The Euro World War II History Collections 1939 continued



The Euro world War II History Collections

Part 15th-17th  September 1939


Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

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15 September 1939

In Bucharest.


The Romanian government grants asylum to

Polish civilian refugees;

military personnel are to be disarmed and interned.

In Germany… German radio broadcasts interviews with British and New Zealander aircrew captured during



the Wilhelmshaven


raid on September 4th.

In Britain…

Motorists besiege

petrol stations,

although no date for rationing has been fixed yet.

In Canada…

The first British trans-Atlantic convoy

sets sail from


Nova Scotia.

From now on all ships carrying vital supplies of Canadian wheat and US munitions are to travel in convoys scheduled and protected by the British and Canadian navies. The first convoy organized during the war sailed from Gibraltar on September 2nd.


The vital Glasgow-Thames

coastal trade is now moving in convoys as well.


: The Polish Army was ordered to

hold out at the Romanian border until the Allies arrived.[5]



: The German Army complete the encirclement of

Warsaw. and then 


German Army taken this city

16th : The French complete their retreat from Germany,

ending the Saar Offensive


16 September

In Poland…

Warsaw is now surrounded but a German ultimatum

is rejected by the Polish garrison,

led by General Czuma,


the Warsaw  civil population.

The Poles have already fought off one German assault, inflicting heavy casualties.

This day is also the eve of

the Jewish New Year


and Luftwaffe planes dive-bomb the Jewish quarter of

the city.

Part of List’s army is still fighting

west of Lvov

while other units are advancing north to link with

General Guderian’s forces,

who are maintaining their attack along the Bug.

Polish air force bombers make their final sorties.

In Moscow…

The USSR informs the Poland that the Red Army will enter eastern Poland on September 17th “to protect the Ukrainian and Belorussian minorities.”

In Britain…

The Duke of Windsor is appointed a liaison officer with the French army.

In the North Atlantic.. In the first German U-boat attack on a North Atlantic convoy, U-31 sinks

SS Aviemore.

A major escorted convoy leaves Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada for Britain.

Sept. 17, 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister

Vyacheslav Molotov

declares that the Polish government has ceased to exist, as the U.S.S.R. exercises the “fine print” of the Hitler-Stalin Non-aggression pact-the invasion and occupation of eastern be continued

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The Euro World War II 1939 History Collections Continued


The Euro world War II History Collections


1st September 1939(continued)


By Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

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: The United Kingdom and France

issue a joint ultimatum to Germany,


requiring German troops

to evacuate Polish territory;


Italian dictator Benito Mussolini

declares the neutrality of his nation;


President Douglas Hyde of the Republic of Ireland declares the neutrality of his nation;

 the Swiss government orders a general mobilization of its forces.

2nd : The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 was enacted immediately and enforced full conscription on all males between 18 and 41 resident in the UK.

September.2nd :


The Free City of Danzig


is annexed by Germany.


Fourth Army Operations, 2 September


Fourth Army crossed the Brda

during the second day of hostilities,

advancing within a few miles of the Vistula.

The apprehensions about a strong Polish defense line along the Brda did not materialize. The success of the German advance was threatened for a few hours, however,

when Panzer elements of XIX Corps outran their gasoline and ammunition supply.

The Poles failed to gain any but a temporary advantage from this situation, and German supply columns fought their way through

withdrawing Polish units to the stalled tanks.

The Fourth Army gains of 2 September sealed off the Pomorze Army’s 9th Infantry Division and Pomorska Cavalry Brigade, and the 27th Infantry Division, which had been identified farther east in the Corridor. The two Polish infantry divisions were destroyed in a number of attempts to escape through the line formed by the German forces that had crossed the base of the Corridor. The cavalry brigade was shattered in a series of charges against XIX Corps’ armor, pitting mounted lancers against tanks.

The 10th Panzer Division of the army group reserve was shifted to the northeast across Fourth Army’s rear on 2 September. Bock planned to effect a crossing in the northern area of the Corridor with a strong Panzer force as soon as possible.

The Junction of Third and Fourth Armies

Third Army’s XXI Corps identified the Pomorze Army’s 16th Infantry Division in the Grudziadz area on 3 September, and its 4th Infantry Division to the east of the city. Heavy air attacks on the 4th lnfantry Division broke up the Polish threat to the left flank of XXI Corps, and the corps continued to advance southwestward to drive out the Polish 16th Infantry Division and enter Grudziadz. Despite heavy losses, the two Polish divisions succeeded in withdrawing in good order to the south and east, while rear guards fought a strong delaying action within the city itself.

On the Mlawa front the Mazowiecka Cavalry Brigade was identified before Third Army’s Corps Wodrig. The I Corps, supported by the attack of Corps Wodrig from the east, broke into the Mlawa defenses and forced the stubborn defenders to withdraw.

Fourth Army sent the 10th Panzer Division across the Corridor just below Danzig and into East Prussia immediately upon the division’s attachment from army group reserve on 3 September. The 207th Infantry Division turned to the north after the Panzer units had passed, and forced the Polish forces still in the upper area of the Corridor to withdraw toward Gdynia. Other Fourth Army units cleared the area of the lower Corridor, established contact with Third Army units at Nowe Swiecie (Neuenburg), and launched a series of heavy attacks against the Pomorze Army’s 15th Infantry Division in position north of Bydgoszcz.

The first phase of the campaign in the north was completed on 3 September with the linking of the Third, and Fourth Armies. The Pomorze Army force assigned to the defense of the Corridor proper had been destroyed, with a loss of 15,000 men in prisoners alone, 90 field pieces, and large stocks of materiel. The Modlin Army, from which the Germans claimed to have captured 10,000 prisoners, had been forced to withdraw southward from the Mlawa area. The Corridor was cut at base and center. The northern end of the Corridor and the fortress of Westerplatte in Danzig Harbor remained in Polish hands, but under constant attack by German ground, air, and sea forces. The Podlaska Cavalry Brigade of the Narew Group made several local penetrations into East Prussia in the area held by Corps Brand during this period of operations. These actions received much publicity in the foreign press but affected the campaign very little.



: At 11:15 a.m. British Standard Time (BST),

 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces on BBC Radio that the deadline of the final British ultimatum for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland expired at 11:00am and that “consequently this nation is at war with Germany”.

Australia, India, and New Zealand also declare war on Germany within hours of Britain’s declaration.

3rd : At 12:30pm BST the French Government delivers a similar final ultimatum; which expires at 3:00pm BST.[1]

3rd : Within hours of the British declaration of War, SS Athenia, a British cruise ship en-route from Glasgow, Scotland to Montreal, Canada is torpedoed by the German submarine U-30 250 miles Northwest of Ireland. 112 passengers and crew members are killed. The “Battle of the Atlantic” begins.


: At 8:00 a.m. Newfoundland Standard Time (NST), Dominion of Newfoundland declares war on Germany.

4th : In the first British offensive action of the War, the Royal Air Force launch a raid on the German fleet in the Heligoland Bight.

 They target the German pocket-battleship Admiral Scheer anchored off Wilhelmshaven at the western end of the Kiel Canal.

 Several aircraft are lost in the attack and, although the German vessel is hit three times, all of the bombs fail to explode.


: Japan announces its neutrality in the European situation. The British Admiralty announced the beginning of a naval blockade on Germany, one of a range of measures by which they waged economic warfare on the Axis Powers

4th : The USA launches the Neutrality Patrol.

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The Euro World War II History Collections 1939


The Euro world War II History Collections


1st September 1939


By Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Private Limited E-book In CD-Rom edition

Special for Senior Collectors


At 4:45 on the morning of September 1, 1939

(the morning following the staged attack),



 German troops entered Poland. The sudden, immense attack by the Germans was called


a Blitzkrieg (“lightening war”).

The term “Blitzkrieg” was coined by Western newspapermen to convey



the rapid and mechanized German attack on Poland.

The German air attack



hit so quickly that most of Poland’s air force was destroyed while still on the ground.


To hinder Polish mobilization,


the Germans bombed bridges and roads. Groups of marching soldiers were machine-gunned from the air.

But the Germans did not just aim for soldiers, they also shot at civilians. Groups of fleeing civilians often found themselves under attack. The more confusion and chaos the Germans could create, the slower Poland could mobilize its forces.

Using 62 divisions, six of which were armored and ten mechanized, the Germans invaded Poland by land. Poland was not defenseless, but they could not compete with Germany’s motorized army. With only 40 divisions, none of which were armored, and with nearly their entire air force demolished, the Poles were at a severe disadvantage – Polish cavalry were no match for German tanks.


Declarations of War
On September 1,1939

 the beginning of the German attack, Great Britain and France sent Hitler an ultimatum – withdraw German forces from Poland or Great Britain and France would go to war against Germany. World War Two had begun.

The attack on Poland

Poland was attacked by Germany

on September 1st 1939.

The German attack was code-named Operation White (Fall Weiss). The attack on Poland started at 04.45 hours when blitzkrieg tore through the Polish military and by the end of the month Poland had surrendered to the Germans and the country was occupied.

read more info


Adolf Hitler – Hitler, along with Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, Tojo, etc., represented a rise in fascism that would result in the outbreak of World War II.

Blitzkreig – The German invasion of Poland, on September 1, 1939, igniting World War II.













in September 1939.

These figures do show that the victory was not as easy as the very short time span and simple statistics might indicate. In total, 90,000 Polish military personnel escaped to either Hungary or Rumania and a number of Polish airman fought with distinction in the Battle of Britain.

on 1 September 1939


03. Invasion of Poland

Finally accepting that Germany could not be appeased Britain and France stepped up their rearmament programmes and gave guarantees to Poland, Hitler’s next target.

After signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviets, Hitler demanded territorial concessions from the Poles. These were refused and the Germans attacked on 1 September 1939. Britain and France declared war two days later. The Second World War had begun.

A British anti-aircraft gun, 1939.

To be continued

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The Euro World War II History Collections part Prolog 1939


The Euro world War II History Collections


Prologue  1939

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Private Limited E-book In CD-Rom edition

Special for Senior Collectors



Photo: this is the german promotional postal staioner card durin Nazi era pre WWII in 1939

Kiessling &Schiefner Dresden

 on  6 cent Hindenbverg postal stationer card send from Desden 15.2.1939 to Mr L.Christ  Neurenberg,

Photo: this is the written Nazi salut heil Hitler and local revenue of the cad below,more info click hhtp://


at back  promotional picture of Hus un Kundhegerate Hotelbedarf Aufrag fur  Fa, L.Christ

Place 3 pieces waiter number one varietal vergoldest, emaeilliert with 1:30 sichcherheitsnadel gross count 1-12.
Heil Hitler!
hand sign Kiessling & Sciefner chopped on delcredere token Nord Sud eGmbH Dresden gottig nuf for delkrendere tolerate Lieteranten revenue 20 RM and 10 RM

Original in germany

Je 3 stuck kellner  nummern sorte 1  vergoldest,emaeilliert mit sichcherheitsnadel  brutto 1.30 Zahl 1-12.

Heil Hitler !

Photo: look the closed up salut heil hitler and local revenue of germany nazi era 1939 pre WW III

handSign Kiessling & Sciefner chopped on  Delkredere Wertmarke Nord Sud E.G.M.B.H  Dresden gottig nuf fur  delkrendere vertrage Lieteranten 10 und 20 RM



the Hitler salut Heil Hitler ! on this card

(Courtecy dr Iwan suwandy,found at Kotakinibalu sabah(before Yeseltown North Borneo)

look the same card

Reklame Ak Kiessling & Schiefner, Kinderzimmer

postally used 1939, blotchy, corners bumped, otherwise good condition

Reklame Ak Kiessling & Schiefner, Kinderzimmer

Backside Reklame Ak Kiessling & Schiefner, Kinderzimmer



Photo: this is another germany Bhoeringer Promotional leaflet send to Indonesia in 1939 pre WWII

The rare C.F.Boeringer &Sohned G.m.b.H ,Mannheim-Waldhof  promotional(reclame)  Perlaten-Calcium  in Climacterium card folder send from CDs Manheim  10.3.39 special nazi postmark Deutch reich 5 cent to Dr Thung Sin Nio (the frist Chinese overseas medical docter  of Indonesia University)Batavia-centrum(now Central Jakarta)

Photo: this is inside of Bhoeringer promotional leaflet sedn to Indonesia in 1939 inside the leaflet below,medicine promotion

(courtecy Dr Iwan found at Jakarta in 1994)

The pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim was founded in 1885 by


 Albert Boehringer (1861-1939)

in Ingelheim am Rhein.

 From its beginnings in 1885 when it employed just 28 people in Nieder-Ingelheim, the company has since become a global enterprise.

As part of research and development activities for innovative drugs, the company focuses primarily on the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, diseases of the central nervous system, metabolic diseases, virological diseases and oncology.

Boehringer Ingelheim is a global group of companies embracing many cultures and diverse societies. Learn more about the financial highlights, the corporate vision, the organisation, the Board of Managing Directors and the company’s history as well as our engagement for scientific, cultural and environmental purposes



Hitler’s Ambitions

Adolf Hitler wanted more land, especially in the east, to expand Germany according to the Nazi policy of lebensraum. Hitler used the harsh limitations that were set against Germany in the Versailles Treaty as a pretext for Germany’s right to acquire land where German-speaking people lived. Germany successfully used this reasoning to envelop two entire countries without starting a war.



 Invasion of Poland

Finally accepting that Germany could not be appeased Britain and France stepped up their rearmament programmes and gave guarantees to Poland, Hitler’s next target.

After signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviets, Hitler demanded territorial concessions from the Poles. These were refused and the Germans attacked on 1 September 1939. Britain and France declared war two days later. The Second World War had begun.

A British anti-aircraft gun, 1939.

NAM. 1985-04-49-47


 Commonwealth at war

On the outbreak of war in 1939 the British Army comprised 50 regular and Territorial divisions. Many of these troops were stationed throughout the world. Over 50,000 soldiers were based in India and garrisons east of Suez.

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) that was dispatched to France in 1939 consisted of only ten divisions. This force was relatively small compared with those of other combatants. But in addition to their own Army, the British could draw on additional divisions from Australia, Canada, South Africa, West Africa, East Africa and New Zealand. There were also around 200,000 men of the Indian Army stationed on the Indian sub-continent.

General Gamelin, the French Commander-in-Chief, inspects Canadian troops at Aldershot, 1939.

NAM. 1985-04-49-79



Soldiers wearing the new battledress and equipment issued to all branches of the Army in 1939.

NAM. 1975-03-63-1-75




Derrick joined the RAF early in 1939


 and trained as a Wireless Operator (Passing out on 06.05.40), later retraining as a Wireless Operator Mechanic (Wom) (07.03.41) after which he was posted to No.12 WI (Wireless Interception) screen

Northern Ireland where he was to occupy a farm cottage on the border of Northern Ireland and Eire to maintain a listening watch, along with another RAF wireless operator and six soldiers to act as guards

 (I believe this to be part of the “Y” service but cannot get confirmation of it), whilst here in Northern Ireland, his home base was RAF Aldergrove, and it was on one of his regular visits to collect his pay he heard that due to the introduction of the new four engine bombers, as well as to enemy action there was a shortage of Air Gunners and they were recruiting for replacements, Derrick volunteered and on completion of his training (20.07.41) he was eventually transferred to Coastal Command.

March ,14th, 1939,


 Hitler made it clear that he intended to force

the central Czechoslovakian government to give Slovakia its independence, which would make the “rump” Czech state “even more completely at our mercy,” remarked Hermann Goering.

Slovakia indeed declared its “independence” (in fact, complete dependence on Germany) on March 14, 1939, with the threat of invasion squelching all debate within the Czech province

March ,15th.1939

1939 Nazis take Czechoslovakia

On this day, Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia–a nation sacrificed on the altar of the Munich Pact, which was a vain attempt to prevent Germany’s imperial aims.

Then, on March 15, 1939, during a meeting with Czech President Emil Hacha–a man considered weak, and possibly even senile–Hitler threatened a bombing raid against Prague, the Czech capital, unless he obtained from Hacha free passage for German troops into Czech borders.

He got it. That same day, German troops poured into Bohemia and Moravia. The two provinces offered no resistance, and they were quickly made a protectorate of Germany. By evening, Hitler made a triumphant entry into Prague.

The Munich Pact, which according to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had purchased “peace in our time,” was actually a mere negotiating ploy by the Hitler, only temporarily delaying the Fuhrer’s blood

July 1939


 Photo: this is another Nazi Promotional postmark of Merz Jodo Muc,all collections look at with click hhtp//


The Fragment postal used cover with Promotion Machinal postmark  Merz  Jodo Muc  der sanitarer in der Westentasche  deutch reichpost 0.65 CDS Frankfurt(mann.) stadt des Deutchen Handwerks14.7.39 n red ink

August 1939

Messerschmitt 110

The Messerschmitt 110 was originally designed as a twin engined fighter. The Messerschmitt 110 first flew in May 1936 and by August 1939, the Luftwaffe had 159 110Cs available for the blitzkrieg attack on Poland.
The Me 110 proved a valuable plane to the Luftwaffe in the Polish campaign — though it was up against old fashioned fighters in the Polish Air Force.

The German Army that crossed into Poland on September 1 had with it more than 200 Ju87s for support, and the years between the Spanish Civil War and the Poland invasion provided now-General Richthofen with time to experiment with new techniques for controlling close air support missions.

Named the “air commander for special purposes,” his main contribution to the development of CAS was the creation of four Special Air Detachments. Traveling with army division commanders and using armored cars, these units were sent to General von Reichenau’s Tenth Army to experiment calling in precision air strikes.

When not being used for direct support work, Stukas were used throughout the campaign to attack bridges, fortifications, and other “hard” targets. Some early lessons in the vulnerability of the Stuka operating alone could have been taught had the Poles used a unified, coherent command for their air force.

They did not. Contrary to most reports, the Polish Air Force was NOT destroyed on the ground in the first day, but rather sent to dispersal fields, where interaction with larger air units was difficult at best.


The Polish Air Force was therefore unable to stop the widespread attacks by the Stukas as they protected the German army’s flanks and blasted targets at or near front lines. While the attack on Poland is often considered the first real Blitzkrieg,

it was a far more traditional attack. Points of resistance were simply bypassed, trading distance for all else. Air power preserved the flanks of the German advances and froze Polish units, who usually found themselves surrounded by the German army in large pockets.

When the Polish Army finally launched a major counteroffensive on the flanks of the fast-moving German army, they became early martyrs to the effectiveness of airpower. On September 9, about 170,000 Polish forces gathered and attacked German forces near Poznan. The attack briefly looked like it would work, cutting the 10th Army off from its logistics trail.

Unfortunately for the Poles, the 10th was the unit with von Richthofen’s Special Air Detachments. Quickly, the attacking Poles found themselves under withering dive-bombing from Stukas and constant strafing by Hs123 biplanes (the Hs123 was the German’s premier ground attack strafer for the first several years of the war). However, it wasn’t just the dive bomber and ground attack assets of the Luftwaffe that were used.

Any available aircraft in the theater was sent to plug the gap. Horses, still crucial to both Polish and German ground forces, panicked under the air attacks; their troops did little better. Stukas had been fitted with sirens on their wings, and the Hs123’s engine sounded like a loud machine gun itself at low altitude. The effect on the fresh Polish troops, who had never come under air attack, was total. It was an utter route, and 1,700 sorties later, the Luftwaffe has effectively crushed the Polish counterattack.

Polish General Kutrzeba

described the scene:

“Towards ten o’clock, a furious air assault was made on the river crossings near Witkovice – which for the number of aircraft engaged, the violence of their attack, and the acrobatic daring of their pilots, must have been unprecedented. Every moment, every troop concentration, every line of advance, came under pulverizing bombardment from the air. It was just hell on earth. The bridges were destroyed, the fords blocked, and the waiting columns of men decimated.”

Although the battle for Poland was handily won by the Germans, air power theorists such as von Richthofen still saw much room for improvement. A wide range of issues had arisen from the actual application of the theory of the Special Air Attachments. Army officers didn’t feel the need to call in air strikes as much as they could have, and there were the inevitable SNAFUs of radio frequencies and target identification.

The fact that the Polish campaign really was more a battle of encirclement rather than a true concentrated armor attack also weighed heavily. Largely free of concentrated attacks, the Stukas were used to protect the flanks of German units and strike point targets.


Operational Doctrine
Much of the operational doctrine was based upon French strategic planning which by the late 1930s was inadequate to deal with Germany’s mechanized war (Zaloga and Madej, 1991).
Each army was allotted its own air units, usually made up of two squadrons of P.7 fighters or P.12 air defence/ ground attack aircraft.
In addition one reconnaissance squadron made up of eight to ten P.23 Karas light bombers and one or two observation squadrons made up the Lotnictwo Wojskowe attachments to the army.

While Poland had some 300 fighters (Zaloga and Madej, 1991; Koniarek, 1994; Zamoyski, 1995) only 10% were in combat condition. The remainder were either in a training role or undergoing repair prior to the outbreak of war.
The Karas bombers numbered around 240 and never really fulfilled its role as a light bomber or ground attack aircraft.
The P.37 Los bomber was more advanced in design, but only 75 available for combat duty in 1939.

War in the Air
Numerous authors (Davies, 1981, Zaloga and Madej, 1991; Koniarek, 1994; Zamoyski, 1995) have attempted to correct historical myth surrounding the role of the Lotnictwo Wojskowe. The airforce was not destroyed on the airfields on the 1st

September 1939.
Most aircraft were dispersed to secret airfields and the Luftwaffe primarily shot-up and bombed empty airfileds obscured by early morning mist. Air defences concentrated on air cover over Warsaw as the prime objective that enabled the Luftwaffe air superiority to disrupt mobilization of the army.

The military high command requested low-level raids on advancing German columns that proved to be very wasteful in planes. While most air units quickly retreated into the heartland of Poland, spares and fuel became an increasing problem.
Communication between units and the army broke down and in some cases units were requested to carry out tactical support against an army which could outgun them or take on a superior airforce.
Pilots and ground-crew fought heroically with limited resources and often found ‘friendly-fire’ was as lethal as taking on the enemy (Zamoyski, 1995). As planes moved from airfield to airfield, ground crews struggled to rendezvous and quite often became separated for up to three days before rejoining their squadrons.
These experiences shaped tactical policy which were put to good effect, but not in this theatre of the war.

<span>PZL Los B, Bomber Brigade</span>

On the 3rd September

onwards all units were to withdraw to southeastern Poland in order to re-group. All personnel and reservists had by now been called up.
By the 5th September,

the physical intervention by Britain and France had not materialized and the airforce had lost 30% of its aircraft. Zamoyski, (1995) pointed out that 14 Hurricanes and 36 Fairey Battles having being loaded aboard ships in Liverpool bound for Gdynia were rerouted to the Rumanian port of Galti on the Black Sea once hostilities commenced.
On the 10th September

200 pilots and technical staff were ordered to Rumania to collect replacement machines. Unfortunately, Rumania under German pressure rescinded its alliance with Poland and became neutral while 6,000 airforce personnel massed on the border.
The ship carrying its valuable cargo had passed Gibraltar as Rumanian neutrality was announced and unknown to the Poles, the ship was once again re-routed.
From the 16th September onwards,

combat casualties to aircraft and personnel escalated with squadrons being annihilated or simply running out of fuel and spares.
On the 17th September

100 war planes and 50 civilian aircraft flew into Rumania to an airfield at Galati. The crews suddenly realized the war was over and that Rumania, Britain and France had not supported them in their hour of need.
Most airmen were reasonably well treated. Polish army units began to cross the Rumanian border shortly afterwards.
In Eastern Poland, the Polish army and airforce were engaging both the German and Soviets and continued to fight hard until 6th October.

In the aftermath, it appeared significant numbers of military personnel had escaped and started their campaign in exile. The navy had escaped and Poland’s gold reserves too thanks

to the planning of General Rayski.
900 airforce personnel had made their way to Hungary and approximately 1,000 to the Baltic States of Latvia and Lithunia. Another 1,500 had been captured by the Soviets and sent to the gulags — many did not survive (Anders, 1949; Zamoyski, 1995).
Security at the internment camps was poor and the inmates too keen to get to France and Britain to fight while in exile. 90,000 Polish military personnel were to be clandestinely removed from the Balkans through an underground network.
Britain was acutely short of trained airmen who were given priority together with the elements of the Enigma decoding material Zamoyski, 1995:39).

Aircraft camouflage of 1939 campaign

Since 1937 Polish Air Force standardised camouflage schemes on all of its aircraft. There were four basic schemes:
Upper surfaces of wings and elevators and entire fuselage in Khaki. Lower wing and elevator surfaces in Light Blue. The most used scheme.
Upper surfaces camouflaged in three colors: Light Olive, Dark Olive, Khaki. Lower surfaces Sliver or Light Blue for fighter. Color edges feathered or splintered.
Trainer aircraft were painted overall Khaki. Overall Sliver or Overall Ivory White.
Sea aircraft were painted Light Green-Grey on the upper and Silver on the lower surfaces and floats.
Generally all aircraft produced by PZL and LWS carried scheme no. 1. Scheme no. 2 was typical for Lublin R-XIII.

Color Name
Comment Federal Standard
Equivalent Humbrol

Light Khaki
Upper surfaces of fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. Also present in Lublin R-XIII camouflage. In their entirety for training airplanes 30118

Dark Khaki
Upper surfaces of bombers as the PZL 37 “Los” 30097
5pHu:110 + 1pHu:33 + 1pHu:10

Light Olive
Upper camouflage of R-XIII 34151 Hu:151
Dark Green
Upper camouflage of R-XIII 34097
2pHu:80 + 1pHu:116

Upper camouflage of R-XIII 33245

Light Blue
Lower surfaces of camouflaged R-XIII 35550
6pHu:34 + 1pHu:25 + 1pHu:89 + 2pHu:64

Light Blue-Grey
Lower surfaces of fighter and bomber 36329
7pHu:87 + 3pHu:34

Sea Grey
Sea aircraft 34410
6pHu:90 + 5pHu:34 + 1pHu:76 + 1pHu:64

Lower surfaces of reconnaissance aircraft (even some R-XIII) and cockpit interiors. 17178




1939, Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact, stunning the world, given their diametrically opposed ideologies. But the dictators were, despite appearances, both playing to their own political needs.

After Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Britain had to decide to what extent it would intervene should Hitler continue German expansion. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, at first indifferent to Hitler’s capture of the Sudetenland, the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia, suddenly snapped to life when Poland became threatened. He made it plain that Britain would be obliged to come to the aid of Poland in the event of German invasion. But he wanted, and needed, an ally. The only power large enough to stop Hitler, and with a vested interest in doing so, was the Soviet Union. But Stalin was cool to Britain after its effort to create a political alliance with Britain and France against Germany had been rebuffed a year earlier. Plus, Poland’s leaders were less than thrilled with the prospect of Russia becoming its guardian; to them, it was simply occupation by another monstrous regime.

Hitler believed that Britain would never take him on alone, so he decided to swallow his fear and loathing of communism and cozy up to the Soviet dictator, thereby pulling the rug out from the British initiative. Both sides were extremely suspicious of the other, trying to discern ulterior motives. But Hitler was in a hurry; he knew if he was to invade Poland it had to be done quickly, before the West could create a unified front. Agreeing basically to carve up parts of Eastern Europe-and leave each other alone in the process-Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, flew to Moscow and signed the non-aggression pact with his Soviet counterpart, V.M. Molotov (which is why the pact is often referred to as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact). Supporters of bolshevism around the world had their heretofore romantic view of “international socialism” ruined; they were outraged that Stalin would enter into any kind of league with the fascist dictator

  On August 23, 1939,



 the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty which contained an additional secret protocol with maps, in which a demarcation line through Eastern Europe was drawn, dividing it into the German and Soviet interest zones. Bessarabia was among the regions assigned to Soviet sphere of interest by the Pact. Article III of its Secret Additional Protocol states:

With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterestedness in these areas



1939:The Heinkel He 178,



the first jet-plane takes to the air with Erich Warsitz at the controls.

Just five days before the German attack on Poland, and the beginning of WWII the tiny plane lifts off the airfield of Rostock-Marienehe.
The story of this airplane is not just about building the aircraft as well as the constructing of the engine to power it.

Heinkel received a letter of Proff. Robert W. Pohl from the Göttingen University in March 1936.

In it he explained that there was a young student by the name of Pabst Von Ohain who was working on the principle of jet propulsion and who needed the necessary funds to continue his research.

Heinkel was very busy creating ever faster airplanes and was interested. He invited Von Ohain on March 17th 1936 to explain his ideas.


Soon after, Von Ohain and his mechanic Max Hahn were working at the Heinkel plant on his He S 2. (together with a few men from the Heinkel factory under guidance of Dipl-Ing. Wilhelm Gundermann). The He S 2 ran on hydrogen and was only build to demonstrate the idea. This engine ran in March or April 1937. ( On April 12th ’37 Frank Wittle undertook his first test-run in England).
The engine for the He 178 however was the He S 3 wich was ready for flight-testing in the summer of 1938 (He S 3A). This engine was tested in the air whilst hanging under a He 119 dive-bomber prototype. After several test-flights the jet-engine is destroyed in a fire because of leaking fuel-line. The experiences lead to the He S 3B engine, and it is this engine that ends up in the He 178. It has a thrust of about 450kg.

At the same time as Ohain starts to develop his engine a team of Heinkel employees was set to work on developing the airplane that was to be powered by the new jet-engine.
A mock-up was build and ready on August the 8th 1938. Some of the developers were: Karl Schwarzler ( head of construction) and the brothers Siegfried and Walter Gunther (aerodynamics). A second prototype was constructed either at the same time or a little later. This plane was pretty much the same as the first one although it had a bigger wing and a retractable undercarriage.

First prototype during rolling.

Second prototype.

The pilot Erich warsitz was chief pilot at the Peenemunde experimental rocket station and was on loan to Heinkel.(on June 20th he flew the first rocket plane, the He 176).

He had flown with the He 119 airplane to find out the handling of the jet-engine and was the only flier involved to make the flight in the first jet-plane.
During the first flight a speed of 600 km/h was reached and the flight lasted some 7 minutes. On finals Warsitz notices that one fuel-pump has stopped working but it doesn’t affect the flight. After landing mechanics lift Proff. Ernst Heinkel on there shoulders as everybody present cheers



‘Not Forgotten’, the 1939 IRA bomb attack – by Simon Shaw

John Corbett Arnott aged 15.
Elsie Ansell aged 21.
Rex Gentle aged 30.
Gwilym Rowlands aged 50.
James Clay aged 82.

On 12th January 1939 the Irish Republican Army, claiming to be the “Government of the Irish Republic”, issued an ultimatum to the British Government. It gave them four days to withdraw all British armed forces stationed in Ireland and declare that they would renounce all claims to interfere in Irish domestic policy. If they received no response, they said they would be compelled to intervene actively in the military and commercial life of Great Britain. Four days passed with no reply so a campaign known as the “S-Plan” was launched against Britain. This mainly involved bombing commercial premises, sabotaging electricity supplies, blowing up telephone kiosks, public lavatories, mail boxes and railway stations. Coventry was mentioned by name in the I.R.A. plans, which had singled out its electricity supply as a prime target. Civilians were not supposed to be targeted.

Remains of the bicycle in Little Park Street Police Museum, Coventry The remains of the bicycle, now in Coventry’s Police Museum, Little Park Street.
(Photograph by Simon Shaw with permission of West Midlands Police. Unauthorised reproduction may result in prosecution.)

Unless you have a reasonably good knowledge of local history the five names at the start of this article will probably not be familiar to you. They are the forgotten victims of the worst terrorist attack Coventry has ever suffered. On 25th August 1939 all of them had the misfortune to be in Broadgate. It was a busy Friday lunchtime. Elsie Ansell, a shop assistant at Millet’s in nearby Cross Cheaping, was on her lunch break and looking at jewellery in the H Samuel shop. She was due to be married a fortnight later. Gwilym Rowlands, known as Bill, was a road sweeper. He and his colleague (John Worth) were working outside Astley’s and Burton’s shops. John Arnott and Rex Gentle both worked at W H Smiths and were returning after their lunch break. Rex had changed his lunch hour so he could spend it with John. James Clay had left a meeting at a nearby cafe with a business friend earlier than usual due to not feeling well. This was the first time in six years the two friends had not left at the same time. Around 2:30 pm these people and many others were in the vicinity of Astley’s shop when the normal hustle and bustle of the city centre was shattered by an I.R.A. bomb.

Ironically, in the city that is regarded as its British birthplace, a bicycle played an instrumental part in the mass murder and carnage that shocked the nation.

Broadgate in 1939. A typical Broadgate day in 1939 – just as it would have appeared shortly before the tragic event of August the 25th.

On Tuesday 22nd August 1939 James McCormick (alias James Richards), the leader of the I.R.A. unit operating in Coventry, and another unknown I.R.A. man visited the shop of the Halford Cycle Company in Smithford Street, where McCormick purchased a Halford ‘Karriwell’ – a tradesman type cycle built for Halford by the Birmingham Bicycle Company which had a carrier basket to the front of the handlebars. He gave a false name and address – Mr Norman, 56 Grayswood Avenue, Allesley Old Road, Coventry – and paid a deposit of £5 – pledging to pay the remaining 19s 6d on collection, which would be either Friday or Saturday. On the morning of Thursday 24th August 1939 another unknown I.R.A. man began constructing the bomb at 25 Clara Street, Stoke, Coventry. The house was being rented from Loveitt & Sons by Joseph Hewitt who lived there with his wife Mary, their baby child Brigid Mary and his mother-in-law, Brigid O’Hara. After marrying his wife at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, in August 1935, Hewitt came to Coventry in 1936 to find work. His wife and mother-in-law soon followed. Their baby was born in Coventry in 1938. They moved to Clara Street from Meadow Street, Spon End in June 1939. James McCormick lodged with them. It was effectively a ‘safe-house’ for the I.R.A. where McCormick had constructed a concrete storage pit under the stairs a few weeks earlier to store explosives, but the Hewitt’s were not part of the organisation. That evening, at around 7:00 pm, a Transport Officer in the I.R.A. called Peter Barnes arrived at the house from London. He had travelled by train and brought with him potassium chlorate to be used as the explosive in the device. Barnes’ role in the I.R.A. was to ferry explosives from their main ammunition dumps in Liverpool and Glasgow to their operatives across the country. He left later in the evening and returned to London.

The unknown bomb maker completed his task the following morning. It was a 5lb device with an alarm clock used as the timer. The bicycle was collected from Halford’s by McCormick at 12:30 pm and left in the back lane (known as a jetty) at the rear of the house around 1:10 pm. By this stage the bomb had been parcelled up in a box that was wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string. The bomb maker placed it in the carrier basket and began his journey into town. Sometime between 1:30 and 1:45 pm the bicycle with its deadly cargo was left standing against the kerb outside Astley’s shop where it was to shortly explode with such devastating consequences.

Many victims of terrorism or political conflict are totally forgotten about once the initial outrage or shock has died down. Just a week or so after the Coventry bomb, Great Britain declared war on Germany, and a year or so later our city was to suffer carnage on a much greater scale with the blitz of 14th November 1940. Perhaps these events helped play a part in effectively ‘burying’ the tragedy that took place in August 1939?

* * * * *

Part of the carrier cycle lying in front of the damaged car Part of the carrier cycle lying in front of the damaged car.

An excellent book called “Lost Lives” was first published in 1999. It attempts to record all those who died in the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ from the 1960’s through to the ceasefires of the 1990’s and beyond. It is an incredibly poignant and moving book which had me in tears on several occasions. Below I give a few details of Coventry’s “Lost Lives” which were gleaned from contemporary newspaper reports and kindly provided by relatives:

Elsie Ansell, (also called Laura in Newspaper reports) from Clarendon Street, Earlsdon, died instantly. Her face was blown away and her body terribly mutilated. She could only be identified by her engagement ring and clothing. Instead of being married at St. Barbara’s Church to her fiancé Harry Davies her funeral service took place there instead on August 30th. On top of her coffin was a wreath of cream roses from Harry. The coffin bearers were from the nearby Albany Social Club. A crowd of 600 to 700 people were at London Road cemetery to see her laid to rest. She was buried in her wedding dress.

