of the „Langemarck” Division (some 10-13,000) men was still undergoing training on the Luneburg Heath in northwestern Germany.

The German battle-lines soon began to stabilize along the Inha River. On 7 February, the cutoff section of SS Kampfgruppe „Schulz-Streek” at Nantikow was liberated in a bitter fight. In the process the commander, Stubaf. Schulz-Streek was wounded. He was sent to a Stargard hospital but was back at the front in two days with his arm in a cast. In the meantime, the first parts of the III. SS Panzer Corps contingents from Kurland began deploying in Pomerania. 23rd SS Division „Neder- and” reached the Gollnow area where it received a large batch of new Dutch replacements, while 11th SS Division „Nordland” was initially sent to Massow.

But the enemy drive to the north was continuing. On 8 February, elements of III. SS Corps joined Generalmajor Remer’s „Führer Escort” Division in blocking positions northeast of Reetz. SS Flak Detachment 11 was sent to Jakobshangen while II Btl./SS Rgt. 23 „Norge” was sent straight off the ship to the town of Altenwedell. It was joined by the regimental staff of SS Rgt. 49 „De Ruyter’VDivision „Nederland” near Ravenstein. Since the regiment’s 3 battalions (a new one had just been formed from Dutch SS war correspondents), were still being reassembled, the „De Ruyter” staff was left without any of its own troops. It was however ordered to take charge of various detached elements to form a new battle-group. What resulted was a force consisting of II./SS „Norge,” some Army bicycle and anti-tank companies and a police unit, under the command of the „De Ruyter” CO, Ostubaf. Lohmann and his staff. Kampfgruppe „Lohmann” was then subordinated to the „Führer Escort” Division.

9 February saw difficult, intense fighting take place to the northeast of Reetz. The town of Gross-Silber was retaken by the „Führer Escort” Division at 1500 hours, but it was lost again to the enemy later in the evening. The regrouping of the III. SS Corps troops continued. At Kienschlag in Bohemia the 16th Company/SS Rgt. 24 „Danmark” (combat engineers), completed its reformation and was rushed to Pomerania to be placed in regimental reserve. It consisted of 1 officer, 9 NCO’s and 60 men. The Dutch SS Regiment „De Ruyter” was also reforming at Kienschlag with a temporary staff under Ostubaf. Klotz. It would soon join the „Nederland” Division. Also joining „Nederland” was the greater part of the „new” SS Rgt. 48 „General Seyffardt” which had been largely destroyed on the Narva Front in July 1944. Led by Ostubaf. Scheibe, it had been in action independently in Pomerania since December 1944, when its rebuilding process in Austria reached its completion. Some parts of Regiment „GS” had become trapped in German Army enclaves along the Baltic coast.

To the south of Stargard another crisis developed. The Soviets were attempting a full-scale assault on the lightly held defensive lines of the 28th SS Division „Wallonien.” The „Wallonien” units were positioned like this: I./SS Rgt. 69 around Repplin, II./SS Rgt. 69 between Kolin and Strebelow and I./SS Rgt. 70 between Schoeneberg and Arnswalde (only about 4 km away from the latter entrapped town). II./SS Rgt. 70 along with part of SS Artillery Regiment 28 was in divisional reserve. The fighting reached its crescendo at Repplin, where I. /SS 69 steadfastly blocked and repelled the main thrust of the communist attack. After being solidly rebuffed here, the Reds withdrew a short distance to rebuild their strength. It looked ominous; another such effort might succeed in breaking through to Stargard. The „Wallonien” HQ received new orders from III. SS Panzer Corps: attack to the south and disrupt the enemy’s plans.

Ostubaf. Paul Albert (Peter) Kausch, commander of the SS Panzer Detachment/Regiment 11 „Hermann von Salza.”

Ostubaf. Hanns-Heinrich Lohmann, commander of the SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment -19 „De Ruyter” / 23rd SS Division „Nederland.”

Belgian volunteers from the 28th SS Division „Wallonien.” Photo provided courtesy of Kenneth Nieman.

At daybreak on 9 February 1945, Ostubaf. Leon Degrelle personally led the assault drive of his Belgian volunteer division. The attack went forward with good success around both sides of Strebelow. In a truly dashing effort with all units fully com-mitted, „Wallonien” recaptured Heinrichstal and Karlsburg and took control of the Linden Hills. The Russians counterattacked with tanks but to no avail. The Walloons had a tactical advantage by holding the high ground. But the situation again became jittery when a counterattack by 37th Panzer Corps along the Warnitz/Damnitz railroad lines failed badly. The „Wallonien” was then forced to fall back to most of its original jumping-off points to avoid encirclements, though one company was left in place in the Linden Hills. Another Walloon company was sent towards Kruessow which the communists had just occupied. On 10 February it valiantly tried to retake Kruessow, but the enemy force was too strong and the Walloon SS attack finally had to be broken off.

The pressure on the trapped Arnswalde garrison continued to grow as the Soviets captured Hohenwalde, Schulzendorf and Kaehnsfelde, further tightening their ring around Arnswalde proper. Supplies were air dropped to the encircled soldiers. Finally the Reds seized the Arnswalde railroad station and dispatched a „surrender or else” ultimatum to the garrison commander, Generalmajor Voight. Voight sent back his refusal in no uncertain terms! His soldiers would fight to the death if need be.

For the next few days, the focal point of the fighting was around Reetz where the enemy spearheads were blocked off by troops from SS-KGr. „Lohmann,” SS-KGr. „Schaefer” (com-posed of III. SS Corps engineers and engineers from the „Neder-land” and „Nordland” Regiments under Ostubaf. Max Schaefer) and the newly reformed battalions of the SS Regiment 49 „De Ruyter.”

SS grenadier prior to going into action

After a few short days of rebuilding, the bulk of the „Nord-land” Division was altered to be ready for action on 14 February 1945. Ogruf. Steiner, in his capacity as commander of 11th Panzer Army, issued orders that a full-scale counteroffensive was to begin that day with the aims of retaking the Arnswalde sector, breaking through the whole Landsberg/Varthe front and destroying as many of the Red divisions on Marshall Zhukov’s northern flank as possible.

In cold rain the SS battalions moved into their attack positions. Due to the inclemency of the weather and the slowness in getting the assault force into position, the offensive operation did not begin until the morning of 16 February. The attack was to be coordinated on a line running from south of Stargard to Reetz and to Kailies, by Ogruf. Steiner’s 11 Panzer Army. 37th Panzer Corps, led by the 4th SS Police Panzergrenadier Division and the 10th SS Panzer Division ‘‘Frundsberg,” led the assault on the west wing and rapidly gained ground to the south. In the center of the lines, 11th SS Panzergrenadier Division „Nord-land” drove towards the western perimeter of Arnswalde with 23rd SS Panzergrenadier Division „Nederland” moving to the east of the town. In close support of these divisions were the SS KGr. „Langemarck” and the 281st Infantry Division. On the east wing, the „Führer Escort” Division led by Generalmajor Remer and the „Führer Grenadier” Division led by Generalmajor Maeder attacked towards Reetz with General von Schleinitz’ 402nd Infantry Division and Generalmajor Sixt’s 5th Jaeger Division driving towards Kailies. Farther to the east contact was maintained with the Temporary Divisions „Baerwalde” and „Koeslin.”

