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Otto Wieprich


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#41 Luftmensch

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 05:06

The step-daughter described to me the time after the war which she remembers well:

?The Germans who heretofore held together like glue?some of them now turned to the enemy and turned in anyone who they thought had any connection to the Nazi government. They were always suspicious of Otto, and several times we had US Government (uniformed and plainclothes) come and take Otto away?It disgusted me, I lost all respect for so many I thought were friends.?

He was arrested some 5 times and interrogated by the CIC and OSS. I have a copy of a letter he wrote to European edition of Stars and Stripes in 1948 dispelling a rumour that Hitler escaped in one of the Staffel aircraft at war?s end. Remember that during these chaotic last days of the war Otto is still wearing his Lufthansa, not Luftwaffe, uniform:



<<Regarding your newspaper article of the 7th of March 1948, and to end the rumours of an eventual escape of Hitler in an airplane, I want to report the following?

When the Russians came closer to the German borders the squadron was moved in January 1945 from Rastenburg in East Prussia to Pocking in Bavaria, located north of Salzburg. There a Junkers 290 was remodeled for Hitler which after completion was destroyed during the flight in March 1945 from Pocking via Munich Airport/Riem to Berlin, in a bombing attack. Since Hitler was in Berlin his old plane, the Focke Wulf 200 Condor had to be flown to Berlin by his personal pilot SS-General Baur and second pilot in command, SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Betz.

In the middle of April I received the order from General Baur to bring a part of the squadron during the night to Berlin. After landing I had a meeting with Baur in the Tiergarten, where we were told that the end of the war was not going to be at Obersalzberg, as first thoughtbut in the north of Norway. Infected by the madness of his boss, Baur declared triumphantly that even though the Americans and British had nearly reached the River Elbe, and the Russians were at the Oder, finally, with the new weapon, an atomic-like bomb, we would win the war. To my modest question how could we possibly win as we were encircled and our air force was destroyed by the enemy, he said I was a saboteur.

Baur threatened me with death if I repeated any such statements of doubt. Baur also told us that the east-west axis of the Tiergarten would be used as a runway. The trees would be cut down to make a landing possible for the Condor aircraft. Also two Fieseler Stoerche would have to be placed at constant readiness for Baur and Betz.

The squadron was stationed at the Airport Schoenwalde northwest of Berlin, with the remaining planes and personnel at Pocking under orders to transfer to Schoenwalde as soon as possible. Baur and Betz remained in the Reichs Kanzlei with Hitler. As the Russians moved closer to Schoenwalde, we moved to Berlin/Staaken. The Russians were advancing from Potsdam. After their artillery fire destroyed two Fiesler Stoerche we moved to Rechlin/Gatow. From Rechlin we informed Baur of the loss of two Stoerche, whereupon he ordered me to fly two more into Berlin that evening and land in front of the Brandenburg Tor. I contradicted his order and he threatened to have me shot. Himmler?s HQ was near Rechlin, and he was supposed to fly to Berlin, but instead his mediator Fegelein was flown to Berlin in a two-seater Me 109. By that time Hitler?s planes, Himmler?s, Doenitz?s, Speer?s and other?s were with the squadron.

Several days later the squadron had to move again to Luebeck. In Luebeck the very last plane, a Ju 52 from Berlin piloted by Hanna Reitsch, landed. On board was the wounded commander of the Luftwaffe, Feldmarshall Ritter von Greim. Hanna Reitsch told us personally that in the Reichskanzlei Hitler down to his lowliest follower were terribly nervous ?und spinnen?( ?)

From Luebeck we fled to Schleswig and finally on to Flensburg, where we saw the end of the war. The planes of the Staffel were handed over to the RAF.

Regarding the reports of Baumgarten and Mackensen made public by you, I can only say they are not the truth. If Hitler really wanted to flee by plane, he would surely have flown with General Baur who was with him in the Reichskanzlei and who was seriously wounded fleeing the Fuehrerbunker. He was supposed to be in Russian hands, suffering a leg amputation. To my knowledge Hitler only one time in his life flew with someone other than Baur.