John Corbett Arnott, from Daimler Road in Radford, was the youngest victim of the atrocity. After leaving Radford School he went to work for W H Smith in town. With his curly hair and glasses he was a familiar face to many Coventrians through selling newspapers and magazines at the store. At first it was thought his body was actually that of a Mr Hollander of Coundon Road as young John had a bill in his pocket for this man which he was due to deliver. He was buried at London Road cemetery on August 29th with around 100 mourners in attendance. On August 30th the Midland Daily Telegraph published this letter from John’s mother:

Dear Mr Editor

Will you please print my thanks where you will, but I feel I would like to put into print my thoughts as well. The doctors and nurses tried to save my boy’s life but God said “No.”

The kind thoughts of the people go to help me bear my cross. We all have a cross to bear, and when I look at others plight, I feel my cross is only light.

To the kind nurses who took me to kiss him “Good-bye” thanks, and I’ll always remember the youngest nurse’s sweet face. God gave me these words in the loneliness of the night when his little sister was sleeping by my side. Once again thanks for all your kindness, I’ll never forget.

Rex Gentle Rex Gentle

Rex Gentle was born on 3rd April 1909 in Newtown, Montgomeryshire in Wales. He was an identical twin. He left Newtown, where he was engaged to May Hart, to do relief work at W. H. Smith. While in Coventry he lodged with the Arnott family in Daimler Road. Rex had only been in the city for a couple of weeks.

On the day of the explosion, his twin brother Jack was working in Newtown. In the afternoon he was sent home from work suffering from a severe headache. It is often said that when one identical twin suffers pain the other can feel it – Rex had indeed suffered severe head injuries.

After the explosion, word reached the Gentle family in Wales that Rex had been badly injured in an incident in Coventry. His parents could not travel so his twin brother Jack and his wife Rene made the unenviable journey to Coventry. On the train, Jack turned to his wife and told her that he knew his brother, who he was very close to, was dead – again, when he said this it turned out to be almost to the minute that Rex did pass away. When the couple arrived in Coventry a trial blackout was in operation in preparation for the probable forthcoming war with Germany. They could not find the hospital so approached a policeman, who, knowing about the bomb, took them there. Jack was needed to identify his brother but apparently passed out, so his wife Rene carried out the traumatic task. The body was covered in bandages and she identified Rex by his mouth. While they were at the hospital the manager of W.H. Smith paid a visit and had an almighty shock when he saw Rex’s identical twin brother Jack – he thought it was Rex! The same thing happened when a sister of the twins in Birmingham was visited. Jack and Rene called on her to break the bad news. She opened the door with, “Hello Rex! What are you doing back here?” Jack explained that he wasn’t Rex and informed her of what had happened in nearby Coventry.

Jack and Rene Gentle returned to Birmingham for the trial of those charged with murdering Elsie Ansell. The Coroner’s report of the injuries suffered by the victims was so bad that Rene arranged for their relatives to be able to choose to leave the court room while it was read out. She stayed in the room and Jack left. Despite asking her about what she heard she never told him – the injuries being so horrific.

In 1966 the husband of Jack Gentle’s daughter Marie was shown round the police museum at Little Park Street where the remains of the bicycle and some of the evidence gathered during the investigation are kept in a simple glass cabinet. It must have been an upsetting experience to say the least.

Rex Gentle, who was much loved by his family and fondly remembered by them to this day, was buried in Newtown after a service at the local Baptist church.

Gwilym Rowlands, of Poole Road, Radford, worked for the Highways Department of the Coventry Corporation. His wife Mary Ann had the grim task of identifying his body at the public mortuary at 5:00pm on the day of the explosion. His funeral service took place at St. Nicholas Church and he was buried in the adjacent graveyard. A large crowd of mourners were in attendance and the wreaths included one from the Radford Social Club and another from the Transport & General Workers Union, Cheylesmore branch.

James Clay, the eldest victim, was Coventry born and bred but lived at Clarendon Road, Kenilworth. A widower and a grandfather, he was a former President of the Coventry & District Co-operative Society and was working as a Confidential Clerk for C.A. Gray & Son, Printers, of Broadgate. James was a trained printer who took a keen interest in education, being a member of the old Coventry school board, founding the P.S.A. movement in Coventry and also was secretary of the Co-operative Society educational classes. He was also associated with Sunday school work at Warwick Road Church. His burial took place at Kenilworth cemetery on the August 30th and was well attended.

Top of the page

In addition to the dead some 70 others were injured including 12 seriously. Most were treated at the Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital. Twelve blood donors were called on following the explosion and were praised for their quick attendance at the hospital. Extensive damage was caused to 43 business premises in Broadgate and nearby streets. Astley’s and its adjacent shops – Burton and Manfields – were hit badly as was Sketchley’s directly across the road.

Alexander Ballinger was the manager of Astley’s at the time. When the bomb went off he was standing near the front window. The whole frontage of the shop was blown inside and he was blown off his feet suffering several cuts to his knee, right hand, nose and head. He was clearly lucky to survive.

Robert Kinsella was another who had a lucky escape. He was walking past Burton’s towards Astley’s when the bomb exploded. He described what happened:

The scene of the explosion directly after the occurrence The scene of the explosion directly after the occurrence.

“There was a violent explosion that threw me to the ground. I picked myself up and I could see there had been terrible damage done. There were a lot of people lying about on the ground, but the first person I went to was, I believe, old James Clay, whom I picked up; I could see from his injuries he was almost dead. Of course, I then found I was bleeding very badly myself, and I went to the hospital.” (He had suffered injuries to his shoulder, feet, stomach and leg.)

John Worth was sweeping the gutter outside Burton’s while his colleague Bill Rowlands was sweeping the pavement outside Astley’s. John was at the back of the parked saloon car (see picture) when the explosion occurred. He escaped with injuries to both arms and a thigh.

Youngsters Ian Adams and his cousin were on a bus in Corporation Street when they heard a loud boom. They were on their way to see Will Hay in a film called “Oh Mr Porter!”. Reaching Broadgate minutes later, they were stopped by a police officer and discovered that what they had heard on the bus was actually a bomb going off. The road was closed and the policeman directed them via a different route to the cinema. After the film the two lads returned via Broadgate where the debris was still being cleared up. Much of it was dumped at a tip on Four Pounds Avenue. (When Ian grew up he served in the Special Branch and in early 2010 his excellent book about this I.R.A. campaign and the reaction to it, called “The Sabotage Plan”, was published.)

Prior to this attack the I.R.A. had carried out numerous missions in Coventry. These included bombing telephone inspection chambers, public toilets and commercial premises. In The Sabotage Plan, Ian Adams details several attacks carried out on a single day in the spring of 1939:

On 23rd of March, there were four explosions in underground telephone inspection chambers. The first explosion, at 7.15am was in the Cheylesmore area, and shattered the glass in numerous windows. The bomb blew heavy pieces of metal into a nearby engineering works, and damaged telephone lines, lampposts, and surrounding houses. Three hours later, there was a similar explosion in a telephone junction box in Quinton Road which hurled fragments of the iron box and pieces of concrete paving over a wide area, and through the glass roof of a nearby factory. During the lunch hour there was a third explosion, in an inspection chamber of the electric transformer station at Gosford Green. John Martin, a passer-by, was injured. A fourth explosion in the afternoon, in Coundon Road, hurled a heavy iron manhole cover through the roof of St. Osburg’s Roman Catholic presbytery, the church my parents and I often attended, and a Corporation bus was damaged, but nobody was injured. Balloons filled with nitric acid detonated all the bombs. The explosions disrupted many telephone lines.

In June an unexploded bomb was found near a petrol dump. They also bombed the cloakroom at Coventry Rail Station. The device exploded at 6:45 am on July 2nd. Refreshment staff had bedrooms directly above the cloakroom and eight of them had a lucky escape as fortunately the building did not collapse. They were severely shaken but escaped injury. A couple of weeks before the deadly attack on Broadgate an allotment at the rear of Armfield Street was rocked by an explosion leaving a crater two feet deep and three feet wide. A shed was blown to smithereens and two men were seen running from the scene onto Bell Green Road where they boarded a tram and escaped. The local I.R.A. unit stored explosives here and due to carelessness accidentally ignited them. This explains why the explosive used on August 25th was brought to Coventry from Liverpool via London. Up until this point the police believed that an I.R.A. unit operating from Birmingham was carrying out attacks in Coventry.

The aftermath of the Broadgate bomb led to tension between locals and the Irish community in Coventry. It was estimated that over 2,000 Irish people were working in Coventry’s factories at the time. There were calls for all Irish workers to be sacked and on the day that inquests began into the deaths, 2,000 workers at Armstrong Whitworth in Baginton downed tools at lunchtime and marched to Pool Meadow to protest against the I.R.A., stressing that the protest was “not directed against peaceful Irishmen.” From Pool Meadow they marched through the city centre and held a rally at Market Square where their numbers swelled to 3,000 with shoppers and other workers joining them. A deputation of four then met the Lord Mayor, Sidney Stringer. Many Irish left their lodgings in the city and others were asked to leave. Such was the bad feeling that the Chief Constable of Coventry Police, Captain S.A. Hector, (who was from Somerset) had to deny rumours that he was Irish.

Of course, the vast majority of Irish people in the city were just as appalled by the bombing as everyone else. The attack was condemned during Mass at all Catholic churches in the city the following Sunday. Father Simpson at St. Osburg’s denounced the bombers as “fanatics discrediting and dishonouring Ireland” and reminded worshippers that the penalty for belonging to secret societies and plotting to destroy the state or church was ex-communication. The Midland Daily Telegraph was inundated with letters from Irish people living in Coventry expressing their disgust and horror at the attack. Some suggested forming an “Irish Union” pledging that they were ‘loyal’ and promising to inform the authorities about I.R.A. activity. (Thousands of Irish people continued to work in the factories of Coventry during World War Two – providing an invaluable contribution to the war effort when most young British men had been called up for military service.)

View of Broadgate after the explosion View of Broadgate after the explosion.

A couple of days after the attack “BUSINESS AS USUAL” signs were up in Broadgate, and though many windows were boarded up the shops were open. Of course, it would never be “business as usual” for the dead and their families. The Lord Mayor launched a relief fund for victims of the bombing which by the end of September had raised the substantial sum of £800.

After initially issuing press appeals saying they wished to interview Dominic Adams about the attack, (Dominic Adams was the Uncle of current Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and suspected of being a senior member of the I.R.A. during this period) the police investigation soon led to Clara Street following the arrest of Peter Barnes in London on the same night of the bombing. An attempt to plant a further three ‘bicycle bombs’ in the capital city had been thwarted in the morning. At 8:50 pm Barnes arrived home to find Detective Sergeant William Hughes and some of his colleagues from the Special Branch at Scotland Yard waiting for him. They were there because of the attempted attacks in London, but when Detective Sergeant Hughes and the officers with him searched the building at 176 Westbourne Terrace, they found incriminating evidence linking him to Coventry, which understandably raised their suspicions considering what had happened earlier in the afternoon 100 miles away.

Barnes had called at Clara Street previously on August 21st to acquaint himself with McCormick and discuss the role he would play in the imminent bombing mission. During this visit, McCormick asked Brigid O’Hara to buy a suitcase for Barnes and also asked Mary Hewitt to buy two empty flour sacks. The flour sacks were purchased from Celia’s on Walsgrave Road but had to be returned as they were the wrong type. Both women returned them. The suitcase was brought from Forey’s Ironmongers. For reasons known only to himself – perhaps he had to account to the I.R.A. for his expenses? – Peter Barnes kept the receipts at his lodgings in London where they were found by the police and were to prove crucial in the Coventry investigation. (The owner of Celia’s was able to give a very accurate description of Brigid O’Hara. It is believed the flour sacks were to be used for holding the Potassium Chlorate.)

Chief Inspector Cyril George Boneham of the Coventry City Police led the local investigation. He and his team were assisted by Special Branch detectives. On August 28th, Chief Inspector Boneham and Detective Inspector Sydney Barnes of Special Branch led a search of 25 Clara Street. Tools suitable for bomb making, screws, bolts, insulating tape, labels from a battery and crucially a brass setter for the back of an alarm clock were found. This setter, or key, appeared to be new and did not fit any clock in the house. The occupants were detained and initially released while deportation orders were applied for. On September 2nd they were arrested under the Prevention of Violence (Temporary Provisions) Act. As the investigation proceeded and clear evidence of bomb making at the house emerged those being held were then charged under the Explosive Substances Act, 1883. Later that month, on the 27th, after a thorough police investigation and careful consideration, the Public Prosecutor decided that the facts justified a charge of murder against all five people being held. The charge was limited to the murder of Elsie Ansell and not the other four victims.

Top of the page

The trial began on Monday 11th of December at the Warwick Assizes, Victoria Courts, Birmingham. One crucial person was missing – the man who actually built and planted the bomb. He was never captured. It was acknowledged that those in the dock – James McCormick, Peter Barnes, Joseph Hewitt, Mary Hewitt and Brigid O’Hara – had not made or planted the bomb, but as it was believed they had all played an active part in a conspiracy that could clearly endanger life it was a murder charge they faced, and consequently the hangman’s noose if found guilty. On Friday 14th December, McCormick, who was tried under his alias of James Richards, and Peter Barnes were found guilty by the jury and convicted of murder. After the guilty verdicts were passed, James McCormick gave this response:

“My lord, before you pass sentence I have something to say. I wish to state, my lord, before you pass sentence of death on me, I wish to thank sincerely the gentlemen who have defended me during my trial and I wish to state that the part I took in these explosions since I came to England I have done for a just cause. As a soldier of the Irish Republican Army I am not afraid to die, as I am doing it for a just cause. I say in conclusion, God bless Ireland and God bless the men who have fought and died for her. Thank you, my lord.”

Peter Barnes said:

“I would like to say as I am going before my God, as I am condemned to death, I am innocent, and later I am sure it will come out that I had neither hand, act or part in it. That is all I have to say.”

The Hewitt’s and Brigid O’Hara were acquitted – they were later charged with the murder of the other four people who were killed and five counts under the Explosive Substances Act and all three pleaded not guilty. No evidence was offered by the prosecution on the murder charge and the judge ordered the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. The women were discharged while Joseph Hewitt was remanded in custody. At the Old Bailey in London on 6th February 1940 he was charged with maliciously causing an explosion and having explosive substances in his possession. No evidence was offered by the prosecution and after a verdict of not guilty by the jury he was discharged. The following day, the guilty pair – Peter Barnes and James McCormick – were executed at Winson Green Prison. An appeal against their convictions had been dismissed in January. In the very same week of the hangings the mother of Elsie Ansell died at the early age of 49. Laura Ansell was being cared for by the mother of Harry Davies, her late daughter’s fiancé. Mrs Davies said that she never recovered from the loss of Elsie and died of a broken heart.

The hangings of McCormick and Barnes caused outrage in Ireland and other parts of the world. It was felt unjust that as they had not planted the bomb they should die because of the actions of another person. Appeals for clemency were ignored. Public mourning was observed and flags flew at half-mast in Ireland on the day of the executions.

A crowd gathers to see the aftermath of the incident A crowd gathers in Broadgate soon after the incident. The actual site of the bomb is just out of shot to the left.
For those unfamiliar with the pre-war street scene, we are facing the west side of Broadgate, and stretching to the north in the distance is Cross Cheaping, Burges and Bishop Street respectively. The small street on the left just after Boots is Market Place, and the tall building just visible on the far right of the picture is the original Owen Owen store; itself bombed in November the following year.

It has been suggested that the real target for the bomb was an electricity generating station and this is where McCormick and Barnes believed the bomber was cycling to. Some people claim that a faulty timer (the alarm clock) on the bomb caused the bomber to abandon the bicycle in Broadgate while en-route to the real target, but a leading author on Irish Republicanism describes the bomber as a ‘psychopath’ and as it was placed outside Astley’s an hour before it exploded it would seem this was an intentional act by the bomber. Even if the timer was faulty, it would have been a strange decision to abandon the bomb in the busiest shopping street in Coventry which obviously put civilians at risk of death contrary to I.R.A. instructions. Just why he chose to do this we will probably never know.

This particular badly timed and ill-judged I.R.A. campaign against Britain is often said to have petered out following the carnage in Coventry, but in fact there were a further 42 incidents attributed to the I.R.A., with the last bomb exploding on a rubbish dump in London on 18th March 1940.

After their acquittals, the Hewitt’s and Brigid O’Hara were deported from England and presumably went back to Belfast. The remains of James McCormick and Peter Barnes were moved from the grounds of Winson Green prison and re-interred in Ballyglass cemetery, Mullingar, Westmeath, Ireland in 1969. 15,000 people attended. Both men continue to be remembered by the Republican movement in Ireland with yearly parades and speeches at their graveside.

In Coventry, no memorial plaque or sculpture marks the spot where the bomb exploded killing five innocent people and devastating families across the city and further afield. There is not even an annual memorial service in any of Coventry’s churches. The excellent Police Museum in the basement of Little Park Street Police Station houses the remains of the bicycle and some of the evidence gathered after the explosion. With the kind permission of its curator, Tony Rose, I was able to photograph the remains of the bicycle in June 2010. The handlebars, front wheel and carrier basket are missing but remarkably, much of the rest of it is still intact. Some parts are dented, rusted, scratched and mangled but others bits are unscathed and look nearly new. When Mr Rose opened the cabinet I was hit by the smell of rubber and explosive. It was very sad gazing at this unwitting instrument of death and destruction and my thoughts turned to the victims and their families. I am very grateful to Mr Rose, who is an expert on the history of policing in Coventry, for sharing his knowledge of the incident with me and allowing me to take pictures. The image at the start of this article is copyright of the Coventry Police Museum and is not to be reproduced elsewhere – anyone doing so is liable to prosecution.

Thanks to the Luftwaffe and various town planners, Broadgate has changed almost beyond recognition from that fateful day. I believe the present day location of the explosion lies between the Lady Godiva statue and the entrance to the Cathedral Lanes shopping centre – see below for Rob Orland’s comparison of contemporary and modern maps. Next time you pass this spot spare a thought for John, Elsie, Gwilym, Rex and James. May they Rest in Peace.

* * * * *

Below is a 1937 map showing the spot where the bomb detonated.
Clicking on the map will reveal where it occurred on a modern-day aerial view (courtesy of Google Maps).



The Excuse


After having gained both Austria and Czechoslovakia,





was confident that he could again move east, this time acquiring Poland without having to fight Britain and France. (To eliminate the possibility of the Soviet Union fighting if Poland were attacked, Hitler made a pact with the Soviet Union – the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.)

So that Germany did not officially seem the aggressor (which it was), Hitler needed an excuse for entering/attacking Poland.

It was


Heinrich Himmler



who came up with the idea; thus the plan was code named Operation Himmler.

On the night of August 31, 1939,

Nazis took




an unknown prisoner from one of their concentration camps, dressed him in a Polish uniform, took him to


the town of Gleiwitz (on the border of Poland and Germany), and then shot him.

The staged scene with the dead prisoner dressed in a Polish uniform was supposed to appear as a Polish attack against a German radio station.

Hitler used the staged attack as the excuse to invade Poland.


The Excuse
After having gained both Austria and Czechoslovakia, Hitler was confident that he could again move east, this time acquiring Poland without having to fight Britain and France. (To eliminate the possibility of the Soviet Union fighting if Poland were attacked,

Hitler made a pact with the Soviet Union – the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.)
So that Germany did not officially seem the aggressor (which it was), Hitler needed an excuse for entering/attacking Poland. It was Heinrich Himmler who came up with the idea; thus the plan was code named Operation Himmler.

On the night of August 31, 1939,

Nazis took an unknown prisoner from one of their concentration camps,

dressed him in a Polish uniform, took him to the town of Gleiwitz (on the border of Poland and Germany), and then shot him.

The staged scene with the dead prisoner dressed in a Polish uniform was supposed to appear as a Polish attack against a German radio station.

Hitler used the staged attack as the excuse to invade Poland.

At 4:45 on the morning of September 1, 1939

(the morning following the staged attack),

to be continued

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Army Pg 31 Opener

Wooden Christmas Candle Holder


Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Christmas at front 1942
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Hitler celebrates Christmas
with soldiers
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
The Weihnachtsmann (Santa)
at the front 1944
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Christmas among the SA
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder (Item WEHR 31-1)
DESCRIPTION: This is beautiful, this is meaningful. This is a wooden candlestick holder carved from oak and it was used at the front lines of a German army position on the Western Front. The carving is exquisite with a garland of oak leaves and acorns carved on both sides. Also, there are beautifully carved words on the front: “Kriegs Weihnacht 1942.”  The German soldier for the greatest part was a Christian Protestant or Catholic and that is precisely why we are just as saddened by the deaths of these “Christian Soldiers.”  As we are about the boys from the Allied side who gave their lives for what? You can believe the stories that abound about what American and Britain were fighting for OR you can read Patrick Buchanan’s book “The Unnecessary War.” Again, don’t get me started, my perspectives about WWI and WWII are far from the orthodox view as promoted by “The Ministry of Truth” as Orwell would put it “Hail Big Brother.” I’m sorry but my input as a revisio.nist historian cannot be contained as I handle these meaningful relics of the turbulent times and the misinformation that we have been so “professionally spoon fed”Back to the candlestick…the measurements are 12″ x 5 ¼” and 2 ¼” inches thick. The translation of the words “War Christmas 1942″ with oak leaves to each side of the saying and a swastika in the middle. This wonderful piece of trench art or folk art stands today as a reminder that even in a horrible brother-against- brother fratricidal war, the spirit of Christmas, as the birthday of the “Prince of Peace,” was celebrated even by those terrible Germans that we read so much about in the yellow rag journals or on the TV and movies. In any case, this is one beautiful art piece. And should be preserved for posterity.  PRICE: $895.00

Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge (Item WEHR 31-2)
The Commander or Chief of the Army, General Oberst Frhr. Von Fritsch, authorized the institution of the army parachutists badge on 1st September 1937. Considering the fact that this award of this particular pattern badge was discontinued when control of the paratroop units reverted from the army to the Luftwaffe in 1939 it cannot be considered a war time award and definitely not an award to distinguish bravery in the field. It was simply a qualification badge awarded to all officers and men of the parachute units under the control of the army who met the necessary requirements there were however, certain requirements that must be met to qualify for the badge, for those parachutists who transferred
to Luftwaffe control from the army and remained on jump status, they were required to continue wearing the army parachutist’s badge rather than re-qualify for the newer Luftwaffe Parachutists badge. Because of its short time issue it is considered quite rare today. Please note that the rear talon on the diving eagle is spread rather than joined as depicted on many modern day copies. This particular piece is also rare in the fact that the entire badge is struck in 800 silver rather than the usual bronze indicating that it was a special private purchase also last but certainly not least the badge is “personalized” on the back of the wreath. There are the words Fallshirm Inf. Btl. Major Adolff. So, this turns out to be a real gem and deserving of a place in a good collection.  Note the picture of Knights cross. winner Hagi wearing an army parachutists badge while in his Luftwaffe uniform.PRICE: 1,890.00
Combat Book Knife


Combat Book Knife
Combat Book Knife
Combat Book Knife
Combat Book Knife
German Combat Soldier’s Boot Knife (Item WEHR 31-3 & WAF 11-10)
DESCRIPTION: Originally designed to clip over the edge at boot top.  This was a knife designed to lightly clip onto any part of the uniform (very handy) This particular style was used extensively by the Waffen SS but also the Army and some pilots of the Luftwaffe favored them as well.The blade has some old stains???/ But the entire knife is in very good condition and the clip is still very tight.  This one could probably tell some tales. regarding the stains ???PRICE: $695.00 – Reduced to $395.00!
Dutch Commemorative Plate
Dutch Commemorative Plate

Decorative Plate Commemorating the Military Mobilization of the Netherlands 1939 (Item WEHR 31-4)

DESCRIPTION: The plate doesn’t fit exactly into any of our categories, but it was so artistically beautiful, we just had to include it. After all, it is part of WWII history. It refers to the mobilization of the border troops of the area, Brabant-Limburg. It didn’t do them much good because the Wehrmacht easily rolled over them when the invasion of the lowlands began. But it was a pretty dish anyway. It has an interesting label under the glaze on the back — a company in Maastricht used the sphinx as their logo. Because the plate is more for export, it says, in English – “Made in Holland.” Nice.PRICE: $58.00 (We have two!)
Army Flack Badge
Army Flack Badge
Army Flack Badge (Heeres-Flakabzeichen) (Item WEHR 31-5)
DESCRIPTION: Authorization for the award of the army flack badge, following its institution on July 18 1941 by the OKH, came from Commanders holding the rank of General der artillerie and above. It was bestowed in a single class, dull grey, on an accumulated point basis with 16 points being the requisite, or could be awarded without reference to the number of points for an act of bravery or merit in the conduct of performing the anti-air craft mission. Any anti-aircraft battery credited with downing an enemy aircraft without support of other batteries was awarded four points but if other batteries assisted in the downing of the aircraft, only two points were awarded. Unlike the Luftwaffe flack badge, points could not be awarded for targets destroyed on the ground. The badge that we offer is in fine condition & is unmarked as to maker. 
PRICE: $350.00
Ukranian Carved Box


Ukranian Carved Box
Front of box
Ukranian Carved Box
Side view
Ukranian Carved Box
Back of box

Wonderful Russian Peasant Box Hand Made and Presented to a German Wehrmacht  Officer (Item WEHR 31-6 & RUSO 5-11)

DESCRIPTION: This is typical of the art of the Ukraine and is absolutely gorgeous. It was presented to an officer who commanded a company of Cossacks who were fervently anti-Bolshevik and served on the German side in World War Two from 1941 to 1945. This information came from the German family survivors to our agent and picker. The box is of wood and the flowers and symbols are hand set into the surface. A very tedious task and it shows much talent of the maker. Each portion of the decoration had to be individually cut out and then fitted with the inlay of various types of wood in many sections of placement. The design is very typical of the Ukraine with the sunflowers and star designs. The central theme is the “Deutsche Adler” or German National eagle design. Also professionally inlaid in wood above this eagle is a symbol of a barrel type design with five spears emitting from each side. This would take some research but it looks somewhat like the Cossack insignia worn on the collar tabs of their uniforms — this theory is at best vague but it is a possibility. The box measures 6″ x 8″ across and about 3 inches deep. The condition is great! And, it is very important historically and is just a beautiful artistic accomplishment. It is Russian peasant art from a people subjugated under the Bolshevic heel but still proud and noble. This is a token of the keen comradeship that developed between the German Wehrmacht soldiers of Liberation and Cossack brotherhood of the steppes.PRICE: $889.00
Army bread bag
Army bread bag


Grain Sack for the German Army (Item WEHR 31-7)
DESCRIPTION: This is one of the burlap sacks as used to carry such supplies as potatoes, beans, bread, etc.; they were used throughout the entire war. Under the eagle and swastika and above the date of 1949 you can see the initials H.VpFL “Heeres-Verpflegung” which stands for Army Supply Service. They might not be the prettiest German war relic but to the soldiers of the Wehrmacht, they were ultra important.  “ An Army travels on its stomach.” 
PRICE: $175.00
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword


Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
The brotherhood rides
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
At the ready!
Cossack Sword
General Helmuth von Pannwitz

Cossack Sword (Shashqua) For the Cossack Brotherhood Serving in the German Wehrmacht  (Item WEHR 31-8 & RUSO 5-12)

DESCRIPTION: This is the classic Cossack sword of the Steppes as used for centuries; however, this one has the Nazi eagle and swastika molded in the brass hilt. We remember when a large grouping of these were located in Europe and were purchased by a British dealer. The story was that the swords were produced by a firm that was located somewhere in the Caucasus and the small factory produced the swords for the Communist Cossacks with Hammer and Sickle but when the small staff thought that Germany and its Allies would win the Crusade against Bolshevism, they changed over and produced these swords with the National Socialist eagle to be sold to the officers of the Cossack legions that now were attached to the German Wehrmacht such as the divisions of Don Cossacks, tThe Brotherhood under the command of the brave and noble officer Helmuth Von Pannwitz. The Germans who were well aware of the Cossacks fighting ability and supreme valor and thanks to the efforts of Pannwitz a true Cossack army with all of its traditions became a Cossack Cavalry Corp. They were particularly effective in Yugoslavia where they fought against the filthy murderous partisans of the bloody demon Tito. It is believed that these swords were produced late in the war and the purpose was to make them an issue weapon to these fighters who had been forced from their lands by the advance of the Red Army, but hoped in their service to the German army to be given a new territory in Byelorussia when the Reds were finally defeated. In the meantime the members of the Crusade were settled nearly at the end of the war in an operational area for the Cossack Cavalry Corps in northern Italy. This may have been where the swords were to be sent.  But as dark Fate would have it, the Reds and their willing Allies, the US and Britain, triumphed against Europe and the horrible Fate of these brave men, women, and children ensued and they were turned over by the same ‘Allies’ to the Soviet authorities. Almost 50,000 of these poor souls were turned over, men, women, and children, who for the most part were horribly executed, while others were sent to Gulags or deported for force labor. No more noble, dedicated and wonderful people ever existed *(author’s opinion). The U.S. and England should live in eternal shame for bringing about “Operation Keelhaul.”  Read about it on Google.The sword is 100% original.  It is crude to some extent due to the shortage of certain materials necessary to the production at that late stage of the conflict but certainly it was produced to create an esprit de corps in the warrior ranks but also to be effective in usage. No scabbards were found. The theory was to why no scabbards on any of these swords is this — the swords were shipped to the Italian Cossack redoubt in cartons but the scabbards were to follow in another separate shipment but due to the fortunes of war were never shipped. The shop very probably was geography right in the way of the changing tides of action on the Eastern Front. Lets hope that if the Mongols took possession of the shop that they did not find one of these swords because if they did they would have been in absolute ecstasy while roasting alive the owner his wife, children and any employees. The sword is a large: 38 inches long, the grip is 5 ½ inches long, the grip is of wood. the blade is not marked. It shows much old rust — we know they were stored for many years in a barn, before being discovered they were exposed to the elements although packed in hay in loosely bound crates. But unlike the Cossacks who would have proudly carried them, they survived!  Someday they will reach their full value potential. But for now this is a bargain at…PRICE: SOLD

Small War Flag

Small War Flag (Reichskriegsfahne) (Item WEHR 31-9)

DESCRIPTION: Here is a great little military flag of the Wehrmacht. So often seen on German war ships of the Kriegsmarine but actually was the flag used by all branches including the army. This is an ideal size that collectors are continually seeking. The German measurements stamped on the edging are 60 x 90 mm and that is 31 x 24 inches. It has the full staff rope intact and has the word Reichskreigsfahne on the bunting edge. Absolutely perfect condition. This great looking flag of this size was usually for the “Schnellboot” or PT boat type vessel. Looking for the perfect den decoration or front door posting?  Here is the finest!  Just as nice as they ever come.PRICE: Consignment $650.00
6.450.25 a-12
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine


Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Helmet for size perspective

Gross Deutschland Soldier Model (Item WEHR 31-10)

DESCRIPTION: ACHTUNG! Collectors…Are you ready for this? Here is a resin statue of a Landser of the Grossdeutschland Division of the Deutschen Heers (Wehrmacht) in action against the enemy. At Germania we handle 99% vintage original items but when we attend the military shows now and then an item shows up that we simply cannot resist. This guy was one of those. The details, the great action, the authenticity, is remarkable to say the least, look closely at the pictures provided and you will see what we mean Spectacular!! In one of the pictures accompanying this article we pictured a helmet just to give a perspective of the size! This is a big figure 13 inches high including the base. The measurement does not go to the top of the grenade. (Breathtaking detail!)  An accurate depiction of a soldier of the German army’s elite division. This was the absolute “premier “Army group. They fought bravely against vastly superior odds on all fronts. You can read about them in several places by going into “Google.” Remember however that the victors write the history of the wars. Seldom are they completely truthful about the role of the vanquished! You will never see any model with the detail of this one. We are very proud to offer it to Germania’s customers.  PRICE: $198.00
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap


Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Inside of cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Top of cap with mothing
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Waffenruck uniform
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
German Army Medical Officers Tunic (Item WEHR 31-11)
DESCRIPTION: This beautiful tunic belonged to a Hauptmann-Captain (Sanitatsunteroffizier). The auguette suggests that he was also a medical assistant to what probably was a surgeon. Everything on the tunic suggested that it was tailor made — all the boullion crisp and untattered. All insignia including the shoulder boards and breast eagle and collar tabs are sharp and neat. The Caduseus symbol and pips are gold colored. It has a battle ribbon bar with four medals that show his military history.  He won the 2nd Class Iron Cross, theWar Service Cross, the Nazi Party Long Service Medal, the Army Long Service Medal, the Memel Land Medal and the Sudatenland Medal. This tunic is the early dress uniform “Wafffenrock” and this has to be the neatest yet most beautiful uniform in the world of militaria. So, here it is — right out of the past, and 100% original. This was one sharp looking Doctor when attired in beautiful tunic! We also have a Medical officers cap with the blue piping (shown) but while the tunic is in exemplary condition the cap is with moth damage mostly on the top the cap has that  wonderful jaunty look with the high lift to it that you all like to see in these caps.  It would be great featured with the tunic as you can see in our pictures.   PRICE: SOLD
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat


German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Note wear
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Note wear
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Major’s shoulder boards
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
The label (Note: Wehrmacht)
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Rommel in leather coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Hitler in leather coat
A Leather Greatcoat for German Army Officer (Item WEHR 31-12)
DESCRIPTION: This is what 75% of all WWII German collectors look for…a genuine German officer’s grey leather greatcoat. This is the ‘real McCoy’ German officers of higher rank could wear store bought leather coats that approximate this coat if it would be their choice, but this was the only official Wehrmacht model made by the firm of Max Schleusner of Dresden. You can see his label in the pictures attached. Note that he was a ‘Special’ leather workshop for Wehrmacht and Sport. This coat is beautiful in form and design but it is very worn. Some of the inner sleeves are worn to a frazzle and pocket edges are frayed rather badly. However, it will still look sharp and jaunty on a manikin or on you perhaps.  It was bought in one of our German field trips from the family of the man who wore it through many campaigns in the West and in Russia.  After the war he wore it (usually sans the shoulder boards) right up to the early 90’s until he passed away. He was a Major in the Heers Signal troops and was right up there in all the major action.  He had an extra set of shoulder boards stashed away in his wife’s keeping during the war. This was lucky because the ones he wore on the coat were taken from him by some GI when he surrendered. From time to time he openly wore the boards all around Munich after the war and was oftimes saluted by soldiers who served their country, and he was spat upon by cowards and lowlifes. His wife told us that a bunch of leftist goons who were really “the bottom of the barrel” tried to provoke him once near the Munich Hofbrau Haus. They held combs under their noses and gave Nazi salutes done in obvious hostile jest. Then one of them leaned over and ‘mooned him.’At that moment the old man quickly strode forward and shoved his foot ‘resoundingly’ practically up the buffoons ‘arshe’.  The other three were getting ready to come to the aid of the red baboon who was howling in pain when some of our hero’s friends both old and young came out of the Hoffbrauhaus and ran them off with dire threats about “life and limb.” This old Major was the “Heldenmann” (hero) of the hour and the beer flowed that evening.  So dear collector, here is the Coat of Champions. Note: pictures of some known and unknown Soldaten in our picture section wearing these Max Schleusner greatcoats. Yes, this “mantel” is a bit raggedy but authentic and no part of the traditional German uniform said it all like these handsome coats! PRICE: SOLD
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
A bit of artistic license
Replica German Schmeisser Mod MP-40.5 Sub Machine Gun (Non-Firing) (Item WEHR 31-13)
DESCRIPTION: Again we say we do not generally handle replicas, reproductions, etc, but now and then when we attend a military show something ‘neat’ will catch our eye. In this case it was this ‘Schmeisser” just the neatest piece of machinery ever to be used by German paratroopers and crack Waffen SS units in WWII. There have been other copies of this gun but the best ones were the ones that were made in limited numbers in the Orient and were imported into the US in the 1970’s. This model is a near perfect replica of the MP-40 and has the folding stock and a bolt action that actually functions like the real thing. It has a detachable clip and plastic or bakelite stock just like the real ones. It is assembled with over 70 precision parts, and has been approved by the U.S. Government as a non-gun but we sell it as a decorator model only, and we have only one! This great piece can be used in reenactments or display — it will look really great in any good WWII collection. Length 32.5, weight 7.5 pounds. We cannot by law ship this replica internationally nor to Mexico or Canada.  It cannot be shipped to CA., CT., KS, MA., MN., NY., or WI or Puerto Rico. The piece we have is from a collection that is established since 1965 and the replica was purchased in 1975 — again it is the oldest model and by far the best. It even has color stressing to look like it was carried in war. Good condition and functioning perfectly. We have seen other replicas of this gun but the quality does not approach this one.  PRICE: $695.00 (ONE ONLY!) A bargain for this one.
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue


Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
The artist
Bronze German Soldier Statue
The plaque
Bronze Soldier Statue
Ulanen on patrol
Bronze Soldier Statue
Ulan in early combat
Bronze Soldier Statue
Third Garde Ulanen Kaserne in Berlin
Bronze Soldier of the Reich (Item WEHR 31-14, WWI 12-2, ART 16-10, KSTATUE 5-6 )
DESCRIPTION: This marvelous statue measuring 13 ½ inches high with a base 4 ½ inches square (length and depth) personifies the strength and determination of the “Deutscher Soldat” from the time of the battle of the Teutoberg Forest up through the pages of history and into the 2nd World War. The slogan that might go with this wonderful sculpture could be “Die Ganze Welt Gegen Uns”! The whole world against us! Yes, Germany in the embodiment of the Heilege Vaterland was always to protect Europe against the constant incursions from the east against the Magyars, Huns ,Goths, and Visagoths and even the moribund Roman Empire. The land of Germania and its Teutonic Volk took on all comers. It was no different in the 2nd World War when Germany with a few allies stood against the Maelstrom in what was a German led crusade to destroy the beast of Bolshevism before all of Europe was disseminated by what President Reagan later called the Evil Empire. Tthis was truly “evil personified! “ And in this author’s perception, all the nations who joined in the fight to preserve communism and crush Germany were the acolytes of Stalin and Tito and obviously Satan*. (*Authors historic opinion.) The statue you see here tells of a saga that we have briefly touched upon in the forgoing narrative. As this Warrior stands naked before the world, the artist who sculpted him conveys in statuary the defeated yet proud and militant German soldier who wears the Stalhelm (steel helmet) and makes ready the sword of Siegfried known as Nothung for the next time the call of the besieged Fatherland is heard. We readily admit that all of this will only be understood and honored by Germanophiles, but we can envision all the deep meaning that this artistic masterpiece conveys. Nothing else that we have ever offered or seen offered comes up to the artistic expression and important significance of this prodigiously important piece. Its historical importance is magnificently conveyed. This statue which may actually be unique; it is a presentation piece to an officer who was “Beirat” (military advisor) to the Third Ulan battalion in Berlin. This wonderful gift was from the Kameradschaft (comrades) and presented to him for his true service to the Batt. From 1920 to 1940 this illustrious unit was the Third Guard Uhlan regiment and in WW 2 the Uhlans became armored divisions and covered themselves with glory in the early campaigns in Poland and the military engagements against France and Russia. The sculpture weighs about 14 pounds with the marble plinth and is in perfect condition with a gorgeous patina throughout. Deutschland Uber Alles !  PRICE: SOLD
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books

Album, Diary and a Published Book Concerning A Soldier of the Africa Corps FABULOUS! (Item WEHR 31-15 & AFRICA 1-13)

DESCRIPTION: Yes, fabulous and yet that may be an understatement. The diary and photo album were the property of Rolf Krengel Afrika Korps and the photo album is also from him. It is the saga of a brave and true soldier of the Reich. The diary is the actual original handwritten copy.  It starts with the beginning of the war and ends shortly after the Occupation. Serving primarily in North Africa, Krengel recounts with keen insight and now and then flashes of humor the day-to-day challenges of the Africa Corps in the desert battle and the lines are seldom clearly drawn. The narrative reveals an ad hoc campaign in which the average soldier never knew who had the upper hand. During one of the swirling battles in the desert, Krengel found himself sharing a tent with Field Marshal Rommel himself at a forward outpost. However, after the Battle of El Alamein, the cards of fate seemed clear. Evacuated back to Germany prior to the unfortunate collapse in Africa, Krengel continued to keep his journal during the last two years of the war, providing further insight into the final throes of the N.S. regime. He went on to become a successful economist and assisted the Allies with the Post-war Berlin airlift. Here is a first hand account found in the pages of this diary. Here are overviews, illustrations, and timelines with — get this! — a book published in 2009 written by Professor Don Gregory of the University of Alabama and Wilhelm Reinhard Gehlen who was born in Germany and was in the “Deutsches Jungvolk” the equivalent of the American Cub Scouts in Hitler’s Germany. After WWII ‘Willi’ joined the French Foreign Legion and served in Indo-China and North Africa. These two authors previously collaborated on Mr. Gehlen’s acclaimed memoir, “Jungvolk the Story of a Boy Defending Hitler’s Third Reich.”Now, here is the fabulous part. Not only do we have the actual Krengel Diary and photo album but what goes with it is the actual book that was published that gives the entire translation for the diary day by day, while Krengel was with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion. Then the 5th Light Division/21st Panzer Division German Africa Corps/Panzer Army Africa. A great and typical narrative of the Infantry soldier who fought bravely for Fuhrer and Fatherland. The book by Gregory and Gehlen is called Two Soldiers, Two Lost Fronts, subtitled German war diaries of the Stalingrad and North Africa campaigns.  Actually, it describes the service of both Rolf Krengel and another German soldier whose diary R. Gehlen decided to keep at this point. This other soldier must at this point be considered the “unknown” warrior as he as author of the diary did not see fit to include his name but if you read the account of his war experiences on the Eastern Front it is just as exciting as Krengel’s accounts. That soldier was a member of the 2nd Batt. 201st Panzer Regiment 23rd Panzer Corps Army Group A. We think this diary and album of R. Krengel is practically unique in that here you not only have the original documentation, but a book in English that is written by a learned professor and a battle experienced veteran of the Wehrmacht telling it as it was directly from the account of this A.K. soldier. We know of no other instance that something as personal and historically important as this group is being offered. The diary measures 8 x 5 inches and ½ inch thick. It contains page after page of hand written accounts by Krengel and even several drawings that he actually sketched.  One in particular is my favorite showing an artistic conception of the face of the British enemy as Krengel envisioned it. A familiar face to Scottish, Irish, American Revolutionists and others who faced the cruelty of the British Grenadiers.  I believe it was the Iron Duke (Wellington) who said of his soldiers at Waterloo “I don’t know if they frighten the enemy, but they scare the Hell out of me.” There are several photographs pasted on the pages as well.  The photo album measures about 12 x 9 and has about 134 photos in it.  Most of the photos are of Africa Corp Personal, aircraft officers, stage presentations at Command HQ, Artillery, Sport, and some neat photos of Krengel himself.  Many of the actual pictures in the album are copied into the book and explained therein.The book by Gregory and Gehlen is 262 pages long with many pictures of German and Italian Axis soldiers and officials. All the dates and summaries in the book match the dates of the entries in the diary.  What a combination! — diary, album, and new book that traces it all for the reader.  Please understand just how unique this truly is! The authors are to be highly commended for putting all of this together and the collector or archivist who decides to purchase this marvelous assemblage will be fortunate indeed. When it comes to provenance on articles of military history we are often asked what the provonance is. And our usual answer is that the inanimate objects cannot speak for themselves unfortunately. But here is the exception surely because this diary and album does in fact speak clearly and distinctly through the explanations and revelations of these two gifted writers in the present and the A.K. soldier Krengel speaks clearly and lucidly from the past. PRICE: SOLD
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car


Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
An Original Period Model of a German Troop Car (Iem WEHR 31-16)
DESCRIPTION: Leithtengelende Einheits Personen-Kraftwagen this was a light uniform all road car and was manufactured from 1940 by the Svgwer Company and also by BMW and Hano-Mag. The cars were all wheel drive and were produced with different style bodies. The model we have was the 4-man style with driver, gunner, officer and co-driver personell. The real autos were often used by the German Signal Corps as a radio car and also for forward reconnaissance. This is a period toy made in the 40’s. It is about 8 inches long with all metal wheels. To find one with all the soldiers there is seldom accomplished .Good condition overall.  The soldiers are probably produced by Elastolin. Very rare and historically important as well. PRICE: $750.00
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring


Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
An Odd WWII Wehrmacht Unit Ring (Item WEHR 31-17)
DESCRIPTION: We call this a Wehrmacht ring in lieu of not knowing if it is a ring of the Deutsche Heers, Luftwaffe, or Waffen SS. Somewhere in the far reaches of my mind, I remember seeing a depiction of man and rearing hose such as this back several years ago, but I do not remember what it was on; perhaps one of you collectors out there might help us to shed some light on it. Possibly you have read our narrative on our home page entitled “About Our Rings and Silver Insignia.” But if you have not, then I really suggest that you do so and then you will have an understanding of how all of these fabulous pieces of jewelry were obtained by us in Stuttgart, Germany. You will also be introduced to Herr Franz Schnell, the silversmith who produced many of these pieces and personally designed many of them himself in the 20’s through to the 40’s. He was a master of his trade. This ring is one of the items that we found in his huge grouping but his son could tell me nothing about it except that he knew his father designed rings for many of the units of the Wehrmacht. So for now, it is unidentified and we won’t price it until we have some idea of what the unit was that used it.PRICE: ??
Vorsicht Sign
Vorsicht! A Metal Sign of Warning (Item WEHR 31-18 & GEN 14-16)
DESCRIPTION: This is a warning to service personal and German citizens during WWII that they should be alerted to the danger of loose talk on telephones and other means of communication. The words Vorsicht Bei Gesprachen, Feind Hort Mit! This means: Caution with your conversation! The enemy is listening!  With such Freedom eroding laws & unconstitutional  measures imposed on Americans today with the ‘Patriot Act’ and ‘Homeland Security’ this sign has real meaning in 21st century America as well.  The sign is in heavy gage steel enameled over. It has four holes, one at each corner so it may be secured in place where it would be a reminder that loose lips are the friends of the enemy. The sign measures 8″ x 4″ and is in good shape with a little staining that will wash off.  We leave them as we get them! PRICE: SOLD
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWII German Army Rabbit Fur Cold Weather Hat (Item WEHR 31-19)
DESCRIPTION: This rabbit fur cap is the typical cold weather issue that was used by various Wehrmacht units. This one by the military police who often had to stand for hours directing military traffic and also performing the duties of the “Field Cop” and this necessitated the warmest of clothing especially in Russia each unit of the German Wehrmacht was issued these caps with the cloth parts closely matching the uniform of the particular recipient. This one was for the MP’s and it has the police eagle device sewn to the front face. Army and Luftwaffe personnel had the particular insignia of their branch affixed in the same way on the ones issued to them. The cap in is 100% perfect condition. It is marked inside with the numbers and letter R.B.Nr 0/1200 and under this 58-41. This is the size and date of issue. The fur is soft and completely intact. A very nice speciman of excellent German workmanship technique. This cap might be practical as well as a collectable considering the strange weather patterns as of late! PRICE: $450.00
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword


Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Back side
Army Officer Sword
Knuckle bow
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Nice blade!
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
The Army oath taken on sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Von Stein WW II German Army Sword (Item WEHR 31-20)
DESCRIPTION: This Von Stein pattern sword is an aluminum example, exhibiting rich gilding throughout its surfaces. In fact, the gilding work on this sword is nearly 100%. The Von Stein sword is one of the famed field marshal series and can be seen in the Angolia Book on page 79. It is named for the famed German marshal  of the Napoleonic wars, Freiherr von Stein. This example has a dove head style pommel with a flowing backstrap and side tabs which all portray raised-out oak leaves with acorns. The “P” guard also has an oak leaf acorn sprig design. The same is true of the ferrule. The cross guard area has a series of dot and dash markings and at the langet there is a Wehrmacht eagle. This bird is shown in relief and he has half-closed wings, looks to the viewer’s left and clutches a swastika.. The grip is the standard wood base having celluloid covering. The celluloid is in perfect condition having fine factory sheen. This grip is tightly wrapped with triple aluminum wire, the center being twisted. The lower portion of the sword guard is stamped, “Ges. Gesch.”, indicating that the Eickhorn firm had a patent pending on the design. The scabbard is nice and straight. The scabbard is without any bending or dented, but it has been very professionally re-painted in the exact hue that the original scabbard was finished in back in those early days in Solingen. The very fine blade is 33 inches in length. It has been quality nickel-plated and has a bright mirror finish. This blade is in near mint condition. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the 1935-41 seated squirrel logo. The original tan leather washer is in position. A fine looking and semi rare Von Stein example offered here.PRICE: $ 695.00
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Note the depth of carving
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
The mail out of Krosno
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Postschutz Officer dagger (note
the eagle configuration)

Carved Bread Plate from the Military Postal Police (Postshutz) in Krosno, Poland (Item WEHR 31-21 & BRE 1-6)

DESCRIPTION: This may be the finest German bread plate we have ever seen and we have seen many fine collections of them. This plate is expertly carved with the eagle of the German Military Postshutz eagle as its central design. The Postshutz (Postal Police) comprised about 4,500 members stationed all over Europe and they were tasked with the security of Germany’s Reichspost; they were not only responsible for security of the mail but other communications media such as telephone and telegraph systems. The plate was from the HQ of this organization in Poland. They were stationed there after the Polish attack on the German radio station at Gleiwitz, in 1939 — the event that after many Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland finally launched the German retaliation and began WWII. After that vicious attack units of the postal protection police were dispatched to several locations in Poland to prevent something like this happening again. One of these outposts was Krosno which is a medieval fortified town; a former royal “free town” in medieval Europe. The carved plate was probably a gift from Poles who not only cooperated with the German occupiers but actually sided with their mission of destroying Soviet Communism. There were many who thought this way. The contemporary orthodox history books do not mention this of course. The dish says along its edges “Deutsche Post Osten 1939-1942 Krosno.” It measures 11 inches in diameter and is in excellent condition. The carved Postshutz eagle rises in deep relief carving and is very dramatic. It is the eagle that you see in the middle of the grip of the rare Postshutz daggers. The piece is not only artistically great but is a really important historic relic of the turbulent time!PRICE: $750.00
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses


Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses

Cased Set of Snow Goggles for SS Mt. Troops (SS Geburgsjager) (Item WEHR 31-22)

DESCRIPTION: Here is something seldom found. It is a cased set of goggles used in winter combat by the SS Mountain Troopers of the SS Geburgsjager Division “Nord’ and this wording is engraved on the outside of the case. It also says Eigentum Der Waffen SS; this sentence means Property of the Waffen SS. In the middle is the runic symbol for this elite corps. The box measures 3×2 across the box top and 1 ½ inches deep. The goggles are with blackened lenses and black fabric head band. The Kampfgruppe Nord was formed from the 6th and 7th SS Totenkopf Standarten in 1941. In 1942 they became the SS Division Nord and in May of 1942 they became the SS Gebirgs Division Nord. They fought bravely as the SS DivisionNord against the Russians on the Kald Peninsula and in subsequent hard fought conflicts. They saw combat in the Finnish Front along with the brave Finns until the Finish Government made a Devil’s pact with the Soviets and then ordered all German Army and SS units to leave Finnish territory and in September 1944 the 6th SS Division Nord began its retreat across Finland to the West.  Later they participated in the Ardennes Offensive. After continuous fighting in this area, the Division retreated to the North where it was engaged once more with the advancing English and American enemy. In the vicinity of Worms, eventually after heroic action, they surrendered to the Americans. Usere Ehre Heist Treue! This was their clarion call and their sacred pledge right to the end.PRICE: $450.00
3-D Kampf in Westen Book


3-D Kampf in Westen Book
Distressed cover
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
Good inside – note glasses
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
The 3-D pictures
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
All great like this!
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
The color plates
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book

Der Kampf in Westen 3-D Book “Raumbilderbuch ” (Item WEHR 31-23)

DESCRIPTION: OK, collectors, here is one of the fabulous 3-D books that were produced by the firm of Heinrich Hoffman in Munich. The subtitle is “Die Soldaten Des Führers Im Felde” (The Soldiers of the Fuhrer in the Field). It was published early in the war in 1940. These Raumbilder books were all the rage back then and are very popular today when found. We have had several of them including some of the rare titles. The one most profusely produced in the Third Reich was this one because it celebrated the dazzling victory of the German Army in the West right up to the fall of France to the German Wehrmacht. The German people rejoiced in this and the purchase of these books that told the story in 3-D was more popular than “Leberwurst”! Who can blame them? These actions were the first steps in a war lamented by Hitler but necessary to stem the tide of British encroachment and the soon to come onslaught of the Russian Communists. The people were overjoyed at the success of their fighting soldiers. And the book shows the prowess, dash and daring of these soldaten at the front. Great scenes of the forward advances and early victories. Pictures of scroungy looking White and Negroid French prisoners, sharp German officers of the army, air force, etc. right up to the surrender of the French armed forces at Compiegne in the same railroad car that the Germans had to surrender to the French in 1918. This was the most glorious moment for the Führer, his army and the German people. But from 1943 it was all down-hill because the misguided Allies pushed on to utterly defeat Germany with its superior fire power and endless supplies that Germany did not have, thus the bulwark against the Eastern hordes of Bolshevism was destroyed and the West has been in danger ever since of losing also due to the influence of its traditional enemy and its most diabolical offshoot, communism.Enough of my history lesson. The book itself is a history lesson portrayed before you in three dimension just like you are standing there personally (Do I hear the music of twilight zone!) The stark realism cannot be compared to looking at pictures in a regular book as fine as they might be. Before Japan got into the art of special photography, Germany excelled in state of the art photographic innovation. Now that 3-D is so popular out of Hollywood, it really has nothing on this 1940’s Raumbilder process. We have another copy of this prodigiously book on our site at WEHR 10-5 on the Wehrmacht section. This one that we offer here is not nearly in as good condition as the one I just mentioned. The cover is quite tattered with the spine taped some time ago and it has rips at the edges and also tattering.  The spine was glued to hold at some time or another. But the pages are all there with the brilliant color plates.  It has all 80 pages, the viewer is in good shape and the cards are also. There should have been 100 cards but a dozen are missing. However, these books are so very rare today that this one will be considered extremely reasonable compared with what they bring in Germany today. It is still a great historical treasure if only for the pictures, so we offer it for the bargain price of…PRICE: $198.00  A real bargain, better grab it!
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister


Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Method of carry
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Worn about the neck
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
German WWII Gas Mask Container (Item WEHR 31-24)
DESCRIPTION: Here is a container for the gas mask issued in WW II to the German Army and Waffen SS personal. Poison gas was not used in WWII although the British and Americans longed to use it. It was the most horrible weapon other than the Allies atom bomb ever devised to be sent against soldiers in the field. It was used so frequently in WWI that it gave rise to the term “The Chemist’s War.” One notable poison gas victim of WW I was Adolf Hitler who was temporarily blinded while healing in a hospital in Wervik; as a result Hitler adamantly refused to authorize the use of poison gas on the battlefield in World War II. However, the High Command of the Wehrmacht did not trust the Allies with good reason and retrospect. So, German soldiers were issued gas masks in the event that the Allies would suddenly introduce this cruel and horrible type warfare. The only reason they didn’t was fear of retaliation in kind. Their genocidal bombing raids on Hamburg Koln, and especially Dresden, proved that their only regard for human life was to run up their score of kills on human targets and mostly civilian. So the soldiers of the Fatherland carried their gas masks right up to the end. But why do we find so many of the canisters empty of the gas mask. Because from 1940 on the soldiers were fairly sure that they would never encounter gas at the front. Their code of honor however was theirs alone in WWII and although it was extremely ‘chancy’ thousands of them threw away the mask and kept the canister as a handy ‘catch all’ for trinkets, goodies and yes, collectables! This one we offer has all the original straps and is in good condition throughout.PRICE: $175.00
War Service Cross
War Service Cross

War Service Cross with Issue Envelope (Kriegs Verdienstkreuz) (Item WEHR 31-26)

DESCRIPTION: This is the 2nd Class without swords (mint condition) with ribbon. Adolf Hitler directed that a decoration should be struck that would recognize service in the war effort that would fall short of the award of the Iron Cross. This medal was instituted on 18 Oct 1939 and even civilians could win this coveted award who performed outstanding service. The war merit cross was instituted with and without swords in a 1st and 2nd class. The class without swords was a non-combatant award but could be given for duties performed for the Fatherland exceeding the feats that would be given to military recipients who received the cross with swords. To find one with the issue envelope is rare.PRICE: $150.00
Faithful Service Cross
War Service Cross Without Swords (Kriegsverdienst Kreuz) (Item WEHR 31-27)
DESCRIPTION: Another like the one listed above but without issue envelope (condition mint!) but with some stain on the back portion of the medal.PRICE: $80.00
Konrad Leper Grouping


Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
The presentation cigarette case
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Medal assemblage with shoulder
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Promotion certificates
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
To Captain
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
To Major
Konrad Leper Grouping
To Oberstleutnant
Konrad Leper Grouping
Aryan birth paper
Konrad Leper Grouping
Letter while POW
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His sword from WWI seen in
this portrait
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His engraved initials
Konrad Leper Grouping
Wilhelm II cypher
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His WWII officer’s dagger
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His initials
Konrad Leper Grouping
Manufactured by Puma-Solingen
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Some misfortunes of war
Konrad Leper Grouping
Back side
Konrad Leper Grouping
Utterly Magnificent WWI & WWII Group Belonging to One Officer of the Deutsches Vaterland  (Item WEHR 31-28 & WWI 12-8)
DESCRIPTION: This has to rate as one of the absolute best groups we have ever offered at Germania International.  In a word, incredible.  The articles were the personal possessions of Herr Konrad Lepper who served in WWI and won the Iron Cross First and Second Class and was an adjutant, so we are told, in the unit I/417 and worked up the ranks to being an Oberstleutnant in 1942. The Second World War, he was in the Gebirgsjager Corps (Mountain Infantry) or at least that is indicated by the color of the underlay on his shoulder boards…light green Waffenfarbe. With the group there is a cigarette case that is crafted in 800 silver. It measures 3 ½” x 3″ and about ½ inch thick; it has the Hohenzollern eagle in its center and K.L for Konrad Lepper. The initials are on the left (K) and in the bottom right (L) on the inside of the case. It is presented to Lepper with the words that are hand engraved — Ihrem Lieben Adjutanten Lepper 2-M 14 5 1917. “To the Dear Adjutant Lepper’.  Then there are what looks to be five facsimile signatures of officers that  were presenting the case to Lepper. The only one at his point that we can make out clearly is Kluge — this could be the famed General Von Kluge of WWI and WWII fame. That might have been the officer that Leper was adjutant to.With the group are 10 medals in parade dress mount and his shoulder boards from his WWII rank -Oberstleutant 1st Colonel in the 15th Mountain Troop Battalion. His medals are mounted on a board that is similar to the funeral pillow that is used in display, these would be the awards won in the career of a soldier then deceased and this might well be the case here. We received them mounted like this when we purchased the group. Note the medals in our pictures and they are from the top on down:

  1. The Iron Cross First Class
  2. The ribbon bar contains the Iron Cross Second Class.
  3. The red enamel medal is the Hanseatic Cross given for bravery in combat.
  4. The cross of Honor WWI for a combatant
  5. Cross for Military Merit awarded by Austria (“Militar-Verdienstkreuz”)

On the Next medal grouping parade bar we find:

  1. WW II Kriegs Verdienst-Kreuz with swords for Combatants.
  2. The 4 year Faithful Service medal for the German army.
  3. The National Socialist Civil Service medal
  4. The War Service medal presented by the Weimar Republic to Veterans who served in the First World War
  5. (Separate) the war Merit Cross Kriegsverdienstkreuz with swords for combatants (in silver 1st Class)

On this board you can also see Lt. Col. Lepper’s WW II shoulder boards from the 1st Gebirgsjager Regiment. We would hazard a guess that Lepper may have been retired at the age of 52 in 1943 or 53 in 1944.  He was born May 14th, 1871.  We say this because of the Weimar Kyfhauser bund medal and the N.S. Faithful Service award; it indicated he may have been in the Civil Service even before the First World War. To continue we come to the most incredible part of the group and that is a beautifully rendered oil portrait of the Soldat Lepper in full uniform in the WWI era with his sword. This is a large painting 42” x 30”.  It is actually from the period 1914-1918 and it is in fine condition.  We had to remove the frame to send the painting home but believe me the frame was nothing we would treasure. It was a black painted common frame in chipped up condition and this magnificent oil deserves a better framing job in any case.  We leave that to the buyer.  The painting is unsigned but is obviously the work of a truly professional artist; very life-like portrait of a real career officer, Germany’s finest.

Also fantastic is that we have the actual Mod 1889 Infantry officers sword that you see in the picture with Lepper’s initials K.L. engraved in the pommel section.  The sword is in all around great condition  The wire wrapping is tight, the brass is all still with 90% of its original gilted patina.  The scabbard shows use but no abuse.  The blade is plain steel.  Unsigned, with double blood gutters. The royal Prussian crest are perfect as is the eagle on the brass foldable guard   The sword in its scabbard is 36 inches long. Herr Lepper was a proud German soldier so it is not so unusual to find their initials or names on the swords.  Usually it is the career men who are “button busting proud” of their army, their nation and their family who would have this done. To continue, we have Lepper’s Wehrmacht officers model ‘Heersdolch’or (army dress dagger) with original portepee (knot) and hanger. The dagger was manufactured by the famous Solingen Firm of Puma. The cross guard on the back incredibly has his initials once again (K.L.) done in classic Germanic letters that exactly match the personalization on the sword. This dagger is in average to very good condition.  The blade is bright but could have at one time broken at the tip. But if so it has been expertly repaired even if shortened by a ¼ inch or so.  The grip may have had a chip near the cross guard but that also was excellently repaired. The scabbard shows some plating loss here and there but we think Lepper was no armchair officer; he was probably busy most of the time and wearing the weapon all the time as an adjutant.  The supplied hangers show use but are still good and serviceable (and highly collectable); all in all a very nice specimen of the official dress dagger of the German Army.

Next, and this is incredible, the original three promotions that Lepper earned through his long military career. This starts with:

  1. The promotion document promoting him from a Hauptmann (Captain) in the infantry regiment 15 who has served form Dec. 1938 as a captain in the reserve to a captain in the regular army in the field for 1939 and it is hand signed by the Supreme Commander of the army, General Oberst Franz Halder.
  2. The official document promoting him from Hauptmann (Captain) to Major on the 1st of April 1940. It says — “I issue this promotion document and expect that the above Konrad Lepper to be true to his oath of service and he will execute his duty and the trust in him that is given to him with this promotion at the same time he can be assured of my special protection.”  Fuhrers headquarters facsimile signed by Adolf Hitler in autopen on the 20th April 1940. This was Hitler’s birthday.  Under this is in large letters “Der Fuhrer Adolf Hitler”.  Under this is the handwritten signature of General Walther Von Brautisch who in 1940 was also promoted .He was elevated from General to Field Marshal
  3. The original document promoting Lepper from Major to Oberstleutant.  (Lieutenant Colonel) The wording in this document is much the same as on the document preceding at (B) this one is signed by Wilhelm Keitel Supreme commander of the Army. It is dated and signed 8 April 1942 but is retroactive from April 1st 1942.  This one like the others has the facsimile Adolf Hitler signature. All three documents are in their original folders with the beautiful and noble Reichsadler eagle on the covers embossed in gold. The actual documents are on parchment stock paper and have the highly embossed official seal of the Reich (An eagle on a wreath of oak leaves). All of these documents are in marvelous condition and like all of the other Leper items were kept in a special state of preservation.

Next: When an officer reaches the high rank of Oberstleutenant the official Wehrmacht inspection always came to pass. And this was similar to the Party Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt “Race and Resettlement Office.” They wanted to know if the officer was of pure Germanic descent according to paragraph (1.) The law of Aryan descent. This was under the Reichsgesetzblat-filing system 1063 it says “We hereby certify that Oberleutnant Konrad Lepper who was born 14/5/91 is of German descent as is his wife Martha who was born Hupfeld Nov 1st 1893 and as far back as her grandparents is also Aryan Approved by inspection of official records here in Oct 1935.  This was signed in Kasssel the 22nd of December 1942.  It has the stamp of the inspection office and is signed by a captain and adjutant. This file paper is 8 x 6 inches in size.  

Last but not least is an envelope minus the letter — 5 ½” x 4″ addressed to Oberstleutnant Lt. Lepper # 316-2 509 083 U.S. Army POW 1 B France and dated 29 May 1946. It says to the side (German) and at the top Prisoner of War post. On the back it says Lepper Bringhausen UB Wildungen 16 Germany.   We believe this was a letter from his father or mother but could be from his brother or sister while he was a prisoner of war in France but at a US prisoner facility.

So here we have one of the most complete groupings of the personal articles ever offered — absolutely stupendous! How and why they were ever released and sold by the family is unknown to us.  Perhaps it is because of the slander and debasement of Germany’s soldiers taught in the post-war German schools and in fact even in the media today in the Orwellian world we now seem to have reached.  Or perhaps most of the Lepper family is gone leaving behind a few of the ‘new’ Germans who have adopted the “Coca-Cola and gum chewing culture”. These types would sell their history and heritage in a snap! It means nothing to them. If they would be asked if they knew the difference between ignorance and apathy their answer would likely be “I don’t know and I don’t care!” Think about that one.  To us this collection is truly a Germanophiles dream and a tribute to a brave soldier of the Reich. May he rest in glory!  Alles für Deutschland!

Dr Iwan CD-ROM”The Euro World War II In April 1945″

this is the sample  of Dr Iwan E-Book In Cd-Rom limited edition without illustrations, the complete info with illustrations and editing exist but only for Premiuum member,please subcribed via comment


The Euro world War II

In April 1945

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Private Limited E-book In CD-Rom edition

Special for Senior Collectors Copyright@2012

April 45





Today German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Japanese Emporer Hirohito, Russian Kommisar Joeseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gathered in Berne Switzerland and agreed to call off World War Two. Sources close the the conferance speculate that an unannounced release of Oleg Maddox’s 4.0 Patch for Forgotten Battles/Aces Expansion Pack/Pacific Fighters was the primary reason for the unexpected turn of events in world history. In a post meeting press conference all participants claimed that the new patch made their counties respective aircraft superior to all others. Each was quoted as saying “I p’owned them all!”

More as the story develops.


1945 (Apr) cover and letter from ‘Pte HJ Pavey, RASC HQ, Force 135, APO England’ with d/r. FPO 836 p/m. and shield censor 10444 h/s. ‘Force 135′ located at Plymouth to liberate Jersey, Channel Islands May 1945.



Soviet soldiers engaged in bitter street fighting to finish off the remnants of the German resistance in Vienna. April 1945




In Italy…

 British Guards and Commando units attack over the River Reno between Lake Comachio and the sea


1945 Air Mail cover from CHILE to ‘Sub Lieutenant Alastair Heffer, Volunteer Santiago de Chile, River Plate House, London’ [Undercover address – South American Volunteers with British Forces] and redirected to ‘LCI (L) 285, c/o GPO London’ with “Ship” in mss. [Landing Craft Infantry (Large)] Also PC 90 OBE 2585 label. Roughly opened




On the Western Front…

The British 2nd Army continues its advance north of the Ruhr River. Munster is taken. The Canadian 1st Army also begins to move north and east from between Nijmegen and Emmerich.

On the Eastern Front… In southeast Hungary, Magykanizsa falls to the Soviet advance while in Slovakia, Kremnica is captured.

2: Soviets launch Vienna Offensive against German forces in and around the Austrian capital city.


: German armies are surrounded in the Ruhr region.



On the Eastern Front…

In Austria,

the Soviet forces take

Wiener Neustadt. Almost all of Hungary is now clear of Axis troops while in Czechoslovakia


Bratislava is besieged

Postally used Cover from Bratislav in 1945


On the Eastern Front…

Bratislava falls to troops of the Soviet 2nd Ukrainian Front.

On the Western Front…

British and Canadian units take



and move on


US 9th Army units have reached the river Weser opposite Hameln. Troops from US 3rd Army capture Kassel while other units take Gotha and advance near Erfurt. French units take Karlsruhe. The Nazi gold reserves are captured in the salt mine at Merkers


In Algiers… Free French leader, Charles de Gaulle, announces changes to the Committee of National Liberation. Two communists are appointed and de Gaulle is made head of the armed forces. General Giraud is being sidelined.

In Egypt… A Greek brigade mutinies under the leadership of Communists. British troops blockade the camp until April 24th. The Greeks kill 1 British officer.

In Occupied France… Members of the French resistance halt production at the Bronzavia aircraft components plant near Paris.

Over Romania… The Bucharest marshalling yards are bombed by heavily escorted bombers of the US 15th Air Force. A total of 20 aircraft are lost. Civilian casualties are reported to amount to 2942 killed and 2126 injured.

‘Unconscious humour’,

4 April 1945.


Photograph by Sergeant Travis, Army Film and Photographic Unit, World War Two, North West Europe, 1945.

Sergeant J. D. Eilbeck writes ‘No Way Out’ on a portrait of Adolf Hitler in order to provide a ‘no exit’ sign at 156th Brigade Headquarters. When this photograph was taken the brigade, part of 52nd (Lowland) Division, had just crossed the Rhine (24 March 1945) and was pushing on towards Bremen in the face of bitter German resistance.

From a collection of 23 official photographs

4: Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is overrun by advancing Soviet forces. The remaining members of Prime Minister Jozef Tiso‘s pro-German government fled to Austria.

4: Ohrdruf death camp is liberated by the Allies.


: Po Valley Campaign begins in northern Italy.


Ohrdruf sub-camp of Buchenwald


Colonel Hayden Sears poses with Ohrdruf survivors, April 8, 1945 

On April 4, 1945, American soldiers of the 4th Armored Division of General Patton’s US Third Army were moving through the area south of the city of Gotha in search of a secret Nazi communications center when they unexpectedly came across the ghastly scene of the abandoned Ohrdruf forced labor camp.

A few soldiers in the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division of the US Third Army reached the abandoned camp that same day, after being alerted by prisoners who had escaped from the march out of the camp, which had started on April 2nd. Prior to that, in September 1944, US troops had witnessed their first concentration camp: the abandoned Natzweiler camp in Alsace, which was then a part of the Greater German Reich, but is now in France.

Ohrdruf, also known as Ohrdruf-Nord, was the first Nazi prison camp to be discovered while it still had inmates living inside of it, although 9,000 prisoners had already been evacuated from Ohrdruf on April 2nd and marched 32 miles to the main camp at Buchenwald. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the camp had a population of 11,700 prisoners in late March, 1945 before the evacuation began.

The photograph at the top of this page, taken at Ohrdruf on April 8, 1945, shows survivors who had escaped during the evacuation of the camp, but came back after the American liberators arrived.

One of the American liberators who saw the Ohrdruf camp on April 4, 1945 was Bruce Nickols. He was on a patrol as a member of the I & R platoon attached to the Headquarters company of the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division, Third US Army. According to Nickols, there were survivors in the barracks who had hidden when the SS massacred 60 to 70 prisoners on the roll call square before they left the camp on April 2nd. The body of a dead SS soldier lay at the entrance to the camp, according to Nickols.