On the day prior to the attack (15 February), most of SS „Nordland” had to fight its way to the designated jumping-off positions, which had been occupied by Soviet advance troops. Under a light morning mist the companies of the Danish II./SS Rgt. 24, passed through the security lines of SS „Langemarck” near Zachan and built a bridgehead across the Inha River. The combat engineers had to work through the night and into the morning of 16 February preparing a bridge strong enough to accommodate heavy armored vehicles. By midday on the 16th the first „Danmark” armored personnel carriers rolled over the bridge and the attack was on. II./“Danmark” spearheaded the effort supported by armor from the „Führer Escort” Division and the „Herman von Salza” SS Panzer Detachment along with assault guns from SS Anti-tank Detachment 11/“Nordland.”

II/SS 24 „Danmark” and II./SS 23 „Norge” made a simultaneous attack towards Reichenbach but II./“Norge” ran into fierce communist resistance at Schlagenthin and was unable to keep going. It was left to II./“Danmark” under the courageous Danish Sturmbannführer Per Sorensen to make the final assault on Reichenbach. Sorensen’s battalion moved forward with its 6th Company on the left and its 7th Company on the right. 5th Company was in support-reserve with 8th Company remaining in reserve and out of the battle. Good artillery support was provided by II. Detachment/SS Artillery Rgt. 11 and by the SS Artillery Rgt. 54/“Nederland.”

The advance into Reichenbach was a harrowing one for the Danish SS men; the town had been set afire and the roads were choked with dead Russians, smashed vehicles and dead horses. All over, women and children screamed to be rescued and blistering small arms fire crackled lethally through the air. Stubaf. Sorensen, as usual, personally led the foremost assault platoon and with great bravery, quickly captured the south part of the town. 5th Company moved in to lend support and its commander, Hstuf. Fendler was immediately wounded; he was replaced by Hstuf. Seyb. Within a short time all of Reichenbach had been secured and the regimental commander of „Danmark,” Ostubaf. Kruegel came up to the front. Kruegel conferred with Sorensen and ordered him to seize the woods and high ground around Reichenbach to which the enemy had retreated and then hold fast.

At 1300 hours, the Danish SS troops pushed forward. 6th and 7th Companies were able to report at 1345 hours that: ‘The attack goal has been attained; the enemy resistance has been broken.” A short time later, 5th Company also reached its objectives. The battalion and regimental command posts were hurriedly set up in Reichenbach. Only a few inhabitants of the town were still alive — many had been murdered by the Soviets. But the soldiers found barns still full of cattle; and it was noted by one keen-eyed observer that the: „cows had painfully swollen udders from being left unmilked.” Commissary troops from „Nordland’s” Maintenance Battalion were called in to evacuate the livestock.

By the afternoon of 16 February, the German spearheads were advancing to the south in all sectors. But there were set-backs. The failure of SS Rgt. 23 „Norge” to take Schlagenthin had caused SS Rgt. 24 „Danmark” to slow its advance. 37th Panzer Corps (4th and 10th SS Divisions) had successfully driven to the south point of Lake Madu with elements then turning to the east and entrapping a large number of enemy troops between Lake Madu and Arnswalde. Towards evening on the 16th, the 28th SS Division „Wallonien” received orders that it was to leave its controlling positions in the Linden Hills on 17 February, to drive forward and link-up with the German troops to the south from 37th Panzer Corps.

But the Soviet defense suddenly grew stronger. Troops from 37th Panzer Corps were unable to advance beyond the southeast point of Lake Madu. The lead attack company from the „Wallonien” under Ustuf. Capelle, advanced out of the Linden Hills, but could not make much progress and took heavy casual-ties.

At the end of 16 February, after much violent fighting in the III. SS Panzer Corps sector, many combat objectives still had not been reached. The companies of SS KGr. „Langemarck” had attacked on Division „Nordland’s” west wing and had captured Brallenthin by late afternoon but had been rebuffed at Petznick. After being repelled several times, the soldiers of SS Rgt. 23 „Norge” finally took Schlagenthin by storm, but their tardiness in achieving this accomplishment had forced SS Rgt. 24 „Danmark” to stay in place in the high ground south of Reichenbach for most of the afternoon and evening.

In the sector of 23rd SS Division „Nederland” the SS Rgt. 49 „De Ruyter” had spent much of 16 February battling futilely for possession of the town of Reetz. I. Battalion/SS Rgt. 49, headquartered in Neuglueck, had attacked along both sides of the Ravenstein-Reetz road with the support of the SS Anti-tank (assault gun) Detachment 54 under Hstuf. Aigner. Intense, concentrated enemy fire was encountered and despite superhuman efforts by the Dutch SS men, the advance was firmly bogged down in the cemetery to the north of Reetz. In sheer desperation one of the assault guns from SS AT Detachment 54 attacked madly from the west in an effort to scatter the enemy and clear a route to the city. The end results proved to be exactly the opposite. The assault gun was destroyed just outside the Arnswalder Gate, and its remains effectively blocked the approach way for the SS grenadiers!

 Belgian volunteer from the 28th SS Division „Wallonien.” Photo provided courtesy of Kenneth Nieman.

II./SS Rgt. 49 left its positions to the north of Reetz in an effort to get the attack moving. It approached the city from the Altenwedell area but could not break the resistance of enemy defenders who clung to a row of fortified houses on the outskirts of Reetz. The Russians counterattacked with tanks that were brought across the Inha River. II./SS Rgt. 49 was then forced to break off its assault to defend itself. To the northwest of Reetz, the armored elements of the „Führer Escort” Division under Oberstleutnant Wolf had attacked the Soviet held town of Klein-Silber. This action was slowed by heavy and effective enemy anti-tank shelling. Still some progress was made. The Konraden railroad station was reached and the division’s infantrymen took Steinberg and Kreuz before being brought to a halt around Nantikow.

In the general vicinity, 281st Infantry Division began its attack over the Glambeck River and drove forward to Hill 116 and Hassendorf before coming to a halt in the evening along Reich’s Highway 104. In the same battle area, SS-KGr. „Schulz- Streek” (SS Anti-tank Detachment 11/“Nordland), reached Hill 107 to the south of Hassendorf. In the late evening the enemy attempted a counterattack to regain the lost ground, but „Nord- land’s” assault guns made quick work of this effort by destroying 22 T-34 Soviet tanks and driving back the accompanying infantrymen.

On 17 February, the undermanned and outgunned 37th Panzer Corps became hopelessly bogged down along the southern shore of Lake Madu. In the Linden Hills, Ustuf. Capelle’s company from SS „Wallonien” was fighting desperately for its life. On all sides of the hills were T-34 and Stalin tanks. On the positive side, „Nordland” was able to drive much closer to Arnswalde on 17 February and the SS Reg. 23 „Norge” was able to push out from Schlagenthin and establish a „security line” from Stolzenfelde to Marienweder.