In France during the war, I was present when Hitler had to leave and, since Baur was not available, the flight was canceled even though other good pilots were on hand. If Mackensen declares that Hitler went to Tempelhof in a tank, to be transported away in a Ju 52, it would have been impossible has the Russians had already occupied the field. Takeoff and landing in Berlin was only possible on the east-west axis. As I already said hanna RTeitsch was the last to escape from Berlin in an airplane. She is presently in the American Zone and could verify my statements. By my observations there are only three possibilities for Hitler?s end?suicide, KIA during the taking of the Reichskanzlei, or capture by the Russians. A flight by Hitler I deem impossible.

I would like to add that I was not a Party Member.

I have been interrogated several times by the Secret Service as well as by the CIC concerning my duties with the Squadron.>>

Edited by Luftmensch, 31 December 2005 - 05:27 .


#42 Luftmensch

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 05:13

The step-daughter says Otto had many papers with Hitlers signature and after the war destroyed documents wholesale. She thinks his Urkunden from WW1 and the 20s were destroyed at that time.

Eventually he was cleared and got a job in a US motor pool for which he was grateful.

The step-daughter recalled the tough times after the war when food was scarce. But despite this, this rewards were things he never thought of selling. I am sure he had chances to do so.

He died soon after, in 1950, of pancreatitis. He had suffered stomach ailments his whole life, even being treated during the WW2 by Hitlers physician, Dr. Morell. She remembers him in hospital, at the end, delirious from fever and crying out for forgiveness from the sweetheart of a British pilot he had shot down

Posted Image

As she told me before, he never talked about WW1. This was the note she discovered after his death, among his few remaining personal papers:


After the First World War, 1914/18, which I experienced not much more than a child, both as an infantryman and a pilot, I had an idea to start a group dedicated to World Peace. I?m sorry to say I did not follow up on this, while I had the energy. Even so, I told myself it would be useless to convince a war generation.

The incentive for my idea came from the following experience during the war. During an attack on Arras, I had to kill my first human being. After the attack I asked my superior if I was now a murderer. He replied, smiling, 'Boy, you are defending the Fatherland!' I replied that I did not think about that during the attack, just that I was defending my own life in that moment.

The idea came to me also during my first bombing flights, behind enemy lines, when we hit peaceful towns, as our aim could not be exact.

At Whitsuntide (Pfingsten) in 1918, I shot down my second enemy, an English plane. This young officer carried on him a letter to his bride, in which he wrote that his leave, during which they planned to marry, had been cancelled due to the heavy losses suffered by his squadron. Because of this I was the one to take his life. Again I felt like a murderer.

Those are only a few of the events which make me feel bad. During the Nuremberg process, I felt like I was guilty of war crimes. I reproach myself often because of my negligence, but I was just too young.

#43 David Gregory

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:53

QUOTE(Luftmensch @ Dec 31 2005, 06:06 ) View Post

Hanna Reitsch told us personally that in the Reichskanzlei Hitler down to his lowliest follower were terribly nervous ?und spinnen?( ?)


"Spinnen" might be translated with "crazy/spouting nonsense".

This is one of the most interesting personal stories and research threads that I have read in many years. The fact that Wieprich resisted the system, refused to wear Luftwaffe uniform and also considered creating a peace initiative is frankly amazing. If there is any more to see and read, I would welcome the opportunity.

Thank you very much for sharing this part of your collection and the effort involved in telling his story.



#44 Luftmensch

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 16:41

You're welcome, David. There are a lot more cuttings in his scrapbook, but not much more to tell. The step-daughter married an American paratrooper in the late 1940s. Apparently he and Otto got on very well. The couple returned to America. Some family relative in Germany has some more photos and there's an effort to get copies, but now her husband is very sick and she's very busy nursing him. She would be happy that her step-father's story is being read with appreciation. beer.gif
Rgds
John

#45 Rick Research

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 20:17

I don't know about "refusing" to join the Luftwaffe, but the documents certainly indicate that he remained with Lufthansa. There was, after all, a need for civil aviation even during the war, from the limited range of neutral and allied countries from which travellers might have gone back and forth. The same situation applied with the merchant navy.

