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Well, I will say that yet again, we find validation & vindication of the "No Crown Mark" theory....... for the rest of you Philistines, send all your fake badges without the crown mark to me for proper disposal!

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Meanwhile, the hero returns to Germany with his new Russian wife and joins Lufthansa, right at its inception, in January 1926. His title is Flugleiter i.e. ?Flight Leader,? or station manager.

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This sure looks like a new badge to me, but it was his and is numbered "11". Does anyone know what year this style dates from? He was in Lufthansa until the end of the war.

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K?st was an avid manufacturer of Freikorps awards right after WW1. I never heard that his firm even lasted into the Third Reich (someone will soitenly correct me if he's on the LDO List, but it's too late for me to go look for such a minor point) so that does seem to date this VERY modern looking design to the 1920s.

I'm going to retire for ce soir now, but I don't know if I'll get any sleep after all this excitement. This ONE man's group crosses so MANY different Global Spectacular categories it is mind-boggling. :cheers:

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According to Orders of Soviet Republics by Kutsenko (p206), Wieprich received the Khorezm Red Banner on 24.04.1924. The book lists him as a Voenny letchik which translates to military pilot. Do you have the award doc among his paperwork? As for the order, it appears there were less than 100 awarded of which only a handfull are known today. Thanks for sharing such a rare item.

Doug

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K?st was an avid manufacturer of Freikorps awards right after WW1. I never heard that his firm even lasted into the Third Reich (someone will soitenly correct me if he's on the LDO List, but it's too late for me to go look for such a minor point) so that does seem to date this VERY modern looking design to the 1920s.

This is an exceptionally interesting group!

Kust is not listed in the 1941 Berlin telephone directory, so there is a good chance that the firm no longer existed or was only trading from its premises in Stendal.

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A most remarkable group. Thanks for posting it.

Thank you all for the kind words. Would you believe there's more? But first I have to wake up...Alas very little paperwork beyond his scrapbook. The step-daughter tried very hard to locate records without much success.

Here are a few handsome Weimar presentation pieces he picked up for his work.

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"Befreiungsflug"=release flight. Is that breaking in some new type before commercial use?

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According to Orders of Soviet Republics by Kutsenko (p206), Wieprich received the Khorezm Red Banner on 24.04.1924. The book lists him as a Voenny letchik which translates to military pilot. Do you have the award doc among his paperwork? As for the order, it appears there were less than 100 awarded of which only a handfull are known today. Thanks for sharing such a rare item.

Doug

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)!

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Not having that book, :cheers: I don't know if one is illustrated in there to know what to look for. But the award document for the Khoresm Red Banner would PROBABLY be in the same horrible Arabic squiggles as on that little silver presentation piece. If the RUSSIAN ones of that era are any indication, it would be very large, on crappy paper, rather unimpressive looking... and bear the full citation text for what he earned it doing.

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Thanks, Rick, I'll keep an eye out for something fitting that description and ask the family. Their original plan was to divide this group amoung FOUR ! ! ! ! :(:P:rolleyes::sleep: grandchildren. I'm glad reason prevailed. I've seen British gallantry groups, beautifully mounted, divided up with a pair of scissors among grandkiddies who couldn't wait to get back to their playstations. And then they find out years later that Bobbie gotta DSO and Billy gotta lousy Victory medal. I'll ask the family if there are any stray bits left behind.

Here is the rest of the story...

With Lufthansa, Wieprich got to manage many of the big airports in Germany including Nachtflugleiter (night-flight manager) at Berlin-Tempelhof and Chief of Lufthansa at Rhein-Main.

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While on the job Otto got to meet all the famous aviators. Here is Chamberlin, fresh from setting a new record...

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And here's a great shot of Otto greeting his friends the Lindberghs.

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I hid these from the earlier photos of Otto's prized cigarette case.

Inside the top lid, opposite the JUNKERS inscription, some of his famous pals subsequently had their signatures engraved--I suppose during the 1930s.

Otto must have had his favourite jeweller do the work, but at whose expense? I can read 5 of 7. Can anyone decipher the other 2 ?

Clarence Chamberlin

?

Wiley Post

Harold Gatty

?

Ernst Udet

Charles Lindbergh

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? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

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According to the step-daughter, at the outbreak of WW2 Otto?s friend Hermann Goering ?asked? him to join the Luftwaffe with the rank of Major.

Does anyone have a record of this?

Also according to his step-daughter Otto, who was somewhat of a pacifist by this time, refused to wear his Luftwaffe uniform. How he got away with this I don?t know. Maybe because Hermann Goering was his friend? At any rate, he was put in charge of ?Special Flights for the East? and, eventually, made Flugleiter on the Fuehrer Staffel,

aka Lufthansa Kommando Fliegerstaffel des Fuhrers.

She remembers he always wore his Lufthansa uniform, right until the end of the war, and had nothing nice to say about Hans Baur.

There is NOTHING of his from this time. The step-daughter contacted Lufthansa, who also said most of their records from this time had been destroyed in the bombing. But they did find this one document.

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Piloting FW 200 ?Condors?, Otto was stationed at Fueher HQ at Winniza in the Ukraine, then Rastenburg in East Prussia. As a friend of Udet?s he knew the truth of his suicide, and because of Wieprich?s anti-war views he was arrested twice during the war?after the Hess flight, and in the wave of arrests following the July 20 1944 asassination attempt. Each time he was interrogated and released. Hess had spoken to Wieprich personally before the famous flight to Scotland and asked him questions about gasoline consumption. Wieprich also divorced his Russian wife in 1942 and remarried a good German girl he met in Stuttgart years earlier.

By May 1945 after much chaos he had taken the Fuehrer Staffel to its last base at Flensburg, flying for the Doenitz government, until the field was captured by Canadian troops.

Edited by Luftmensch

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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:

Rgds

John

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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?

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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?

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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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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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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

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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: )

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.

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