SS Rgt. 24 „Danmark” was given a number of objectives to attain on 17 February; the most important of which were to eliminate the strong enemy forces holding Bonin, Schoenwerder and Gut Marienfelde. Actually the capture of Gut Marienfelde was transferred to I. Battalion/SS Rgt. 66/“Langemarck,” after III. Battalion/“Danmark” secured the town of Bonin. With the help of armored scout cars from the „Führer Escort” Division and 3 assault guns from the „Nordland” Division, III./“Dan- mark” led by Stubaf. Ternedde successfully retook Bonin in very difficult fighting. I./SS Rgt. 66 was not as lucky in its attack on Gut Marienfelde. The Soviets were well dug-in and put up an especially bitter resistance. One Flemish SS company got stuck in hard, costly fighting for a sheep farm. The company commander was killed early on, and by the time the company finally pulled back it had been reduced to 2 weak platoons.

Ostubaf. Kruegel was so worried about the situation in Gut Marienfelde, which endangered the flanks of his regiment „Danmark,” that in the late afternoon he ordered his troops to attack it instead of Schoenwerder. As Stubaf. Sorensen prepared his II/“Danmark” for action, a flare shot up into the sky from Gut Marienfelde; the town was finally in the hands of the „Langemarck” soldiers! Now the attack on Schoenwerder could proceed.

II./“Danmark” again led the way, quickly overrunning the first enemy positions which were poorly situated on flat, level ground some 380 yards away. Getting to the secondary defenses was a little tougher; the SS grenadiers worked their way forward by leaps and bounds — springing up and running from one patch of cover to the next. 3 assault guns from Division „Nordland” came forward and began blazing away at the nearby woods, where many enemy soldiers had taken refuge. Within 15 minutes the first Russians came flying out of the forest and into the hands of the Danes. 6th and 7th Companies were then able to make clean penetrations and seized the main Soviet bunker line intact. Inside the dug-outs were found great quantities of weapons (including machineguns), supplies and tinned meat cans, much of which was marked „Made in USA.” The bunkers were still warm as they had been insulated with animal pelts. Even laundry lines were still strung up between them. Naturally the foodstuffs were well appreciated and most of it providentially disappeared before the commissary officers could come up to appropriate it!

As the attack group moved down the main road to Schoenwerder, 2 of the assault guns fell victim to land mines and were disabled. Just outside of the town the third AG fell victim to the same fate. The enemy resistance intensified and the advance bogged down. Some „Nordland” armored cars tried to enter the town from the east but one was knocked out by a lucky shot from an anti-tank gun and the others pulled back. The Reds then sent a veritable rain of mortar shells onto the companies of II./“Danmark,” keeping the Danish SS men pinned to the ground. The regimental commander, Ostubaf. Krugel, now went up to the front to evaluate the situation.

Once again Kruegel conferred with Stubaf. Sorensen and new battle plans were drawn up for II./“Danmark.” Ustuf. Madsen’s 7th Company was to make a wild dash for the high ground and punch a hole through the Schoenwerder defenses; the other companies would follow immediately behind to expand the penetration. But darkness fell and the attack was postponed; it would succeed on the next day. In the dusk, Stubaf. Sorensen threw out a security-picket line along the Stargard-Arnswalde railroad line. A squad was sent out to make a link-up with III./“Danmark” to the east. Along the battalion’s long west flank in bushy, wooded terrain, „Danmark’s” 16th Combat Engineer Company was brought out of reserve and deployed. They held the lines reaching over to the SS KGr. „Langemarck” sector.

Elsewhere on 17 February, the siege of Arnswalde was unexpectedly lifted at 1600 hours, when 7 tanks from SS „Nordland” made a dare-devil drive through the last enemy positions. Nearby, Flemish volunteers from SS „Langemarck” had fought a day-long, vicious battle for Petznick, which at least had the effect of preventing the Soviets from moving reinforcements to the Arnswalde area. In the SS „Nederland” sector, I./SS Reg. 49 „DeR” had again started up its attack on Reetz from the cemetery, but as before, it met with no success. The city was too strongly defended and a frontal assault would not work.

Ostubaf. Lohmann, once again in command of SS Rgt. 49, switched the attack to the high ground southeast of Reetz where the bulk of the Soviet heavy weapons and artillery pieces were located. This terrain had to be controlled if an attack on Reetz was ever to succeed. II./SS Rgt. 49 was deployed farther to the north and it could offer no assistance to its sister battalion; it had its hands full just trying to hold on to the ground between Walkmeuhle and the Konraden railroad station.

To the east, battle-groups from the „Führer Escort” and „Führer Grenadier” Divisions and the 281st Infantry Division struggled to keep the attack going in the face of heavy losses and bitter resistance. An enemy tank attack at night almost captured the divisional HQ of the „Führer Escort” Division, but it was turned back at the last moment when an assault gun battalion made a last-ditch intervention.

As 18 February dawned, the situation in the sector of 37th Panzer Corps turned from bad to worse. Zhukov had thrown his „Guards” tank divisions into the battle area in the villages around Stargard, and the units of 37th Panzer Corps had been completely forced over to the defensive. In the Linden Hills, Ustuf. Capelle’s Walloon volunteer company had become completely surrounded, and rather than surrender, fought heroically to the death. The company had destroyed many enemy tanks, and the badly wounded stayed where they fell firing their weapons until their last breath. Those that could no longer function were put out of their misery with a bullet to the head. The company command post held off the swarming enemy hordes all day long, with the survivors fighting on with rifle butts and service revolvers. Towards evening the command post finally fell; Uatuf. Capelle went down bravely firing his pistol point blank at the enemy. During the night 2 wounded Walloons from the company made it to the 28th SS Divisional HQ with the story of this engagement. For his incredible heroism, Ustuf. Capelle received mention in the Wehrmacht War Bulletin and was posthumously nominated for the Knight’s Cross.

The morning of 18 February was fairly quiet in the „Nord-land” sector, although reconnaissance had picked up an enemy movement towards the Stargard-Arnswalde railroad lines during the night. A Soviet raiding party had also slipped through the lines near Gut Marienfeld and had ambushed a German supply convoy on the Reichenbach road. Ostubaf. Schellong, com-manding SS-KGr. „Langemarck” sent out a Flemish SS company to deal with the problem. In the area between Gut Marienfelde and the lines of II./“Danmark,” the Flemings were able to wipe out the enemy incursions.

In Arnswalde itself, violent fighting raged around the military barracks and the railroad station. Division „Nordland” had been able to construct an emergency corridor a little more than a mile wide, into the city. After achieving this the first priority had been to evacuate the wounded soldiers and civilians. In the evening on 18 February, General Unrein, commanding III. SS Panzer Corps, went into Arnswalde for discussions with the garrison commander, Generalmajor Voight. Assault guns from 1st Company/SS Anti-tank Detachment 11 were now added to the city’s defenses.

The battlefield situation in the SS „Nederland” sector remained essentially unchanged. An enemy flank attack supported by bombers, was halted by the „Führer Escort” and „Führer Grenadier” Divisions along with the SS Kampfgruppe „Schulz-Streek.” This latter element, which held Hill 107 to the south of Hassendorf, continued to distinguish itself by throwing back repeated enemy assaults and inflicting heavy losses. In the course of the day, SS KGr. „Schultz-Streek” knocked out 17 communist tanks and a large number of self-propelled guns while capturing 3 of the T-34s intact! It was an impressive feat and Stubaf. Schulz-Streek was awarded the Knight’s Cross for his unit’s achievements.

