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ColinRF

Autographs of the German Resistance & July 20 plot

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An inexpensive post war addition :

Signed memoir by Oberst Harald Momm, CO of the Krampnitz school on July 20. Not a lot of time at the moment so this bio is a compilation of several posts from AHF.

Harald Momm, a veteran of WWI, had been on service at the Kavallerieschule since 1927. Originally considered a certainty for the show jumping team in Berlin 1936, he was transferred away from the school back to his regiment (the 16. Reiterregiment) some time before the Olympic Games because of a "clash of opinions" with his superior officer, General von Waldenfels. Waldenfels, commander of the show jumping unit at the school, had been pushed over by Momm and his mount during an argument.

After the Olympic Games, he was transferred back to the cavalry school to become successor of General von Waldenfels as commander of the show jumping unit. In 1943, he became, as colonel, commander of the school, which had been transferred by then to Potsdam-Krampnitz.

It is said that on the evening of July 20, Momm had ordered champagne in the officers' mess: "Orderly, champers! The swine is dead." On the evening of July 20th Momm was drinking with the popular actor Willy Birgel. The person who was serving some days later met with the Ortsgruppenleiter of the NSDAP, who asked in a small talk manner, how the assassination was taken in at the Krampnitz school. The server spoke out about the "party" and this info via Kreis- and Gauleiter came to the knowledge of Heinrich Himmler. Momm was arrested by the Gestapo, immediately sentenced and degraded to a Schütze. Himmler stepped into the matter and the Schütze immediately become a Rittmeister and then a SS-Sturmbannführer. (Himmler needed qualified leaders for his new SS-Kavallerie-Korps). 

While Momm's swine comment may gave been apocryphal, it is a fact that Momm had the troops of the school march out on July 20, 1944 to support the putschists. Not a very wise thing to do, but then, this was the man who had toppled a general by literally overriding him.

He was lucky. He was arrested but, different from many men who had done less, not sentenced to death. He was disrated from colonel to captain and transfered to the SS Brigade 'Dirlewanger', a penal unit for felons under the command of SS-Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger, himself a twice convicted rapist. The Dirlewanger unit's "warfare" had raised objections even among the regular SS and for a man like Momm being transferred to such a unit was akin to being sentenced to death.

However, he survived to tell his tale. In his well-written and, for any horsey person, highly intriguing memoirs "Pferde, Reiter - und Trophäen" (Horses, Horsemen and Trophies) he tells, among other things, about his five years in a Russian POW-camp and how he survived in spite of the tuberculosis he had caught working in the mines. His saviour was the commander of the POW-camp who had acquired a little filly whom he let Harald Momm groom.

Finally home, he became one of the few former officers of the SS Brigade Dirlewanger who were able to clear their names and was fully reinstated as colonel.

He became Chef d'Equipe of the German show jumping team after the Germans were allowed to take part in international equestrian competitions again. That was in 1951. He retired 1956 after the German team had won their legendary Gold at the Stockholm Games.

Harald Momm died in Munich on February 6, 1979.

On the equestrian group of four shot below, Momm is second from the right. On the right is Heinz Brandt, the unwitting carrier of Tresckow's cointreau bomb in March 1943 and one of Stauffenberg's collateral damage victims on July 20. Contrary to his unsympathetic depiction in the film Valkyrie, Brandt was actually a resistance sympathizer.

 

 

 

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Edited by ColinRF

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Congrats on a nice addition. If you look back you will see I got a post-war movie script signed by Szokoll. 

I have some more pieces by others to post when I can shake loose some time.

Colin

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Another recent addition. This is a pre-war postcard sent to Irene Stoelzel, signed by various fellow students of the famous Coburg Casimirianum Gymnasium. One can see roughly midway on the left the signature of Georg Hansen, later to be Stoelzel's husband.

Oberst i.G. Georg Hansen was a major resister, being appointed by Canaris as his successor as leader if the Amt Ausland Abwehr. Once the Abwehr organisation was subsumed into the RSHA, Hansen was second in command to Walter Schellenberg.

Hansen was one of the first additions to the Reichswehr's fledgling panzer corps before moving to the general staff and then to the intelligence function before the war. He commanded to general staff training program at the Berlin Kriegsakademie. He subsequently moved to the Abwehr where he rose to command Abwehr I, German SIS under Canaris.

