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Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Discussions on all aspects of the SS and Polizei.
Long-time forum member and moderator Phil Nix (1938 - 2013) generously shared his knowledge and the results of his impressive research with the forum, and this section has therefore been renamed in his honour.
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Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 16 Apr 2009 09:48

I am surprised to learn that Rudolf von Ribbentrop is still alive. He has written a biography of his father "Mein Vater Joachim von Ribbentrop" (published in german, 2008). He was a Waffen SS soldier in WWII but has lived a life of relative obscurity since then. The actor Peter Ustinov attended school with "Rudi" in the 1930's. This topic could also be placed under the heading "Children of Nazi Leaders" but I am curious to know more about this individual. Do any of the SS experts here know about his Waffen SS career? Was it a distinguished record?
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby Georg on 16 Apr 2009 11:14

Hello Duncan,

If you do a search either here on the Axishistory or google you will find a lot of info on SS-Hstuf Rudolf v. Ribbentrop
with that I think this topic can be closed, just my thoughts.

/Georg
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby Rob - wssob2 on 16 Apr 2009 14:57

I believe he was WIA while serving with the 12th SS at Normandy
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby John P. Moore on 16 Apr 2009 17:10

Why should anyone be surprised that a Waffen-SS veteran is still alive? What an insensitive thing to say! Actually, a friend of mine who is an attorney in the USA and ex-USMC recently visited RvR in his home in Germany and reported that RvR was well and was a very hospitable host.

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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 16 Apr 2009 20:31

Sorry , I didn't mean to sound "insensitive"...I was "surprised" only because he never "made the rounds" on any of the History Channel documentaries (including the Guido Knopp bio. of his father) and I just assumed he had passed on. He's been quiet and he has such a story to tell of his experiences as the son of the Foreign minister and growing up in nazi germany, the war, etc.....he is very old now, (born 1921), so he'll be 88 this year. I hope someone translates his book into english. He may have written some memoirs in german - i don't know - so maybe he has not been as silent as i suppose. It must have been hard for him in 1945-1946 with the trial and his father's execution. His mother was a very domineering woman (from what I have read) and his sisters were in poor health (from the Schwarz bio "This Man Ribbentrop" 1940)...he has two younger brothers (Adolf and Berthold?) , one born in 1935, the other in 1940. One of the sisters was born in 1932 while another was born in 1922 (Bettina). Quite an age gap between himself (the oldest), Bettina, and the younger siblings. I wonder if the Henkell champagnue company is still owned by the family? I'm rambling now but I'm excited to learn more.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby pim on 17 Apr 2009 07:54

The book by RvR on his father is good. It also encompases quite of bit of his own life. I have only heard/read good things about Rudolf (eg: his leadership of his men, his bravery, etc.).
The fact that he hasn't made the "rounds" of the History Channel, in particular the rubbish that Guido Knopp produces is very much to his credit.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 17 Apr 2009 09:43

Is the book a sympathetic portrayal of his father? Did he have a close relationship with him? Joachim von Ribbentrop has been vilified by just about everyone who has written on him - even his fellow Nazis hated his guts. I can only assume his son would try to soften that and present some of the good aspects of his father.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby Mark C. Yerger on 17 Apr 2009 10:07

Considering the mistakes, general slant, and use of the same "experts" for every topic, the History Channel has little to offer anyone. The last few times I watched something it was for the motion picture film. Since the commentary had no clue as to who or what was in the film, I played music instead. I would think a lot of veterans have seen comrades interviewed, then the whole process placed out of context. Objective, accurate, or neutral are not goals of the History Channel.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 18 Apr 2009 10:03

I agree Mark on what you say about the History Channel not being objective. I did like some of the film footage they showed (having not seen it before). As to why I would be "surprised RvR didn't make the rounds" etc..is because some other people did the documentaries - Niklas Frank (son of Hans Frank), Arthur Axmann, Emil Klein to name a few. Judging by what you say, it is to RvR's credit that he stayed away from Guido Knopp and HC. Although it would have been interesting to hear from him it would have been edited and skewed. If his book gets translated into English, I'll snatch a copy quickly!
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby John P. Moore on 18 Apr 2009 15:32

These days the primary focus of most veterans is on their families and personal health, rather than wartime events of more than 60 years ago. It is understandable why they would avoid reporters and TV documentaries when anyone participating in such can almost certainly be assured of having their remarks presented out of context and being linked to concentration camps along with a multitude of other crimes of the SS. That's what happened with the former Sturmbannführer Walter Krüger of the LAH and "HJ" when he did "Kamerad Krüger" back in 1988, earning him the scorn of his comrades.