Dead prisoners at Ohrdruf forced labor camp 

In the photo above, the prisoners have been partially covered by blankets because their pants had been pulled down, an indication that these men might have been killed by their fellow prisoners after the Germens left. The first Americans on the scene said that the blood was still wet. The liberators all agreed that these prisoners had been shot, although some witnesses said that they had been shot in the neck, while others said that they had been mowed down by machine gun fire.

The American soldiers were told by Ohrdruf survivors that these prisoners had been shot by the SS on April 2nd because they had run out of trucks for transporting sick prisoners out of the camp, but there were sick prisoners still inside the barracks when the Americans arrived.

Among the soldiers who helped to liberate Ohrdruf was Charles T. Payne, who is Senator Barak Obama’s great uncle, the brother of his maternal grandmother. Charles T. Payne was a member of Company K, 355th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division.

According to an Associated Press story, published on June 4, 2009, Charles T. Payne’s unit arrived at the Ohrdruf camp on April 6, 1945.

The following is an excerpt from the Associated Press story:

“I remember the whole area before you got to the camp, the town and around the camp, was full of people who had been inmates,” Payne, 84, said in a telephone interview from his home in Chicago.

“The people were in terrible shape, dressed in rags, most of them emaciated, the effects of starvation. Practically skin and bones.”

When Payne’s unit arrived, the gates to the camp were open, the Nazis already gone.

“In the gate, in the very middle of the gate on the ground was a dead man whose head had been beaten in with a metal bar,” Payne recalled. The body was of a prisoner who had served as a guard under the Germans and been killed by other inmates that morning.

“A short distance inside the front gate was a place where almost a circle of people had been … killed and were lying on the ground, holding their tin cups, as if they had been expecting food and were instead killed,” he said. “You could see where the machine gun had been set up behind some bushes, but the Germans were all gone by that time.”

He said he only moved some 200-300 feet (60-100 meters) inside of the camp. But that was enough to capture images so horrible that Gen. George S. Patton Jr. ordered townspeople into Ohrdruf to see for themselves the crimes committed by their countrymen – an order that would repeated at Buchenwald, Dachau and other camps liberated by U.S. soldiers.

“In some sheds were stacks of bodies, stripped extremely – most of them looked like they had starved to death. They had sprinkled lime over them to keep the smell down and stacked them several high and the length of the room,” Payne said.

On April 11, 1945, just a week after the discovery of the Ohrdruf camp, American soldiers liberated the infamous Buchenwald main camp, which was to become synonymous with Nazi barbarity for a whole generation of Americans. Buchenwald is located 5 miles north of the city of Weimar, which is 20 miles to the east of Gotha, where General Dwight D. Eisenhower had set up his headquarters.

The Ohrdruf forced labor camp was a sub-camp of the huge Buchenwald camp. Ohrdruf had been opened in November 1944 when prisoners were brought from Buchenwald to work on the construction of a vast underground bunker to house a new Führer headquarters for Hitler and his henchmen. This location was in the vicinity of a secret Nazi communications center and it was also near an underground salt mine where the Nazis had stored their treasures.

A. C. Boyd was one of the soldiers in the 89th Infantry Division who witnessed the Ohrdruf “death camp.” In a recent news article, written by Jimmy Smothers, Boyd mentioned that he saw bodies of prisoners who had been gassed at Ohrdruf.

The following quote is from the news article in The Gadsden Times:

On April 7, 1945, the 89th Infantry Division received orders to move into the German town of Ohrdruf, which surrendered as the Americans arrived. A mile or so past this quaint village lay Stalag Nord Ohrdruf.


When regiments of the 89th Division got to the camp, the gates were open and the guards apparently all had gone, but the doors to the wooden barracks were closed. Lying on the ground in front were bodies of prisoners who recently had been shot.

“When I went into the camp I just happened to open the door to a small room,” recalled Boyd. “Inside, the Germans had stacked bodies very high. They had dumped some lime over them, hoping it would dissolve the bodies.


“I still have vivid memories of what I saw, but I try not to dwell on it,” Boyd continued. “We had been warned about what we might find, but actually seeing it was horrible. There were so many dead, and some so starved all they could do was gape open their mouths, feebly move their arms and murmur.

“There were ditches dug out in the compound and we could see torsos, lots of arms, severed legs, etc., sticking out. Many had been beaten to death, and bodies were still in the ‘beating shed’. Many had been led to the ‘showers,’ where they were pushed in, the doors locked and then gassed.”

One of the survivors of Ohrdruf was Rabbi Murray Kohn, who was then 16 years old. He was marched from Ohrdruf on April 2nd to the main camp at Buchenwald and then evacuated by train to Theresienstadt in what is now the Czech Republic.

The following quote is from a speech that Rabbi Kohn made on April 23, 1995 at Wichita, Kansas, at a gathering of the soldiers of the 89th Division for the 50ieth anniversary of the liberation of the camps:

It has been recorded that in Ohrdruf itself the last days were a slaughterhouse. We were shot at, beaten and molested. At every turn went on the destruction of the remaining inmates. Indiscriminant criminal behavior (like the murderers of Oklahoma City some days ago). Some days before the first Americans appeared at the gates of Ohrdruf, the last retreating Nazi guards managed to execute with hand pistols, literally emptying their last bullets on whomever they encountered leaving them bleeding to death as testified by an American of the 37th Tank Battalion Medical section, 10 a.m. April 4, 1945.

Today I’m privileged thanks to God and you gallant fighting men. I’m here to reminisce, and reflect, and experience instant recollections of those moments. Those horrible scenes and that special instance when an Allied soldier outstretched his arm to help me up became my re-entrance, my being re-invited into humanity and restoring my inalienable right to a dignified existence as a human being and as a Jew. Something, which was denied me from September 1939 to the day of liberation in 1945. I had no right to live and survived, out of 80 members of my family, the infernal ordeal of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Ohrdruf, and its satellite camp Crawinkel and finally Theresienstadt Ghetto-Concentration Camp.

I must tell you something about Crawinkel, just outside Ohrdruf. It was recently discovered after the reunification of east and West Germany that in nearby Crawinkel, the Nazis were preparing the Führerbunker, the final headquarters of Hitler from where he planned to strike a deal with the Americans to join in fighting the Red Army. We worked around the clock, the project was known as the Olga Project. We were excavating inside the hills a bunker. Ten thousand people died there and it was completed with rivers of blood right down to the cutlery to embellish Hitler’s table.

When in Auschwitz my eyes witnessed the gassed transports of Jews at the Birkenau Crematories. My own eyes have witnessed Buchenwald terror and planned starvation. My body was decimated, starved and thrashed to the point of no return in Ohrdruf for stealing a piece of a potato, and my flickering life was daily, and hourly on the brink of being snuffed out from starvation or being clubbed for no reason or literally being pushed off a steep cliff over a yawning ravine at Crawinkel.


The war was intrinsically a war against the shallowness of a civilization which had evidently so little moral depth, a nation which can acquiesce in such a short time to the demagoguery of a “corporal” and accept the manifesto of racial superiority, entitled to destroy their supposed inferior enemies, as a moral right. World War II was by far not a testing ground of arms or strategic skills and sophistication, but A MORAL WAR, which declared that human rights, freedom and the equality of all men and women are the highest divine commandment, the supreme commandment to deny the Nazi racists and their cohorts any victory. My friends, many of your comrades (a half million Americans lost their lives to declare eternal war against inhumanity). Six million innocent Jews, five million Christians and some 27 million plus, lost their lives to secure finally that humanity is never to rest until crimes against humans have been eradicated.

The American military knew about the Nazi forced labor camps and concentration camps because Allied planes had done aerial photographs of numerous factories near the camps in both Germany and Poland, and many of these camps, including Buchenwald, had been bombed, killing thousands of innocent prisoners. In fact, General George S. Patton bragged in his autobiography about the precision bombing of a munitions factory near the Buchenwald concentration camp on August 24, 1944 which he erroneously claimed had not damaged the nearby camp. Not only was the camp hit by the bombs, there were 400 prisoners who were killed, along with 350 Germans.

On Easter weekend in April 1945, the 90th Infantry Division overran the little town of Merkers, which was near the Ohrdruf camp, and captured the Kaiseroda salt mine.

Hidden deep inside the salt mine was virtually the entire gold and currency reserves of the German Reichsbank, together with all of the priceless art treasures which had been removed from Berlin’s museums for protection against Allied bombing raids and possible capture by the Allied armies. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum web site, the soldiers also found important documents that were introduced at the Nuremberg IMT as evidence of the Holocaust.

All of America’s top military leaders in Europe, including Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton, visited the mine and viewed the treasure.

The photo below shows General Dwight D. Eisenhower as he examines some paintings stored inside the Kaiseroda salt mine, which he visited on April 12, 1945, along with General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton, and other high-ranking American Army officers before going to see the Ohrdruf camp. The Nazis had hidden valuable paintings and 250 million dollars worth of gold bars inside the salt mine.


General Eisenhower on visit to salt mine near Ohrdruf 


General Dwight D. Eisenhower examines Nazi treasure in salt mine 

The soldier on the far left is Benjamin B. Ferencz. In the center is General Eisenhower and behind him, wearing a helmet with four stars is General Omar Bradley. In 1945, Ferencz was transferred from General Patton’s army to the newly created War Crimes Branch of the U.S. Army, where his job was to gather evidence for future trials of German war criminals. A Jew from Transylvania, Ferencz had moved with his family to America at the age of 10 months.

General Patton, left, and General Bradley, center, at Ohrdruf, 12 April 1945 

On the same day that the Generals visited the salt mine, they made a side trip to the Ohrdruf forced labor camp after lunch. The photo above was taken at Ohrdruf. Except for General Patton, who visited Buchenwald on April 15, 1945, none of the top American Army Generals ever visited another forced labor camp, nor any of the concentration camps.

One of the first Americans to see Ohrdruf, a few days before the Generals arrived, was Captain Alois Liethen from Appleton, WI. Liethen was an interpreter and an interrogator in the XX Corp, G-2 Section of the US Third Army. On 13 April 1945, he wrote a letter home to his family about this important discovery at Ohrdruf. Although Buchenwald was more important and had more evidence of Nazi atrocities, it was due to the information uncovered by Captain Liethen that the generals visited Ohrdruf instead.

The following is a quote from his letter in which Captain Alois Liethen explains how the visit by the generals, shown in the photo above, came about:

Several days ago I heard about the American forces taking a real honest to goodness concentration camp and I made it a point to get there and see the thing first hand as well as to investigate the thing and get the real story just as I did in the case of the Prisoner of War camp which I described in my last letter. This camp was near the little city of OHRDRUF not far from GOTHA, and tho it was just a small place — about 7 to 10000 inmates it was considered as one of the better types of such camps. After looking the place over for nearly a whole day I came back and made an oral report to my commanding general — rather I was ordered to do so by my boss, the Col. in my section. Then after I had told him all about the place he got in touch with the High Command and told them about it and the following tale bears out what they did about it.

The photograph below was contributed by Mary Liethen Meier, the niece of Captain Liethen. The man standing next to General Eisenhower, and pointing to the prisoner demonstrating how the inmates were punished at Ohrdruf, is Alois Liethen, her uncle. Left to right, the men in the front row are Lt. General George S. Patton, Third U.S. Army Commander; General Omar N. Bradley, Twelfth Army group commander; and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander. This photo was published in an American newspaper above a headline which read: U.S. GENERALS SEE A “TORTURE” DEMONSTRATION


Generals watch a demonstration of the whipping block 

In the photo above, an ordinary wooden table is being used to demonstrate punishment on a whipping block. By order of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, whipping prisoners on a wooden block was discontinued in 1942, so no whipping block was found at Ohrdruf.

The first photo below shows another demonstration at Ohrdruf on a reconstructed wooden whipping block. The second photo below shows the whipping block that was found at Natzweiler by American troops in September 1944.


Ohrdruf survivors demonstrate the whipping block for the Americans 

Whipping block used at Natzweiler 

All punishments in the concentration camps had to be approved by the head office in Oranienburg where Rudolf Hoess became a member of the staff after he was removed as the Commandant of Auschwitz at the end of December 1943. According to the testimony of Rudolf Hoess on April 15, 1946 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, this punishment was rarely used and it was discontinued in 1942 because Heinrich Himmler, the head of the concentration camp system, had forbidden the SS guards to strike the prisoners. Some of the prisoners at Ohrdruf, who had previously been at the Buchenwald main camp for a number of years, were familiar with this punishment device and were able to reconstruct it.

Captain Liethen’s letter, dated 13 April 1945, continues as follows:

Yesterday I had the honor of being the interpreter for such honorable gentlemen as Gen EISENHOWER, Gen BRADLEY, Gen PATTON and several lesser general officers, all in all there were 21 stars present, Eisenhower with 5, Bradley with 4, Patton 3, my own commanding general with 2 and there were several others of this grade as well as several one star generals. Since I had made the investigation with some of the men who had escaped from the place the day that we captured it I was more or less the conductor of the tour for this famous party. There were batteries of cameras that took pictures of us as we went about the whole place and as I made several demonstrations for them — hell I felt like Garbo getting of (sic) a train in Chicago.

Now about this concentration camp. It was evacuated by the germans when things got too hot for them, this was on the night of April 2. All the healthy ones were marched away in the night, and those who were sick were loaded into trucks and wagons, and then when there was no more transportation available the remainder — about 35 were shot as they lay here waiting for something to come to take them away. Too, in another building there were about 40 dead ones which they did not have the time to bury in their hasty departure.

One of the survivors of Ohrdruf was Andrew Rosner, a Jewish prisoner who had escaped from the march out of the camp and was rescued by soldiers of the 89th Division in the town of Ohrdruf.

The following is a quote from Andrew Rosner on the occasion of a 50ieth anniversary celebration of the liberation of the camp, held on 23 April 1995 at Wichita, Kansas:

At the age of 23, I was barely alive as we began the death march eastward. All around me, I heard the sound of thunder – really the sound of heavy artillery and machinery. I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell, I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there — waiting — and waiting — and suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting orders. No more marching feet. No more people. Alone. All alone and alive — although barely.

I moved farther into the woods when I realized I was not really left behind. I slept for awhile as the darkness of night shielded me from the eyes of men. But, as the light of dawn broke, I heard shooting all around me. I played dead as men ran over me, stumbling over me as they went. I lay there as bullets passed by me and Nazis fell all around me. Then all was quiet. The battle was over. I waited for hours before I dared to move. I got up and saw dead German soldiers laying everywhere. I made my way back toward the road and started walking in the direction of a small village, which I could see in the distance. As I approached the village two Germans appeared. One raised his gun toward me and asked what I was doing there. I told him I was lost from the evacuation march. He told me that I must have escaped and I knew he was about to shoot me when the other German told him to let me be. It would not serve them well to harm me now. They allowed me to walk away and as I did, I said a final prayer knowing that a bullet in the back would now find me for sure. It never did!

In the small village I was told to go farther down the road to the town of Ohrdruf from where I had come three days before. There, I would find the Americans. And so I did.

As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers met me and escorted me into town. I was immediately surrounded by Americans and as their officers questioned where I had been and what had happened to me, GIs were showering me with food and chocolate and other treats that I had not known for almost five years.

You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear any longer and I collapsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

When the generals and their entourage toured the Ohrdruf-Nord camp on April 12th, the dead bodies on the roll-call square had been left outside to decompose in the sun and the rain for more than a week. The stench of the rotting corpses had now reached the point that General Patton, a battle-hardened veteran of 40 years of warfare, the leader of the American Third Army which had won the bloody Battle of the Bulge, and an experienced soldier who had seen the atrocities of two World Wars, threw up his lunch behind one of the barracks.

The photo below shows the naked bodies of prisoners in a shed at Ohrdruf where their bodies had been layered with lime to keep down the smell.


Corpses sprinkled with lime in shed at Ohrdruf-Nord camp 

General Eisenhower was not as easily sickened by the smell of the dead bodies. Although he didn’t mention the name Ohrdruf in his book entitled “Crusade in Europe,” Eisenhower wrote the following about the Ohrdruf camp:

I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that ‘the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.’ Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through with the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.

General Patton wrote in his memoirs that he learned from the surviving inmates that 3,000 prisoners had died in the camp since January 1, 1945. A few dozen bodies on a pyre, constructed out of railroad tracks, had recently been burned and their gruesome remains were still on display. According to General Patton, the bodies had been buried, but were later dug up and burned because “the Germans thought it expedient to remove the evidence of their crimes.” But after all that effort to cover up their crimes, the SS guards had allegedly shot sick prisoners when they ran short of transportation to move them out of the camp, and had left the bodies as evidence.

The first news reel film about alleged German war-time atrocities, that was shown in American movie theaters, referred to the Ohrdruf labor camp as a “murder mill.” Burned corpses were shown as the narrator of the film asked rhetorically “How many were burned alive?” The narrator described “the murder shed” at Ohrdruf where prisoners were “slain in cold blood.” Lest anyone should be inclined to assume that this news reel was sheer propaganda, the narrator prophetically intoned: “For the first time, America can believe what they thought was impossible propaganda. This is documentary evidence of sheer mass murder – murder that will blacken the name of Germany for the rest of recorded history.”

The documentary film about all the camps, directed by famed Hollywood director George Stevens, which was shown on November 29, 1945 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, claimed that the Germans “starved, clubbed, and burned to death more than 4,000 political prisoners over a period of 8 months” at Ohrdruf-Nord. These atrocities allegedly took place while the Nazis were desperately trying to finish building a secret underground hideout for Hitler who was holed up in Berlin.


Ohrdruf-Nord survivor shows shallow grave to Generals 

In the photo above, the soldier on the far right, holding a notepad in his hand, is Benjamin B. Ferencz, who was at Ohrdruf to gather evidence of Nazi atrocities for future war crimes trials.

Five years after seeing the Ohrdruf camp, General Bradley recalled that “The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade. More than 3,200 naked, emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. Lice crawled over the yellowed skin of their sharp, bony frames.” The presence of lice in the camp indicates that there was probably an epidemic of typhus, which is spread by lice.

In his letter to his family, written 13 April 1945, Alois Liethen wrote the following regarding the burial pit:

Then, about 2 kilometers from the enclosure was the ‘pit’ where the germans had buried 3200 since December when this camp opened. About 3 weeks ago the commandant of the camp was ordered to destroy all of the evidence of the mass killings in this place and he sent several hundred of these inmates out on the detail to exhume these bodies and have them burned. However, there wasn’t time enough to burn all of the 3200 and only 1606 were actually burned and the balance were still buried under a light film of dirt. I know that all of this may seem gruesome to you, it was to me too, and some of you may think that I may have become warped of mind in hatred, well, every single thing that I stated here and to the generals yesterday are carefully recorded in 16 pictures which I took with my camera at the place itself.

Both General George S. Patton and General Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to the Ohrdruf-Nord camp as a “horror camp” in their wartime memoirs. Eisenhower wrote the following in his book, “Crusade in Europe” about April 12, 1945, the day he visited the salt mines that held the Nazi treasures:

The same day, I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

Eisenhower did not take the time to visit the main camp at Buchenwald, which was in the immediate area and had been discovered by the American army just the day before.

The Ohrdruf camp did not have a crematorium to burn the bodies. Instead, the bodies were at first taken to Buchenwald for burning, but as the death rate climbed, the bodies were buried about a mile from the camp. During the last days before the camp was liberated, bodies were being burned on a pyre made from railroad tracks. The rails were readily available because the underground bunker that was being built by the Ohrdruf prisoners featured a railroad where a whole train could be hidden underground.

In the photo below, the man on the far right wearing a dark jacket is a Dutch survivor of the camp who served as a guide for the American generals on their visit. The second man from the right is Captain Alois Liethen, who is interpreting for General Bradley to his left and General Eisenhower in the center of the photo. The man to the left of General Eisenhower is Benjamin B. Ferencz, who is taking notes. On the far left is one of the survivors of Ohrdruf.

Gen. Eisenhower views burned bodies, April 12, 1945 

On the same day that the Generals visited Ohrdruf, a group of citizens from the town of Ohrdruf and a captured German Army officer were being forced to take the tour. Colonel Charles Codman, an aide to General Patton, wrote to his wife about an incident that happened that day. A young soldier had accidentally bumped into the captured German officer and had laughed nervously. “General Eisenhower fixed him with a cold eye,” Codman wrote “and when he spoke, each word was like the drop off an icicle. ‘Still having trouble hating them?’ he said.” General Eisenhower had no trouble hating the Germans, as he would demonstrate when he set up a POW camp in Gotha a few weeks later.

After his visit to the salt mines and the Ohrdruf camp on April 12, 1945, General Eisenhower wrote the following in a cable on April 15th to General George C. Marshall, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC; this quote is prominently displayed by the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

. . .the most interesting–although horrible–sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”

Ironically, General Eisenhower’s words about “propaganda,” turned out to be prophetic: only a few years later, Paul Rassinier, who was a French resistance fighter imprisoned at the Buchenwald main camp, wrote the first Holocaust denial book, entitled Debunking the Genocide Myth, in which he refuted the claim by the French government at the 1946 Nuremberg trial that there were gas chambers in Buchenwald.

Note that General Eisenhower referred to Ohrdruf as an “internment camp,” which was what Americans called the camps where Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans were held without charges during World War II. Ohrdruf was undoubtedly the first, and only, “internment camp” that General Eisenhower ever saw.

Why was Captain Alois Liethen investigating this small, obscure forced labor camp long before he arrived in Germany? Why did all the US Army generals visit this small camp and no other? Could it be because there was something else of great interest in the Ohrdruf area besides the Führer bunker and the salt mine where Nazi treasures were stored?

The Buchenwald camp had been liberated the day before the visit to the Ohrdruf camp. At Buchenwald, there were shrunken heads, human skin lampshades and ashtrays made from human bones. At Ohrdruf, there was nothing to see except a shed filled with 40 bodies. So why did Captain Alois Liethen take the four generals to Ohrdruf instead of Buchenwald?

What was Captain Liethen referring to when he wrote these words in a letter to his family?

After looking the place over for nearly a whole day I came back and made an oral report to my commanding general — rather I was ordered to do so by my boss, the Col. in my section. Then after I had told him all about the place he got in touch with the High Command and told them about it and the following tale bears out what they did about it.

There has been some speculation that the Germans might have tested an atomic bomb near Ohrdruf. In his book entitled “The SS Brotherhood of the Bell,” author James P. Farrell wrote about “the alleged German test of a small critial mass, high yield atom bomb at or near the Ohrdruf troop parade ground on March 4, 1945.” The “troop parade ground” was at the German Army Base right next to the Ohrdruf labor camp.

Why did General Eisenhower immediately order a propaganda campaign about Nazi atrocities? Was it to distract the media from discovering a far more important story? The first news reel about the Nazi camps called Ohrdruf a “murder mill.”



As part of the agreement signed on April 5, 1945, Tito secured a proviso that the Soviets would leave Yugoslavia once its “operational task” was completed. Ensuring compliance with this clause proved problematic, as Stalin tried to maintain a presence in postwar Yugoslavia, attempting to co-opt the Yugoslav Communist Party and create another puppet state. He failed; Tito played the West against the East in a Machiavellian scheme to keep his own Stalin-like grip on his country. Although he permitted cultural and scientific freedom unheard of in Soviet-bloc countries, he was also guilty of purging centrist and democratic forces fighting for reform within Yugoslavia and centralizing all power in one party. But upon Tito’s death, in 1980, the center could not hold–chaos was ultimately unleashed in the form of ethnic civil war

In Italy… On the west coast, American units from US 5th Army begin to attack north near Massa, south of La Spezia.

On the Western Front… Allied forces cross the Weser River at several points.



In Moscow… Molotov, the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, tells the Japanese ambassador that the USSR does not intend to renew the 1941 non-aggression pact.

In Washington… It is announced that General MacArthur will take control of all army forces in the Pacific theater of operations and Admiral Nimitz will command all naval forces in preparation for the invasion of Japan





6.4.1945 cover from GB to ‘British Embassy, Moscow, c/o Foriegn Office (USSR) London’ endorsed ‘By Bag’ and censored – PASSED P.211 h/s.





On the Western Front… Most of US 1st and 9th Armies are heavily engaged around the Ruhr pocket. Among the gains in the Allied advance to the east is Gottingen. Free French paratroops are dropped north of Zuider Zee in Holland.
Over Germany… RAF Mosquito bombers raid Berlin from bases on the continent, for the first time. American bombers strike airfield and railway targets



OAS WOII Wolverhampton UK / GB – Tilburg 1945 Fieldpost






On the Eastern Front… In East Prussia, the Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front begins its final attacks on Konigsberg after several days of preparatory bombardment and air attacks. To the south, forces of the 3rd Ukrainian Front enter the suburbs of Vienna. Yugoslavian forces capture Sarajevo.
On the Western Front… American forces enter Hamm.



On the Eastern Front… In Austria, the Soviet forces push on west of Vienna despite German counterattacks. There is heavy fighting in the Austrian capital. In East Prussia, the Soviet attacks on Konigsberg begin to break through the defenses.

On the Western Front… On the southern flank, troops of the French 1st Army take Pforzheim as they continue their drive to the southeast. To the immediate north, US 7th Army units capture Schweinfurt. Other Allied armies farther north also advance.



On the Eastern Front… The surviving German defenders of the Konigsberg fortress surrender to the Red Army forces. Some of the German troops in East Prussia continue to resist in the Samland Peninsula.

On the Western Front… In the attacks against the Ruhr pocket, US 9th Army units penetrate into Essen and reach the famous Krupp factories. Other British and American units, including some more from US 9th Army, are advancing near the Leine River to the east.

In Italy… The Allied spring offensive begins with attacks by British 8th Army (General McCreery). Initially, the Polish 2nd Corps advances along Route 9 toward Imola supported by British 5th and 10th Corps the right and left flanks. The objectives of the offensive include Ferrara and Bologna while the US 5th Army, which is scheduled to begin operations on April 14th, is to strike at Bologna and past Modena to the Po River.
In Liberated Italy… A Liberty ship loaded with aircraft bombs blows up in Bari harbor killing 360 and injuring 1730.

Over Germany… In a British RAF attack on German navy ships in Kiel, during the night, the Admiral Scheer capsizes, while the Admiral Hipper and Emden are damaged beyond repair. During the day, the US 8th Air Force targets jet fighter bases in the area of Munich.

In Germany… Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Admiral Canaris (former chief of the Abwehr) and Major General Oster are hanged at the Flossenburg Concentration Camp.


: Battle of Königsberg ends in Soviet victory.

9: A heavy bombing at Kiel by the RAF destroys the last two major German warships.

9: Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is executed at Flossenburg prison.



: Buchenwald concentration camp liberated by American forces.


On the Western Front… Forces of Canadian 1st Army pressure German positions in Holland and begin operations to cross the Ijssel River. British 2nd Army is advancing toward Bremen. Hanover falls to the US 13th Corps (part of US 9th Army). US 3rd Army advances toward Erfurt and US 7th Army advances toward Nuremberg.

Over Britain… The last German sortie over British territory during the war is conducted by a Luftwaffe Ar234 reconnaissance jet.

Ar-234 taking off



On this day in 1945,

the American Third Army liberates the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany, a camp that will be judged second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposed on its prisoners.

As American forces closed in on the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Gestapo headquarters at Weimar telephoned the camp administration to announce that it was sending explosives to blow up any evidence of the camp–including its inmates.

 What the Gestapo did not know was that the camp administrators had already fled in fear of the Allies. A prisoner answered the phone and informed headquarters that explosives would not be needed, as the camp had already been blown up, which, of course, was not true.

The camp held thousands of prisoners, mostly slave laborers. There were no gas chambers, but hundreds, sometimes thousands, died monthly from disease, malnutrition, beatings, and executions. Doctors performed medical experiments on inmates, testing the effects of viral infections and vaccines.

Among the camp’s most gruesome characters was Ilse Koch, wife of the camp commandant, who was infamous for her sadism. She often beat prisoners with a riding crop, and collected lampshades, book covers, and gloves made from the skin of camp victims.

Among those saved by the Americans was Elie Wiesel, who would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986



On the Eastern Front… In Vienna, Soviet troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front have reached the Danube Canal near the city center.
On the Western Front… Forces of the British 2nd Army cross the Leine River near Celle. Leading armored units of the US 9th Army reach the Elbe River, south of Magdeburg. Forces of US 3rd Army capture Weimar. Other elements capture the Mittlewerke underground V2 factory at Nordhausen.

In Italy… Carrara is captured by the US 92nd Infantry Division (an element of US 5th Army) in its advance from Massa. In the east, forces of British 8th Army have now pushed the leading units over the Senio River to the Santerno River, where bridging operations begin.


: Spain breaks diplomatic relations with Japan.


: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies suddenly. Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.



In the United States… President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs in Georgia. Vice-President Truman becomes President. Truman has so far had limited involvement in the work of the Roosevelt administration (he was a surprising choice as running mate in 1944) and among the subjects on which he receives his first briefing in the next few days in the atomic weapons project.

On the Western Front… US 9th Army forces cross the Elbe River near Magdeburg, while in the rear of their advance, Brunswick falls. Troops of the US 3rd Army take Erfurt. In the south, French units take Baden Baden. To the rear, the Ruhr pocket has been further reduced by the capture of Essen by American attacks.


In Italy… British 8th Army has three separate bridgeheads over the Santerno. On the right of the attack, British 5th Corps is advancing along the north bank of the Reno.



On this day in 1945, Adolf Hitler proclaims from his underground bunker that deliverance was at hand from encroaching Russian troops–Berlin would remain German. A “mighty artillery is waiting to greet the enemy,” proclaims Der Fuhrer. This as Germans loyal to the Nazi creed continue the mass slaughter of Jews.

As Hitler attempted to inflate his troops’ morale, German soldiers, Hitler Youth, and local police chased 5,000 to 6,000 Jewish prisoners into a large barn, setting it on fire, in hopes of concealing the evidence of their monstrous war crimes as the end of the Reich quickly became a reality. As the Jewish victims attempted to burrow their way out of the blazing barn, Germans surrounding the conflagration shot them. “Several thousand people were burned alive,” reported one survivor. The tragic irony is that President Roosevelt, had he lived, intended to give an address at the annual Jefferson Day dinner in Washington, D.C., on that very day, proclaiming his desire for “an end


On the Eastern Front… Vienna falls to Soviet troops of 3rd Ukrainian Front after heavy fighting.

On the Western Front… The Nazi concentration camps at Belsen and Buchenwald are liberated by British and American forces respectively. Jena is captured by US 3rd Army units. To the south, US 7th Army forces take Bamberg.
In Italy… New Zealander troops capture Massa Lombarda, southwest of Lake Comacchio.



: Vienna Offensive ends with Soviet victory.



April 14 1945…

Operation Teardrop
The Allied forces conduct Operation Teardrop last and largest hunter-killer operation against U-boats in the North Atlantic in World War II.
Two carrier task groups carry out an extensive search for Seewolf U-boats suspected of transporting V2 rockets to be launched against New York city.

USS Hubbard (DE 211/APD 53)

As part of Operation Teardrop, she took part in the destruction of the last desperate U-boat group to sortie, with escort carriers Bogue (CVE-9), Core (CVE-13), and many sister ships. Frederick C. Davis (DE-136) was torpedoed and sunk suddenly 24 April, and Hubbard joined in hunting the attacker. After many depth charge attacks, four by Hubbard alone, U-546 surfaced. The destroyer escorts’ guns blazed away and the submarine quickly sank.





In Italy… US 5th Army joins British 8th Army in mounting the spring offensive operations. There are attacks on either side of the roads to Bologna from Florence and Pistoia. Vergato is captured.

On the Western Front… The US 3rd Army captures Bayreuth.

In the North Atlantic…Allied forces conduct Operation Teardrop. Two carrier task groups carry out an extensive search for Seewolf U-boats suspected of transporting V2 rockets to be launched against New York city.

In Germany… Reichsfuhrer SS Himmler orders that no prisoners at Dachau “shall be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive.”



On the Western Front… In Holland, troops of Canadian 1st Army complete the capture of Arnhem and attack toward Gronigen. Units of the US 9th Army, which have crossed the Elbe River near Magdeburg, are forced to retreat. The US 1st Army takes Leuna. Meanwhile, Operation Venerable is launched against the German garrison in the fortress of Royan, at the mouth of the Gironde River; heavy napalm bomb attacks by the US 8th Air Force and shelling by the Free French battleship Lorraine are followed by an attack by Free French and American forces.

In Italy… Both US 5th and British 8th Armies continue their attacks. Elements of the Polish 2nd Corps (part of British 8th Army) has reached the Sillario River after crossing the Santero River.

On the Eastern Front… Soviet forces begin a final offensive against the German held positions in the Samland Peninsula.

15: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated by the British Army.


: The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neisse begin as the Soviets continue to advance towards the city of Berlin.



On the Eastern Front… The Red Army launches the final offensive on Berlin. The 1st Belorussian Front (Marshal Zhukov), to the east, and 1st Ukraine Front (Marshal Konev), to the southeast, lead the assault with support from 2nd Belorussian Front (Marshal Rokossovsky) in the north. Stalin is nominally in command of the operation and at this time it is not clear whether the armies commanded by Zhukov, or those commanded by Konev, are to make the final assault on the city. The two Soviet Fronts comprise over 2,000,000 men with more than 6000 tanks and self-propelled guns, about 6000 aircraft and almost 16,000 artillery tubes. The German troops defending the line are organized into Army Group Vistula (General Heinrici), facing 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts, and Army Group Center (Field Marshal Schorner), facing 1st Ukrainian Front. There are about 1,000,000 German troops deployed in fairly strong and well-prepared positions overlooking the west bank of the Oder River and Neisse River, however, they lack significant stocks of armor, artillery and aircraft. After the massive artillery preparation, the attacks of 1st Belorussian Front begin from the Soviet bridgehead already taken west of the Oder, near Kustrin. By a well-timed short withdrawal the forces of the German Army Group Vistula have avoided the worst effects of this Soviet bombardment, but they have insufficient strength to do more than hold the Soviet attack temporarily. The attack of 1st Ukrainian Front begins a little later over the Neisse, north and south of Triebel.

On the Western Front… US 7th Army units reach the outskirts of Nuremberg. The special prisoner of war camp at Colditz is liberated by other Allied units during the day.

April 1945…

The Final Battles of the Luftwaffe were being fought in the Air.

<span>During March many of the Air Units were moved to Norway.</span>

<span>Bf 109 G-14/AS from 14./JG 5. Kjevik 1945 </span>

Aircraft from Denmark and North Germany moved to Norway in March 1945.

<span>Fw 190 D9 Werk. no. 210972 at Lister</span>

Luftwaffe aircrafts left in Norway 10.8.45

<span>Arado 234 at Sola in 1945</span>

Luftwaffe units in Norway, May 10th 1945.

<span>Junker Ju 88 G-6 from NJS Norwegen, B4+SA, Norway 1945</span>

NightFighters in Norway

Luftwaffe Losses in Norway 1945.

<span>B-17’s in Kampfgeschwader 200</span>

All B-17 (excluding “Miss Nonalee II”) were transfered to KG 200 – special Luftwaffe unit. Germans had not enogh planes with that range as B-17s.
Planes had applied German national insignia, code letters (beginning from A3 – letters of KG 200) and special night camouflage. Germans added some equipment: barometrical altimeter ASI and radioaltimeter FuG 101. B-17s served in KG 200 in two Staffel, 1.Staffel was combat when 4.Staffel was training one. Planes based on Finsterwalde airfield.
German pilots were happy, because Fortress was formidable plane. They flew everywhere: Soviet Union, Poland, Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherland, Ireland and even Palestine and Africa!

<span>Wulf Hound was eventually transferred to KG 200 in September 1943. (Petrik).</span>

All planes were top secret and target was known only for pilot and navigator.
Service in KG 200 was very dangerous – first planes were lost 15th of May and 27th of June 1944 during combat missions. Next plane was heavily damaged 19th of November 1944.
B-17 “Down and Go!” was destroyed during mission in Spanish-French border area. Plane piloted by pilots Knappenscheider and von Pechmann with 10 French collaborators took of in 9th February 1945. Shortly after took off plane exploded (about one hundred meters above airstripe) and all aboard were killed.