On 19 February 1945, the last vestiges of 11th Panzer Army’s offensive came to an end. The area from Reetz to Hassendorf was evacuated to the north. In the evening, Brigadeführer Ziegler, commanding SS „Nordland,” spoke with Generalmajor Voight in Arnswalde. The communists were pulling out all stops to try and reenvelop the city and barely 2 miles to the northeast a strong enemy tank spearhead was advancing unimpeded. It was intercepted by 3rd Platoon/1st Co./SS Antitank Detachment 11, which promptly destroyed 4 of the Soviet tanks and sent the rest packing.

On 19 and 20 February the enemy began very strong artillery supported attacks against the positions of SS Regiments „Danmark” and „Norge.” „Danmark’s” grenadiers has succeeded in taking most of Schoewerder, but parts of the town were still being contested. Only with the help of massed heavy weapons fire could the Danish SS Regiment continue to resist the foe. On 21 February, the Soviets simply decided to eliminate Schoenwerder with their own artillery barrage. The town was set ablaze, but the soldiers still hung on to their lines; only the livestock were evacuated!

Ogruf. Steiner finally came to the sad conclusion that the offensive had run its course and on the afternoon of 21 February he gave orders to begin a general withdrawal to 11th Panzer Army’s old positions across the Inha River. Steiner could take some small solace in the fact that the Arnswalde garrison had at least been liberated, but beyond that all the grand plans had come to naught. There was now no longer any doubt that the Soviet forces were simply too powerful to be confronted head-on in attack formation, even by the best European forces left to the Reich. But the grim struggle had to continue to its bitter conclusion — given the barbaric nature of the enemy, there was no alternative!

The Arnswalde units were withdrawn from the town in three marching groups at 1700, 1800 and 1900 hours on 21 February. There would be no panic and no precipitous pull-out; it would be a methodical step-by-step retreat. An SS armored battle-group under Ostubaf. Gross provided protection for the withdrawal. At midnight, Generalmajor Voight reported in to General Unrein at III. SS Panzer Corps HQ in Tornow with what remained of the Arnswalde garrison.

SS Rgt. „Danmark” covered the south flank of the retreat and was the last unit to withdraw. II. and III. Battalions finally left their positions around Schoenwerder at 2300 hours. A small task force under Ustuf. Gordon stayed behind to maintain the impression that the lines were still occupied. At 0300 hours on 22 February a flare was sent up by the regimental commander to recall Gordon’s rearguard.

In the dawn hours of the 22nd, Stubaf. Sorensen gave the orders to blow up the last bridge over the Inha River. But just before the charges were detonated, 10th Company/SS Rgt. „Norge” turned up and was allowed to cross. Then the bridge was sent flying into the air. The European SS volunteers now girded themselves for the last grueling battles for the German Reich and for what they believed to be European civilization as well. These last grim encounters will be fully covered in up-coming issues of „Siegrunen.”

***

For more information on the SS struggle in Pomerania see Wilhelm Tieke’s Tragödie um die Treue, the Flemish SS veteran’s association’s Lamingen Aan Het Oostfront, Volume 2, and Jos Schneider’s Their Honor was Loyalty!

Austria After the Anschluss

Source: Year of Reckoning – by G. Ward Price, Chapter IX

Mr. Ward Price

Most of the month following upon the Anschluss was taken up in Germany and Austria with intensive propaganda for the plebiscite fixed for April 10.

It may seem strange that a Government with such avowed contempt for democratic methods should trouble to hold a referendum on a step which, even if it were unpopular, could scarcely be cancelled.

But though the Nazis rate leadership far above the ballot-box as the governing element in the State, they know that mammoth demonstrations of any kind automatically impress the human mind. Fifty Storm Troopers marching along the street are so common a sight in Germany that no one turns his head to look at them, but 500,000 Storm Troopers, parading through the streets of Nuremberg, provide the climax of the great Annual Party Congress. A gigantic vote for the Government has its effect not only on the German people but on the outside world as well. It also frees the administration from the charge of denying opportunities for the expression of political convictions.

Though the result of the plebiscite was a foregone conclusion, it did not necessarily give a false picture of the sentiments of the Germans and Austrians. It is difficult for the British, who have never had to experience a long period of national humiliation, to realise how the Anschluss stirred the hearts of the Germans. To the people of the Reich, it came as the first clear assertion outside their own frontiers of their new international standing. After twenty years, during most of which they had been sufferers and suppliants, they took pride in seeing their Government impose its will in defiance of Germany’s former conquerors, brushing aside their protests in contemptuous terms.

The Austrians, for their part, had so long been depressed and discouraged that in their view any change must be for the better. Some doubtless regretted that the heavy hand of Nazi repression would now control a country of such long easy-going and liberal traditions and that the Austrian Jews were doomed to become either victims or fugitives. But they were careful to conceal such sentiments, and the majority of both nations felt strong satisfaction in the amalgamation of the two Germanic stocks, combined with full confidence that it would prove to the benefit of both.

When Herr Hitler arrived in Vienna on April 9 to wind up a tour of oratory that had taken him all over Germany, he delivered the most eloquent and interesting speech of the many I have heard him make. It was an analysis of his own career, tracing the steps by which he rose from obscurity to the leadership of the Reich, then achieved its restoration as a Great Power, and finally fulfilled his boyhood ambition to unite the land of his birth with the country of his adoption.

He stood on a high pulpit, raised at one end of the long and lofty hall of the North-West Railway Station, which had been transformed by a white and gold awning overhead stretching its whole length, and by draperies along its walls.

As a young man, said Hitler, he had had no concern with politics. His sole ambition then was to be an architect. For four years he had remained a nameless soldier. He had never tried to become a politician or a journalist. He had never made a speech. Those were the days when Germany was being steadily ruined. The men then in power bore the responsibility for her downfall. And it had been the sight of the havoc which they wrought that had decided him to take up politics.

“As I lay half-blinded in hospital, I realised that those who had wrecked Germany could never restore her. Seeing my country ruined and its people divided, I made for the first time the resolve to speak.

“It was clear to me that, if the cleft between bourgeoisie and proletariat were not healed, Germany would be wrecked. Each of these factions hoped for foreign help. The bourgeoisie looked towards Geneva; the proletariat towards Moscow.

“And even these divisions were endlessly sub-divided. There were forty-seven political parties in Germany.

“I saw that no party could unite Germany; that her salvation could not come from Monarchy or Republic, from any Church or group, from bourgeoisie or proletariat. I studied all their programmes and records.

“Germany did not fall into my lap like ripe fruit. I worked bitterly hard for fifteen years. You cannot deny that I worked harder than all your earlier leaders,” proclaimed Hitler fiercely. “For years I had no single day’s rest. I used to speak every day that I was not prevented by hoarseness. My foreign critics sometimes say my success is based on terror. I could impose no terror then. It was my antagonists who had all the power.

“I never found a loyal adversary,” he interjected bitterly. “They never said ‘Give him a chance,’ but only ‘Lock him up!’ or ‘Kill him!’