The ONLY Luftwaffe Rank List which has ever been published is the February 1945 for flying and staff ONLY, from regular ranks of Captain up. For everybody else, there is nothing.

What, I wonder, happened to the discarded wife after 1942?

#46 Luftmensch

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 04:58


I'm told he did join the Luftwaffe, just refused to wear the uniform.

Rick, do you have a record of him on the Lufthansa payroll after May 1945?

And no record of him in the Luftwaffe in that Feb 1945 list?

#47 Digger Doug

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 03:14

QUOTE(Luftmensch @ Dec 30 2005, 12:48 ) View Post

Thanks, Doug, for the cite. Any other details in your reference? The citation that went with the award, for example? If I had the award document I would be a very happy boy. As I'll get into in future posts, it's possible Wieprich destroyed a lot of documents after the war (1945)!



Here's the portion of the award list detailing Wieprich's award from Kutsenko p. 206. Wieprich (in Russian) is #18.

[attachmentid=21241]

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#48 Digger Doug

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 03:26

QUOTE(Luftmensch @ Dec 30 2005, 12:48 ) View Post

Thanks, Doug, for the cite. Any other details in your reference? The citation that went with the award, for example? If I had the award document I would be a very happy boy. As I'll get into in future posts, it's possible Wieprich destroyed a lot of documents after the war (1945)!


The gramota or award document would have looked something like this:

[attachmentid=21243]

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#49 Luftmensch

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 15:39


That's a strange looking thing! You and the Ricks call this a "Khoresm" Red Banner, so presumably this is for the action in Turkestan that the article credits him with getting the Dobrolets pin. I guess the action made the news and the further award went unreported--I don't see it in the scrapbook. If Khoresm is a region in Turkestan I suppose the document shows more Islamic influence than Soviet, but the badge shows all Soviet design! Was there a Red Banner design slightly adapted for different regions? Maybe I ought to look for your book. Thanks for the info, Doug.

Edited by Luftmensch, 02 January 2006 - 17:41 .


#50 Rick Research

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 17:24

Khoresm was one of the transient ethnic "Republics" under the Soviet Union. Each "Republic" had its own awards in the 1920s-- or none at all. The numbers of Republics ebbed and flowed during the Stalin period, reaching 16 in 1946 from 11 in 1940, but being reduced finally to 15 in 1956.

It is GREAT that your group is able now to identify Recipient Number 18, whose last name only on the roll must have been a source of great puzzlement! (Who WAS that guy? Welllllll..... now WE know! cheers.gif )

I agree, the landing, bad weather, fired on-- THAT is probably the Red Banner citation-- do the dates match up, or seem close enough?


The 1945 Luftwaffe list was ONLY for regulars. War's duration retreads, reservists, etc, not listed.

#51 Luftmensch

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 18:18

Ach so, now I see. Thies' July catalogue lists three Red Banners...

BELORUSSISCHE SOZIALISTICHE SOWJETREPUBLIC Orden des Roten Arbeitsbanners
ARMENISCHE SOZIALISTICHE SOWJETREPUBLIC Orden des Roten Arbeitsbanners
SOWJETISCHE VOLKSREPUBLIK CHORESM Rotbannerorden
etc. etc.

And yes, Rick, the dates do fall into sequence.

