The German heroes who helped Allies against Hitler

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by v2, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    He was born Claus Ascher in Berlin in 1922. His patriotic father had fought for Germany in the First World War. His blonde mother 'couldn't have been more Aryan if she tried'. When the Second World War broke out, Ascher, then 18, was quick to volunteer.
    But he was not fighting for Hitler. His name was now Colin Anson and he was a Royal Marines commando who swore allegiance to king and country. It was the same for Horst Herzberg, now Bill Howard; Ignaz Schwarz, now Eric Sanders; and Helmut Rosettenstein, now Harry Rossney.

    They were among more than 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fled Nazi persecution, took refuge in British territories and volunteered to join the struggle against Hitler. These 'enemy aliens', as they were known, became soldiers, sailors and airmen, took part in operations behind enemy lines, carried out vital intelligence work and participated in the D-Day landings. In every case their objective was the defeat of their own country to rid the world of fascism.

    More than 60 years later, the veterans, many Jewish or considered 'degenerate' in Hitler's Germany, will come together this week for their first reunion. More than 100 will gather at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, south London, to be welcomed by Field Marshal Lord Bramall, former chief of the general Staff, at a private event to mark their contribution to the allied victory. The meeting coincides with publication of a book, The King's Most Loyal Enemy Aliens, which reveals many of the veterans' remarkable stories for the first time.
    'The war had broken out and we felt it was our affair as much as anyone else's,' recalled Anson, now 85 and speaking in a crisp English accent. 'We were very aware of the generosity and compassion of Britain. We owed a debt to this country for saving our lives. I wasn't opposed to Germany, but I certainly was interested in fighting the Nazis.'

    Anson's father was a German First World War veteran who was disillusioned by Hitler's rise to power. He was identified as a political subversive, interned at Dachau concentration camp and murdered in 1937. Anson escaped to Britain just before his 17th birthday, although his mother was unable to follow him. In 1940 he volunteered for the armed forces, joining the only unit open to the refugees - many of whom were in internment camps - the non-combatant Pioneer Corps, known as 'the king's most loyal enemy aliens'.

    Many took English names. Anson said: 'My old name began with an A and, when I had to choose a new one, an Avro Anson twin-engine flew over, so I thought right, I'll have that.'

    In 1942 the enemy aliens were allowed to enlist in fighting units, and Anson was eventually attached to 40 Royal Marine Commando. During the invasion of Sicily his assault ship came under attack from German bombers.

    'There were a lot of casualties and I was knocked out by the blast,' he recalled. 'I asked for bandages and the medical sergeant told me to sit against the wall and not move. Boats came alongside to evacuate the wounded and I was among the last. I thought it was because my injuries weren't serious, but I later learnt it was because they didn't expect me to last the night.'

    Shrapnel remains embedded in his skull. After the war he was reunited with his mother in Frankfurt and brought her to live in Britain. In 1951 Anson married Alice Gross, a refugee from Vienna who had joined the British war effort, working in the photographic section of Bomber Command HQ at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. She will also travel from their home in Watford, Hertfordshire, to attend the reunion.

    Helen Fry, the book's author, estimates that 85 to 90 per cent of the Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain were Jewish - many lost family members in the Holocaust - with the remainder consisting of anti-Nazis and the 'degenerate artists'. She said: 'They knew what Britain was up against. Some had come out of concentration camps and they were determined to liberate Europe.

    'They all say they felt German first, not Jewish. This is the paradox: they found themselves fighting on the other side. But once they had the army uniform they were determined to be British. The general public don't realise their contribution. Some of those I interviewed for the book haven't even told their families about it. The nation should be grateful to these silent heroes.'

    The risks were high: Germans caught behind enemy lines were tortured and executed as traitors. Many of those who survived helped rebuild their homelands and hunt for Nazi war criminals before settling in Britain for good. They included Sir Ken Adam, the only German fighter pilot in the RAF, who became a production designer on more than 70 films, including seven James Bonds; Lord Claus Moser, former chairman of the Royal Opera House; Martin Freud, the eldest son of Sigmund Freud, who worked as a lawyer; and John Langford, who was Churchill's bodyguard.

    The man who caught Britain's most notorious traitor was also German. Geoffrey Perry, born Horst Pinschewer to Jewish parents in Berlin, was a British army intelligence officer when he apprehended William Joyce, the propagandist 'Lord Haw Haw'. Perry, who witnessed fighting in Normandy and the horrors of Belsen concentration camp, said that, despite his nationality, he had met no hostility from fellow soldiers.