“I hated to use force against my fellow-Germans, and I only did so when force was used against me. Then, however, I employed it with vigour, for I had been a soldier.

“I know that I have critics and detractors, but we can neglect them. Our critics are growing old, and we have won their children to our cause.

“Nineteen years ago I was a completely unknown man. Now I stand here with a great nation behind me, ready for anything. After achieving all this, do you suppose that such opposition as still exists can count for anything? I never gave in when I was weak, when I was in prison, or when I was forbidden to speak in public. And to-day the power is in my hands! “

The Führer’s strident voice rose to a shout. His face was flushed and his eyes blazed. In one of his triumphant gestures, he swept the microphone in front of him off its stand, and sent it crashing to the floor.

Listening to such an harangue, one appreciates how completely the German nation is dominated by the personality of this man, who, in turn, reacts to the impulses of his own temperament with the assurance of a prophet believing himself inspired. Of the 75,000,000 Germans under Hitler’s rule as he delivered his speech in Vienna, more than half were hearing his words as they resounded from the wireless receivers fixed in the streets of every town, or rang out in restaurants, theatres and cinemas; in all factories and workshops; in German mines below the ground; in German ships on the high seas and in millions of private homes, besides being printed in every newspaper next day. To Germans, every syllable uttered by the Führer on such an occasion is sacrosanct and constitutes an unchallengeable pronouncement upon the subject with which it deals.

“In the last five years, out of the once wretched and disorganised German people has grown a nation stronger and prouder than ever before,” he declared dramatically. “Have I not the right to stand here? This is my home! I do not know if Schuschnigg’s name will be remembered a hundred years from now, but I know that mine will as the greatest son of Austria!”

The sense of personal destiny that explains much in Herr Hitler’s character found expression in his words.

“I believe it to have been the will of God” he said, “that a boy from this country should have become the Head of the German nation, and then united his homeland to the Reich. Otherwise, one would have to doubt Divine Providence. There is a Supreme Power, and we are but instruments in its hands. When, on March 9, Schuschnigg broke his pledge to me, I made up my mind that the time had come, and in three days he was broken. On the very day for which he had planned that treasonable plebiscite, I brought my homeland into the Reich. I render thanks to God, Who showed me the way.”

In a climax of high-power publicity, the preparations for the plebiscite came to an end. On the Kahlenberg, Leopoldsberg, Cobenzl and other heights around Vienna, red swastikas glowed through the night. Giant bombers cruised in the dark over every Austrian town, flashing, in red electric lights from the underside of their wings, that slogan which had brought about the Anschluss, “Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer.”

I spent the actual plebiscite day, Sunday, April 10, in visiting polling-booths. To some I went alone and unannounced. Into others I was taken with a party of journalists under the charge of Government officials. There was nothing to suggest that pressure was being brought to bear on the voters. Herr Buerckel, the organiser, had ordered polling-papers to be marked in the privacy of the curtained booths. I saw one or two men demonstratively make their cross in the “Yes” circle before the eyes of the polling-officers, accompanying the act with a loud “Heil Hitler!”, but so many other voters took their green envelopes and ballot-papers out of sight that they obviously did not fear being noted as hostile to the regime through doing so.

The former Austrian President, Dr. Miklas, who had lost his office a month before, sent a message to Dr. Seyss-Inquart to say that he intended to vote for the Anschluss. Cardinal Innitzer, the Archbishop of Vienna, walked over to a polling-booth at 8.0 a.m., and gave the Hitler salute as he came out. The day before I had myself seen two swastika emblems, surrounded by wreaths of gilt laurel, on the walls of the Cardinal’s palace, while above its door hung a large Nazi flag. In St. Stephen’s Cathedral that morning, which was Palm Sunday, many men bearing palms were also wearing swastika arm-bands.

The 70,000 Czechs and 15,000 Slovaks living in Vienna were allowed to vote at special polling booths, a privilege which they had always enjoyed. In Germany soldiers are excluded from elections, but the members of the Austrian Army were authorised to take part in the plebiscite.

Around midnight that evening the results of the voting were announced by Dr. Seyss-Inquart to a dense crowd filling the largest concert-hall in Vienna. They showed that out of 4,284,795 who had gone to the polls in Austria, 4,273,884, or 99.75 per cent., had said “Yes” to the Anschluss. We heard Herr Buerckel communicate this result on the wireless to Herr Hitler sitting in Berlin, and receive the Führer’s congratulation in return.

There was loud cheering, but, looking down from the gallery, I could not help thinking that this final interment of the old Austria deserved a more dignified setting.

Here was the last fraction of the 52 millions of people who had once lived under the House of Habsburg passing out of independent existence. Soon “Austria,” a name so great in history, would be used no more except to identify one of the smaller German provinces.

The reading of the figures by which, as everyone had expected, the annexation of Austria to Germany was confirmed to within a fraction of unanimity, completed a process which had begun when the Vienna Government took the first step towards the Great War by issuing its ultimatum to Serbia.

It had not been the cement of common welfare that held the mosaic of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire together, but only the tie of dynastic union.

Of its 52,000,000 inhabitants, nearly one-half were Slavs, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Ruthenians, Croats and Slovenes. These had enjoyed the special favour of the Imperial House. The inferiority to which the Germans of Austria believed that they were relegated under Habsburg rule was the influence which caused Hitler as a youth to make pan-Germanism his life’s ideal.

The German element in Austria numbered twelve millions. The Hungarians were ten millions, and there was a Latin fringe, consisting of Rumanians in Transylvania, and Italians at Trieste and in the Trentino, which amounted to four millions. Austria-Hungary also contained 1,500,000 Jews, mainly concentrated in Galicia and in the capital itself.

The lack of solidarity in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire was so obvious and long-standing that it was accepted as normal. The Hungarians held jealously to the constitutional privileges secured to them under the “Compromise” by which the Dual Monarchy took its final form. The Czechs refused to talk German, and formed a nationalist physical-training movement called the Sokols, which were really political clubs.

In most countries, the effect of war is to compose internal differences and consolidate national unity. In Austria-Hungary it had the reverse effect. Sections of the non-German races set themselves to gain their independence in the upheaval. The Czechs deserted to the Russians or the French; Croats went over to the Serbs; Italians of Trieste or Trentino joined up with their kinsmen fighting against the Government whose subjects they were.

With the defeat of the Central Empires, nationalistic claims became more clamorous. In some cases, they were supported by a record of services rendered to the Allies.

The. statesmen who drafted the terms of peace in Paris tried to prevent the reconstitution of the formidable block of Powers known in the war as the Central Empires by splitting up Austria-Hungary into its constituent parts. M. Tardieu, who was one of them, has argued that they had no choice, as the Dual Monarchy had already been dissolved in anticipation by the war-treaties of alliance made with Italy, Serbia, Rumania, and with representatives of the Nationalist elements in Poland and Bohemia. They failed to realise that this measure, by creating a series of small, weak States in Central Europe, would make it easier for Germany to establish her authority over them when she regained her national strength.

Not only did the Allied Powers overlook the disastrous consequences of disrupting a State which had given rise to the international axiom that “If Austria did not exist, it would be necessary to invent her,” but they followed conflicting policies in the Central European area which they had thus dissected.