Hansen had early contact with Beck and Stauffenberg through his senior role in the general staff organisation. He was an active resister as early as 1938, actively plotting Hitler's assassination with Tresckow since 1943. He was heavily involved in the run up to Valkyrie, providing security and vehicles to the resisters, as well as use of his home in Rangsdirf for secret meetings. He was tasked with arresting RSHA and Gestapo staff on July 20. He was also intended to be a major negotiator with the western allies adter the coup.

After disagreeing with Stauffenberg about post-coup political plans, Hansen opted to absent himself from Berlin on July 20, choosing instead to attend one of his five childrens' baptisms. He returned to Berlin on July 21 and was summoned to the RSHA where he was arrested in the lobby. He suffered intensive interrogation (i.e. Torture) and broke down, implicating many including Canaris. He was tried before Freisler on August 10 in the company of Berthold Stauffenberg, Fellgiebel and others. He was executed on the meathooks at Ploetzensee on September 8, 1944.

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Looking over past pages here I am saddened to see how badly automatic system upgrades have screwed up my posts. Bad enough that umlauts and apostrophes are now shown as ? marks but many attachments are now shown in the wrong posts. The result is a mish mash that is useless as a research source.

Is there no way for me to fix or edit this? If not, I don't really see the point in continuing this thread. Its a lot of work writing these bios and adding scans. Having the wrong attachments appear due to a dumb computer update is pretty demotivating.

colin

Update - thank you to Nick for granting me limited edit rights in order to correct the problems.

Edited by ColinRF

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Just got this EKI Urkunde signed by Generlleutant Walter von Brockdorff Ahlefeldt. Brockdorff's signature is usually seen on Demjansk Shield award documents and always in stamped form, as this general died before theseawards wer granted.

Brockdorff, or "Boney Charles" as Ewald Heinrich von Kleist says he was known by his men, was a major player in the coup planned by Hans Oster in 1938. He and GFM von Witzleben were in command of troops critical to the plan to raid the Chancellery and to kill Hitler. Brockdorff commanded the Potsdam garrison, consisting of the 23ed Infantry Division. Witzleben worked with Brockdorff and Gisevius to identify SS and Gestapo locations in Berlin to be neutralized. As noted in earlier posts, Oster's daring plan unravelled primarily due to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement efforts at Munich.

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Edited by ColinRF

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I already had a postcard signed by Abwehr Oberstleutnant Ulrich Freiherr von Sell (see #39 above) but at the very inexpensive price, I  couldn't resist this Soldbuch to a Major who served in the Abwehr Group III N under von Sell.

The Soldbuch is signed twice by von Sell, who was Stauffenberg's liaison to Wehrkreis IX (Kassel) for Operation Valkyrie on July 20, 1944. The bio of von Sell can be found at the earlier post under this thread.

Interestingly, the Major to whom the book belonged, also served at the infamous transit camp Dulag 121, in Gomel, where many Soviet POWs perished under inhuman conditions.

 

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Edited by ColinRF

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I saw this listed. Very nice item with a historical significance both for the signature and the man's postings.

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I thought it a good buy once I saw it had Sell's signature. I haven't seen many IDs with an Abwehr Wehrkreis III stamp. I notified the seller about the July 20 link but he deep discounted it anyway, so in I went. Thanks.

Edited by ColinRF

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I must admit that I was surprised that he still discounted it after learning of the signature but fair play to him for doing so.

I wonder if this particular man was aware of the conspiracy overtones in the Abwehr and considering the signature he obviously had contact with certain members of it, and if so what were his feelings towards it and were those feelings reinforced after seeing what happened at Dulag 121 or was he completely in the dark about everything (maybe he was viewed as untrustworthy by the conspirators) and Dulag 121 just strengthened his beliefs in favour of the regime?

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My reading on Dulag 121 and the general treatment of Soviet POWs highlights the crimes of some conspirators (for example General Quartermaster Wagner, who constantly reduced POW rations and declared "let them starve"). I didn't know that as many as 3.3 million of the Russian losses in WWII were POWs who died. Makes the mistreatment of German Stalingrad POWs more understandable. 

I don't expect that the Soldbuch holder had more than influential contact with the conspirators in the Abwehr. There were many pro-Nazi and neutral officers in Canaris' organization. I expect, being in Group III N, that he didn't have close contact with the heavy resisters as they were in Abteilung Z, the central admin group. I expect the treatment of Soviet POWs was an open secret in the overall organization. Malende was in the postal censorship group so he would know of the content of soldiers' communications from the front, for example.