    'The uniform was a common denominator. Whether you were born in Manchester or Berlin then was of little importance. They knew what you did for the army.' He added: 'The army changed my name for me. At 85, I have Perry grandchildren and my other name is long gone. If you asked my grandchildren I don't think they'd be able to spell it.'

    source: The Guardian
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Good post. Thanks for sharing. There is a good movie about Rosettenstein I believe. I think I saw it a while back.
     
  3. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    Can I ask who the 'Degenerate Artists' were?
    Just never heard of this group before, thats all.
    I know Hitler was a failed one, any link?
     
  4. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    Google :)
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Hitler was a failed Artist but he was not a "Degenerate Artist".

    Degenerate Artists were Artists and Entertainers who were deemed Un-German by the Nazi Party. There works were confiscated and they were sanctioned.

    Later they were branded Enemies of the State.

    From Wiki:

    "Avant-garde German artists were now branded both enemies of the state and a threat to German culture. Many went into exile. Max Beckmann fled to Amsterdam on the opening day of the entartete Kunst exhibit.[28] Max Ernst emigrated to America with the assistance of Peggy Guggenheim. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner committed suicide in Switzerland in 1938. Paul Klee spent his years in exile in Switzerland, yet was unable to obtain Swiss citizenship because of his status as a degenerate artist.

    Other artists remained in internal exile. Otto Dix retreated to the countryside to paint unpeopled landscapes in a meticulous style that would not provoke the authorities.[29] The Reichskulturkammer forbade artists such as Edgar Ende and Emil Nolde from purchasing painting materials. Those who remained in Germany were forbidden to work at universities and were subject to surprise raids by the Gestapo in order to ensure that they were not violating the ban on producing artwork; Nolde secretly carried on painting, but using only watercolors (so as not to be betrayed by the telltale odor of oil paint). Although no artists were put to death because of their work, those of Jewish descent who did not escape from Germany in time were sent to concentration camps.[30]

    After the exhibit, paintings were sorted out for sale and sold in Switzerland at auction; some pieces were acquired by museums, others by private collectors. Nazi officials took many for their private use: for example, Hermann Goering took fourteen valuable pieces, including a van Gogh and a Cezanne. In March, 1939, the Berlin Fire Brigade burned approximately 4000 works which had little value on the international market."



    Jankel Adler
    Ernst Barlach
    Rudolf Bauer
    Philipp Baunecht
    Otto Baum
    Willi Baumeister
    Herbert Bayer
    Max Beckmann
    Rudolf Belling
    Paul Bindel
    Theo Brün
    Max Burchartz
    Fritz Burger-Mühlfeld
    Paul Camenisch
    Heinrich Campendonk
    Karl Caspar
    Maria Caspar-Filser
    Pol Cassel
    Marc Chagall
    Lovis Corinth
    Heinrich Maria Davringhausen
    Walter Dexel
    Johannes Diesner
    Otto Dix
    Hans Christoph Drexel
    Johannes Driesch
    Heinrich Eberhard
    Max Ernst
    Hans Feibusch
    Lyonel Feininger
    Conrad Felixmüller
    Otto Freundlich
    Xaver Fuhr
    Ludwig Gies
    Werner Gilles
    Otto Gleichmann
    Rudolph Grossmann
    George Grosz
    Hans Grundig
    Rudolf Haizmann
    Raoul Hausmann
    Guido Hebert
    Erich Heckel
    Wilhelm Heckrott
    Jacoba van Heemskerck
    Hans Siebert von Heister
    Oswald Herzog
    Werner Heuser
    Heinrich Hoerle
    Karl Hofer
    Eugen Hoffmann
    Johannes Itten
    Alexej von Jawlensky
    Eric Johanson
    Hans Jürgen Kallmann
    Wassily Kandinsky
    Hanns Katz
    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
    Paul Klee
    Cesar Klein
    Paul Kleinschmidt
    Oskar Kokoschka
    Otto Lange
    Wilhelm Lehmbruck
    El Lissitzky
    Oskar Lüthy
    Franz Marc
    Gerhard Marcks
    Ewald Mataré
    Ludwig Meidner
    Jean Metzinger
    Constantin von Mitschke-Collande
    Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
    Margarethe (Marg) Moll
    Oskar Moll
    Johannes Molzahn
    Piet Mondrian
    Georg Muche
    Otto Mueller
    Erich(?) Nagel
    Heinrich Nauen
    Ernst Wilhelm Nay
    Karel Niestrath
    Emil Nolde
    Otto Pankok
    Max Pechstein
    Max Peiffer-Watenphul
    Hans Purrmann
    Max Rauh
    Hans Richter
    Emy Röder
    Christian Rohlfs
    Edwin Scharff
    Oskar Schlemmer
    Rudolf Schlichter
    Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
    Werner Scholz
    Lothar Schreyer
    Otto Schubert
    Kurt Schwitters
    Lasar Segall
    Friedrich Skade
    Friedrich (Fritz) Stuckenberg
    Paul Thalheimer
    Johannes Tietz
    Arnold Topp
    Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart
    Karl Völker
    Christoph Voll
    William Wauer
    Gert Heinrich Wollheim
     
  6. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Do i read "who helped Allies against Hitler"? Cute and clever. Helping the allies "against Hitler" implies helping the allies against Germany...going a bit further it implies having played against their own land and people...or in less cooked words: they betrayed their nation, their people.