The French subsidised the Little Entente, of which one State, Czecho-Slovakia, was wholly, and the other two, Rumania and Jugoslavia, were partly built up out of the wreckage of Austria-Hungary. Italy, on the other hand, supported the revisionist claims of Hungary, which the Little Entente had been formed to oppose. Great Britain disinterested herself entirely from Central European affairs.

In the years immediately following the Peace Treaties, British and French Socialists protested strongly against the denial to Austria of the right to join up with Germany. They were just as vigorous in demanding the Anschluss in the early 1920’s as they were in denouncing it when it came about in the late 1930’s.

With the passage of time, it became increasingly apparent that the mutilated fraction of territory which still bore the name of Austria was incapable of economic survival.

There had been no Customs barrier inside the great expanse of 240,000 square miles of Central Europe making up the old Austrian Empire. From 1919 onwards a network of them crossed it in all directions, dividing mutually complementary areas into small autarchic States, each engaged in costly and ineffective efforts to achieve self- sufficiency.

The small country left by the Allied peace-makers to bear the name of “Austria” was no more than the isolated control-station of a great economic mechanism that had been broken up. Like a limbless trunk, the Austrian Republic could do nothing for itself.

Austria thus became Europe’s perpetual “deserving case.” After the abandonment of the fantastic scheme to collect Reparations from this ruined country by means of a local Allied Commission which cost more to maintain than the Government itself, repeated attempts were made to “put Austria on her feet.” Loans were made to her, backed by the League of Nations and by the British Government; advances were granted by the Bank of England; there were plans for exchange of products with the Little Entente; an agreement with Italy and Hungary, known as the Rome Protocols; and a scheme, launched at the ill-fated Stresa Conference, for the creation of a Danubian Confederation, of which nothing was ever afterwards heard.

After Stresa, the break-up of the Western Powers into hostile camps finally opened wide the door to German intervention in the affairs of an adjoining country of the same blood and language.

In this way was the forecast fulfilled which the German Ambassador, Prince Bulow, made on leaving Rome when Italy declared war on Germany in 1916:

“Even if we lose the war, we shall still be winners, because we shall annex Austria.”

In the roundabout way which human affairs so often take, the Allies, by the use they made of their victory, laid the basis for Germany’s future expansion into Austria, and thence over Eastern Europe.

So ended the division of the German race into North and South which began in 1756, when Frederick the Great started Prussia’s career of conquest by his sudden attack upon Maria Theresa in time of peace.

During the Anschluss, I met a French colleague who had been with me in Vienna after the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in 1914. He reminded me that at their funeral, as we watched the parade of Austrian generals in their white tunics and green-plumed cocked hats, I had said to him:

“Let us take a good look at this Austrian pomp and circumstance. It may be the last time we shall ever see it.” A month later, the war put an end to all the old splendour of Austrian life, so rich in romance, charm, tradition and ceremonial dignity.

It was now the turn of Austria herself to disappear. The Führer had boldly carried out a policy from which even his hero the Iron Chancellor himself had recoiled. After the German victory in the war of 1866, Bismarck replied to those who urged the extension of German authority to the Danube that Vienna could never be governed from Berlin. The speed of modern communications, however, makes that task much simpler.

There is a marked difference of temperament between these 7,000,000 Catholic South Germans and the highly nationalist and aggressive Prussian stock in whose hands the administration of the Nazi regime principally lies. But the Führer himself is Austrian-born, and the example of Italy has shown how effective the methods of education and organisation employed by a totalitarian regime can be in modifying the habits and outlook of a nation.

The continuance of this ruined fragment of the once great Austro-Hungarian Empire had been, since the war, no more than an historical anachronism. Like the overthrow of the Byzantine Empire or the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire, the annexation of Austria was the suppression of an institution which had long lost its vitality.

The imposing buildings and broad streets of Vienna were but the memorials, and no longer the appurtenances, of a robust nation. When Hitler drafted on a single sheet of paper in that small hotel on the Danube bank at Linz the brief decree which removed Austria from the map of Europe, he was writing only the final paragraph of a chapter of history whose first pages were the Treaty of St. Germain.

The tangible benefits of the Anschluss to Germany were considerable; the strategical and moral advantages it brought were greater still.

The annexation of Austria added to the German frontiers 32,000 square miles, which were 25,000 square miles more than Germany had lost under the Peace Treaties. Her population was increased by 6,786,000, 94 per cent. of these being Catholics and 200,000 Jews, who were practically all concentrated in Vienna, and of whom, by the end of 1938, one quarter had been forced to emigrate. The extension of Germany’s political influence in Central Europe may be measured by the fact that this expansion brought her into direct frontier contact with four fresh Central European States -Hungary, Jugoslavia, Italy and the Principality of Liechtenstein. She now has more neighbours than any other country in Europe, her borders touching:

Denmark, in the North;
Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France in the West;
Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Italy in the South;
Jugoslavia and Hungary in the South-East; and
Slovakia, Lithuania and Poland in the East.

Marshal Goering’s strong hand soon made itself felt at the economic levers of Austria. As Minister responsible for the Four Year Plan, the organisation of the resources of this new Province of the Ostmark came under his authority. A swarm of his expert advisers descended upon it, and within a week he had announced certain measures which were to be immediately put in hand. They were:

  1. The amalgamation of the Austrian and German currencies,
  2. Abolition of Customs duties between the two countries.
  3. A scheme for the exploitation of Austrian water-power.
  4. Large developments in the armament, mining, chemical and agricultural industries.
  5. The building of a new aeroplane factory and Air Force barracks.
  6. Improvement of the Austrian railway-system.
  7. The construction of 775 miles of motor-roads in Austria on the model of the German Autobahnen, and the building of four new bridges over the Danube. Within a month of the Anschluss, Herr Hitler in person had turned the first sod of the new motor-road to be built from Salzburg to Vienna, which will form part of the transcontinental auto- mobile route from the English Channel to the Bosphorus.

Marshal Goering himself had not been able to come to Austria with the Führer at the time of the Anschluss. “You have seen something that I have not seen. I envy you,” he said, when I called on him at Karinhall a week or two later.

“It was impossible for me to go while the Führer was there. He will never allow me even to travel on the same train or in the same car as himself; it is too risky.”

The Marshal accordingly paid the newly annexed territory a visit about a fortnight after the annexation, and made a State tour of the country, which included a journey down the Danube by steamer and took him to Mauterndorf, an old castle in Tyrol belonging to his mother’s family, where as a boy he had sometimes spent the summer-holidays.

The industrial equipment of Austria proved to be of poor quality. An expert examination of every factory was ordered, and even some of the best-known works in the country were found to be largely furnished with out- of-date plant, which was replaced without delay.

The greatest undertaking established there since the Anschluss is the Hermann Goering Iron Works, near Linz, for whose 50,000 employees an entirely new town was built close by.

One of the most serious of German forfeits under the Treaty of Versailles had been that of the iron ore of Lorraine, for since then the country had produced only about 20 per cent. of its national requirements in this material. Austria has largely made up the loss by bringing into the German stock additional deposits estimated at 220,000,000 tons with an iron-content of about 40 per cent. There is a mountain so rich in ore as to bear the name of Eisenberg.