<span>Wulf Hound found itself to be the center of attention where ever it went. (Heinz J. Nowarra).</span>

Last plane lost during war took place 2nd of March 1945. Plane took off 11.08 p.m. from airfield Stuttgart-Euchterdingen with 8 members of crew, 9 agents and 3 containers with equipment. When plane come back to home base was shot down by British night fighting Mosquito. Part crew jumped with parachute.
Since September 1944 B-17 of KG 200 started from Finnow airfield. During following months planes made several dozen sorties over Soviet Union and Poland area.
One of most dangerous flights was 20th of December 1944 when plane which took off from airfield in Cracow (Poland) with 6 agents on board had to flew in Odessa area. Just before jump one of Soviet agents throwed hand grenade. One of gunners had incredible reflex and jettisioned primed grenade.
When next time crews had to carry Soviet agents, they bowsed Russians and jettisioned them over targed unconscious.

<span>Wulf Hound, the first B-17F captured intact by the Luftwaffe. (Petrik). </span>

To the end of the war planes started from Hildesheim, Wackersleben and Fürstenfelsbruck airfields. Last combat mission took place in 2nd of May 1945. All survived planes were probably destroyed by their crews or captured by Soviets.

<span>Me 163B airfields</span>

<span>The map shows all airfields on which Komet operated (note 1990 borders). The main operating bases are shown as large green dots, while the secondary operating locations are shown as smaller green dots. Large cities are shown in red. Of note is the distance between Stuttgart-Böbblingen and Jesau, the main manufacturing site and the production test flying locations respectively. From Jesau the aircraft were delivered to operational units.</span>

Aerial view, clearly showing two of the three original runways overgrown with trees. The gliding airstrip can be seen north of the east-west runway (slighty right of the middle in the picture). On the south side (just left of the middle) a golf course can be seen.

<span>A view of the gliding airstrip. </span>

<span>The remains of a storage facility at Bad Zwischenahn, nicely hidden in bushes and trees</span>

<span>The interior of the storage facility, which is suprisingly intact.</span>

<span>Shown is a wartime RAF/USAF map of Bad Zwischenahn, home to EK16 until August 1944. The date of the map is unknown. Source: ‘Fliegerhorste und Einsatzhäfen der Luftwaffe’ by Karl Ries and Wolfgang Dierlich, Motorbuch Verlag</span>

<span>Graf & Grislawski: Airfields of Last Combat Missions</span>

<span>The Last Missions for the 4th Fighter Group.</span>
Other Links:


April 16, 1945 – The Group was ordered on a strafing mission to Prague, Czechoslovakia. They found three fields crammed with aircraft that had been pulled back from the front as they neared Prague. The Mustangs made run after run in the midst of heavy flak and destroyed 61 for the loss of eight. Multiple kills were numerous. The top was Douglas Pedersen, he destroyed eight. One of those lost was Sidney Woods who would spend the rest of the war (2 weeks) as a POW. Meanwhile, “B” Group, lead by Louis Norley, hit Gablingen Airdrome without a loss. The total for the day was a satisfying 105 destroyed.


April 17, 1945 – On a free lance mission to Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria, Robert Davis’ coolant system was hit by flak and he bailed out. Although he was seen to hit the ground ok, he was killed. This was the last combat fatality of the war for the 4th.


April 25, 1945 – The Group flew its last combat mission of World War II to Czechoslovakia and Germany. North of Prague William Hoelscher bounced a Me-262 getting several hits before he was hit by flak. His coolant system was punctured and 40mm hits smashed his left wing root and elevator. He bailed out and evaded back. He was the last combat loss for the 4th. Also, at this point the score for the 4th was 1,003. The score for the 56th was 1,008-1/2.

<span>lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita, Pilot of Romanian Airforce.</span>

Fighter Pilot
Born: 14 March 1919, Baicoi

29 November 1943 – February 1944: 1st Fighter Group
February 1944 – 21 April 1945: 2nd Fighter Group

Combat missions: 29
Victories: 9
Died: 21 April 1945, KIA Czechoslovakia

During February and March 1945 he was back in Romania, ferrying new aircraft for the group, from Someseni to Lucenec, in Slovakia.

On 21 April 1945, he took off at 9:25 in front of a patrula, which attacked two infantry platoons near the Soha Lova village and then strafed the road nearby.
By 10:20 they were back at the airfield. After two hours he took off again, but this time only with his wingman adj. av. Dumitru Silivan. Their mission was to patrol the road between Soha Lova and Dolny Nemec.
They spotted a column of about 7-8 trucks and attacked, each of them destroying one truck. When they came around for a new pass, adj. av. Silivan did not longer see his leader. Instead he saw a big white spot on the field.
The IAR-81C no. 426 of lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita had been hit by a quad machine-gun mounted on one of the trucks. The locals later found him in the cockpit, with his legs cut and a bullet hole in his forehead.
The white parachute had been spread out and cut into pieces by the German soldiers. That was probably what Silivan saw. He was buried in the Velnov cemetery, together with 33 other Romanian soldiers. He would have been 26 in several days.

In 1988 pieces of his aircraft were donated to the National Military Museum by the Czechs. In his honor, in 1991, the 86th Fighter Group was given the name Locotenent aviator Gheorghe Mociornita.

Lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita shot down just 3 aircraft, but the point system of ARR brought him 9 victories, thus achieving the ace status. What is notable is that these kills were obtained only in 29 missions. He has also destroyed several trucks and carts on the ground, after the 2nd Fighter Group was relegated to a ground attack role. His less known side was the artist in Gheroghe Mociornita, who had written several poems (see link below) and drew with amazing dexterity.

Note: The author wishes to thank Mrs. Prof. Maria Mociornita for the interesting materials she provided about her brother.
Bibliography: Dan Antoniu, George Cicos: “Vanatorul IAR-80, istoria unui erou necunoscut”, Editura MODELISM, 2000

Grupul 1 Vânãtoare

On 28 June, the 1st Fighter Group scrambled its 17 IARs and intercepted a bomber formation and attacked it, while trying to avoid the Mustangs. Three B-17s were shot down. Also, adj. av. Zisu Sava claimed a P-51, which remained probable. This is the only case when a IAR-80 pilot claimed a Mustang. The group lost cpt. av. Stefanescu and adj. av. Prasinopol was wounded.

<span>This IAR-80B was later equipped with two Mauser 20 mm cannons and assigned to the 1st Fighter Group in 1944</span>

This was the last battle with USAAF. A part of the 1st Fighter Group’s pilots and airplanes were assigned to the 6th Fighter Group. At the end of July, the group started to train in order to convert to the Bf-109G.

<span>Picture from “Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947″ by Dénes Bernád, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999</span>

During the winter of 1944/45 the group was reorganized. It had only two squadrons: the 61st and 64th. It was put under the command of cpt. av. Dan Vizanti, the former commander of the 6th Fighter Group.
This new group was sent to the front in Slovakia in early 1945, where it was suppose to help the exhausted 9th Fighter Group.
The first missions were flown on 20 February. The lack of experience on the Bf-109G among most of the group’s members was obvious and soon they were diverted to air support missions.
Anyway, after 25, Luftwaffe didn’t appear in the area, except for several reconnaissance flights. The only “casualties” suffered by the 1st Fighter Group during this last campaign were two pilots that defected on 26 March to a German air base.

<span>The emblem of the 1st Fighter Group on the cowling of an IAR-80 </span>

After the war, several Romanian pilots reportedly took part in a large Allied-organized air show at Wiener-Neustadt on 1 June 1945.
These airmen were asked to represent the German techniques and equipment, including the Bf-109G6, and provide a comparison to the latest US and Soviet aircraft types.
On the way back to Miskolc, two pilots from the 1st Fighter Group, of. echip. cls. III Ion Milu and lt. av. Dumitru Baciu met several P-51Ds over Hungary and waggled their wings as a recognition sign. The Mustangs waved back when the aircraft passed each other.
A Soviet Il-2 formation, escorted by Yak-3s, came along a few minutes later. The Romanians again waggled their wings, however, the Soviets did not wave back and flew on in the opposite direction.
The last two Yaks suddenly broke formation and jumped on the two “Gustavs”. Milu had enough of the war (five years and 45 confirmed victories) and decided not to engage the aggressors.
So he dived to safety. Lt. av. Baciu apparently managed to shoot down one Soviet and returned home with 16 holes in his aircraft.
This is probably the last  victory achieved by a Romanian fighter pilot




 On this day in 1945,

 U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Boris T. Pash commandeers over half a ton of uranium at Strassfut, Germany, in an effort to prevent the Russians from developing an A-bomb.

Pash was head of the Alsos Group, organized to search for German scientists in the postwar environment in order to prevent the Russians, previously Allies but now a potential threat, from capturing any scientists and putting them to work at their own atomic research plants. Uranium piles were also rich “catches,” as they were necessary to the development of atomic weapons.

On this day in 1942, French General Henri Giraud, who was captured in 1940, escapes from a castle prison at Konigstein by lowering himself down the castle wall and jumping on board a moving train, which takes him to the French border.

Hitler, outraged, ordered Giraud’s assassination upon being caught, but the French general was able to make it to North Africa via a British submarine. He joined the French Free Forces under General Charles de Gaulle and eventually helped to rebuild the French army





1945 cover and letter from GB to ‘Bengal & Assam Railway, 24 Parganas, India’ with circ. Overland Postage Due h/s. and censor h/s. Also d/r. HOME POSTAL CENTRE RE 1 transit p/m. to rear.



On the Eastern Front… The Soviet attacks east of Berlin continue. In the very fierce battles, which have developed, the Germans are fighting with skill and desperation but are slowly being forced to give ground. Meanwhile, in Austria and Czechoslovakia, the Soviet attacks and German losses continue, Zisterdorf and Polten are taken in Austria.

In Italy… Allied offensive operations continue. On the right flank of the British 8th Army attacks, Argenta falls to forces of the British 5th Corps after an amphibious move across Lake Coamchio. North and east of Argenta there are no more rivers before the Po River and the British units are soon passing through what becomes known as the “Argenta Gap.” West of Argenta, the British 13th Corps enters the line between British 5th Corps and the Polish 1st Corps which is moving northwest toward Bologna. US 5th Army attacks continue as well, though with slower progress because of the more difficult terrain south and west of Bologna.

On the Western Front… Germans units in the Ruhr are beginning to surrender on a large scale. There is also fighting near Bremen and Nuremberg.




On the Western Front… The last German forces resisting in the Ruhr Pocket surrender. Field Marshal Model, commanding German Army Group B inside the pocket, commits suicide. About 325,000 German prisoners have been taken in this area by the Allied forces. Meanwhile, the US 9th Army captures Magdeburg and troops of US 3rd Army cross the Czechoslovakian border after a rapid advance.
Over Germany… British RAF bombers strike Heligoland — dropping 5000 tons of bombs.

In Germany… Oberst Steinhoff (176 victories) suffers severe burns when his Me262 crashes near Munich. [He recovers and ultimately become Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe of the Federal Republic of Germany in the postwar era.]

On the Eastern Front… Except in a small area along the axis of advance of 1st Ukrainian Front, the Soviet forces engaged in the battle for Berlin have advanced less than 10 miles toward the city. However, the German defense is being worn down.

In the Ryukyu Islands… American Ernie Pyle, Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent, is killed on Ie Shima at age 45.


A famous war correspondent at the front  in April,8th.1945

18: Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent for the GI’s, is killed by a sniper on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa.


: Switzerland closes its borders with Germany (and former Austria).

19: Allies continue their sweep toward the Po Valley.

19: The Soviet advance towards the city of Berlin continues and soon reach the suburbs.



Happy 2nd Lt. William Robertson and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko, Red Army, shown in front of sign “East Meets West” symbolizing the historic meeting of the Red Army and American armies, near Torgau, Germany on Elbe Day.




On the Western Front… The US 1st Army captures Leipzig.




American troops parade in the famous Nazi arena with the Stars and Stripes covering the Nazi swastika after Nuremberg falls to the Allies
On the Western Front… Nuremberg and Stuttgart are taken in the Allied advance. The American flag is raised over the rostrum of the Nuremberg Stadium — scene of Nazi Party rallies. In the Stuttgart area, the French 1st Army is advancing rapidly along the Neckar Valley, trapping German forces in the the Black Forest in Bavaria.

American troops parade in the famous Nazi arena with the Stars and Stripes covering the Nazi swastika after Nuremberg falls to the Allies

On the Eastern Front… In northern Germany, forces of the Soviet 2nd Belorussian Front join in the advance from the Oder River line, on a 30-mile frontage southwest of Stettin. To the south, German resistance on the Oder and Neisse river lines has been eliminated. Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front capture Protzel and units of 1st Ukrainian Fronts cross over the Spree River.

20: Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday in the bunker in Berlin; reports are that he is in an unhealthy state, nervous, and depressed.


: Soviet forces under Georgiy Zhukov (1st Belorussian Front), Konstantin Rokossovskiy (2nd Belorussian Front), and Ivan Konev (1st Ukrainian Front) launch assaults on the German forces in and around the city of Berlin as the opening stages of the Battle of Berlin.

21: Hitler ordered SS-General Felix Steiner to attack the 1st Belorussian Front and destroy it. The ragtag units of “Army Detachment Steiner” are not fully manned.





1945 cover from EGYPT to ‘2 NZEF, MEF’ with CAIRO m/c. and d/r. CENSOR h/s. Also d/r. BAPO 4 transit p/m. and s/r. NEW ZEALAND BASE ARMY POST OFFICE p/m. ‘Maadi’ in mss. Ref: 224-041.


On the Eastern Front… Leading elements of the 1st Belorussian Front reach the eastern suburbs of Berlin. Meanwhile, the 1st Ukrainian Front attacks northward from Dresden.

In Moscow… A mutual assistance treaty is concluded between the Soviet government and the Provisional Government of Poland, based on the Lublin Committee. The further recognition bestowed on the communist Poles, at a time when the London based Polish government in exile continues to receive western recognition, becomes an issue in postwar period.

In Italy… Bologna is captured by units of the Polish 2nd Corps (part of British 8th Army). Units of US 2nd Corps (part of US 5th Army) enter the town a few hours later. US 5th Army forces have now cleared the Appenines and advancing rapidly on the Lombard Plain. East of Bologna, British 8th Army is advancing rapidly.




In Germany…

On this day in 1945,

 Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse

 Himmler meets Count Bernadotte of the Swedish Red Cross and gives him a message to pass to the western Allies, offering a German surrender to the British and Americans but not to the Soviets. The message is passed to the Allies on the 24th.

On the Western Front…

US 7th Army units cross the Danube at Dillingen and Baldingen.

In Italy..

. Units of 2nd and 4th US Corps (parts of US 5th Army) reach the Penaro River in their advance to the Po River. On the left flank Modena is taken





1945 (April) ‘MILITARBREV’ cover from SWEDEN to ‘Faltpost 31235′ with BORAS m/c. and redirected to ‘Strombo Idre’. Fp. 31235 – Fortress Engineer Park 520. Location Military District XII, Germany. Swedish Stationary to Swedish Volunteer in German Army. Cat. 400 Euros. Flap missing, folded


22: Hitler is informed late in the day that, with the approval of Gotthard Heinrici, Steiner’s attack was never launched. Instead, Steiner’s forces were authorised to retreat.

22: In response to the news concerning Steiner, Hitler launches a furious tirade against the perceived treachery and incompetence of his military commanders in front of Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Krebs, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Burgdorf, and Martin Bormann. Hitler’s tirade culminates in an oath to stay in Berlin to head up the defence of the city.

22: Hitler ordered German General Walther Wenck to attack towards Berlin with his Twelfth Army, link up with the Ninth Army of General Theodor Busse, and relieve the city. Wenck launched an attack, but it came to nothing.


: Hermann Göring sends a radiogram to Hitler’s bunker, asking to be declared Hitler’s successor. He proclaims that if he gets no response by 10 PM, he will assume Hitler is incapacitated and assume leadership of the Reich. Furious, Hitler strips him of all his offices and expels him from the Nazi Party.

23: Albert Speer makes one last visit to Hitler, informing him that he ignored the Nero Decree for scorched earth.




USS Bogue (CVE 9), USS Flaherty DE 135, USS Neunzer DE 150, USS Chatelain DE 149, USS Varian DE 798, USS Hubbard DE 211, USS Janssen DE 396, USS Pillsbury DE 133 and USS Keith DE 241

As the plane flies, St. Johns, Newfoundland, to Fayal in the Azores, the distance is 1,180 miles. On April 23, 1945, in mid-Atlantic about halfway between St. Johns and Fayal, several escort-carriers and a parade of destroyer escorts were strung out in a 100-mile north-south barrier patrol. The CVE-DE flotilla, one of the largest hunter-killer forces yet assembled, formed another segment of the “net” spread to catch the super-Schnorkels swimming across the Atlantic to invade America’s Eastern Sea Frontier.

The anti-submarine (AS) barrier was composed of two CVE task groups – TG 22.3 and TG 22.4 – and a large detachment of DEs. The force was operating under Commander Task Group 22.5 – Captain G. J. Dufek, in Bogue. Senior DE officer was Commander F. S. Hall, Commander Task Unit 22.7.1.

The DEs of Task Unit 22.7.1 included USS Pillsbury DE 133, USS Keith DE 241, USS Otterstetter DE 244, USS Pope DE 134, USS Flaherty DE 135, USS Chatelain DE 149, USS Frederick C. Davis DE 136, USS Neunzer DE 150, USS Hubbard DE 211, USS Varian DE 798, USS Otter DE 210, USS Hayter DE 212, USS Janssen DE 396 and USS Cockrill DE 398.

The ships were tactically disposed so that the DEs of the task unit formed a surface barrier between the Bogue air group to the south and Core (CVE ) air group to the north. Spaced five miles apart, the 14 DEs were ranged across the seascape like a dragnet, the carriers serving as figurative trawlers.

At 1322 in the afternoon of April 23, a search plane sighted a submarine about 70 miles from USS Pillsbury DE 133. Commander Hall formed a scouting line and the DEs steamed for the spot where the enemy had been glimpsed. The sub went down and stayed down. All afternoon the hunters combed the vicinity with their detection gear. All through that evening of the 23rd. Midnight, and they were still searching. Into the early hours of April 24 the relentless hunt went on.

<span>USS Frederick C. Davis DE 136</span>
<span>EDSALL (FMR)-Class Destroyer Escorts as they appeared between 1943 and 1946. These ships are shown carrying three 3-in./50 cal. guns in single MK 22 mounts, one MK 1 40mm twin mount, ten 20mm MK 4 single mounts, one MK 3 21-in. triple torpedo tube mount, one MK 10/11 hedgehog projector, two MK 9 depth charge tracks, eight MK 6 K-gun depth charge projectors.</span>

At 0829 Frederick C. Davis DE 136 made contact with U-546 and was proceeding to attack when, at 0840, the submarine fired a stern shot which tore the DE apart and sent her down with heavy loss of life. She was the second and last American DE to go down to enemy torpedo-fire in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The U-boat skipper who fired at the Frederick C. Davis DE 136 must have known he was courting suicide. For eight destroyer escorts from the scouting line immediately closed around the u-boat like a noose: Pillsbury, Flaherty, Neunzer, Chatelain, Varian, Hubbard, Janssen and Keith.

The submarine hunt conducted by this killer group stands as exemplary of the AS tactics employer by hunter-killers at that stage of the war.

Neunzer DE 150 and Hayter DE 212 conducted a search while Pillsbury DE 133 circled the area and Flaherty DE135 picked up survivors. Flaherty made contact in less than an hour and with Pillsbury proceeded to attack. Neunzer and Hayter took over rescue operations.

0950-1020: Flaherty and Pillsbury made hedgehog attacks. 1023: Directed by Pillsbury, Flaherty fired a magnetic-set pattern of Mark 8 charges in creeping attack. Depth-charge explosions were heard.

Five minutes later, Pillsbury lost contact with the sub. Six minutes later contact was regained – range 900 yards – but this contact would last only 16 minutes. The sub appeared to be very deep, estimated about 600 feet. It was evident the U-boat was operating at the deepest level endurable and maneuvering radically at varying speeds from practically zero to 5 knots.

1056: Pillsbury and Flaherty commenced “Operation Observant”
1059: ComCortDiv 62 ordered to form a search line, composed of all ships not engaged in attacks or rescue operations, to ready for search sweeps.
1133: Hubbard ordered to bring search line forward through target area.
1150: Pillsbury joined line as a guide
1152: Otterstetter ordered to join Hayter and Otter in rescue work.
1201: Flaherty obtained contact on U-boat.
1202: Flaherty reported her sound gear out and that contact should be ahead of DE Varian, range about 1,000 yards.
1205: Varian obtained contact.
1211: Janssen was ordered to attack, Varian assisting.
1228: Janssen delivered depth-charge attack.
1233: Hubbard was ordered to join Janssen; Varian to assist and coach creeping attack.

With Varian directing maneuvers, Hubbard and Janssen steamed into attack position. The U-boat was deep, but the two DEs were determined to dig it out whatever the level. Down went the depth-charges, a creeping attack that was launched at 1250.

1254: Varian reported a large air bubble.
1255: Neunzer was ordered to the scene of contact.
1259: Hubbard reported indications that U-boat was at depth of 600 feet.
1314: Another creeping attack delivered.
1320: Janssen relieved by Flaherty at scene of contact.
1341: Creeping attack delivered.
1346: Chatelain ordered to scene of attack.
1418: ComtCortDiv 62, in Otter, and Hayter left scene of Davis torpedoing to deliver survivors to escort carriers Core and Bogue. Otterstetter remained on scene of torpedoing to continue search for any remaining survivors.
1515: Varian reported depth indication that U-boat was at depth of 580 feet
1516: Another depth-charge attack delivered.
1545: Cockrill ordered to scene of contact.
1549: Creeping attack delivered by Neunzer, Varian and Hubbard with Chatelain as directing ship.
1556: By means of depth-finding equipment, submarine located at 420-foot level. Contact lost shortly thereafter.

At 1637 Chatelain and Neunzer were ordered to return to the line. During the previous attacks, the line had been held in readiness to make a sweep forward if contact was lost. At 1649 all ships were ordered back into line and the echo-ranging sweep was expanded.

1650: Cockrill obtained contact
1705: Having lost contact, Cockrill suggested that line make sweep through area.
1723: Line started forward through area, Pillsbury as guide.
1731: Varian reported contact.
1734: Keith reported contact.
1737: Pillsbury ordered to scene of contact to assist.
1743: Flaherty ordered to assist.
1747: By means of depth-finding equipment, Keith reported indications that U-boat was at depth of 220 feet. TU Commander ordered attack to be switched to hedgehog, in view of decreased depth.
1810: Flaherty delivered hedgehog attack. Pillsbury noted underwater explosion on sound gear.
1814: Small oil slick reported near scene of last attack.
1824: Flaherty reported bubbles coming up.
1828: Flaherty delivered hedgehog attack.
1838: U-boat surfaced.

From 9:50 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening – under fire for 10 1/2 hours – the sweating Germans had had enough of it. Moreover, the U-boat had been damaged by depth charge and hedgehog.

As the U-boat’s conning tower broke water, all ships that had a clear range opened fire. Frantic submariners fought their way out of the hatches. Under a storm of hits the sub plunged and rolled. At 1844, her bridge knocked all acockbill, the U-546 went under with her Schnorkel throat severed.

The killer of the Frederick C. Davis has been executed. Thirty-three U-boaters, including the Commanding Officer, Herr Kapitan Leutnant Paul Just, were taken prisoner.

<span>A survivor of Frederick C. Davis DE 136 is being transferred</span>

Type IXC/40
Laid down 6 Aug, 1942 Deutsche Werft AG, Hamburg
Commissioned 2 Jun, 1943 Oblt. Paul Just
Commanders 2 Jun, 1943 – 24 Apr, 1945 Kptlt. Paul Just

<span>PAUL JUST began his career in the Wehrmacht as a flier, but when Hermann G̦ring took total command of everything that flew, JUST, like so many others, was transferred to duty with the U-Boats. As Skipper of U-546, he had several patrols but sank only one ship Рthe 1,200 ton American destroyer escort USS FREDERICK C. DAVIS. </span>

Career 3 patrols 2 Jun, 1943 – 31 Dec, 1943 4. Flottille (training)
1 Jan, 1944 – 9 Nov, 1944 10. Flottille (front boat)
10 Nov, 1944 – 24 Apr, 1945 33. Flottille (front boat)

Successes 1 warship sunk for a total of 1.200 tons



In Italy… Advance units of both US 5th and British 8th Armies reach the Po River. US 5th Army units manage to cross the river south of Mantua.

On the Eastern Front… Both Soviet 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts continue to advance toward Berlin. In the rear of these advances, Frankfurt (on Oder) and Cottbus are captured by Soviet troops.

In Berlin… Hitler receives a message from Goring, offering to take over the leadership of the country should Hitler be unable to continue with that task while besieged in Berlin. Hitler is infuriated and orders Goring arrested.




124.4.945 (Apr) “Commercial” cover from GREECE to GB with d/r. ATHENS p/m. and bi-lingual OBE No. 1548 label tied by d/r. CENSOR h/s. Folded.





On the Eastern Front… In the battle for Berlin, Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front (Konev) penetrate into the suburbs of Berlin from the south while the forces of the 1st Belorussian Front (Zhukov) continue attacking into the city from the east. Other Soviet units of the two fronts are moving around the city to the north and south to complete the encirclement of the city. Large parts of the German 9th Army and 4th Panzer Army, both part of German Army Group Vistula (Heinrici) are cut off to the east of Berlin as a result of the northwest advance of the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front.

Red Army troops penetrate Berlin from the South

On the Western Front… The British 2nd Army launches attacks near Bremen. Dessau on the Elbe River is taken by US 1st Army. To the south, on the Danube River, Ulm is captured and in the Black Forest area the French 1st Army continues its advance.

In Italy… Units of both US 5th Army and British 8th Army begin to cross the Po River at several points near Ferrara and to the west. Ferrara is captured. On the west coast, La Spezia falls to the US 92nd Division. German forces are incapable of stopping the Allied advance.


: Meanwhile, Himmler, ignoring the orders of Hitler, makes a secret surrender offer to the Allies, (led by Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Red Cross) provided that the Red Army is not involved. The offer is rejected; when Hitler hears of Himmler’s betrayal, he orders him shot.

24: Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front link up in the initial encirclement of Berlin.

24: Allies encircle last German armies near Bologna, and the Italian war in effect comes to an end.


: Elbe Day: First contact between Soviet and American troops at the river Elbe, near Torgau in Germany.



Russian sniper 0f the 1st parachute tank division in April,25th.1945

On the Western Front… Elements of US 1st Army link up with the Soviet forces at Torgau on the Elbe River. US 3rd Army crosses the Danube near Regensburg and assault the city.

<span>American and Soviet troops shake hands on a Bailey Bridge over the Elbe River.</span>

On the Eastern Front… Soviet forces complete the encirclement of Berlin near Ketzin. The 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian froms continue to attack, from the east and south, into the city. South of the capital, elements of 1st Ukrainian Front advancing toward the Elbe River, link up with American units at Torgau. Meanwhile, in East Prussia, Pillau is taken. (Since early in the year, about 140,000 wounded and 40,000 refugees have been evacuated to the west from Pillau.) A few German troops continue to hold out at the tip of the Samland Peninsula.
Over Germany… British RAF bombers attack Berchtesgaden and coastal batteries at Wangerrooge (in the Frisian Islands).

Over Occupied Czechoslovakia… American planes strike Pilsen, nominally the Skoda Works.

In Italy… Mantua, Parma and Verona are among the towns liberated by the Allies as German resistance begins to collapse and significant numbers of German troops surrender.

In Occupied Italy… In addition to the extensive partisan operations, there are uprisings in Milan and Genoa.

In San Francisco… An international conference begins to draw up the constitution of a United Nations Organization


: Hitler summons Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Göring. While flying into Berlin, von Greim is seriously wounded by Soviet anti-aircraft fire.


: The encirclement of German forces in Berlin is completed by the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front.


Kwitantie Neth. Redd Cross Society 1945 – Food Parcel

Kwitantie : Parcel to Holland 27.4.1945




On the Eastern Front… In Berlin, the Soviet forces have captured the Templehof airfield and are making progress in Spandau, Grunewald and other areas. To the north of the capital, troops of 2nd Belorussian Front begin to advance rapidly, taking Prenzlau and Angermunde.

German troop carrier destroyed in Berlin

In Germany… The western Allies reply to the peace proposals Himmler offered earlier in the month with a total refusal and a reminder of the established demand for unconditional surrender.

In Italy… Forces of US 5th Army liberate Genoa, which is already substantially controlled by Italian partisan forces.




In Occupied Italy… Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, as well as other Fascist leaders are caught by partisans near Lake Como as they attempt to escape to Switzerland. They are shot and their bodies transported to Milan and hung up by the heels in the main square, where a mob then mutilates the corpses.

Moments after their deaths at the hands of Italian partisans, Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci.

On the Eastern Front… The battle of Berlin continues with Soviet troops having now penetrated to within a mile of Hitler’s bunker from the east and the south. Most of the Potsdamer Strasse has been cleared by troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front.

On the Western Front… The US 7th Army captures Augsburg in its advance south toward Austria. Other Allied units are crossing the Elbe River in the north and others are advancing on Munich in the south.

In the Atlantic… Convoy ONS-5 is attacked by 51 U-boats over the course of a following week (April 28-May6th). It loses 13 ships (out of 42) but 7 U-boats are sunk, 5 are seriously damaged and 12 are slightly damaged. This is considered a successful rate of exchange for the Allied convoys


: Head of State for the Italian Social Republic, Benito Mussolini, heavily disguised, is captured in northern Italy while trying to escape.



 Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are shot and hanged in Milan this day. Other members of his puppet government are also executed by Italian partisans and their bodies put on display in Milan.

Read more

On April 28 1945,





the Piazzale Loreto in Milan,

 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were shot and hanged in a spectacle that was photographed repeatedly.


His last words were, “Shoot me in the chest!”


Look the situation at the piazza lorreto


: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. 7th Army. All forces in Italy officially surrender and a ceasefire is declared.

29: Allied air forces commence Operations Manna and Chowhound, providing food aid to the Netherlands under a truce made with occupying German forces.



: Hitler marries his companion Eva Braun.


Look other Eva braun profile

Adolf Hitler’s romances followed an intriguing pattern- they carried a similar demonic streak in them that characterized his politics.


All three known women to enter his life attempted suicide, which in turn cast serious aspersions over his psychological and sexual traits.


However, if there is one relationship of Hitler’s that still evinces interest, it is that with Eva Braun, 23 years younger than him. 



 Braun was Hitler’s mistress for 12 years and wife for 40 hours.

Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was 17.


 She was working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him more often two years later.



 Much of Eva Braun’s viewpoint on their romance and her life with Hitler comes across on the site

According to the site, in 1931, Eva wrote a letter to Hitler:

“Dear Mr. Hitler, I would like to thank you for the pleasant evening at the theater. It was unforgettable… I count the hours until the moment when we shall meet again..”



Braun soon agreed to follow Hitler to his mountain retreat in the Alps. Their attraction was immediate, and over the objection of her lower-middle-class Bavarian parents, she became his mistress.”


Their relationship, post that is of the kind that would re-define the word ‘enigma’. Hitler wouldn’t publicly embrace her, nor privately disown her. He provided her an opulent life, replete with all material comforts, yet deprived her of the one thing she treasured most-his company. According to Hitler’s chauffeur Erich Kempka, Braun spent most of her time waiting for Hitler.

Hitler kept Braun away from the public eye. His high-handedness towards her is said to have made his staff refer to Braun as “the girl in a gilded cage”. Braun, for her part, only became rebellious- keeping up habits which Hitler detested, such as smoking and nude sunbathing.

In a tender moment though, Hitler is said to have confided his feelings for Braun in his personal valet, Heinz Linge, “Braun is too young to be the wife of one in my position. But she is the only girl for me. So we live as we do…”

So, did Hitler love Eva Braun?

Well, so it seems. Hitler’s definition of love, though, was significantly different from the way the world perceived it. It carried an element of perversity. Apparently, he believed in ‘controlling’ the lover, without in turn living up to his part of the involvement. This behavior surprisingly brings out insecurity in as much as it does vanity.

And did Eva Braun love Hitler?

Yes. What must have started off as an infatuation eventually stood the test of time, despite abuse of various kinds. It is believed that Hitler wanted her to be with him in death, just as she had stood by him for so many years in life. Braun fulfilled his wish as she always had. On 30th April, 1945, Hitler and Braun committed suicide just when they were on the verge of being captured by the Soviet troops. The world discovered after their deaths that Hitler and Braun were man and wife. Hitler’s acquiescence to marry Braun- something she always wanted, barely 40 hours before their death, was his compensation/redemption for all that Braun had borne for him.

Had it not been for unconditional love, Braun would probably have realized the futility of craving for the moment of glory that simply wasn’t. Hitler’s narcissism did not spare his idea of love.

The article was first published in The Times of India

A New Look at Hitler’s Mistress Eva Braun


The field research on the details of the relationship between Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun began while the dictator was still alive.


The “Führer” was a late sleeper. In the late morning, after he had left his bedroom, with its connecting door to Braun’s quarters, and the staff had removed the bed linens, the curious employees would scrutinize the sheets and pillowcases, searching for clues to what had happened there in the previous night.

“We snooped around in the beds,” Herbert Döhring, the manager of the Berghof, Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps, confessed to a television team decades later. But they found nothing, leading Döhring,


a member of the Waffen-SS, to conclude that the relationship between the dictator and Braun, 23 years his junior, must have been platonic.

In the Third Reich, Döhring was one of only a small group of people who knew about Braun’s close relationship with Hitler. It wasn’t until after the war that the public learned that the dictator had spent many years in the company of an attractive blonde from Munich, who he married hours before the couple committed suicide, on April 30, 1945, in the Führer’s bunker in Berlin.

Their secretiveness was based on political calculation. “Many women find me appealing because I am unmarried,” Hitler believed. “It’s the same thing with a film actor: When he marries, he loses a certain something among the women who worship him, and they no longer idolize him quite as much anymore.”

Correcting the Image of Braun

Because of the relatively clandestine nature of their relationship, after the war the public was all the more intrigued about the daughter of a Munich vocational school teacher who had spent about a decade and a half at his side — mostly at the Berghof in Obersalzberg in the German Alps, and occasionally in Berlin. But the initial answers did little to satisfy that curiosity. For decades she has been seen as a decorative companion to Adolf Hitler, an apolitical “dumb blonde” whose attentions served as an occasional diversion for the Führer.

But is it true?

Berlin historian Heike Görtemaker has now taken on the task of correcting this image of Braun, by writing the first scholarly biography of Braun,  Eva Braun: Leben mit Hitler, claiming historians have hugely underestimated the role she played in his life.

She reveals her as a politically committed woman who won ­Hitler’s affections, enjoyed a healthy sex life with him, sympathised with Nazi politics and gave him psychological support. Görtemaker spent three years researching her book, Eva Braun: Life With Hitler, due out this month from the prestigious CH Beck publishing house. She was able to draw on previously unseen or little-known documents, letters, diary entries and photographs.

Eva Braun features in films, plays, novels and historical memoirs,but is always portrayed as the dumb blonde who had the misfortune to fall in love with a devil, and this is an image that needs to be ­corrected. She was capricious, an uncompromising advocate of unconditional loyalty towards the dictator who went so far as to die with him, and he adored her.

According to Görtemaker’s account, Braun was fully aware of the twists and turns of Nazi policy-making and made no attempt to speak out against the Holocaust.

She was in the loop and knew what was going on. She was no mere bystander.