I expect the holder of the soldbuch was sent to Dulag 121 as he was an officer in a Landschutzen battalion attached to Abwehr III N. 

Edited by ColinRF

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What a wonderful thread. I'll echo the call of others by saying you should write a book. Its rare to see actual artifacts that can be attributed to the Resistance against Hitler.

Recently I was able to acquire a Soldbuch that belonged to a conspirator Urban Thiersch. While he did join the plot late in the game he was able to associate with some of the key players in the assassination attempt, including Colonel Stauffenberg himself. LT. Thiersch did survive and was a successful sculpture. He is mentioned in many of the key works on the July 20th plot. Even though he survived he seemed to have avoided publicity after the war. I only found one postwar picture of him. He was interrogated/interviewed shortly after the war, but so far finding a copy of the transcripts has alluded me.   Anyway having an artifact in my collection that was actually carried by someone who actually met with Stauffenberg and von Haeften, was something I never dreamed of.

 

Urban Thiersch and the July 20, 1944 Plot:  Urban Thiersch did not become an active member of the resistance until 1944. The circumstances that resulted in him joining the resistance were tied to another conspirator Colonel Georg Alexander Hansen (July 5, 1904 to September 8, 1944).

 

 

“Colonel Georg Alexander Hansen joined the military in 1924. In 1935, Colonel Hansen met the head of the General Staff  Ludwig Beck and Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg at the War Academy in Berlin-Moabit. In 1937 he was transferred to the Department of Counterintelligence and Foreign Intelligence (Department of Foreign Armies East) of the Reich War Ministry, headed by Konteradmiral Canaris. In 1939, this office was named the Abwehr. From 1943 onward; Hansen used his position within the Abwehr to support the resistance. Colonel Hansen became opposed to Hitler’s regime in 1938 and was one of most important participants of the resistance, alongside Generalmajor Henning von Tresckow and Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg.

In 1944 he participated in most of the important meetings to overthrow Hitler. He organized transportation and security for his fellow conspirators. His house in Ransdorf often served as a meeting place. In the event the plot to overthrow Hitler succeeded Hansen would play a prominent role in the new regime.

After Canaris, resigned in February 1944, plans to reorganize the Abwehr were set into motion. Two months later, in May 1944, Colonel Hansen and most of his staff were transferred to the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), where he served as the deputy under his immediate superior, SS General Schellenberg.

This change in leadership left Colonel Hansen surrounded by people he could not trust. This situation was a problem for Claus Stauffenberg, since he needed a reliable officer within the intelligence apparatus. Stauffenberg asked Rudolph Fahrner if he could recommend someone to act as a liaison between himself and Col. Hanson. Rudolph Fahrner gave him Urban Thiersch’s name. At the end of June 1944 Stauffenberg ordered Thiersch by telegram to Berlin. Urban Thiersch met with Stauffenberg on the 1st of July. Stauffenberg greeted him by saying ‘Let us come straight to the point: I am engaged in high treason with all the means available to me.’

Thiersch's function within the circle of the conspirators was to act as a liaison between Stauffenberg and Georg Hansen. He was assigned to Colonel Hansen as an ordnance officer, in order to carry out this function.

Thiersch would meet with 1st Lieutenant Werner Karl von Haeften (Oct. 9, 1908 - July 20/21, 1944), Stauffenberg’s adjutant on 8 July, 1944.  Thiersch also briefly met with Stauffenberg on the same day.  According to Urban Thiersch's adopted son Paul Thiersch, his father was to serve as a persona ladjutant to Stauffenberg in the days prior to the assassination attempt.

 

After the plot failed LT. Thiersch was able to go into hiding until the end of the war. I have posted more information as well as a page by page look at the Soldbuch on the WAF.

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=925492

Thank you for your time: If I can figure this out I will attach a picture of the Soldbuch and how I'm displaying it.

Warm regards Jim

 

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Edited by Jim Pool

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Jim - thanks for posting this. Lucky you in acquiring such a great piece. I agree with you that holding such a piece of historical paper has the ability to transport one to another place and time. I often wonder what was going on in the room when my various pieces were written or signed. 

I particularly like the connection to Hansen. I am sure you have seen the Hansen piece I recently picked up. Its a hard signature to find. 