Of timber Austria had plenty. Her annexation increased the forest-area of the Reich by 25 per cent. She possessed also mines of magnesite, graphite, copper, lead and salt.

In agricultural produce, the new territory was barely self-supporting, and the Anschluss did not diminish Germany’s own dependence upon imports for about one fourth of her food-supply. The annexation was, however, a paying proposition in the sense that Austria had a favourable trade balance of close on £2,000,000 a year. This was largely due to her flourishing tourist-industry and the income derived from transit goods-traffic.

The gold reserves of Vienna were estimated at £10,000,000, and were added to the scanty Reichsbank store of that metal which, according to published figures, was, at the time, down to £6,000,000. Austrian water-power was a national resource whose capacities had never been developed to more than about 10 per cent. They were calculated at 25,000 million kilowatt-hours annually.

But the advantages of the Anschluss were not to be measured in material gains alone. The Austrians benefited by the opening up to them of the vast German field of opportunity; by the stimulus of German energy and example, and by the increase of prestige which citizenship of a Great Power brings. The Reich, through the extension of its frontiers into the heart of Central Europe, won a dominating economic position in that part of the Continent. The principal road, river and rail communications of the Balkans with the West of Europe lay henceforth across German territory.

Some disturbance was caused in the summer of 1938 by a declaration from Dr. Funk, the German Minister of Economics, that his Government would not recognize the Austrian foreign debts, of which £17,000,000 had at various times been issued in the form of sterling bonds, bearing interest at 7 per cent., 4 ½ per cent. and 3 per cent., and guaranteed by the British Government. Of these, £11,000,000 were held by British investors. The United States also held $50,000,000 of Austrian liabilities, of which half consisted of the unpaid bill for food-supplies sent to relieve starvation in Austria after the war.

German repudiation of these debts was based upon the pretext that the loans had not been granted for economic reasons, but only for the political purpose of preventing union with the Reich.

It soon transpired, however, that this attitude had been taken up to secure a bargaining counter for obtaining a reduction in the rate of interest payable upon the Dawes and Young Reparation Loans, and within a fortnight from Dr. Funk’s speech of June 17, a German delegation in London had negotiated a settlement satisfactory enough for the prices of all Austrian and German securities on the Stock Exchange to advance considerably.

One benefit of the Anschluss to Austria became immediately effective. It was the disappearance of unemployment. Herr Buerckel, the newly-appointed Administrator, had told me on March 13 that the workless in that country numbered 600,000. Within a month, a very large proportion of these had been absorbed. In September I was informed by Dr. Seyss-Inquart that unemployment was down to 5 per cent.

For years the Austrian workless had been living on the scantiest of relief in collections of leaky wooden huts on the outskirts of Vienna and other towns, surrounded in winter by morasses of mud. Some of these squalid hovels had served, twenty years before, as prisoner-of-war camps or base hospitals, and had since been allowed to decay without repair.

In those that I visited around Vienna and Linz, families were living under the most abject conditions, as many as eight in a room, without bed-linen or change of clothing; with no sanitary arrangements; no water laid on, and the minimum of food and fuel. Stunted children splashed in the muddy lanes between the rows of huts. Many of these squatter-families kept rabbits-in one case even pigs-in the hovels where they lived.

With impressive speed, these people were organised on higher standards of citizenship. The men were drafted into the new jobs which sprang up in the stagnant industries directly German authority had been established; the children were gathered into creches and kindergartens, and the wives and mothers were provided with the elementary essentials of decent existence.

Even Colonel Sepp Dietrich, the commander of Hitler’s bodyguard, one of the toughest soldiers I know, was moved by the conditions in which he had found the poorest children of Vienna existing.

“I have 1700 men here,” he told me, “and out of their rations they are daily feeding 1100 children.”

Before the Anschluss was a month old, the German Government had made plans, at a cost of £2,000,000, to replace the Vienna slum-camps by proper housing-accommodation, and £400,000 was allotted to the supply of food and clothing for the Austrian poor whose need was greatest.

The “Bavarian Help Train” was sent to the working-class quarters of Vienna to bake bread and provide medical attention.

This “Help Train,” a gift from State technical employees to the Government, consists of a dozen giant motor-coaches elaborately fitted up. Some are equipped as surgeries; some as bakeries, or field-kitchens; some with pumps for dealing with floods, or for maintaining a water- supply. The idea was to create a mobile unit which could bring the conveniences of civilisation at high speed to any area which had been devastated by catastrophe, or where refugees had unexpectedly concentrated.

Seven dental ambulance-waggons were dispatched to tour the country, treating the children free. Holidays in Germany for the approaching summer were arranged for 10,000 Austrian workers and 10,000 children of war- veterans. Large camps were prepared for boys and girls of the poorer classes. It is by such measures of public welfare, and not only by tireless propaganda and mammoth parades, that the Nazi regime maintains its popularity with the mass of the German people.

The delight and relief displayed by the great majority of the population of Austria when the Anschluss was suddenly thrust upon them had thus a basis in practical benefit. The people were tired of being a poverty-stricken, divided little nation, uncertain of its future, incapable of self-defence, lacking the material resources necessary for prosperity, dependent upon the goodwill of stronger powers, whose capital city, and administrative, banking, industrial and commercial equipment, designed for a nation of 52,000,000, were now reduced to serving a land populated only by 5,000,000, most of them poor peasants.

For several years they had been looking on at the rapid development of their German kinsmen across the border into a highly organised and relatively prosperous nation, and though the regimentation which is the secret of Nazi success may not have been attractive to the Austrian temperament, there was no denying its efficiency and success. The energetic rulers of Germany knew what they wanted; they went after it ruthlessly, and no one in their own country or outside it seemed able to resist them.

At the time of the Anschluss, Austria felt like a small and bankrupt shopkeeper whose business has been taken over by a flourishing chain-store company. He may have sentimental regrets for the loss of his identity and independence, but he rejoices to be freed from anxieties and worries, and to gain the confidence that comes from association with a powerful and prosperous organisation.

This spirit, which brought about the ready Austrian acceptance of the Anschluss, was not understood in England, where the series of ultimatums issued by Herr Hitler on the evening of Friday, March 11, followed by the advance of German troops across the frontier, had created a mental picture of Germany enforcing her will upon a cowed and reluctant population.

Some of the enthusiasm for the Anschluss in Austria may have evaporated during the past year, since realisation seldom comes up to expectation.

The Viennese regret the fall of their historic city from the status of a European capital to that of a provincial town like Dresden or Stuttgart. Many former enthusiastic Austrian workers for the Nazi cause are disappointed that they have not got better jobs. The provinces declare that the falling-off in the number of British and other foreign visitors for summer-tours and winter-sports is not compensated by the large influx of North Germans who are far from being such free spenders.

But the utter poverty in which many Austrians lived has disappeared. As evidence of the increase of popular purchasing power, a Brewers’ Congress held at Vienna in April, 1939, reported that the sale of beer in Austria had trebled since the Anschluss.