Man, all I was looking for at the time was an Ehrenbecher with SOMETHING else to go with it! rolleyes.gif


#52 Stogieman

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 22:07

Yep, apart from the reinforcement on the markings, this is one of the finest and most interesting aviation groups I've seen in forever........ my only question is: How the heck did you bump into the family???? cheers.gif

#53 Luftmensch

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 22:26

QUOTE(stogieman @ Jan 3 2006, 17:07 ) View Post

my only question is: How the heck did you bump into the family???? cheers.gif


I'll tell ya...She was a researching demon. There were letters back and forth from several of the aviation guys at the other forum during her 20 year search for service records. Eventually she talked to O'Connor and others at OVER THE FRONT, and expressed a desire to sell her father's group. They gave her Ken's name! He had his eyes open for a Becher for me for years that would have some Weimar artefacts with it--not easy to find. He had her send it direct and we've corresponded ever since. But I never could have afforded this if any one of us knew a damn about Soviet orders! blush.gif

Whaddya mean reinforcement on the markings...moral reinforcement? laugh.gif

Edited by Luftmensch, 03 January 2006 - 22:30 .


#54 Rick Research

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 23:08

Ech. Thies. Sore subject. (Wince.)

What did that one sell for? There is a lot of, sad to say, SCARY Russian Big Money into such things these days, and in the absence of any "trend" for prices (what never comes up for sale doesn't LEAVE any trail).

There was also a distinction between LABOR Red Banners and "plain old" Red Banners--which were for military valor. That's what you've got. AND a photo of #18 wearing it, which is again yet another "unique" thing about a Nachlass that has so MANY unique things about it that they are almost... routine. cheeky.gif

Have you made a nice scan of ALL his awards together in the world's most unlikely

jumping.gif x100 group?

#55 VtwinVince

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 23:19

I go away for holidays, come back, and see this group...ach du liebes Bisschen! Luftmensch, that is the most fascinating group I've ever seen, what an amazing career Wieprich had. And that cigarette case is beyond amazing. BTW the Ehrenbecher is an exact duplicate of the one I have from my uncle. Out of interest, do you know what happened to his son?

#56 Stogieman

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 23:35

Hi John, with respects to the markings I simply mean we have yet another straight from the family group with no "crown mark" on the back of the badge! cheers.gif jumping.gif laugh.gif

#57 VtwinVince

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 23:56

Rick, just to reinforce your dogma, my uncle's private purchase 1918 Juncker badge also has no crown. I'd post pictures if I could.

#58 Luftmensch

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 01:03

QUOTE(stogieman @ Jan 3 2006, 18:35 ) View Post

Hi John, with respects to the markings I simply mean we have yet another straight from the family group with no "crown mark" on the back of the badge! cheers.gif jumping.gif laugh.gif


Hi, Stogie--I'm losing my ability to play devil's advocate with you and Cmdr. Bob now that mine has become a "no crown" household. Can I get a special icon next to my name for making that declaration???

Hi, Rick--Thies...quite a character. But he got, if I remember rightly, over 20,000 EUROS for the Khoresm. By the way Vince asks what happened to son Heinz Wieprich. Is he in your Luftwaffe book?

Hi, Vince--My dream was for an Ehrenbecher with wooden base, Urkunde, and other silver awards from Weimar (don't care for NSFK stuff). I guess I'll settle for the Red Banner!

Rgds
John

#59 VtwinVince

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 02:38

I know what you mean, John. I've been lucky enough to rescue the Urkunde for the Ehrenbecher, but no base or box unfortunately. I'm still hoping one day to find the Ehrenpokal my uncle got in October, 1940. He told me that it was presented by Goering personally on the Channel and came in the blue presentation case. It was taken by Americans in 1945 in Bavaria. BTW he commanded the Polizei-Fliegerstaffel at Karlshorst during the "Kapp Putsch". I have some nice aerial photos of Berlin from this period.

#60 Luftmensch

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 04:23


Wow, I forgot you had your Uncle's Urkunde! As for the Ehrenpokal, why don't you take out an ad in Military Trader, maybe ask them when they're running a related Luftwaffe article and run it opposite. It would do my head in knowing it's out there...somewhere...
Rgds
John
PS I know a woodworker who has an Ehrenbecher + original base. He's planning to handmake a few copies. I'll let you know.




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