Cngrats and thanks

Colin

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1 hour ago, ColinRF said:

Jim - thanks for posting this. Lucky you in acquiring such a great piece. I agree with you that holding such a piece of historical paper has the ability to transport one to another place and time. I often wonder what was going on in the room when my various pieces were written or signed. 

I particularly like the connection to Hansen. I am sure you have seen the Hansen piece I recently picked up. Its a hard signature to find. 

Cngrats and thanks

Colin

Thank you Colin,

I saw the Hansen piece, fantastic. I know Urban was a bit player but he hung around with some of the key players like Hansen, von Haeften, and of course Stauffenburg. He had to have met with Hansen too. Did he know Hansen was leaving? Was he in Berlin on 20 July ? I believe some of the answers are in a file somewhere. 

I was also fascinated by your GD docement. I also have a similar Document signed by members of the Replacement Bn commanded by Col. Bandelow, when Von Schumacher visited the unit. I haven't deciphered all the signatures yet so I haven't checked them for a 20 July connection. I downloaded your document so I can sort out the signatures better. Jim

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Jim - I got the GD. doc from Huesken and he has the rest of the visiting book first sale, page by page. If you are in the mood gor a challenge. I shall try to get to my books this week to see if I can add anything on your guy.

Colin

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13 hours ago, ColinRF said:

Jim - I got the GD. doc from Huesken and he has the rest of the visiting book first sale, page by page. If you are in the mood gor a challenge. I shall try to get to my books this week to see if I can add anything on your guy.

Colin

I tied to find the book but so far no luck. You wouldn't happen to know where its located on his site? If not I'll continue to search.

I appreciate all your help.  Warm Regards Jim

 

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Sadly he broke the book up and listed the pages individually or in groups. Do a word search under the key word "stockhausen."

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On 8/20/2017 at 16:17, ColinRF said:

Jim - thanks for posting this. Lucky you in acquiring such a great piece. I agree with you that holding such a piece of historical paper has the ability to transport one to another place and time. I often wonder what was going on in the room when my various pieces were written or signed. 

I particularly like the connection to Hansen. I am sure you have seen the Hansen piece I recently picked up. Its a hard signature to find. 

Cngrats and thanks

Colin

I have been trying to locate as much information about the life of Urban Thiersch especially his wartime exploits. The National Archives are backlogged but may yield some records. I reached out to Professor Peter Hoffmann who is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on the Stauffenberg plot. To my surprise he took the time to respond to my request for help and provided me copies referenced in his book on Stauffenberg.  I translated (as best I can) one of the documents which is shown below along with the translation.

 

Peter C.W. Hoffmann, was born 13 August 1930, in Dresden is a professor of history at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. His principal area of research deals with the German Resistance against National Socialism and in particular, the resistance efforts of Claus von Stauffenberg.  His works include:

 

Widerstand, Staatsstreich, Attentat - Der Kampf der Opposition gegen Hitler;

German Resistance to Hitler; Stauffenberg und der 20. Juli 1944;

Hitler's Personal Security;

Stauffenbergs Freund. Die tragische Geschichte des Widerstandskämpfers Joachim Kuhn;

 Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. Die Biographie;

Carl Goerdeler and the Jewish Question,

 1933–1942; Behind Valkyrie. German Resistance to Hitler. Documents.

 

So it’s not surprising the writers of Valkyrie (Tom Cruise version) relied heavily on his massive 1969 history of the assassination attempt and his later, equally massive biography of Stauffenberg for background material for the movie.

 

Here is my attempt at translating the attached document.

 

After suffering a bullet wound in September 1942 I spent over a year in hospitals recovering. In the autumn of 1943 Professor Rudolph Fahrner visited me for a few days in Überlingen (City on the North shore of Lake Constance).  I met him through my late father Professor Paul   Thiersch.  (The rest is almost impossible to read but appears to discuss how his relationship with Rudolph Fahrner grew over time).

 

At the end of June 1944 (I was the Commander of an Artillery Replacement Battery in Regensburg), my adjutant Dr. Klimm now a teacher in (unreadable), informed that a message arrived informing me to immediately report to Chief of Staff in Bendlerstrasse. I reported to Stauffenberg on the 2nd or 3rd of July (most books give the date as 1 July). Stauffenberg told me that it he requested me based on the recommendation of Rudolph Fahrner. He explained to me his plans for a (regime) change and asked me if I was ready to participate. On my request, he informed me of my part and told me to come back the next morning to meet with Rudolph Fahrner.