Soldiers of Europe: The Men of the Waffen-SS

Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Volume 6, Number 3, Whole Number 33,
January – March 1984

Since a number of „establishment“ historical books written about the Waffen-SS have liberally garnished their hatchet jobs with negative letters attributed to members of the Waffen-SS. we thought that it was high time that the more prevalent positive side of the picture was given some exposure. Hence the various European volunteer letters that will appear in this and future issues of SIEGRUNEN. The letters originally appeared in the SS wartime publication: Aufbruch, Briefe Germanischer Kriegsfreiwilliger, a booklet that was translated into a number of different languages for circulation in the appropriate countries at the time. The letters seem to accurately reflect the most widely held sentiments of the Germanic volunteers and provide an interesting glimpse into the motivating factors that made the Waffen-SS into a truly international army.

Letter from a Swiss Volunteer

Dear Father:

I know that you will be disturbed when you learn that I have crossed over the border into Germany. But I have my course well set in place and my conscience to follow. Haven’t we talked each evening about how Switzerland is virtually the only country that is foregoing its duty to the European lands by not taking its part in the struggle against Bolshevism?

How could I stand aside when the leader of the common struggle against the enemies of Germany calls. We Swiss are of the same blood as the Germans, the same race as the Swabians and Carinthians. Immediately after crossing the border I reported in to the Waffen-SS, was accepted, and enlisted.

Letter from a Danish Volunteer

We are the sons of a people who have conquered the sea since the days of the Vikings. We are the sons of a people that bear a Nordic heritage and have always fought to maintain their place among the Nordic nations.

It is one of the greatest sins of democracy that our youth have not obtained a good knowledge of our Nordic background and culture. Now we must observe and learn the example of the life and work of our ancestors from Germany, and we must prepare those of our blood to return back to that example

Letter from a Dutch Volunteer

(The father mentioned was a bridge attendant who was killed during the German advance into Holland.)

On 26 April 1941 I went into the Waffen-SS. But don’t think that I have forgotten about my father. No day passes that I don’t think of him and often look at my picture of him. It is my conviction that he fell because of the actions of the financiers, led by the Jews, whose goals are not in the interest of the Dutch people. Thank God there are still other men in the world that think not just of money, but who are able to do other things with their lives for the betterment of the social conditions of their people. There is much hostility in Holland, even from my family, over the way we have been treated so offensively (i.e. by the big-money interests), so that I feel I must live for my people and not give up the fight, though one should understand that we are not fighting for our own particular advantage but for the higher ideals that we hold. It is on the Eastern Front that a good many Dutchmen have fallen, and even if I were to die, my last thoughts will be for my father, my wife, my children and above all my people, with the firm conviction that our victory will be for the salvation of Europe, and yes, even for the exploited English and American workers.

Letter from a Swedish Volunteer

I hope to become an officer in the Regiment ‘‘Nordland.” I have enlisted because I believe that our future will be made better by my doing so, and when the war is over we can get married if you will wait that long. As a German SS officer, I will have many, many great opportunities in life that I could not have in Sweden where so many Jews and other ilk carry on with their mischief. It will be a hard school for me, though not impossible —an idealist can accomplish anything. I have signed on only for the duration of the war, however, when it is finished I will remain in Germany and you must come to glorious Germany as my wife. When I become an SS officer it will be the happiest hour of my life.

SS Panzer troops receiving decorations.

Obituary from the Liechtenstein newspaper „Umbruch” (Revolution). 26 January 1942:

He Died For Us All:

SS-Mann Alois Hoop

Killed Before Moscow

On this past Saturday the severely tested parents received the news of the heroic death of their son.

Alois Hoop, born 4 September 1923 in Ruggell, reported in as a volunteer to the Waffen-SS during the previous summer. He followed the idealistic urgings of his heart in leaving our homeland to place himself directly in the battle for our German people. During his training period he very quickly made an impression through his conduct and bearing and became a model for his comrades.

In numerous letters from the front, he showed that he had not lost his spirit or beliefs. Not a complainer, he never wrote about the difficulties and hardships. His vision was always directed forwards. With the clear-seeing eyes of a young fighter he recognized the necessity of this European war for survival. He understood the dangers that threatened Europe from the East and was prepared to enter the struggle, even if it meant that he must die.

Comrade Alois Hoop will become one of the immortal heroes of his people. He gave his young life so that his nation would live and Europe would not go under. His sacrifice is not in vain.

Full of proud grief we gaze upwards toward him. His life and heroic death will be an example for us to emulate. We will walk to his hero’s grave and hold up the bright shield of our comrade with devout hands so that the clear shine will strengthen our grieving souls with the uplifting thought of his heroic memory.

Comrade Hoop, you were one of the greatest men of our homeland.

While we must with difficulty take our leave from you, you will always live on in our hearts.

To your family, our most deep-felt sympathy.

Letter from a Finnish SS volunteer

In a few days we will meet the Russians for the first time with our forces. Our division commander (Felix Steiner) has visited us here and greeted each man with a handshake. We were quite surprised that during his inspection he did not treat us as a superior does an inferior.

He made no fuss over the state of our equipment, but only wanted to make a friendly, get-acquainted visit with the battalion. We got a good impression of this man and he won the men over. Each man says that with this sort of leader to go with —an irreproachable fellow with sympathy for us Finns —we can all do well.

Here behind the front the factories are going again and coal and iron are being mined from deep in the earth. The Ukraine produces much food that the railroads can take directly to Germany (for processing) and then ship to the front with much speed. And this is only the beginning. The new Europe has awakened and no man can prevent it. When the spring comes and the vehicles roll forward again, we must go too; then there will be no more secluded places for us behind the front.

This is now a difficult time in Finland, but if we are to win all must make sacrifices. The Finnish people now bear a great burden, but even if it gets bigger, it can still be dealt with. After the war, Finland will become strong and great but only after we have been hard on ourselves and remained the same against others. Man can only survive with his skill and wisdom. To all of Europe has come a new vision, and our generation will build this new Europe. In this struggle the importance of the individual counts for little; many must desire to fight so that our people can live in a decent future. We live in a great time and it is an honour to offer our assistance for the fulfilment of this great mission.

Everything is going well with me, I am happy that we will soon be allowed to demonstrate in the southern sector of the front how the Finns can fight… .

Letter from a Waffen-SS volunteer from Liechtenstein

My recruit training time is now past and my ardent wish has been fulfilled: I serve as a soldier of the Greater German Reich in the struggle against Bolshevism.

About that, and what I have seen and lived through here, I cannot write about very well in detail; the experiences you undergo are best described by our SS „PK” [Propaganda Kompanie] men. But I must tell you, that while I had not expected very much from this land [Soviet Union] with its reign of terror, I have now seen and experienced things which I had only previously heard through hearsay and never really believed. I have often wished that the enemies of National Socialism in my Liechtenstein homeland could experience what we have learned about this great disaster and see our prisoners from the so-called Red Army, before their „world revolutionary” culture is brought to the west. I believe with all my might that no enemy can take Germany. I came to the realization that the German soldier in this gigantic struggle is fighting not only for the freedom of the Germanic nations, but also particularly for the culture of all the worthwhile people on this earth.

There is much hardship to bear here, but this is incidental to me. Despite everything I have not the slightest regret over becoming an SS man. I am proud that I am able to make a contribution through the deeds of a German soldier, rather than just as a political fighter.