By taking a strictly academic approach, Görtemaker manages to dispense with many of the anecdotes that have amused and occasionally titillated readers. According to one of these stories, Braun allegedly complained, in the Führer bunker, about her constant arguments with Adolf about meals. Hitler, an adamant vegetarian, allegedly demanded that she eat only gruel and mushroom dip, which she found disgusting (“I can’t eat this stuff”).

According to another story, told by one of the dictator’s secretaries, Braun would secretly kick Hitler’s German shepherd Blondi, supposedly because she was jealous of the dog. She is said to have gloated over Blondi’s howls after abusing the dog (“Adolf is surprised at the animal’s strange behavior. That’s my revenge.”).

Görtemaker blames British historians for shaping the image of Braun, claiming that writers such as Ian Kershaw and Hugh Trevor-Roper, and German historians such as Sebastian Haffner, judged her insignificant and her relationship with Hitler to be banal. She claims that the late Lord Dacre (Trevor-Roper) did most to influence the traditional perception. A wartime intelligence officer who carried out an official investigation into Hitler’s final days and conducted numerous interviews with his entourage after the war, he dismissed Braun in a single word as “uninteresting”.

Trevor-Roper took his cue from Albert Speer [Hitler’s armaments minister], whom he interviewed at length,, Speer said, ‘for all writers of history, Eva Braun is going to be a disappointment’, and claimed that women had no significant role to play in the Nazi party. It was said of all the women, from the wives to the secretaries. Speer was trying to protect his wife. There was a strong movement to protect women in general, and so it became to be generally accepted that women had little role to play in the politics of the Third Reich.

The lack of primary sources about Braun, and the dominant memoir literature, especially the popular autobiography by Speer, made it easy to view her as a disappointment of history because she didn’t take part in the decision making leading up to the crimes committed by the Nazis.

The Nazi women said after the war that they had nothing to do with politics at all. Even Ilse Hess, who was an early campaigner for the National Socialists and a member of the party since 1921, said after the war that she had nothing to do with politics—and as a woman had always been passive. But that was not true—and not true for Eva Braun.

‘The History of that Sofa’

Görtemaker puts as little stock in such “tabloid” stories told by the people in Hitler’s immediate surroundings as she does in Döhring’s bed-linen analysis. Instead, the historian assumes that the couple had a normal, intimate relationship, as Braun’s friends and relatives would later report. According to those accounts, when Braun saw a photo depicting British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sitting on the sofa in Hitler’s Munich apartment in 1938, she giggled and said: “If he only knew the history of that sofa!”

“It just didn’t fit into the picture people had of him. Many women in particular didn’t like it, asking how could anyone be good enough for Hitler,” said Görtemaker.

The historian takes the character at the center of her book seriously, and in the material she has analyzed, there is credible evidence that Braun was more to Hitler than an “attractive young thing” in whom the dictator “found, despite or perhaps because of her unassuming and insipid appearance, the sort of relaxation and calm he was seeking,” as Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann later claimed.

In his will, which Hitler drew up in 1938, Braun’s name appeared immediately after that of the Nazi Party. Under the provisions of the will, the party was to pay her a substantial, lifelong pension, to be drawn from his assets. Propaganda minister and Hitler confidant Josef Göbbels noted several times how much the dictator appreciated his mistress (“A clever girl, who means a lot to the Führer”).

She was involved in the plans for the conversion of the Austrian city of Linz into the Führer’s cultural capital, where Hitler, a native of Austria, planned to retire after the Nazi’s final victory. And if he had had his way, Braun would also have survived the demise of the German Reich. He repeatedly asked her to leave Berlin in the final days of the war and fly to Bavaria. But Braun refused. Until the very end, Hitler spoke of her “with great respect and inner devotion,” Albert Speer, Hitler’s crown prince, said in his first statements to the Allies in 1945.

Devoid of Friends?

The notion that Braun meant something to the dictator is not as banal as it may seem at first glance. The perception of her as an inconsequential accoutrement contributed greatly to the image of Hitler as a purely political being. This is the perspective conveyed by best-selling Hitler biographers Joachim C. Fest, Sebastian Haffner and Ian Kershaw.

According to their versions, Hitler lived a life devoid of friends, love and passion — a life that was easy to discard and, therefore, was accompanied by a constant readiness to commit suicide. For Haffner, at least, Hitler’s 1945 suicide in his Berlin bunker was “to be expected.” In a broader sense, the all-or-nothing policies Hitler pursued until total defeat could also be interpreted as a consequence of the dictator’s emotional emptiness.

Görtemaker avoids directly criticizing this interpretation, but it is clear that her account raises the issue, once again, of Hitler’s psyche. Of course, her book also shows how difficult it will be to find answers, because of the order Hitler issued in 1945 to destroy all private records. The order most likely extended to his correspondence with Braun, which has been proven to have once existed.

For this reason, the historian can only draw on a few letters Braun wrote to female friends and relatives, as well as fragments of a 1935 diary, although its authenticity is disputed. She also makes use of statements made by Hitler’s servants, bodyguards, his chauffeur and various senior Nazis in the decades following the war, although she treats this information with a healthy dose of scepticism, and rightfully so. A constant thread throughout the book is Görtemaker’s acknowledgement that there are many questions she cannot answer.

In 1929, Eva Braun was a sweet 17-year-old, naive but ambitious, from a respectable Bavarian Catholic family, and well aware of her attractiveness to men. She had just begun her first job in a photographic shop in Munich’s bohemian quarter. One October day, Adolf Hitler walked into her life.

Later, she told her sister Ilse what happened: “I had climbed up a ladder to reach the files that were kept on the top shelves of the cupboard. At that moment the boss came in, accompanied by a man of a certain age with a funny moustache, a light-coloured English overcoat and a big felt hat in his hand. They both sat down on the other side of the room opposite me. I tried to squint in their direction and sensed that this character was looking at my legs.”

Their future, fateful liaison was already prefigured in that brief encounter. The former convent schoolgirl, enjoying the attention, was only embarrassed because she had just shortened her skirt by hand and “wasn’t sure that I had got the hem even”.

The stranger had indeed noticed the pretty girl on the ladder. Hitler was introduced to her (as “Herr Wolf”, his usual alias) by her boss, Heinrich Hoffmann, who was both his photographer and a friend. The man who became her nemesis — and humanity’s — seems to have made an instant impression: Eva decided there and then to marry him. He was equally determined to remain single and childless. But neither would let the other go.

Eva was not Hitler’s first mistress: that dubious privilege belonged to his niece, Geli Raubal, who had shared his bed while her mother kept house for him. Not only was this an incestuous relationship, but when Geli tried to escape by taking other lovers, Hitler suffocated her with his jealousy. It was a revolting tale of beauty and the beast. 
In 1931, when Geli realised that Hitler would neither marry her nor let her marry anybody else, she shot herself. Foul play was suspected, but nothing was ever proved. His grief seems to have been genuine: her room remained a shrine to the end of his life.

Eva saw her chance to comfort the stricken Führer; within weeks they were lovers. Thereafter, Eva saw off all competition. Unity Mitford appealed to Hitler’s snobbery, and he used her to impress guests in prewar Berlin, but she was too unbalanced and too English to be a serious rival. Magda  Göbbels ruthlessly established herself as Hitler’s hostess when he needed to entertain. Eva was always kept in the background on official occasions. To her chagrin, she never met visiting celebrities such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. .

Despite endless rumours, there is no evidence that Hitler was sexually abnormal, though he was certainly shy and probably a virgin into his thirties. Unlike the affair with his niece, this was not an abusive relationship, but emphatically consensual. Yet it must be significant that all the important women in Hitler’s life committed suicide: beginning with the failed attempt of an early girlfriend, Mimi Reiter, there followed Geli and Unity (who shot herself on the day Britain declared war). In the end, Eva had the satisfaction of seeing her hysterical rival Magda Göbbels kicked out by Hitler minutes before their double suicide.

What is less well known is that, much earlier, Eva twice tried to kill herself: in November 1932, she shot herself in the throat, but missed the jugular. Then, in 1935, she tried again, this time with sleeping pills. Her reason, both times, was Hitler’s neglect. Although he expected her to give up her career and all hope of marriage or children, he might see her only every three or four weeks. While away, he often didn’t write or phone. Just before her second suicide attempt, she wrote: “If only I had never set eyes on him!” Yet however unhappy she was, her devotion was a fact of life. When they finally married, she seems to have considered her life fulfilled for the 36 hours during which she was addressed as “Mrs Hitler” — though her husband still referred to her as “Miss Braun”.

The only thing that gave her life meaning was Hitler. She had him all to herself only in death, but that seems to have been enough.

The Lost Life of Eva Braun
Angela Lambert

Even the beginnings of the affair are relatively murky.

Not a single letter from Hitler addressed to his mistress, or a single letter from Eva Braun addressed to Hitler, has ever been recovered. We just have different accounts from former members of Hitler’s inner circle, like Albert Speer, the adjutant Julius Schaub, and others. The development of their relationship before 1935 remains unclear. (Görtemaker)

Hitler apparently met Braun in 1929, when she was 17, at the “NSDAP Photohaus Hoffmann,” a photography shop, on Amalienstrasse in Munich. The young woman, who looks mischievous in pictures, had previously attended a girls’ school for home economics and office management, and was now working in the photography shop. Her boss Heinrich Hoffmann, who was chosen as Hitler’s official photographer, was one of the early members of the Nazi Party. A hard-drinking anti-Semite, Hoffmann made a fortune with propaganda photos and picture books, including a book titled The Hitler Nobody Knows.

How Political Was Eva Braun?

For Hitler, a 40-year-old opposition politician at the time, there were many opportunities to pay a visit to Hoffmann’s shop. The Nazi Party’s national office was around the corner, as were the editorial offices of the party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter and, of course, Hitler’s favorite restaurant, the Osteria Bavaria.

If what Hoffmann’s daughter later said is true, the party leader charmed the teenager with snide Viennese charm:

May I invite you to the opera, Miss Eva? You see, I am always surrounded by men, and so I can appreciate my good fortune when I find myself in the company of a woman. Dates at the cinema and restaurants followed.
When he was with women he never showed the slightest inclination toward womanizing. The naïve Braun, who fantasized about the world of films and loved fashion magazines, succumbed to the strong suggestive powers that even neutral observers ascribed to Hitler. Soon after meeting Braun, the Nazi leader apparently issued orders to look into whether the Braun family had any Jewish ancestors.

No one knows when the banter turned into a relationship. In 1932, Braun tried to commit suicide with her father’s gun, which some contemporaries suspected was an attempt to pressure Hitler to pay more attention to her. The Nazi leader had his eye on the chancellorship, and it would have been the second suicide by a young woman that could have been tied to Hitler. His niece, Geli Rauball, shot herself to death, presumably to escape the attentions of her jealous uncle.  After Braun’s recovery, Hitler became more committed to her and by the end of 1932 they had become lovers. She often stayed overnight at his Munich apartment when he was in town.

The Back of the Group

Eva Braun seemed to have suffered from a lack of attention or recognition from Hitler. The World War I veteran, who had been a failure in civilian life, continued to live a Bohemian existence after coming to power in 1933. He was often absent for days from the business of running the government in Berlin. He spent his time strolling through Munich, going to the opera and the theater with his shady entourage and visiting construction sites, which Hitler, a lover of architecture, felt were important. In good weather, the group would drive out to the countryside, and Braun often went along on these outings.

Of course, she was required to travel in a separate compartment with the secretaries, and during the country walks her place was at the back of the group. On occasion, Hitler would openly hand her an envelope filled with cash, which reminded Speer of “American gangster films.”

On 1 April, 1935, she complained to her diary about a recent dinner at a hotel: “I sat near him for three hours and could not exchange a single word. By way of goodbye he handed me, as he has done before, an envelope with money in it. It would have been much nicer if he had enclosed a greeting or a loving word.”  (Lambert)

According to a fragment of her diary and the account of biographer Nerin Gun, Braun’s second suicide attempt occurred in May 1935. She took an overdose of sleeping pills when Hitler failed to make time for her in his life Hitler provided Eva and her sister with a three-bedroom apartment in Munich that August, and the next year the sisters were provided with a villa in Bogenhausen.

Braun attended the Nuremberg Rally for the first time in 1935, as a member of Hoffman’s staff. Hitler’s half-sister, Angela Raubal (the dead Geli’s mother), took exception to her presence there, and was later dismissed from her position as housekeeper at his house in Berchtesgaden. Researchers are unable to ascertain if her dislike for Braun was the only reason for her departure, but other members of Hitler’s entourage saw Braun as untouchable from then on.

By 1936, Braun was at Hitler’s household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden whenever he was in residence there, but she lived mostly in Munich. Braun also had her own apartment at the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin, completed to a design by Albert Speer.

She grew into the role of hostess at the Berghof, where Hitler would often spend weeks at a time, even during the war. Her official title was “private secretary.” Braun had her own private quarters at his Berghof mountain retreat, where she whiled away the time between his visits with reading, enjoying the outdoors and partying. “When he was there they led what can be called a bohemian existence,” said Görtemaker. Of course, the dictator continued to keep the relationship out of the public eye.

Detrimental to his Image

Despite his efforts to conceal the relationship, the Allied press eventually learned that Hitler had a girlfriend named Braun, and Time reported the story in 1939. But it remained a secret in Germany, and Hitler was probably correct in his assumption that going public with the love affair would have been detrimental to his image as Führer.

Reinhard Spitzy, a staunch Nazi and employee of the former German ambassador to London, Joachim Ribbentrop, was astonished when a young woman with whom he was unfamiliar suddenly interrupted a conversation between Ribbentrop and Hitler at the Berghof, and said that the men should “finally” come to dinner. A colleague explained Braun’s position to Spitzy, who was appalled. He had imagined Hitler as an “ascetic, above sex and passion.” Instead, his hero was no different from anyone else.

Görtemaker said recognising that Hitler had a “normal relationship” was a vital part of the process of seeing him as a recognisable product of German society in the first half of the 20th century.

He is mostly portrayed as incapable of having a private life, He said he couldn’t marry because he was married to Germany.

The German public was never meant to know of Braun’s existence and marriage was out of the question until the very end. He told Speer:

It’s just like an actor when he marries. For the women who have worshipped him, he is no longer their idol in the same way.

Braun had a strong interest in photography and making films, and she also liked to be photographed. The photo albums and films of her that have survived depict her as a carefree, athletic and extroverted woman, who sometimes posed in her bathing suit and even filmed her sister when she went swimming in the nude. After the war, a former member of the SS complained that she did not conform to the “ideal of a German girl.” According to the SS officer, Braun would start “making the initial preparations for all kinds of amusements” — parties at the mountain hideaway — shortly after Hitler’s limousine had pulled away from the Berghof.

Such statements conform to the image of an apolitical entourage that everyone involved — from lowly servants to luminaries such as Albert Speer — described after the war, and into which Braun seemed to have integrated herself seamlessly. There was said to be a rule at the Berghof: that politics was not to be discussed in the presence of women. Instead, the topics of discussion were apparently fashion, dog breeding and operettas.

In 1943, shortly after Germany had fully transitioned to a total war economy. this meant , among other things, a potential ban on women’s cosmetics and luxuries. According to Speer’s memoirs, Braun approached Hitler in “high indignation”; Hitler instructed Speer, who was armaments minister at the time, to quietly arrange for production of women’s cosmetics and luxuries to cease rather than instituting an outright ban.

Pure Politics

Biographer Görtemaker doesn’t have any trouble introducing arguments against the exclusiveness of this version. A look into Braun’s photo albums, which include pictures she took on August 23, 1939, is enough to support this notion. On that day Ribbentrop, who had been promoted to foreign minister by then, was in negotiations with Stalin in Moscow over the partition of Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler wanted the alliance so that he could invade Poland. The photos show how tense and visibly restless he was while waiting for the outcome of Ribbentrop’s talks with Stalin. It was pure politics, and Braun was there.

Braun became part of the Nazi propaganda machinery. She served not just as decoration; she took pictures and films portraying Hitler at his Berghof retreat as a likeable caring person and family man, fond of children. But he wasn’t a family man. And she sold these so-called private pictures to Heinrich Hoffmann, and in doing so earned a lot of money—she got 20,000 marks for one of her [home] movies. She was very rich. It cannot be said how many pictures published by Hoffmann in his famous picture books about the private life of the Führer were actually taken by Eva Braun. (Görtemaker)

Görtemaker also believes that the woman at his side “shared Hitler’s worldview and political opinions uncritically.” The circumstances alone suggest that this was the case. Braun spent almost half of her 33 years in the company of fanatical Nazis.

The Making of Legends

After learning about the failed 20 July plot to kill Hitler, Braun wrote to him, “From our first meeting I swore to follow you anywhere even unto death. I live only for your love”.

Braun was faithful unto death, and it was this unconditional loyalty that Hitler presumably valued in her above all else. “Only Miss Braun and my German Shepherd are loyal to me and belong to me,” he is believed to have said near the end of the war.

At that point, Braun had already decided to remain with the Führer. She even had someone teach her how to use a pistol when the Red Army had already advanced into Berlin. “We are fighting to the end here,” she wrote from the Führer’s bunker to her closest friend on April 22. “I will die as I have lived. It will not be difficult for me.”

According to the records of the Berchtesgaden District Court, Eva Braun died on April 30, 1945, at 3:28 p.m., after biting into a capsule of potassium cyanide. Hitler followed her two minutes later.

The making of legends could begin…..


Soviet artillery fire makes the first direct hits on the Chancellery buildings and grounds directly above the Fuehrerbunker. April 24, 1945: Speer talks with Hitler for the last time in the Fuehrerbunker. He supposedly confesses to his Fuehrer that he has been countermanding his orders for scorched earth. However, the only account we have to support this contention is Speers own. There is some reason to believe that at least a portion of the story is no more than wishful thinking on Speer’s part. However, the meeting certainly is contentious as Guderian will later relate that Hitler,

after this meeting, declares: ‘I refuse to see anyone alone anymore ….(Speer) always has something unpleasant to say to me. I can’t bear that.’ (Shirer, Sereny)

April 24, 1945:

German General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling, commander of the 56th Panzer Corps, arrives at the Fuehrerbunker. Communications with Weidling had been cut off since the 20th, and he had been sentenced to death on the 22nd as a deserter. He has traveled to Berlin to plead his innocence to his Fuehrer, who, impressed by the effort, soon gives him a new post. (Kershaw) April 24, 1945:

Albert Speer and Walter Frentz take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. April 24, 1945: Speer meets with Himmler, and fills him in on the events in Berlin and of Goering’s fall. Himmler maintains that Goering’s fall is temporary: Goering is going to be the successor now. We’ve long had an understanding that I would be his Premier. Even without Hitler, I can make him Head-of-State ….

You know what he’s like—naturally, I’ll be the one to make the decisions. I’ve already been in touch with various persons I mean to take into my Cabinet. Keitel is coming to see me shortly …. Europe cannot manage without me in the future, either. It will go on needing me as Minister of Police.

After I’ve spent an hour with Eisenhower, he’ll appreciate that fact.

They’ll soon realize that they’re dependant on me—or they’ll have a hopeless chaos on their hands. After telling Speer of his recent negotiations with Swedish Red Cross envoy Bernadotte, Himmler hints that there may be a place for Speer in his cabinet.

Speer will later write that he countered this by offering the Reichsfuehrer SS the use of Speer’s own private plane for the purpose of flying to Berlin to see Hitler one last time. Himmler declines: ‘Now I must prepare my new government.

And besides, my person is too important for the future of Germany for me to risk the flight.’ (Speer, Read) From Triumph and Tragedy by Winston Churchill: In the early hours of April 25 a telegram arrived in London from Sir Victor Mallet, British Minister to Sweden.

He reported that at 11 PM on April 24

he and his American colleague, Mr. Herschel Johnson, had been asked to call on the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Boheman.

The purpose of the interview was to meet Count Bernadotte (above), who had an urgent mission. Bernadotte told him that Himmler was on the Eastern Front, and had asked to meet him urgently in Northern Germany.

Bernadotte suggested Luebeck, and they had met the previous evening. Himmler, though tired and admitting Germany was finished, was still calm and coherent.

He said that Hitler is so desperately ill that he might be dead already, and in any case would be so within the next few days. Himmler stated that while the Fuehrer was still active he would not have been able to do what he now proposed,

but as Hitler was finished he could act with full authority. He then asked if the Swedish Government would arrange for him to meet General Eisenhower and capitulate on the whole Western Front. Bernadotte said there was no need for this as he could simply order his troops to surrender, and in any case

he would not forward the request unless Norway and Denmark were included in the capitulation. If this were done there might be some point to a meeting,

because special arrangements might be necessary as to how and to whom the Germans there were to lay down their arms.

Himmler thereupon said he was prepared to order the German forces in Denmark and Norway to surrender to either British, American, or Swedish troops. When asked what he proposed to do if the Western Allies refused his offer,

Himmler replied that he would take command of the Eastern Front and die in battle. Himmler said he hoped that the Western Allies rather than the Russians would be the first to enter Mecklenberg, in order to save the civilian population.

Count Bernadotte ended by saying that General Schellenberg was now in Flensburg, near the Danish border, eagerly waiting for news, and could make sure than any message would reach Himmler immediately.

Both Ministers remarked that Himmler’s refusal to surrender on the Eastern Front looked like a last attempt to make trouble between the Western Allies and Russia.

Obviously the Nazis would have to surrender to all the Allies simultaneously. The Swedish Minister admitted this might be so, but pointed out that if the troops on the whole of the Western Front and in Norway and Denmark laid down their arms it would be a great help for all the Allies,

including Russia, and would lead to an early and total capitulation. In any case, he thought that Bernadotte’s information should be passed to the British and American Governments.

As far as his own government were concerned, we were completely at liberty to tell the Soviets, as the Swedes would in no way be, or thought to be, promoting discord between the Allies.

The only reason that the Swedish Government could not inform the Soviets direct was that Himmler had stipulated that his information was exclusively for the Western Powers.

April 25, 1945

Churchill to Truman: You will no doubt have received some hours ago the report from Stockholm by your Ambassador on the Bernadotte-Himmler talks. I called the War Cabinet together at once, and they approved the immediately following telegram, which we are sending to Marshal Stalin and repeating through the usual channels to you.

We hope you will find it possible to telegraph to Marshal Stalin and to us in the same sense.

As Himmler is evidently speaking for the German State, as much as anybody can, the reply that should be sent him through the Swedish Government is in principle a matter for the triple Powers, since no one of us can enter into separate negotiations.

This fact however in no way abrogates General Eisenhower’s or Field-Marshal Alexander’s authority to accept local surrenders as they occur. (Churchill)

April 25, 1945

Churchill to the British Cabinet: I spoke to President Truman (by telephone) at 8:10 PM. He knew nothing of what had happened at Stockholm, except that when I asked to speak to him he inquired what it was about, and I told him about the important message from Stockholm.

He had not received any report from the American Ambassador there. I therefore read him the text of Mallet’s telegram. I also told him we were convinced the surrender should be unconditional and simultaneous to the three major Powers. He expressed strong agreement with this … (Churchill)

April 25, 1945

Churchill to Stalin: The President of the United States has the news also.

There can be no question, as far as His Majesty’s Government is concerned, of anything less than unconditional surrender simultaneously to the three major Powers.

We consider Himmler should be told that German forces, either as individuals or in units, should everywhere surrender themselves to the Allied troops or representatives on the spot.

Until this happens the attack of the Allies upon them on all sides and in all theaters where resistance continues will be prosecuted with the utmost vigor. (Churchill)

April 25, 1945

Stalin to Churchill: I consider your proposal to present to Himmler a demand for unconditional surrender on all fronts, including the Soviet front,

the only correct one. Knowing you, I had no doubt that you would act in this way. I beg you to act in the sense of your proposal, and the Red Army will maintain its pressure on Berlin in the interests of our common cause. (Churchill)

April 25, 1945:

German General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling, who had earlier been sentenced to be executed by firing squad, is appointed commander of the Berlin Defense Area. Facing an advance by two and a half million battle-hardened Soviet soldiers, he has 44,600 German soldiers, 42,500 old and under-armed Volkssturm ‘troops,’ and 2,700 Hitler Youth with which to oppose them. (Kershaw) April 25, 1945

Elbe Day: US and Soviet forces link up at Torgau, Germany, on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatizes the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defenses. Arrangements are made for the formal

‘Handshake of Torgau’ between Robertson and Silvashko in front of photographers the following day. Statements are released simultaneously in London, Moscow, and Washington in the evening reaffirming the determination of the three Allied powers to complete the destruction of the Third Reich.

April 25, 1945:

Hitler summons Heinz Linge – who serves as his valet, as well as the chief of his personal bodyguard – to give him a set of precise instructions. He gives him the task of carrying his body from the Bunker, after he has taken his own life, and cremating it. “No one must see or recognize me after death,” he emphasizes. “

After seeing to the burning, go back to my room and collect everything I could be remembered by after death. Take everything—uniforms, papers, everything I’ve used—anything that people could say belonged to the Fuehrer.

Take it outside and burn it.” He allows for only one of his personal possessions to survive him; his portrait of Frederick the Great by Anton Graff. Frederick is to be spirited out of Berlin by Hitler’s personal pilot, Hans Baur. (Payne)

April 25, 1945:

Soviet forces completely surround Berlin as the US Army blows the swastika from the top of the Zeppelintribuene.

The last B-17 attack against Nazi Germany occurs. Nazi occupation army leaves Milan after a partisan insurrection; the liberation of Italy. Delegates from some 50 countries meet in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

April 25, 1945

Goebbels Diary: Hitler said: ‘I’d regard it as a thousand times more cowardly to commit suicide on the Obersalzberg than to stand and fall here. They shouldn’t say: ‘You, as the Fuehrer …

‘ I’m only the Fuehrer as long as I can lead. And I can’t lead through sitting somewhere on a mountain, but have to have authority over armies that obey. Let me win a victory here, however difficult and tough, then I’ve a right again to do away with the sluggish elements who are constantly causing an obstruction.

Then I’ll work with the generals who’ve proved themselves … Only here can I attain a success, and even if it’s only a moral one, it’s at least the possibility of saving face and winning time. …

Only through a heroic attitude can we survive this hardest of times… It’s the only chance to restore personal reputation … if we leave the world stage in disgrace, we’ll have lived for nothing. Whether you continue your life a bit longer or not is completely immaterial.

Rather end the struggle with honor than continue in shame and dishonor a few months or years longer … (Goebbels adds to his Fuehrer’s thoughts:) If all goes well, then it’s in any case good. If things don’t go well and the Fuehrer finds in Berlin an honorable death and Europe were to become bolshevized,

then in five years at the latest the Fuehrer would be a legendary personality and National Socialism would have attained mythical status (ein Mythos) …

(Kershaw) April 26, 1945: After his villa is bombed by the RAF, Goering convinces Bernhard Frank (above) —

the leader of the SS squad holding him under house arrest—that it would be better if they all moved to Goering’s castle in Mauterndorf. Early this morning, Goering, Lammers, Koller, and their SS guard leave for the castle. (Read)

April 26, 1945:

As the party makes their way to Goering’s castle in Mauterndorf, an announcement is made on German radio: Reich Marshal Hermann Goering has been taken ill with his long-standing chronic heart condition, which has now entered an acute stage.

At a time when the efforts of all forces are required, he has therefore requested to be relieved of his command of the Luftwaffe and all duties connected thereto.

The Fuehrer has granted this request. The Fuehrer has appointed Colonel-General Ritter von Greim as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe while simultaneously promoting him to Field Marshal.

April 26, 1945:

In the evening a small plane containing famed test pilot Hanna Reitsch and Luftwaffe General Ritter von Greim lands on an improvised air strip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate following a daring flight in which Greim had been wounded in the foot by Soviet ground fire.

Reitsch will later write that Hitler’s ‘head drooped heavily on his shoulders, and a continual twitching affected both his arms.

His eyes glassy and remote, he greets us with an expressionless voice.’ The wounded Greim – who could just as well have been appointed by phone – is informed personally by Hitler that he is now a Field-Marshal and Goering’s successor.

Hitler tells them of Goering’s ‘treachery': ‘Nothing is spared me! Nothing! Every disillusion, every betrayal, dishonor, treason has been heaped upon me. I have had Goering placed under immediate arrest, stripped him of all his offices, expelled him from every party organization …’

Hitler abruptly ends the meeting and leaves the room. Note: Payne places this meeting on the 24th, while Kershaw maintains that it occurred on the 26th. (Kershaw, Payne) April 26, 1945 Churchill to Stalin: This is about ‘Crossword.’

The German envoys, with whom all contact was broken by us some days ago, have now arrived again on the Lake of Lucerne. They claim to have full powers to surrender the Army in Italy. Field-Marshal Alexander is therefore being told that he is free to permit these envoys to come to AFHQ in Italy.

This they can easily do by going into France and being picked up by our aircraft from there. Will you please send Russian representatives forthwith to Field-Marshal Alexander’s headquarters.

Field-Marshal Alexander is free to accept the unconditional surrender of the considerable enemy army on his front, but all political issues are reserved to the three Governments. (Churchill) April 26, 1945:

Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during WW2, is arrested on treason charges. The Germans evacuate the last survivors from Stutthof by sea to Luebeck. Hundreds die during the voyage.

April 27, 1945:

OSS chief Allen Dulles is ordered by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff to resume negotiations with German ‘peace’ emissaries. Note: Waller says the 26th, Mosley the 27th. (Mosley, Waller)

April 27, 1945:

An early morning situation conference in the Fuehrerbunker concentrates on Wenck’s three battalion relief force just arriving at Potsdam. Giving up on hope that Busse’s 9th Army can link up with Wenck,

there still remains Holste’s forces north-west of Berlin. Goebbels declares: “May God let Wenck come! A dreadful situation crosses my mind. Wenck is located at Potsdam, and here the Soviets are pressing on Potsdamer Platz!”

Hitler replies: “And I’m not in Potsdam, but in Potsdamer Platz.” One of the generals present voices reassurances: “Wenck will get here, Mein Fuehrer! It’s only a question of whether he can do it alone.” Hitler opines: “You’ve got to imagine. That’ll spread like wildfire through the whole of Berlin when it’s known: a German army has broken through in the west and established contact with the Citadel (Festung).” (Kershaw)

April 27, 1945:

A Fuehrerbunker wedding celebration occurs as one of the drivers marries Liesl Ostertag, one of the kitchen maids. A reception is held in Hitler’s apartment for the couple (who had earlier offered to smuggle the Goebbels children out of the Bunker, only to be refused by Magda). (Sereny, Sigmund)

April 27, 1945:

The Voelkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceases publication.

April 27, 1945:

Goebbels asks his Fuehrer—while reminiscing about the good old days in the presence of a stenographer—why he had changed his mind in 1932 and decided to abandon his pursuit of the German Presidency for that of Chancellor. Hitler: I was weaving my way from one compromise to another. This lasted until the death of Hindenburg. Previously, I thought I would expose ruthlessly people like (General) Hammerstein, Schleicher, and the whole clique around that dung heap. But after eighteen months this intention gradually became less firm.

This was the time of the great work of construction. Otherwise, thousands would have been liquidated. Instead, we assimilated them. Goebbels: It occurs to me that during March (1933), so many of these will-o-the-wisps entered the Party.

There was a real frenzy for it. Because we were unwilling to take in these wretches, they asked us whether we had no desire for reconciliation. It would have been more correct if we had closed the Party and said: No more may enter. Hitler:

We could have done that if I had come to power as a result of a definite expression of the popular will or through a coup d’etat. Afterward, of course, one repents of being so goodhearted. Goebbels: All the Austrian Gauleiters said at the time that there was a flaw in the revolution.

It would have been much better if Vienna had resisted, and we could have shot the whole place to hell.” Following similar self-serving comments—all lamenting the many disadvantages being ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ can bring to an honest fellow—Goebbels prompts his Fuehrer further, asking him why he has chosen to remain in Berlin.

Hitler: I remain for the reason that I thereby have a greater moral right to act against weakness. Otherwise I do not have the moral right. I cannot continually threaten others if I myself run away from the capital of the Reich at the critical hour.

We must introduce throughout the Wehrmacht a certain code of honor. A basic principle, always followed in the navy, must be taken over by the Party and be made binding on every member. In this city I have the right to give orders: now I must obey the commands of fate. Even if I could save myself, I would not.

The captain goes down with his ship. (Payne) April 27, 1945 Churchill to Stalin: I am extremely pleased to know that you had no doubt how I would act, and always will act, towards your glorious country and yourself. British and I am sure American action on this matter will go forward on the lines you approve, and we all three will continually keep each other fully informed. (Churchill) April 28, 1945: Allied occupation forces set up a provisional occupation government in Austria as the first step towards re-establishing the Austrian republic. The bridge on the Potsdamerstrasse is seized.

April 28, 1945:

The Allies reject peace offers made by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, insisting on nothing less than unconditional surrender on all fronts. The International Red Cross, by arrangement with Himmler, begins the transport of 150 Jewish women from Ravensbrueck to Sweden; the first of 3,500 Jewish and 3,500 non-Jewish women to be transferred to safety in the last ten days of the war.

April 28, 1945:

Magda Goebbels (above, with family) pens a farewell letter to her 24 year old son from her first marriage, Harald Quandt (far right), a POW held in North Africa; the only one of her children who will survive her: My beloved son! By now we have been in the Fuehrerbunker for six days already—daddy, your six little siblings and I, for the sake of giving our national socialistic lives the only possible honorable end …

You shall know that I stayed here against daddy’s will, and that even on last Sunday the Fuehrer wanted to help me to get out. You know your mother—we have the same blood, for me there was no wavering. Our glorious idea is ruined and with it everything beautiful and marvelous that I have known in my life.

The world that comes after the Fuehrer and national socialism is not any longer worth living in and therefore I took the children with me, for they are too good for the life that would follow, and a merciful God will understand me when I will give them the salvation … The children are wonderful …

there never is a word of complaint nor crying. The impacts are shaking the bunker. The elder kids cover the younger ones, their presence is a blessing and they are making the Fuehrer smile once in a while.

May God help that I have the strength to perform the last and hardest. We only have one goal left: loyalty to the Fuehrer even in death. Harald, my dear son—I want to give you what I learned in life: be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country … Be proud of us and try to keep us in dear memory …

April 28, 1945:

On this Saturday night, the bodies of Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are brought to Milan in a truck and dumped on the town square. The next day they will strung up by the heels from lampposts as Italian mobs celebrate by desecrating their corpses. Italian guerrillas had captured them while they were trying to escape to Switzerland and executed after a brief trial the previous day.

April 28, 1945:

Doenitz, believing that Himmler will soon succeed Hitler, contacts the SS leader and assures him that he has his support. Doenitz asks the Reichsfuehrer SS about rumors of Himmler’s negotiations of surrender terms with the West. Himmler denies that there is anything to the rumors. (Shirer) From Himmler by Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel: While Schellenberg was during the morning of 28 April successfully calming Himmler with the aid of his favorite astrologer,

the Allied press was pouring out the news of the Reichsfuehrer’s independent attempt at negotiations. Completely unaware of this, Himmler attended a military conference in Rheinsberg convened by Keitel. At this meeting Himmler presided, which showed that he regarded himself as Hitler’s deputy and successor. In the late afternoon Bernadotte heard the news of the negotiations on the clandestine radio, and realized that Himmler was finished as a negotiator. Doenitz also heard the report and telephoned inquiries to Himmler, who immediately denied the story as it had been put in the broadcast, but added that he had no intention of issuing any public statement himself. According to Schellenberg, he then spent part of the day deciding how best to order the evacuation of German troops from Norway and Denmark.

It was not until nine o’clock that night that a monitor report on a broadcast put out by the BBC gave Himmler away to the Fuehrer in the bowels of the Bunker. According to one observer, Hitler’s ‘color rose to a heated red, and his face became virtually unrecognizable.’ Then he began to rage at this treacherous betrayal by the man he had trusted most of all. The men and women hemmed in the Bunker were convulsed with emotion, and ‘everyone looked to their poison.’