 

Rudolph Fahrner and I met the next day in the OKH and scheduled another meeting the following morning in Wannsee (SW Berlin). We met Berthold Graf Stauffenberg at the train station and we all went to the Stauffenberg apartment in the Tristanstrasse (No. 8 Tristanstrasse in Wansee-Berlin, residence of Berthold von Stauffenberg and temporary-September 1943-July 1944, residence of Claus von Stauffenberg ) for further discussions. Rudolph Fahrner slept.

 

At noon we took Berthold Graf Stauffenberg to the train station and returned to the apartment, where Rudolph Fahrner told me about his talks with the brothers Stauffenberg. Particularly urgent was the question whether Claus Stauffenberg should carry out the assassination.

 

In the evening I took the overnight express train with Rudolph Fahrner in the direction of Munich, Berchtesgaden. I got out in Regensburg while he continued on his way. I was particularly concerned that the cars for the Führer headquarters were part of the train along with the accompanying security agencies. Rudolph Fahrner was concerned that his briefcase in which he had the details of the plot would be discovered.

 

I have determined that the events surrounding my subsequent return to Berlin, my part within the plot, as well as the circumstances which prevented my discovery, as being inconsequential in regards to this accounting.

 

After the 20th of July, I took the first opportunity to get into personal contact with Rudolph Fahrner (August 44), and visited him in Überlingen, where we destroyed our correspondence. Numerous letters from the Stauffenberg brothers to Rudolph Fahrner were burned. I took some letters of a personal nature with me and gave them to my friend Dr. Max Weather in München-Selln for safe keeping.

 

Certified statement of Urban Thiersch April 27, 1953

 

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Well done reaching out to Professor Hoffmann. I have always found him more than happy to assist and advise someone with a legitimate interest. As you note, his history was relied on for Valkyrie. In addition, he served as voluntary historical advisor (at his own request) to ensure that the film was as accurate as possible. It was.

You have a lot more here  than I found in Professor Hoffmann's works and in a book on Stephen George's "Secret Germany" circle. 

What a shame Fahrner and your man burned that correspondance. One can only imagine what important historical documents were lost post-July 20. Kramarz and Hoffmann note in their prefaces that very few documents survived the coup artempt as the Gestapo confiscated everything they could find for evidence and others burned letters to avoid association with Stauffenberg.

One wonders how many other survivors were associated with the coup but don't appear in the texts and memoirs.

Colin

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5 hours ago, ColinRF said:

Well done reaching out to Professor Hoffmann. I have always found him more than happy to assist and advise someone with a legitimate interest. As you note, his history was relied on for Valkyrie. In addition, he served as voluntary historical advisor (at his own request) to ensure that the film was as accurate as possible. It was.

You have a lot more here  than I found in Professor Hoffmann's works and in a book on Stephen George's "Secret Germany" circle. 

What a shame Fahrner and your man burned that correspondance. One can only imagine what important historical documents were lost post-July 20. Kramarz and Hoffmann note in their prefaces that very few documents survived the coup artempt as the Gestapo confiscated everything they could find for evidence and others burned letters to avoid association with Stauffenberg.

One wonders how many other survivors were associated with the coup but don't appear in the texts and memoirs.

Colin

Hi Colin,

I'm actually surprised that Professor Hoffmann took the time to respond and I never expected him to scan his files for me. Hes still teaching and working on another book on  Henning von Tresckow.  He also interviewed Urban in 1978 and gave me a copy of his handwritten notes. I'm not sure I will be able to decipher them though. They are in German and I'm not sure of the context. I also sent the Professor a copy of Urbans Soldbuch for his files.

I absolutely loved the Cruise version of Valkyrie. I just found out Stauffenbergs grandson had a bit part in the movie.

I just watched the TV version of the plot and it was okay. I also bought the German movie on the plot and will need to make some time to watch it. 

While the loss of those documents is sad from a historical perspective, their destruction may have saved a few folks. Finding the Canaris diary was certainly a blow to many plotters.

The more I find out about LT. Thriesch the more thrilled I get. The fact this Soldbuch had to have been on him, as he met with so many of the plotters in the few weeks prior to the assassination attempt, is amazing.

Jim

PS Professor Hoffmann is looking for anything related to Henning von Tresckow . His contact info is located at this site:

https://www.mcgill.ca/history/peter-hoffmann

 

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