    So those Germans who served Germany -which should be the most natural condition during a war, that is you are most likely to wear the uniform of the army of the nation you are a citizen- get neither respect nor credit for their sacrifices, while those who betrayed their nation are called "heroes". You have to be a Canaris to be awarded honors.

    What a vomitive view.

    So the heros say that if they would become POWs they would be tortured and most likely shot? No kidding! Do you recall the hunting unleashed at the end of the war in most of the once occupied nations of Europe? Anyone who collaborated with German occupation forces and authorities was subjected to quite brutal treatment.

    Also these type of stories from people like these German "heroes" who were outside Germany during the war and/or served in the ranks of allied armies against Germany affirming "we knew what the allies were up against" should be taken with a grain salt; these ordinary citizens, many of them very young by the time, were likely to have no bloody clue of what the global situation of the war really was. These people have simply adjusted their opinions throughout the years, so their views conform to the politically correctness of present times.
     
  7. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    Haven't heard of these people, but it's not surprising. Good posting.

    Which reminds me, wasn't there more than one attempt to depose Hitler? Even before the war?
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Udet you read to much into things sometimes.
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    There were actually many plots, some of them dating back to 1938.
     
  10. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    From those who saw the writing on the wall and knew where Germany was headed.
     
  11. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    Good post, v2. Very interesting. :cool:
     
  12. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Probably the best known attempt on Hitler’s life came in March of 1943. Hitler had landed in his personal FW-200 at Smolensk and was taken to the headquarters of Field Marshal Guenther von Kluge. During the meeting, General Henning von Tresckow (Chief of Staff to Kluge) approached Col. Heinz Brandt, a member of Hitler’s entourage and casually asked him if he would be good enough to take along a small parcel containing two bottles of liquer for Gen. Helmuth Stieff in Berlin. Brandt readily agreed . The package contained a bomb.

    When Hitler boarded the aircraft, the bomb was activated and set to explode in thirty minutes.

    Three hours later, a message reached Kluge announcing Hitler’s safe arrival. Fortunately The “package” was retrieved before anyone got suspicious.

    Later is was found that Hitler’s pilot had run into some clouds and turbulence and, to spare Hitler any discomfort, had taken the aircraft to a higher altitude. The temperature in the baggage compartment, where Brandt had put the package, had dropped rapidly, freezing the acid fuse.

    Charles
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Talk about dumb luck.
     
  14. Konigstiger205

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    I've read a book about Hitler's life and in it were many failed attempts to assassinate him and to be honest that guy had an incredible luck and if he would have been so lucky in the war problems we would all be speaking German right now...
     
  15. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    OK...I have and I discovered, but i was most concerned I might see things my Mother wouldn't allow!:twisted:
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Doing a search on this topic?
     
  17. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    There were quite a few German Army and Navy officers who were members
    of the "Schwartz Kapelle" who, at first, planned to overthrow Hitler and then
    sue for peace, but later actually tried to asassinate him. FDR threw a
    monkey wrench into their plans when he came up with the phrase:
    Unconditional Surrender. The Schwartz Kapelle actually tried to save
    Germany from the Nazis.

    Adm Canaris was, in fact a member of the Schwartz Kapelle... he also
    had several direct lines to Britain through the Vatican and through the Swiss
    Embassy.

    Charles
     
  18. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Cheddar Cheese:

    And what has that got to do with the fact Canaris too was betraying his own nation?
     
  19. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Trying to overthrow Hitler was not betraying your own nation. Take it from Germans today they would have loved it if they had succeeded.

    Getting rid of Hitler would have saved Germany.

    Sorry Udet but as a German - American I will tell you your views on what you just said are way out there and very wrong.
     
  20. Konigstiger205

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    I agree partially with Udet and Adler...trying to kill Hitler wasn't betrayal...in fact think what would have happened if Hitler would have been killed and it wouldn't have been any war (hopefully)...Germany would probably be in an even better shape than now and millions of people wouldn't have met misery, war, destruction and death...but killing your own countrymen is treason...
     
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