April 28, 1945:

Sometime between 7 and 9 PM, a BBC report picked up in the Fuehrerbunker announces that Himmler has just offered to surrender Germany unconditionally to the Allies.

Rochus Misch (above), the switchboard officer on duty in the Fuehrerbunker, will later tell Gitta Sereny: He (Hitler) was sitting on that bench outside my switchboard room with a puppy in his lap when Lorenz, whom I heard arrive at a run, handed him the paper on which he had jotted down the radio dispatch. Hitler’s face went completely white, almost ashen.

‘My God,’ I thought, ‘he is going to faint.’ He slumped forward holding his head with his hands. The puppy plumped to the ground – silly how one remembers such trifles, but I can still here that soft sound. Enraged at Himmler’s duplicity, Hitler rants uncontrollably about this new betrayal, then closets himself in a conference room with Bormann and Goebbels.

He first orders that Otto Hermann Fegelein, Himmler’s man at the Bunker, be arrested. He then orders Field Marshal von Greim and Hanna Reitsch to fly to Doenitz’s headquarters at Ploen and arrest Himmler. ‘A traitor must never succeed me as Fuehrer,’ he screams.

‘You must get out (of Berlin) to make sure he doesn’t.’ (Read, Sereny) April 28, 1945: SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein–the brother-in-law of Eva Braun and also Himmler’s liaison officer in the bunker–is arrested in civilian clothes while preparing to leave the country.

He is brought back to Hitler’s bunker, but is temporarily saved by Eva’s pleas for mercy on behalf of her pregnant sister. The reprieve proves short-lived as Hitler soon becomes convinced that Fegelein’s escape attempt is part of Himmler’s treachery.

Within an hour Fegelein is tried, sentenced to death, taken up to the Reich Chancellery Garden, and executed with a bullet in the back of his head. (Read)

April 28, 1945:

Robert Ritter von Greim, and Hanna Reitsch take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. April 28, 1945: Martin Bormann wires Admiral Doenitz: “Reich Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) a heap of rubble.” He informs Keitel that the foreign press is reporting fresh acts of treason and ‘that without exception Schoerner,

Wenck and the others must give evidence of their loyalty by the quickest relief of the Fuehrer. April 29, 1945: Around 2:00 AM, Hitler sends for a sleeping Traudl Junge, one of his personal secretaries, who will later tell Gitta Sereny:

I quickly washed my face and went down to his study. A table in the corner had been laid as if for a party—glasses, small plates, cutlery—but I didn’t know for what occasion. He was very quiet when I came in, but courteous as ever. He took my hand. Was I all right? he asked. Had I had a rest? I said I had, and he took me to

the large conference room and told me to make myself comfortable, what he had to dictate would take some time, and would have to be transcribed as quickly as possible afterwards. Couriers would be waiting to take it out. (Sereny)

April 29, 1945:

Hitler dictates his last Political Testament to Traudl Junge: …I left no doubt about the fact that if the peoples of Europe were again only regarded as so many packages of stock shares by these international money and finance conspirators, then that race, too, which is the truly guilty party in this murderous struggle would also have to be held to account: the Jews!

I further left no doubt that this time we would not permit millions of European children of Aryan descent to die of hunger, nor millions of grown-up men to suffer death, nor hundreds of thousands of women and children to be burned and bombed to death in their cities, without truly guilty party having to atone for its guilt, even if through more humane means…

April 29, 1945:

Hitler continues dictating as Traudl Junge takes down his Last Will and personal Testament: As I did not consider that I could take responsibility, during the years of struggle, of contracting a marriage, I have now decided, before the closing of my earthly career, to take as my wife that girl who, after many years of faithful friendship, entered, of her own free will, the practically besieged town in order to share her destiny with me.

At her own desire she goes as my wife with me into death. It will compensate us for what we both lost through my work in the service of my people. What I possess belongs—

in so far as it has any value—to the Party. Should this no longer exist, to the State; should the State also be destroyed, no further decision of mine is necessary. My pictures, in the collections which I have bought in the course of years, have never been collected for private purposes, but only for the extension of a gallery in my home town of Linz on Donau.

It is my most sincere wish that this bequest may be duly executed. I nominate as my Executor my most faithful Party comrade, Martin Bormann. He is given full legal authority to make all decisions.

He is permitted to take out everything that has a sentimental value or is necessary for the maintenance of a modest simple life, for my brothers and sisters, also above all for the mother of my wife and my faithful co-workers who are well known to him, principally my old Secretaries Frau Winter etc. who have for many years aided me by their work.

I myself and my wife—in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation—choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years’ service to my people.

April 29, 1945:

Traudl Junge begins to type up Hitler’s official will and testament. Junge will later tell Gitta Sereny: You know, here we were, all of us doomed, I thought—the whole country doomed—and here, in what he was dictating to me there was not one word of compassion or regret, only awful, awful, anger. I remember thinking,

‘My God, he hasn’t learned anything. It’s all just the same’ … It was only when he dictated his private will, in which he explained his decision to marry, that I found out …

It didn’t take me long (to type up). There were ten pages of the Political Testament and just three for the private one. It would have gone even faster if Goebbels hadn’t come in the middle.

Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels appears in her office, weeping like a small child. Hitler has ordered him to leave Berlin, he wails. But I don’t want to run away and leave the Fuehrer. I am the Gauleiter of Berlin and my place is here.

If the Fuehrer dies, my life has no meaning. He even said to me, ‘Goebbels, I didn’t expect this from you! You refuse to obey my last orders!’ (Sereny, Read)

April 29, 1945:

The distraught Goebbels then dictates his own political testament, as an appendix to Hitler’s. The Fuehrer had ordered me to leave Berlin … and take part as a leading member in the government appointed by him.

For the first time in my life, I must categorically refuse to obey an order of the Fuehrer. My wife and children join me in this refusal. Apart from the fact that feelings of humanity and personal loyalty forbid us to abandon the Fuehrer in his hour of greatest need, I would otherwise appear for the rest of my life as a dishonorable traitor and a common scoundrel and would lose my self-respect as well as the respect of my fellow citizens …

In the nightmare of treason which surrounds the Fuehrer in these most critical days of the war, there must be someone at least who will stay with him unconditionally until death …

I believe I am thereby doing the best service to the future of the German people. In the hard times to come, examples will be more important than men ….

For this reason, together with my wife, and on behalf of my children, who are too young to be able to speak for themselves and who, if they were old enough, would unreservedly agree with this decision, I express my unalterable resolution not to leave the Reich capital, even if it falls,

but rather, at the side of the Fuehrer, to end a life that for me personally will have no further value if I cannot spend it at the service of the Fuehrer and at his side.

April 29, 1945:

Hitler and Eva Braun exchange marriage vows. A minor official named Walter Wagner—pulled from his Volkssturm unit on the front lines—conducts the ceremony. Goebbels is witness for Hitler and Bormann for Eva. Only eight guests are allowed to attend: Bormann, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, Gerda Christian, Chief Adjutant Bergdorf, General Krebs, Arthur Axmann, head of the Hitler Youth, and Fraulein Manzialy,

Hitler’s cook. The rest of the staff wait outside to congratulate the newly wedded couple as the phonograph is wound up and the one record remaining in the Bunker,

‘Red Roses,’ is set to spinning. Junge will later tell Gitta Sereny: I joined the party in the study (after typing the last testaments). I sat down with them around the table and ate little sandwiches and drank champagne as they apparently had been doing for quite awhile. Nobody said anything.

We couldn’t very well toast their future. Walter Wagner fades back into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Note: One wonders if Wagner was given a last glass of bubbly before being sent back to the front. (Shirer, Payne, Sereny)

April 29, 1945:

At 4 AM, Hitler officially signs the last will and political testament documents prepared by Traudl Junge. Signed as witnesses: Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann, Colonel Nicholaus von Below. Below will write later: They called me to the map room at 4 AM … I was surprised when Hitler asked me to witness his private will, together with Goebbels and Bormann.

But I also read the Political Testament and found his self-description really depressing and his repeated anti-Semitic invectives embarrassing ..

. April 29, 1945 C

Churchill to Stalin: I have just received a telegram from Field-Marshal Alexander that after a meeting at which your officers were present the Germans accepted the terms of unconditional surrender presented to them and are sending the material clauses of the instrument of surrender to General von Vietinghoff, with the request to name the date and hour at which conclusion of hostilities can be made effective.

It looks therefore as if the entire German forces south of the Alps will almost immediately surrender. (Churchill)

April 29, 1945

Churchill to Stalin: We are all shocked that you should think we would favor a Polish Government hostile to the Soviet Union. This is the opposite of our policy. But it was on account of Poland that the British went to war with Germany in 1939.

We saw in the Nazi treatment of Poland a symbol of Hitler’s vile and wicked lust of conquest and subjugation, and his invasion of Poland was the spark that fired the mine.

The British people do not, as is sometimes thought, go to war for calculation, but for sentiment. They had a feeling which grew up in years that with all Hitler’s encroachments and doctrine he was a danger to our country and to the liberties which we prize in Europe, and when after Munich he broke his word so shamefully about Czechoslovakia even the extremely peace-loving Chamberlain gave our guarantee against Hitler to Poland. When that guarantee was invoked by the German invasion of Poland the whole nation went to war with Hitler, unprepared as we were. There was a flame in the hearts of men like that which swept your people in the noble defense of their country from a treacherous, brutal, and at one time it almost seemed, overwhelming German attack. This British flame burns still among all classes and parties in this Island, and in its self-governing Dominions, and they can never feel this war will have ended rightly unless Poland has a fair deal in the full sense of sovereignty, independence, and freedom, on the basis of friendship with Russia.

It was on this that I thought we had agreed at Yalta. There is not much comfort in looking into a future where you and the countries you dominate, plus the Communist Parties in many other States, are all drawn up on one side, and those who rally to the English-speaking nations and their associates, or Dominions on the other. It is quite obvious that their quarrel would tear the world to pieces and that all of us leading men on either side who had anything to do with that would be shamed before history. (Churchill) April 29, 1945: An unconditional surrender of the German armies in Italy is signed at Caserta; Venice and Mestre are captured by the Allies.

April 29, 1945:

Dachau is liberated by the US 45th Infantry Division. Some 20-30 SS men are said to have been captured. Eyewitnesses will later relate that 34 of the 200 guards captured are murdered by the Americans after surrendering.

The camp inmates tear apart 15-20 informers and kill all the Capos, who are described for the most part as common German criminals. (Waller)

April 29, 1945:

At noon, three copies of Hitler’s the last will and political testament documents are sent by courier to Doenitz, General Schoerner, and the Brown House in Munich, respectively. (Payne) From Hitler: Nemesis 1936-1945 by Ian Kershaw: The mood in the bunker now sank to zero-level. Despair was now written on everyone’s face. All knew it was only a matter of hours before Hitler killed himself, and wondered what the future held for them after his death.

There was much talk of the best methods of committing suicide. Secretaries, adjutants, and any others who wanted them had by now been given the brass-cased ampoules containing prussic acid supplied by Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, the SS surgeon who had joined the ‘court’ the previous October.

Hitler’s paranoia stretched now to doubts about the capsules. He had shown his Alsatian bitch Blondi more affection in recent years than any human being, probably including even Eva Braun. Now, as the end approached, he had the poison tested on Blondi. Professor Werner Haase (above) was summoned from his duties in the nearby public air-raid shelter beneath the new Reich Chancellery building nearby.

Shortly before the afternoon briefing on 29 April, aided by Hitler’s dog attendant, Sergeant Fritz Tornow, he forced open the dogs jaws and crushed the prussic acid capsule with a pair of pliers. The dog slumped in an instant motionless to the ground. Hitler was not present.

However, he entered the room immediately afterwards. He glanced for a few seconds at the dead dog. Then, his face like a mask, he left without saying anything and shut himself in his room.

April 29, 1945:

At the afternoon situation conference, General Burgdorf requests that Hitler’s Air Force adjutant, Colonel Nicolaus von Below, be allowed to leave the Bunker. Hitler acquiesces, and requests that von Below perform one last service to his Fuehrer; deliver a message to Keitel. After the conference, he dictates what has been called the last message Hitler will send from the Bunker: The people and the Armed Forces have given their all in this long and hard struggle. The sacrifice has been enormous.

But my trust has been misused by many people. Disloyalty and betrayal have undermined resistance throughout the war. It was therefore not granted to me to lead the people to victory.

The Army General Staff cannot be compared with the General Staff in the First World War. Its achievements were far behind those of the fighting front.

The efforts and sacrifices of the German people in this war have been so great that I cannot believe they have been in vain. The aim must still be to win territory in the West for the German people. Note: The message will never be delivered as von Below will destroy it while wandering around behind enemy lines two days later.

The version above—quoted from Payne—is recreated from von Below’s memory, with no other corroborating documentation. (Payne, Kershaw)

April 29, 1945:

Hitler shares his fears of being overcome with gas and captured by the Soviets with his pilot, Hans Baur:

The Russians know perfectly well that I am here in this bunker. I’m afraid they will use gas shells. During the war we produced a gas that could put a man to sleep for twenty-four hours. Our intelligence tells me that the Russians now have this gas too. The consequences would be unimaginable if they captured me alive. (Payne)

April 29, 1945:

At 6 PM, Hitler announces to his staff that he and his wife, Eva, are going to commit suicide together unless some miracle intervenes. He then passes out vials of cyanide.

At 9 PM, the news of the murder and the public humiliation of Mussolini and his mistress reaches the Bunker. Hitler vows that he will not share a similar fate.

April 29, 1945:

Heinrich Mueller, Bernd von Freytag-Loringhoven, Gerhardt Boldt, and Rudolf Weiss take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. April 29, 1945: Hjalmar Schacht, who had been implicated in the July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler and arrested by the Gestapo, is now arrested by the US 9th Army. Note: Schacht will be acquitted at the first Nuremberg Trial. From The Nuremberg Trial by Joe J. Heydecker and Johannes Leeb: Ravensbrueck, Moabit, and finally the extermination camp of Flossenburg were his (Schacht’s) stopping places. ‘No one gets out alive from this camp,’ Schacht whispered to his fellow prisoners when he was brought in. Through the open door of a shed in the camp, there was a view of the scaffolding of the gallows.

Every night Schacht heard the screams and shots which left no doubt what was happening. Many a morning, as he took his exercise, he could count up to thirty dead being carried away on stretchers from the places of execution. Only much later Schacht learned that the commandant of Flossenburg had been expressly ordered to shoot him as soon as the Allies came anywhere near the camp. But it did not come to that.

In the face of imminent defeat the SS suddenly attempted to introduce a more humane treatment, perhaps in the hope of thereby saving themselves.

Thus Schacht, together with other prisoners, was transferred first to Dachau and later to Austria when the Americans advanced. As the transport halted at the Pragser Wildsee the Ninth Army liberated him, and with him a number of others who were internees and ‘VIP prisoners’ of Hitler ..

.(among them: Pastor Martin Niemoeller, Miklos Kallay, Bruno Bettelheim, Kurt von Schuschnigg, Fritz Thyssen, Leon Blum, Nicholas von Horthy, Alext Kokosin, Franz Halder, Peter Churchill) ..

.”Why did Hitler put you in jail? Schacht was asked by the Americans. ‘No idea,’ answered the banker. He also had no idea why he was not set free, but kept under arrest. He was well treated, he had excellent food, and was allowed to walk unguarded by the Pragser lake. But then he was moved again, and by various stages reached eventually the overcrowded prisoner-of-war camp Aversa near Naples. Hjalmar Schacht, the financial genius with the old-fashioned stand-up collar, had changed sides several times. Now he was on his way to the prison at Nuremberg.

April 29, 1945:

Late in the evening, General Krebs radios General Jodl with three terse questions from Hitler: Request immediate report. Firstly of the whereabouts of Wenck’s spearheads. Secondly of time intended to attack. Thirdly of the location of the Ninth Army. Fourthly of the precise place in which the Ninth Army will break through. Fifthly of the whereabouts of General Rudolf Holste’s spearhead. (Kershaw) April 30, 1945: Jodl replies to Krebs: Firstly, Wenck’s spearhead bogged down south of Schwielow Lake. Secondly,

Twelfth Army therefore unable to continue attack on Berlin. Thirdly, bulk of Ninth Army surrounded. Fourthly, Holste’s Corps on the defensive.” Keitel writes on the bottom: “Attacks on Berlin not advanced anywhere. (Kershaw)

April 30, 1945:

Nicolaus von Below takes his final leave of the Fuehrerbunker, carrying Hitler’s ‘last message’ to Keitel. (Payne) April 30, 1945 Churchill to Truman: There can be little doubt that the liberation of Prague and as much as possible of the territory of Western Czechoslovakia by your forces might make the whole difference to the post-war situation in Czechoslovakia, and might well influence that in near-by countries. On the other hand, if the Western Allies play no significant part in Czechoslovakian liberation that country will go the way of Yugoslavia. Of course, such a move by Eisenhower must not interfere with his main operations against the Germans, but I think the highly-important political consideration mentioned above should be brought to his attention. (Churchill) April 30, 1945: In the early morning hours, Bormann dispatches a message to Doenitz: DOENITZ! Our impression grows daily stronger that the divisions in the Berlin theater have been standing idle for several days. All reports we receive are controlled, suppressed, or distorted by Keitel …. The Fuehrer orders you to proceed at once, and mercilessly, against all traitors …. The Fuehrer is alive, and is conducting the defense of Berlin … (Shirer) April 30, 1945: By late morning, the Soviets have overrun the Tiergarten in Berlin, and one advance unit is reported on one of the streets next to Hitler’s bunker under the Reich Chancellery. SS Brigadefuehrer Wilhelm Mohnke, commander of the center sector of Berlin, informs Hitler that the center will be able to hold out for less than two days. Later that morning Weidling informs Hitler in person that the defenders will likely exhaust their ammunition that night and again asks Hitler’s permission to break out. At about 13:00 Weidling finally receives Hitler’s permission to attempt a breakout in the evening. April 30, 1945: Hitler sends for Bormann at noon and informs him that the end is near. He then attends one last lunch with his secretaries and his cook, who prepares spaghetti with a light sauce. Eva is not present, but she joins him after the lunch to shake hands and say sad farewells to the staff. Eva embraces Traudl Junge: ‘Please try to get out of here,’ she pleads. ‘You might make it. Give my love to Bavaria.’ Hitler and Eva then enter Hitler’s private quarters and close the door behind them. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Otto Guensche takes up his post at the door, with orders that the couple not be disturbed. (Read, Payne) April 30, 1945: Soviet forces enter Ravensbrueck concentration camp north of Berlin. Meanwhile, Allied troops capture Munich and French forces cross the border into Austria. At 3:00 PM, American forces in Nuremberg discover the tunnel and underground bunker where the spear of Longinus (the Holy Lance) has been hidden to prevent its capture by the Allies. April 30, 1945: After the Hitlers retire to their room, Traudl Junge suddenly realizes that, in the excitement, no one had thought to feed the Goebbels’ children. She rounds them up, leads them to the tiny dining room, and scrounges up some fruit and sandwich ingredients. Junge will later relate that she ‘heard the shot’ while making sandwiches and for them. Rochus Misch will later tell Oliver Harvey: I saw Hitler slumped by the table. I did not see any blood on his head. And I saw Eva with her knees drawn up, lying next to him on the sofa. Hitler was wrapped in a blanket as I watched. He was then taken outside to be burnt. It was over. Note: There is some dispute in the historical record concerning some of the events of this day. One is the contention that a distraught Magda Goebbels had actually burst in on Hitler and Eva in the privacy of their room, making one last tearful plea to Hitler that he allow himself and the rest of them to escape Berlin and make a last stand at Obersalzberg. However, other eyewitnesses have denied that any such scene actually occurred, and it is quite doubtful that it ever did. Another area of dispute is whether or not the shot that killed Hitler was actually heard by any of the Bunker witnesses. Some say they heard the shot, but others will testify that they did not, and that the door was too soundproof to have allowed the sound to escape. Definitive answers are difficult when eyewitnesses disagree. (Read) From Women of the Third Reich by Anna Maria Sigmund: On April 30, 1945, when Hitler and Eva Braun, now married, took their leave in order to commit suicide, Magda Goebbels cried out in shock, ‘My Fuehrer, do not leave us; we will perish miserably without you!’ Traudl Junge, Hitler’s secretary, was just giving food to the Goebbels children when she heard a shot coming from Hitler’s den. With regard to Magda Goebbels’ intentions, there are conflicting reports. Albert Speer believed that, ‘… she found the idea that her children had to die unbearable, but she submitted, it seemed, to her husband’s decision.’ Two close co-workers of the propaganda minister, however, claimed they had overheard Goebbels suggest to his wife that she flee to the West since they had nothing to fear from the British. April 30, 1945 Death: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery. Their bodies are taken above ground by Hitler’s aides, burned with difficulty due to the conditions and the limited supply of gasoline, and buried in a shallow grave formed from a bomb crater. Kempka, Goebbels, Bormann, Krebs, Linge, and Burgdorf give one last Nazi salute to their Fuehrer, before an exploding Soviet shell sends them scurrying back down into the Bunker. (Read) From Napoleon and Hitler: A Comparative Biography by Desmond Seward:During the Emperor’s flight from Russia in 1812 he speculated as to what the Allies would do if they caught him. ‘Can you picture to yourself, Caulaincourt, the figure you would cut in an iron cage, in the main square of London?’ He then had a fit of hysteria. Hitler had no illusions. He knew that he would be put on show and then executed…in the one chivalrous gesture of his entire life, he married Eva Braun. Next day both retired to their bedroom to die. Clutching a photograph of his mother, the Fuehrer shot himself, while Eva took poison. Amid his own ruin in 1814 Napoleon confided in a loyal supporter ‘My dear fellow, if the Cossacks reach the gates of Paris it’s the end of Emperor and Empire.’ As it was, Tsar Alexander’s Cossacks stabled their horses in Paris. In 1945 Stalin’s Cossacks rode into Berlin. Neither capital need have entertained them had it not been for their rulers’ madness. Determined to escape from a war on two fronts, both had been destroyed by such a war. April 30, 1945: Goebbels presides at his first and last situation conference as Reich Chancellor. Bormann proposes that the 300 to 500 troops around the Bunker spearhead a breakout through the Soviet lines to link up with Doenitz, but Goebbels rules it out. He decides instead to send General Krebs to the Soviet lines under a white flag with a truce proposal. (Read) April 30, 1945: Bormann and Goebbels again radio Doenitz, without informing him that Hitler is already dead: The Fuehrer has appointed you, Herr Admiral, as his successor in place of Reichsmarschall Goering. Confirmation in writing follows. You are hereby authorized to take any measures which the situation demands. (Shirer) April 30, 1945: The bizzare turn of events catching him completely off guard, Doenitz, in shock, has absolutely no desire to succeed Hitler. Believing that Hitler is still alive, he replies to the previous message from the Fuehrer Bunker with as much encouragement as he can muster: MY FUEHRER! My loyalty to you will be unconditional. I shall do everything possible to relieve you in Berlin. If fate nevertheless compels me to rule the Reich as your appointed successor, I shall continue this war to an end worthy of the unique, heroic struggle of the German people. (Shirer) April 30, 1945: The Red Army captures the Reichstag at 10:50 PM, hoisting the first of more than forty victory flags, though no photograph can be taken due to the late hour. Various Soviet military units will unfurl and photograph an assortment of flags, of which the one above is the ‘official’ victory flag, photographed early on the morning of May 1. German artillery will knock it down later that same morning, and it will be replaced in the afternoon only to be taken down on May 3 and eventually shipped to Moscow. May 1, 1945: An announcement is made on the German wireless: Announcer: It has been reported from the Fuehrer’s headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon in his battle headquarters at the Reich Chancellery, fallen for Germany, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism. On the 30th of April the Fuehrer nominated Grossadmiral Doenitz to be his successor. The Grossadmiral and Fuehrer’s successor will speak to the German nation.” Doenitz: “German men and women, soldiers of the German Armed Forces. Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early he had recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism and had dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight having ended, he died a hero’s death in the capital of the German Reich, after having led an unmistakably straight and steady life. From Adolf Hitler and the German Trauma by Robert Edwin Herzstein: Bormann made sure that the news of Hitler’s death was not broadcast until he had made one last desperate attempt to achieve supreme power for himself. First he attempted to manipulate and control Admiral Doenitz, who was still at liberty in northern Germany. Bormann informed Doenitz that he would soon join him in Flensburg. This never occurred … When Hitler’s death was announced, it was done in the true spirit of National Socialism; false heroism and blatant lies. The slow movement of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony was played, along with Siegfried’s ‘Funeral Music’ by Wagner. Then it was announced that ‘Adolf Hitler has fallen at his command post in Berlin after fighting with his last breath against the Bolsheviks.’ This was consistent with Nazi rhetoric, for in April Nazi and SS officials had scrawled all over the walls of beleaguered Berlin: ‘Berlin remains German.’ ‘Our walls are broken but not our hearts,’ ‘SS believes in the Fuehrer.’ If Hitler had indeed committed suicide and had not fought the Russians to the very end, it might appear as if he had irresponsibly and pusillanimously tricked and betrayed the millions who had taken an oath of allegiance to him in one form or another. May 1, 1945: Martin Bormann’s fifteen year old son and namesake had been enrolled in the Nazi-elite school, Feldafing, but the school had closed its doors April 23. He was provided with 100 RM, false identification papers (under the name of Martin Bergmann), and transportation to a hideout near Salzburg. Martin the Younger will later tell Gitta Sereny: It was a small inn and a very small Stube. We sat on benches tightly packed together. It’s impossible now to convey the atmosphere. The worst moment was when, at two o’clock in the morning on May 1, the news of Hitler’s death came through on the radio. I remember it precisely, but I can’t describe the stillness of that instant which lasted…for hours. Nobody said anything, but very soon afterwards people started to go outside, first one—then there was a shot. Then another, and yet another. Not a word inside, no other sound except those shots from outside, but one felt that that was all there was, that all of us would have to die. (Picking up a gun, Martin walks outside.) My world was shattered; I couldn’t see any future at all. But then, out there, in the back of that Inn, where bodies were already lying all over the small garden, there was another boy, older that I—he was eighteen. He was sitting on a log and told me to come sit with him. The air smelled good, the birds sang, and we talked ourselves out of it. If we hadn’t had each other at that moment, both of us would have gone—I know it. (Note: He will live to become a jesuit father.) (Sereny) May 1, 1945: General Krebs meets with Zhukov, but returns empty handed after refusing to agree to an unconditional surrender. Note: Only Reichskanzler Goebbels now has the authority to agree to an unconditional surrender. May 1, 1945: Magda Goebbels combs out the hair of each of her six children (ages 5 to 13) and dresses them for bed. Rochus Misch will later tell Gitta Sereny: It was only just after 5 PM when Frau Goebbels walked past me followed by the children. They were all wearing white nightgowns. She took them next door. An orderly arrived carrying a tray with six cups and a jug of chocolate. Later somebody said it was laced with sleeping pills. I saw her hug some, stroke others as they drank it. I don’t think they knew about their Uncle Adolf’s death; they laughed and chatted as always. A little later they passed me on their way upstairs, Heidi last, her mother holding her hand. Heidi turned around. I waved to her, she waved back with one hand, and the suddenly, letting go of her mother’s hand, she turned all the way around and, bursting into that happy clear laugh of hers, she scraped one forefinger along the other and chanted that little rhyme she always sang when she saw me: ‘Misch, Misch, you are a fish.’ (Misch, Misch, Du bist ein Fisch.) Her mother put her arm around her and pulled her gently up the steps, but she went on chanting it. I still hear it now. After the children have fallen asleep, Magda—her husband is not present and does not participate—assists Hitler’s personal physician, Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, as he administers lethal injections to all six of the children. After ensuring their demise—and apparently struggling with her oldest daughter who, it seems, had not been slumbering sufficiently to sleep through the pain of the fatal injection—Magda leaves the room and sits down to play solitaire. (Sereny) May 1, 1945: Albert Speer hears of Hitler’s death. Annemarie Kemp will later tell Gitta Sereny: I think it was raining on May 1. Anyway, we were inside our living room trailer when the phone rang. It was Doenitz. One of us took the call – I don’t remember if it was me or Edith; he didn’t ask to speak to anyone in particular. As I remember he just said, ‘The Fuehrer is no longer alive,’ and then hung up. I remember I felt, well, taken aback, because of course, I hadn’t known. Were we sad? Oh, I don’t know. We were no longer in a state of mind where the word ‘sad’ could apply. Germany was in tatters. There was no future, and now he was dead too. Speer left a few minutes later to join Doenitz at Ploen. (Sereny) May 1, 1945: Doenitz receives another radio message signed by Goebbels and Bormann: The Fuehrer died yesterday, 1530 hours. In his will dated April 29 he appoints you as President of the Reich, Goebbels as Reich Chancellor, Bormann as Party Minister, Seyss-Inquart as Foreign Minister. The will, by order of the Fuehrer, is being sent to you and to Field Marshal Schoerner and out of Berlin for safe custody. Bormann will try to reach you today to explain the situation. Form and timing of announcement to the Armed Forces and the public is left to your discretion. Acknowledge. From Doenitz’s testimony before the IMT: This radio message first of all contradicted the earlier radio message which clearly stated: “You can at once do everything you consider to be right.” I did not and as a matter of principle never would adhere to this second radio message, for if I am to take responsibility, then no conditions must be imposed on me. Thirdly, under no circumstances would I have agreed to working with the people mentioned, with the exception of Seyss-Inquart. In the early morning of 1 May I had already had a discussion with the Minister of Finance, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, and had asked him to take over the business of government, insofar as we could still talk about that. I had done this because in a chance discussion, which had taken place several days before, I had seen that we held much the same view, the view that the German people belonged to the Christian West, that the basis of future conditions of life is the absolute legal security of the individual and of private property. …the legitimate successor would have been the Reich Marshal; but through a regrettable misunderstanding a few days before his appointment, he was no longer in the game, and I was the next senior officer in command of an independent branch of the Wehrmacht. I believe that was the determining factor. That fact that the Fuehrer had confidence in me may also have had something to do with it. May 1, 1945: Joseph and Magda Goebbels commit suicide mere feet away from the partially burned and buried body of their Fuehrer. From The Devil’s Disciples by Anthony Read: At 8:15 PM Goebbels informed the SS guards that he and his wife intended to commit suicide out of the bunker in the open air. At least, he joked blackly, it would save the guards the trouble of having to carry the bodies upstairs. He put on his hat, scarf, long greatcoat and kid gloves, then offered his arm to his wife. Together they mounted the stairs to the bunker entrance. They planned to die in the same way as the Fuehrer; both had cyanide capsules, and Goebbels carried a Walther P-38 revolver. They stood together. Magda bit her capsule and slid to the floor. Her husband delivered the coup de grace, shooting her in the back of the head. Then he bit his own capsule, pressed the Walther’s muzzle to his temple and fired. The SS guards doused the bodies with petrol and set fire to them. They burned through the night, but were only partially destroyed – there had not been enough petrol left to do the job properly. As soon as the bodies were alight, the escape parties gathered their things and rushed for the exit, in a mad scramble led by Bormann. Soon, there were only three people left, Krebs, Burgdorf and the commander of the SS bodyguard, Hauptstrumfuehrer Schedle. They had all decided to shoot themselves. Those who left met with mixed fortunes. A few, including the three secretaries, managed to make their way safely to the West. Some were captured by the Soviets, and spent years in harsh captivity. Most were killed, including Bormann, who only got as far as the Lehrter rail station on Invalidenstasse before he and his companion, Dr Stumpfegger, came under fire and ended their lives with cyanide capsules to avoid being captured. Their bodies were buried under the rubble and were not discovered and identified until many years later. May 1, 1945: Following Goebbels’ suicide, Doenitz becomes the sole representative of the crumbling German Reich. Ribbentrop offers his services, but Doenitz refuses outright (he will be captured by the Allies on June 14). Count Ludwig Graf Schwerin-Krosigk, in addition to discharging his duties as Foreign Minister and Minister of Finance, is appointed by Doenitz to form the temporary government and preside over the activities of its cabinet as Reichskanzler. Himmler attempts to make a place for himself in the new regime, but to no avail, ultimately. The Doenitz government will not be recognized by the Allies and will be more or less ignored. In his memoirs, Doenitz will write: “Now, most clearly, I recognized the evil side of National Socialism and so changed my attitude to the form of state created by it.” (Read, Manvell) From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: The leaders of the (German) Army, the Air Force and the SS, he (Hitler) believed, had betrayed him, had cheated him of victory. So his only possible choice of successor had to be the leader of the Navy, which had been too small to play a major role in Hitler’s war of conquest. This was a final jibe at the Army, which had done most of the fighting and lost most of the men killed in the war. There was also (in Hitler’s Political Testament) a last parting denunciation of the two men (Goering and Himmler) who had been, with Goebbels, his most intimate collaborators since the early days of the party…Having expelled the traitors and named his successor, Hitler then proceeded to tell Doenitz whom he must have in his new government. They were all ‘honorable men,’ he said, ‘who will fulfill the task of continuing the war with all means.’ Goebbels was to be the Chancellor and Bormann the ‘Party Minister’—a new post. Seyss-Inquart, the Austrian quisling and, most recently, the butcher governor of Holland, was to be foreign minister. Speer, like Ribbentrop, was dropped. But Count Schwerin von Krosigk, who had been Minister of Finance continuously since his appointment by Papen in 1932, was to retain that post. This man was a fool, but it must be admitted that he had a genius for survival. May 1, 1945: Doenitz issues his Order of the Day to the Armed Forces: I expect discipline and obedience. Chaos and ruin can be prevented only by the swift and unreserved execution of my orders. Anyone who at this juncture fails in his duty and condemns German women and children to slavery and death is a traitor and a coward. The oath of allegiance which you took to the Fuehrer now binds each and every one of you to me, whom he himself appointed as his successor. From Doenitz’s IMT Testimony: When on 1 May I became head of the State, circumstances were different. By that time the fronts, the Eastern and Western fronts, had come so close to each other that in a few days people, troops, soldiers, armies, and the great masses of refugees could be transported, from the East to the West. When I became head of the State on 1 May, I therefore strove to make peace as quickly as possible and to capitulate, thus saving German blood and bringing German people from the East to the West; and I acted accordingly, already on 2 May, by making overtures to General Montgomery to capitulate for the territory facing his army, and for Holland and Denmark which we still held firmly; and immediately following that I opened negotiations with General Eisenhower. The same basic principle—to save and preserve the German population—motivated me in the winter to face bitter necessity and keep on fighting. It was very painful that our cities were still being bombed to pieces and that through these bombing attacks and the continued fight more lives were lost. The number of these people is about 300,000 to 400,000, the majority of whom perished in the bombing attack of Dresden, which cannot be understood from a military point of view and which could not have been predicted. Nevertheless, this figure is relatively small compared with the millions of German people, soldiers and civilian population, we would have lost in the East if we had capitulated in the winter. Therefore, in my opinion, it was necessary to act as I did: First while I was still a soldier, to call on my troops to keep up the fight, and afterwards, when I became head of the State in May, to capitulate at once. Thereby no German lives were lost; rather were they saved… I said quite clearly in the first order that I would fight in the East until troops and refugees could be rescued from the East and brought to the West and that I would not fight one moment longer. That was my intention, and that is also clearly expressed in that order… I had to continue fighting in the East in order to rescue the refugees who were moving to the West. That is certainly very clearly stated. I said that we would continue to fight in the East only until the hundreds and thousands of families from the German eastern area could be safely transferred to the West… From the military point of view the war was absolutely lost, and there was then only the problem of saving as many human beings as possible, and therefore we had to continue resistance in the East. Therefore that resistance in the East had a purpose… Of course, in the fighting in the East during those few days there might be further losses, but they were necessary in order to save hundreds of thousands of refugees. May 1, 1945: Doenitz addresses the German people in a radio broadcast: The Fuehrer has nominated me as his successor. In full consciousness of my responsibilities I therefore assume the leadership of the German people at this fateful hour. My first task is to save German men and women from destruction by the advancing Bolshevist enemy. It is to serve this purpose alone that the military struggle continues. For as long as the British and the Americans continue to impede the accomplishments of this task, we must also continue to fight and defend ourselves against them. The British and the Americans in that case will not be fighting in the interests of their own peoples, but solely for the expansion of Bolshevism in Europe. From Speer’s IMT testimony: Only after 1 May 1945 did Doenitz try to act with reason, but it was too late… There is one loyalty which everyone must always keep; and that is loyalty toward one’s own people. That duty comes before everything. If I am in a leading position and if I see that the interests of the nation are acted against in such a way, then I too must act. That Hitler had broken faith with the nation must have been clear to every intelligent member of his entourage, certainly at the latest in January or February 1945. Hitler had once been given his mission by the people; he had no right to gamble away the destiny of the people with his own. Therefore I fulfilled my natural duty as a German. I did not succeed in everything, but I am glad today that by my work I was able to render one more service to the workers in Germany and the occupied territories. May 1, 1945: A mass breakout from the Fuehrerbunker occurs as Erich Kempka, Traudl Junge, Gerda Christian, Constanze Manzialy, Else Krueger, Otto Guensche, Johann Rattenhuber, Werner Naumann, Wilhelm Mohnke, Hans-Erich Voss, Ludwig Stumpfegger, Martin Bormann, Artur Axmann, Walther Hewel, Guenther Schwaegermann, and Armin D. Lehmann flee for their lives. May 2, 1945: A few days after killing the six Goebbels children—as well as Hitler’s dog, Blondi—SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger (above, right, Adolf Hitler’s personal physician since 1944), commits suicide at the Lehrter Bahnhof by taking cyanide alongside Bormann (above left, with his skull in between) while fleeing Berlin. May 2, 1945 Stalin to Truman: The Soviet Supreme Command has given instructions that whenever Soviet troops contact Allied troops the Soviet Command is immediately to get in touch with the Command of the US or British troops, so that they, by agreement between themselves, (1) establish a temporary tactical demarcation line and (2) take steps to crush within the bounds of their temporary demarcation line all resistance by German troops. (Churchill) May 2, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: US President Truman appoints Robert Jackson as chief US counsel for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. The Executive Order: …Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal… May 2, 1945: Speer, participating in what he will later call Doenitz’s ‘operetta government,’ is appointed Minister of Economics and Production. After obtaining a signed order from Doenitz to stop all demolition activities, he travels to Hamburg to make a live radio broadcast on the subject to the nation. (Read) From Fritzsche’s IMT testimony: I remained in Berlin, in violation of the order which I was given. When Hitler and his entourage took the way of suicide or fled toward the West, I was, to my knowledge, the only higher official to remain in Berlin. At that time I gathered together the employees of the highest Reich authorities, who had been left to their fate, in the ruins of my office. Hitler had left behind an order to fight on. The commander of Berlin could not be found. Therefore, as a civilian, I felt obliged to offer to the Russian Marshal Zhukov the capitulation. As I was sending off the emissaries who were to go across the battleline, the last military adjutant of Hitler appeared—General Burgdorff—and was going to shoot me in compliance with Hitler’s order. Nevertheless, we capitulated, even though it was signed by the commander, who had been found in the meantime. Thus, I believe I kept my oath, the oath which I had taken to the German people in the person of Hitler… The fact was that Hitler tried to use this defeat for the extermination of the German people, as Speer has now horribly confirmed and as I was able to observe during the last phase of the conflict in Berlin when, through deceit by raising false hopes, boys of 15, 14,13, and l2 years of age were equipped with small arms to fight against tanks and called into battle, boys who otherwise might have been the hope for future reconstruction. Hitler found escape in death, leaving behind him the order to keep on fighting. He also left behind him the official report that he had died in battle. I learned that he had committed suicide; and thus my last public statement, on 2 May 1945, was to let everybody know of this suicide, for I wanted to kill a Hitler legend in the bud. May 2, 1945: As Berlin falls to the Soviet Army, rocket scientist Werner von Braun and over 100 of his team flee to the relative safety of the American front. His brother and fellow rocket engineer, Magnus, spotting an American private from the US 44th Infantry Division, addresses the soldier in broken English: “My name is Magnus von Braun. My brother invented the V-2. We want to surrender.” (Braun) May 2, 1945: The British Second Army takes Luebeck and Wismar on the Baltic Coast. Canadian forces take Oldenburg; hostilities in Italy cease as Nazi troops surrender. May 2, 1945: From the Manchester Guardian: “Europe has never know such a calamity to her civilization and nobody can say when she will begin to recover from its effects.” (Kershaw) May 2, 1945: Rochus Misch, Helmuth Weidling, Hans Refior, Theodor von Dufving, and Siegfried Knappe take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. Generals Burgdorf and Krebs, SS Captain Schedle, and SS Lieutenant Stehr take their final leave of life by committing suicide. Only Erna Flegel, Werner Haase, and Johannes Hentschel remain hiding in the Fuehrerbunker. (Sereny) May 2, 1945: The Soviets capture what’s left of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The remains of Hitler, Braun and two dogs (thought to be Blondi and her offspring Wulf) are discovered in a shell crater by Ivan Churakov of the 79th Rifle Corps. (Above: The empty gasoline cans utilized in the cremation attempts.) General Weidling, defense commandant of Berlin, surrenders the city to the Soviets. The Soviet Union announces that Berlin has surrendered to the 1st White Russian and 1st Ukrainian armies. Note: 80,000 men were killed taking Berlin, 275,000 wounded or missing in the lead up to the battle and in the battle itself. Two thousand Soviet tanks destroyed, 150,000 Germans killed. May 3, 1945: Doenitz invites all the civilian military commanders of the German occupied territories to Flensburg to coordinate a simultaneous surrender. (Heydecker) May 4, 1945: Goering, having finally talked his SS ‘captors’ into letting him go, writes a letter to Doenitz complaining of Bormann’s intrigues against him and his resultant loss of status. He offers his services as official German negotiator to Eisenhower—’as one marshal to another’—and reminds him of how well he had done in the past ‘in all the important negotiations abroad with which the Fuehrer always entrusted me before the war.’ ‘Moreover,’ he continues, ‘both Great Britain and America have proved through their press and radio, and in the declarations of their statesman over the last few years, that their attitude toward me is more favorable than toward all other political leaders in Germany.’ Doenitz never replies. (Read) May 4, 1945: An SS detachment burns Hitler’s Berghof. May 4, 1945: Hans Fritzsche, who has been in the hands of the Red Army since May 2, is made to identify the charred bodies of Goebbels and his family. It will be several days before he is informed that he is under arrest, then he will be transported to the infamous prison Lubyanka. He will undergo months of severe solitary confinement before ultimately ending up in Nuremberg. (Heydecker, Maser) May 4, 1945: The US 7th Army captures Hitler’s country retreat of Berchtesgaden as General LeClerc’s French 2nd Armored Division discovers Hermann Goering’s private train, loaded with priceless art objects, on a siding at the railway station. May 4, 1945 Holocaust: Liberation of the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg by the British Army. May 4, 1945 Churchill to Eden (San Francisco): I fear terrible things have happened during the Russian advance through Germany to the Elbe. The proposed withdrawal of the United States Army to the occupational lines which were arranged with the Russians and Americans in Quebec, and which were marked in yellow on the maps we studied there, would mean the tide of Russian Domination sweeping forward 120 miles on a front of 300 or 400 miles. This would be an event which, if it occurred, would be one of the most melancholy in history. After it was over and the territory occupied by the Russians, Poland would be completely engulfed and buried deep in Russian occupied lands. What would in fact be the Russian frontier would run from the North Cape of Norway, along the Finnish-Swedish frontier, across the Baltic to a point east of Luebeck, along the at present agreed line of occupation and along the frontier between Bavaria to Czechoslovakia to the frontiers of Austria, which is nominally to be in quadruple occupation, and half-way across that country to the Isonzo river, behind which Tito and Russia will claim everything to the east. This constitutes an event in the history of Europe to which there has been no parallel, and which has not been face by the Allies in their long and hazardous struggle. The Russian demands on Germany for reparations alone will be such as to enable her to prolong the occupation almost indefinitely. We have several powerful bargaining counters on our side, the use of which might make for a peaceful agreement. First, the Allies ought not to retreat from their present positions to the occupational line until we are satisfied about Poland, and also about the temporary character if the Russian occupation of Germany, and the conditions to be established in the Russianized or Russian-controlled countries in the Danube valley, particularly Austria and Czechoslovakia, and the Balkans. Secondly, we may be able to please them about the exits from the Black Sea and the Baltic as part of a general settlement. All these matters can only be settled before the United States armies in Europe are weakened. If they are not settled before the United States armies withdraw from Europe and the Western World folds up its war machines there are no prospects of a satisfactory solution and very little of preventing a third World War. It is to this early and speedy showdown with Russia that we must now turn our hopes. Meanwhile I am against weakening our claim against Russia on behalf of Poland in any way. I think it should stand where it was put in the telegrams from the President and me. (Churchill) May 4, 1945: Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering surrenders to the Allies. Note: Goering will be sentenced to death at the first Nuremberg Trial. From The Face Of The Third Reich by Joachim C Fest: In the final phase of his life he (Goering) suffered from profound illusion. In April 1945 he had been dismissed with ignominy from all his posts, arrested, and bequeathed a curse. But when he heard of Hitler’s death, he was, his wife recalled, ‘close to despair’ and exclaimed, ‘He’s dead, Emmy. Now I shall never be able to tell him that I was true to him till the end!’ In much the same way as Himmler, he hoped to be accepted by the Allies as a partner in negotiations. As General Bodenschatz has testified, soon after his capture by the Americans his main concern was the proclamation which he intended to make to the German people as soon as he had reached a satisfactory agreement with Eisenhower. His claim to the leadership of the Reich after Hitler’s death was indisputable in his view. Even at Nuremberg he compelled his fellow prisoner the Grand Admiral Doenitz to admit that he owed his own ‘nomination as the Fuehrer’s successor solely to coincidence’. And if Goering defended himself before the International Court of Justice with striking skill and some aggressiveness, behind which some of the old elemental force of his personality could be felt, it was because of his conviction that his role as leader placed greater responsibility upon him than upon the other prisoners. Obstinately and at times not without success, he tried to command them, to influence their statements, and to establish a regime which Speer referred to angrily as ‘Goering’s dictatorship’. At last, after so many years, so many blows and humiliations, for a brief and fruitless span he had reached his goal: to be the First Man and ‘Nazi Number One’, as he called himself. May 4, 1945: Hans Frank is captured by American troops at Tegernsee near Berchtesgaden. Upon his capture, and after a severe beating from two American soldiers, he tries to cut his own throat. Two days later, he will lacerate his left arm in a second unsuccessful suicide attempt. Note: Only Streicher, of all the other defendants, will be similarly mistreated in captivity. (Maser) May 4, 1945: Fedor von Bock, General Field Marshal with monarchist sympathies who had been permanently retired by Hitler, is killed in an Allied bombing raid. May 4, 1945: Field Marshal Montgomery announces that all enemy forces in the Netherlands, Northwest Germany and Denmark have surrendered unconditionally. May 5, 1945: In Austria, French politicians Reynaud and Daladier and former Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg, imprisoned by the Nazis, are released. The poet Ezra Pound is arrested in Italy for treason. The Soviets take Swinemuende and Peenemuende on the Baltic coast, where V1 and V2 rockets were launched, to find that all the leading German rocket scientists have evacuated with the Americans. (Menaul) May 5, 1945: Himmler assembles his SS chieftains to deliver a farewell address, hinting that he still has some great destiny ahead of him. After passing out cyanide capsules all around, Himmler shaves off his mustache, puts on an eyepatch and a Field Security Police uniform, arms himself with a fake ID, and tries to slip away in the confusion. He will eventually commit suicide by cyanide capsule after he is apprehended on May 23. May 5, 1945 Stalin to Churchill: …we cannot be satisfied that persons should be associated with the formation of the future Polish Government who, as you express it, are not fundamentally anti-Soviet, or that only those persons should be excluded from participation in this work who are in your opinion extremely unfriendly towards Russia. Neither of these criteria can satisfy us. We insist, and shall insist, that there should be brought into consultation on the formation of the future Polish Government only those persons who have actively shown a friendly attitude towards the Soviet Union and who are honestly and sincerely prepared to cooperate with the Soviet State. It appears from your message that you are not prepared to regard the Polish Provisional Government as the foundation of the future Government of National Unity, and that you are not prepared to accord it its rightful position in that Government. I must say frankly that such an attitude excludes the possibility of an agreed solution of the Polish question. (Churchill) May 5, 1945 Truman to Stalin: Since you are well acquainted with the position of the US Government from the messages you have received from President Roosevelt and myself, I need hardly tell you that I agree with the views set forth in Mr. Churchill’s message of April 28 in regard to the reorganization of the Polish Government. I must tell you that any suggestion that the representatives of the present Polish Provisional Government be invited to San Francisco, conditionally or otherwise, is wholly unacceptable to the Government of the United States. For the United States to agree to such an invitation would mean to accept the present Warsaw Provisional Government as representative of Poland. This would be the equivalent to abandoning the agreement reached in the Crimea. (Churchill) May 5, 1945 Churchill to Eden (San Francisco): In the north Eisenhower threw in an American corps with great dexterity to help Montgomery in his advance on Luebeck. He got there with twelve hours to spare. There were reports from the British Naval Attache at Stockholm, which we are testing, that, according to Swedish information, the Russians have dropped parachutists a few miles south of Copenhagen and that Communist activities have appeared there. It now appears there were only two parachutists. We are sending in a moderate holding force to Copenhagen by air, and the rest of Denmark is rapidly being occupied from henceforth by our fast-moving armored columns. I think therefore, having regard to the joyful feeling of the Danes and the abject submission and would-be partisanship of the surrendered Huns, we shall head our Soviet friend off at this point too. You will by now have heard the news of the tremendous surrender that has been made to Montgomery of all Northwest Germany, Holland, and Denmark, both as regards men and ships. The men alone must be more than a million. Thus in three successive days 2,5000,000 Germans have surrendered to our British commanders. This is quite a satisfactory incident in our military history. Ike has been splendid throughout. We must vie with him for sportsmanship. (Churchill) May, 5 1945: Prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller is liberated by the Allies from Nazi captivity. From Doenitz’s IMT testimony: I had no connections with anybody who had been sent to a concentration camp; with the exception of Pastor Niemoeller. Pastor Niemoeller was a former comrade of mine from the Navy. When my last son was killed, he expressed his sympathy; and on that occasion I asked him how he was… I received the answer that he was all right… I received this information through a third person. May 5, 1945: Admiral Karl Doenitz orders all U-boats to cease offensive operations and return to their bases. German Army Group G surrenders to the Americans at Haar in Bavaria. Mauthausen concentration camp, together with satellite camps at Gunskirchen and Ebensee, become the last concentration camps to be liberated by the Allies. The US War Department announces that 400,000 men will remain in Germany as an occupation force. From Khrushchev Remembers by Nikita Khrushchev: I remember one day in Kiev getting a call from Zhukov. He was jubilant. ‘Soon I’ll have that slimy beast Hitler locked up in a cage,’ he said. ‘And when I send him to Moscow, I’ll ship him by way of Kiev so you can have a look at him.’ I wished Zhukov every success. I knew that with him commanding the front, our offensive was in good hands. Then, after Germany capitulated, Zhukov called me again and said, ‘I won’t be able to keep my promise after all. That snake Hitler is dead. He shot himself, and they burned his corpse. We found his charred carcass.’ Thus ended the great epic of our people’s war against the Hitlerite invaders. We were overjoyed at the destruction of our enemy, and we felt a lofty moral satisfaction with our victory. The words of Alexander Nevsky rang in our ears: ‘He who comes to us with a sword shall perish by the sword.’ I should have known better, but I decided to call Stalin in order to congratulate him on the capitulation of Germany. When he answered the phone, I said, ‘Comrade Stalin, permit me to congratulate you on the victory of our armed forces and our people over the German army.’ And what was his response? He cut me off rudely and said I was wasting his time. I was simply dumbfounded. I rebuked myself for having called him in the first place. I knew what sort of person he was, and I should have expected exactly what happened. As I have already said, Stalin was a good actor. He was pretending now that since the war was over and done with, he was already thinking about other, more important matters; why should I waste his time talking about yesterday when he was straining his mind, thinking about tomorrow? He acted as though he weren’t in the least surprised by our victory. He wanted me to think that he had known all along how the war would turn out. But I knew better. I had watched him during moments of crisis. I knew that during the war he had been even more worried and afraid than the people around him. May 6, 1945: An Allied CIC team working with the US 80th Division’s 319th Regiment arrest Ernst Kaltenbrunner’s wife on an estate in the Austrian town of Strobl. Under interrogation, she informs them that her husband had been with her as recently as May 3. Note: Kaltenbrunner will be captured on May 12 and ultimately be sentenced to death for War Crimes at Nuremberg. May 6, 1945: Constantin von Neurath is arrested in the French occupation zone; the only Nuremberg defendant captured by the French. Note: The Americans now have ten defendants in custody, the British five, while three are in joint US/UK custody and the Soviets hold two.) From Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown: When the war finally ended, the fate of the German General Staff, once so mighty, resembled the collective fate of the Emperors of Byzantium. During his twelve years as Fuehrer, Hitler created twenty-six Field Marshals and Grand Admirals. Few escaped his own fury, and those who did survive did not escape the retribution of the Grand Alliance. All either were shot, committed suicide, were compelled to commit suicide, or were jailed by the Allies. The Chiefs of the General Staff fared no better. All suffered similar ends. Of the estimated 2,500 generals of the Wehrmacht, 786 are known to have died in the war. Of these, 253 were killed in action, 44 died of wounds, 61 committed suicide, 23 were executed by Hitler, 41 were executed by the Allies for war crimes, and 326 died of other or unknown causes. Those captured by the Americans or the British were imprisoned; of those captured by the Russians, many died in jail. The toll among the SS generals was even greater. Thirty-two were killed in action; four died of their wounds; two were executed by Hitler for treason; fourteen were executed by the Allies for war crimes; five died from unrecorded causes; nine died from natural causes while on duty; eight died in jail; four were executed by the West German government; and sixteen committed suicide. Thus ninety-four of the generals of the inner cabal of Nazism died, from all causes, but most significant was the number of suicides—the ultimate signal of fear and despair—both in the Army and the SS. Ninety-seven German generals died by their own hands. In the Kaiser’s war, Germany lost 63 generals in combat and 103 through other causes; only 3 committed suicide. May 7, 1945: Alfred Jodl signs the instruments of unconditional surrender in Reims as representative for Karl Doenitz. Jodl receives permission to make a statement: With this signature the German people and the German Armed Forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the hands of the victors…In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with generosity. From Keitel’s IMT testimony: I can say that I was a soldier by inclination and conviction. For more than 44 years without interruption I served my country and my people as a soldier, and I tried to do my best in the service of my profession. I believed that I should do this as a matter of duty, laboring unceasingly and giving myself completely to those tasks which fell to me in my many and diverse positions. I did this with the same devotion under the Kaiser, under President Ebert, under Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, and under the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler… As a German officer, I naturally consider it my duty to answer for what I have done, even if it should have been wrong. I am grateful that I am being given the opportunity to give an account here and before the German people of what I was and my participation in the events which have taken place. It will not always be possible to separate clearly guilt and entanglement in the threads of destiny. But I do consider one thing impossible, that the men in the front lines and the leaders and the subleaders at the front should be charged with the guilt, while the highest leaders reject responsibility. That, in my opinion, is wrong, and I consider it unworthy. I am convinced that the large mass of our brave soldiers were really decent, and that wherever they overstepped the bounds of acceptable behavior, our soldiers acted in good faith, believing in military necessity, and the orders which they received. May 7, 1945: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany as Keitel signs an unconditional surrender in Berlin. May 8, 1945 VE Day: Churchill announces the end of the war in Europe: …The Germans are still in places resisting the Russian troops, but should they continue to do so after midnight they will, of course, deprive themselves of the protection of the laws of war, and will be attacked from all quarters by the Allied troops. It is not surprising that on such long fronts and in the existing disorder of the enemy the orders of the German High Command should not in every case be obeyed immediately. This does not, in our opinion, with the best military advice at our disposal, constitute any reason for withholding from the nation the facts communicated to us by General Eisenhower of the unconditional surrender already signed at Rheims, nor should it prevent us from celebrating to-day and to-morrow (Wednesday) as Victory in Europe days. Today, perhaps, we shall think mostly of ourselves. Tomorrow we shall pay a particular tribute to our Russian comrades, whose prowess in the field has been one of the grand contributions to the general victory. The German war is therefore at an end…

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World’s first Christmas card

Christmas cards originated as hand-written letters sent by school children to their families in England in the early 1800s. The invention of the steam press in 1840 made it possible to mass-produce Christmas greetings.

Christmas cards were first printed in London, England. They were designed by John Calcott Horsley of the Royal Academy for Sir Henry Cole in 1843 and were sold at Felix Summerly’s Home Treasury Office.

The greeting was “A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

A portrayal of a child sipping wine in a toast on the central panel caused a stir with temperance groups. Cards were first mailed (to friends) by W. C. Dobson (Queen Victoria’s favorite painter) in 1845. First mailings in U. S. were in 1846. Louis Prang, a Boston lithographer, marketed multicolored Christmas Cards in Europe in 1865, and in the U. S.

in 1875. He made Christmas Cards popular. Mailing was expanded with the “penny post card,” 1893. Half-tone engravings appear in 1900. The home photograph card begins in 1902 by Eastman Kodak. LINK


The world’s first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole (c1843):


Image: LIbrary of Congress


The first signs of people mailing cards to each other in the United States occurred around 1845. Until 1875 Americans had to import their Christmas Cards from Europe, but in 1875 that changed when a German immigrant by the name of Louis Prang published the first line of U.S. Christmas Cards.


An advertisement for Prang’s Christmas cards (c1886):

Image: Library of Congress


Christmas card by Louis Prang. Late 18th century:

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Christmas card by Louis Prang. Late 18th century:

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Prang’s card proved extremely popular, but he was soon forced out of business as cheap imitations began to flood the market.



Here is an assortment of vintage Christmas cards for your enjoyment:


New York : Published by Currier & Ives (c1876):



St. Claus. Lithograph by S. Merinsky (c1872):

Image: Library of Congress


Approach of the New Year. Lithograph by James Hoover (c1877):

Image: Library of Congress


Christmas greeting card in art noveau style, date unknown, possibly 1900:

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Christmas card, (c1885):

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Christmas card (c1900):

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Victorian Christmas card (c1870):

Image: WIkimedia Commons


Christmas card (c1860). Silk fringe and tassels:



Christmas art deco in 1919


rare Coca cola Promo

Christmas songs –

the oldest ones are the best

© Getty Images Carol singing became popular in the 19 century

Christmas carols were mostly a Victorian tradition along with trees, crackers and cards. Eugene Byrne explains the why the popularity of Silent Night has never faded, why there’s always a place for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and why the British fondness of Good King Wenceslas has not yet subsided.

Christmas carols were mostly a Victorian tradition along with trees, crackers and cards. Eugene Byrne explains the why the popularity of Silent Night has never faded, why there’s always a place for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and the British fondness of Good King Wenceslas has not yet subsided.

Although Christmas was celebrated in song in the Middle Ages, most carols in use now are less than 200 years old. Only a handful, such as I Saw Three Ships or the decidedly
pagan-sounding The Holly and the Ivy, remind us of more ancient yuletides. Carols fell from favour in England after the Reformation because of their frivolity and were rarely sung in churches until the 1880s when EW  Benson, Bishop of Truro (later Archbishop of Canterbury) drew up the format for the Nine Lessons and Carols service, which has remained in use ever since.


Silent Night (1818)

Words: Josef Mohr
Music: Franz Xaver Gruber

Arguably the world’s most popular Christmas carol comes in several different translations from the German original. It started out as a poem by the Austrian Catholic priest Father Josef Mohr in 1816. Two years later, Mohr was curate at the parish church of St Nicola in Oberndorf when he asked the organist and local schoolteacher Franz Xaver Gruber to put music to his words.

An unreliable legend has it that the church organ had been damaged by mice, but whatever the reason, Gruber wrote it to be performed by two voices and guitar. It was first performed at midnight mass on Christmas Eve 1818, with Mohr and Gruber themselves taking the solo voice roles.

Its fame eventually spread (allegedly it has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects) and it famously played a key role in the unofficial truce in the trenches in 1914 because it was one of the only carols that both British and German soldiers knew.


Good King Wenceslas (1853 or earlier) 

Words: John Mason Neale
Music: Traditional, Scandinavian

The Reverend Doctor Neale was a high Anglican whose career was blighted by suspicion that he was a crypto-Catholic, so as warden of Sackville College – an almshouse in East Grinstead – he had plenty of time for study and composition. Most authorities deride his words as “horrible”, “doggerel” or “meaningless”, but it has withstood the test of time. The tune came from a Scandinavian song that Neale found in a rare medieval book that had been sent to him by a friend who was British ambassador in Stockholm.

There really was a Wenceslas – Vaclav in Czech – although he was Duke of Bohemia, rather than a king. Wenceslas (907–935) was a pious Christian who was murdered by his pagan brother Boleslav; after his death a huge number of myths and stories gathered around him. Neale borrowed one legend to deliver a classically Victorian message about the importance of being both merry and charitable at Christmas. Neale also wrote two other Christmas favourites: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (1851) and Good Christian Men, Rejoice (1853).


Once in Royal David’s City (1849)

Words: Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander
Music: HJ Gauntlett

Cecil Frances Humphreys was born in Dublin to a comfortable Anglican family. In 1848 she published Hymns for Little Children, a book of verse explaining the creed in simple and cheerful terms and which gave us three famous hymns. So to the question who made the world, the answer was All Things Bright and Beautiful. Children’s questions on the matter of death were answered with There is a Green Hill Far Away, while Once in Royal David’s City told them about where Jesus was born. The book was an instant hit and remained hugely popular throughout the 19th century.

The organist and composer Henry Gauntlett put music to it a year later and nowadays it traditionally opens the King’s College Cambridge Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Cecil threw herself into working for the sick and poor, turning down many requests to write more verse. Much of the proceeds from Hymns for Little Children went to building the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.


Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (1739 or earlier)

Words: Charles Wesley
Music: Felix Mendelssoh

Charles, the brother of Methodist founder John Wesley, penned as many as 9,000 hymns and poems, of which this is one of his best-known. It was said to be inspired by the sounds of the bells as he walked to church one Christmas morning and has been through several changes. It was originally entitled Hark How All the Welkin Ringswelkin being an old word meaning sky or heaven.

As with most of his hymns, Wesley did not stipulate which tune it should be sung to, except to say that it should be “solemn”. The modern version came about when organist William Hayman Cummings adopted it to a tune by German composer Felix Mendelssohn in the 1850s. Mendelssohn had stipulated that the music, which he had written to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press and which he described as “soldier-like and buxom”, should never be used for religious purposes.


God rest you merry, Gentlemen

Origin unknown

This is thought to have originated in London in the 16th or 17th centuries before running to several different versions with different tunes all over England. The most familiar melody dates back to at least the 1650s when it appeared in a book of dancing tunes. It was certainly one of the Victorians’ favourites.

If you want to impress people with your knowledge (or pedantry), then point out to them that the comma is placed after the “merry” in the first line because the song is enjoining the gentlemen (possibly meaning the shepherds abiding in the fields) to be merry because of Christ’s birthday. It’s not telling “merry gentlemen” to rest!




Christmas is a time when you really appreciate what you value most in life, time spent surrounded by your closest friends and family reminiscing about the great times passed over a grand feast. Since the late 1600’s and earlier,

there has been a Christmas celebration, and along with it a great feast. In the early 1700’s, the Christmas feast was of a grand scale and held by the aristocracy.

This grandeur continued on into the 30s and 40s where The Great Depression and World War II made celebrating much harder and made the great feast of yesterday into a meal consisting of canned vegetables and jellies.

The pheasants, oysters, consumé, and crown roasts were lost with the greatly depreciated economy. As time continued on, the 50s, 60s, and 70s brought back roast duckling, oysters Rockefeller, and standing rib roasts. Understanding tradition and why it is so important to keep the essence of the feast alive, will help you truly make an amazing meal this Christmas.

This year, mix tradition with a new approach to a healthy lifestyle. Create dishes inspired by classics but with a much lighter load on our bodies and our wallets.

Every Christmas feast was centered around a roast of an animal; pheasant, pork, beef, and duck are a few examples of traditional roasts served for dinner.

Because pork is so lean and high in protein, I chose a pork-based dish for this Christmas centerpiece.

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin with Cider Mustard Sauce


1-Gallon Apple Cider
10 Cloves Garlic
10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
5 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 T Mustard Seeds
1 T Fennel Seeds
1 Orange Peel
1-Cup Sugar
1-Cup Kosher Salt
2 T Whole Pepper Corns
1 Bay Leaf

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes to dissolve sugar and salt and coax flavor out of ingredients. Cool down completely and then add your pork loin.

(It’s important to use kosher salt because kosher salt weighs about 5 ounces per cup and iodized salt weighs 10 ounces per cup. If you use iodized salt, only use a ½ cup.)

Acquiring your roast:

In the supermarket, you can usually find boneless pork loins ranging from 1-4 pounds. It takes about 30 minutes of cooking time per pound of pork loin, so you can gauge your cooking time based on the size of pork loin you can find and the size you need.

For this recipe, I use a 4 pound boneless pork loin roast, but again you can use any size. Place your pork loin in your cooled brine and make sure it’s completely submerged. If it’s sticking out you can place a plate on top to keep it down. Cover completely in plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours.

Preparing your roast:

2 T Olive Oil
1 T Salt
1 T Cracked black pepper
1 T Thyme, chopped finely
1 T Rosemary, chopped finely
1 T Orange Zest 

Remove your pork loin from its brine and place it on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan.

Take paper towels and dry the pork loin completely. Drizzle olive oil on your roast and coat with all other ingredients.

 Place your roast into a 425° oven for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Then turn the oven down to 400° and cook until roast has an internal temperate of 140°.

You want your roast to be at an internal temperature of 145°, but the roast will still cook when you take it out of the oven.

This is called carryover cooking. Carryover cooking will finish cooking the roast gently and redistribute the juices within the meat, keeping it nice and juicy when you cut into it.

It should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours of cooking and resting time.

Take all your dripping from the pan and set aside for the sauce! Be sure to check the roast throughout its cooking time. There is nothing worse than a dry roast!

Apple Cider Mustard Sauce:

2 cups apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
3 T whole grain mustard
Pan drippings

To start, slice your shallot thinly and mince your garlic finely. Sauté them in your pan drippings for a few minutes and then add all of the ingredients besides the mustard.

Bring to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer and let it cook until it has reduced three-fourths and is a sauce consistency. When the sauce is finished, add the mustard.

To go along with your roast, you need a few delicious sides to compliment and complete your meal. Roasting vegetables really brings out a depth of flavor and naturally occurring sweetness.

Roasted Butternut Squash

2 large Butternut Squash
1 sprig Thyme
2 T Olive Oil
Drizzle of Honey
2 T Salt
1 T Pepper

Peel and seed your squash. Dice it into 1” cubes. Remove the tiny green leaves from the stem of the thyme sprig and chop it finely. Toss the squash with the olive oil, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper and place on a sheet pan.

Roast at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Turn the squash every 5 minutes to avoid blackening. Check the squash with a knife to ensure doneness.

Roasted Fennel

4 large bulbs – Fennel
1 sprig -Thyme
1 whole – Lemon
4 cloves – Garlic
2 T – Salt
1 t – Pepper
2 T – Olive Oil

Wash, halve, and core your fennel. Cut each half into fourths. Remove the leaves from the thyme and chop finely. Zest the lemon and smash the garlic cloves. Toss all ingredients together and roast in a 375° oven for 20 minutes.

Haricot Verts with Shallot and Almond

2 T Olive Oil
2 T Salt
1 T Pepper
1 Pound Haricot Vert
1 Large Shallot
2 Cloves Garlic
½ cup Sliced Almonds

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and drop your haricot vert in. Boil until just tender and then drain and set aside to cool. Slice shallot paper thin, and mince the garlic finely. Toast the almonds and set them aside. When ready to eat, sauté the cooked beans in a tablespoon of olive oil with the shallot and garlic. Add salt and pepper and cook through. Top with toasted almonds.

Parsnip Puree

5 large parsnips
6 cloves Garlic
1 liter Chicken Stock
1 sprigs Thyme
1 Shallot

Peel parsnips and cut into large chunks of equal size. Smash garlic cloves and roughly cut the shallot. Remove the leaves from the thyme and put all ingredients into a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until fork tender, or about 15-20 minutes depending on the size. Once cooked, strain the parsnips but keep the liquid. Blend the parsnips and add the liquid slowly until you have a nice smooth mass, with a texture similar to mashed potatoes. Although it’s more work to blend them this way, you want to do this to make sure that that texture is correct and not too watery.

Naval Orange Marmalade

2 oranges
3 cups water
2 cups sugar

Cut the ends off of you oranges and then halve them. Slice the oranges as thin as you can. Put your oranges, sugar, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t scorch.  Once it has thickened and the fruit is completely softened, pull it off of the heat and cool.

Wine Pairing:

For this meal I would serve a light red wine that would compliment the pork and not compete with it. A pairing that would be great would be a Beaujolais Noveau!

This wine is made from the Gamay varietal of grapes and is very light and easy drinking. It is also special to have it with this meal because it is only released the third Thursday of November every year and needs to be consumed soon after because it doesn’t have the ability to age. On another note, it should be served slightly chilled to enhance its fruity flavors.

Now it’s time for the finale to this fantastic meal! Traditionally the dessert course is full of heavy puddings, tarts, and pies. This year, try something different and end the meal with a light and seasonal dessert. A Pavlova is a pastry that is made from a meringue base and is baked until it’s light and crispy. The inside stays chewy like marshmallow, and then there is a cream filling and it is topped with fruit. The dessert was named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova and is a holiday tradition that started in the 20s.

Pavlova with dried fruit compote


1 cup Ricotta
1/4  Chevre
¼ Greek yogurt
2 T Honey
½ t Vanilla

For the filling, blend all ingredients until smooth. This filling is delicious and much healthier than the regular filling, which is made of cream and sugar!

Fruit Compote:

2 oz Dried Apricots
2 oz Dried Cherries
2 oz Golden Raisins
2 oz Dried Cranberries
2 oz Dried Figs
1 T Orange Zest
1 T Lemon Zest
1 cup Brandy
1 cup Orange Juice
1 Cinnamon stick

Cut your apricots and figs into smaller pieces, and zest your orange and lemon. Put all ingredients into a saucepot and cook until the fruit is soft and the juices thicken, about 20 minutes.


4 Egg whites
¼ t cream of tartar
1-cup brown sugar
4 t cornstarch
2 t white vinegar
1 t Vanilla

Put your egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and beat it until small peaks form. Add the sugar slowly with the mixer on low until it is thick and glossy. Add the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix for 30 seconds just to blend all ingredients.

Bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan and form it into a disc in the middle of the pan. Smooth the top of mass so that it cooks evenly.

Bake at 250° for an hour and a half.  After the total baking time, turn the oven off and let it cool completely in the oven. This will form the crisp texture and prevent it from becoming sticky.

Only assemble this dessert right before you are about to eat it! The Pavlova should be room temperature, the cream should be cold, and the compote should be just warmed through.

Top the Pavlova with the goat cheese mixture and compote and serve!

This dessert is so impressive and so easy! It is an indulgence and a lot healthier than most desserts. Although there are eggs and sugar in this recipe, you are using the white of the egg, which has no fat, and a small amount of sugar. There are lots of textures and flavors going on, which will be a great end to a fantastic meal. Try something new this year, and start a new tradition with your friends and family!

Merry Christmas!