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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 19 Apr 2009 18:21

Many of us here assume that the war is the "central point" of these veteran's lives (even today)...Mr. Moore, you make a good point that this is not necessarily so. RvR could very well have put all this behind him or had even greater personal experiences post-war (like a religious experience) which makes WWII or the Third Reich not important to him anymore. I often forget this because I am young and this is an interest of mine. There is "life after the war" for these men and it's rather silly and unrealistic of me to think that my great interest is theirs anymore. I'm rather humbled by that reflection actually. Thanks for pointing this out. I'm thinking: "Why isn't he talking?" when maybe he's just not interested in it at all.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 19 Apr 2009 18:35

On the other hand...RvR must care a little bit about that chapter of his life...he wrote a biography book recently on his famous father.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby John P. Moore on 19 Apr 2009 19:40

Still, it is not a reason for RvR to want to go on TV or hold himself out for interviews with reporters who are more likely than not to twist and distort whatever he might say. A recent example is the case a Dr. Adalbert Lallier, a veteran of the "Prinz Eugen" division, who witnessed a war crime while attending officer school at Leitmeritz in 1945. His tactics instructor shot down, without cause, seven inmates from the nearby Theresinstadt concentration camp who were digging anti-tank ditches in advance of an expected Soviet attack while the officer students were guarding the workers. Do a Google search under "Adalbert Lallier" and you will find no shortage of distorted information, the most extreme of which was that he was a concentration camp guard. There is a big difference between guarding prisoners on a work detail at a military school and being an actual member of the guard force at an extermination camp. For those who were not aware, Jewish inmates from concentration camps were found on most or all Waffen-SS military bases throughout Europe where they performed a variety of tasks to include ground maintenance, cooking, tailoring and boot repair, etc. as veterans have related to me. A video clip from a recent movie made in Canada about Dr. Adalbert Lallier's life can be viewed her.

http://www.bunburyfilms.com/onceanazi.html

Of course, Dr. Lallier's truthfulness not only earned him the scorn of his wartime comrades, but also his fellow professors at Concordia University in Montreal where he had been a professor for over 25 years and headed the international MBA program.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby J. Duncan on 19 Apr 2009 20:56

Why does his being truthful (and subsequent distortion by the untrustworthy) earn his disrespect with his former comrades? Is there a code of silence that the man failed to heed or is it a matter of what one should know not to ever do? (speak to the media). Does "mein ehre heisst treue" have anything to do with this attitude? I'm curious. Thanks.
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Re: Rudolf von Ribbentrop

Postby Rob - wssob2 on 21 Apr 2009 04:09

Hi J.Duncan - I agree with you - Rudolf von Ribbentrop has very much been "under the radar" in the postwar years, especially given the prominence of his father.

Why should anyone be surprised that a Waffen-SS veteran is still alive?


I don't think J.Duncan meant any disrespect. It's just an cogent observation - hundreds of WWII veterans of all sides are passing away each day now because of advanced age.

Guido Knopp is a German TV producer and journalist who has won several awards and created various documentaries on the Third Reich. There is a bit of information on him here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guido_Knopp

http://history.zdf.de/ZDFde/inhalt/26/0 ... .html?dr=1

More information about Ribbentrop's book, Mein Vater: Erlebnisse und Erinnerungen can be found at

http://www.amazon.de/Joachim-von-Ribben ... 052&sr=1-1

Considering the mistakes, general slant, and use of the same "experts" for every topic, the History Channel has little to offer anyone. The last few times I watched something it was for the motion picture film. Since the commentary had no clue as to who or what was in the film, I played music instead. I would think a lot of veterans have seen comrades interviewed, then the whole process placed out of context. Objective, accurate, or neutral are not goals of the History Channel.


The history channel has gotten a bit of flak for inaccuracy for some of its shows. There's an interesting article about it on the History News Network website at http://hnn.us/articles/24059.html

The History Channel website is at http://www.history.com/home.do - it' a pretty robust site, but like the TV channel itself, it's clearly a mass-market "infortainment" medium. IMO it's great - if broadcasting historical accounts, even account that can be claimed "inaccurate," get's more people to study history, so much the better. A TV viewer gets exposed to Stephen Ambrose, and then may move on to Richard Hofstadter, William Manchester, Barbara Tuchman, Andrew_Bacevich or Victor Davis Hanson.

On the other hand...RvR must care a little bit about that chapter of his life...he wrote a biography book recently on his famous father.


While agreeing with the fact that RvR may have moved on with his life postwar, given his famous father and his own wartime service in the W-SS his experiences in the III Reich and unquestionably of interest from a historical perspective.

Do a Google search under "Adalbert Lallier" and you will find no shortage of distorted information, the most extreme of which was that he was a concentration camp guard. There is a big difference between guarding prisoners on a work detail at a military school and being an actual member of the guard force at an extermination camp.


And what exactly is the difference?

For those who were not aware, Jewish inmates from concentration camps were found on most or all Waffen-SS military bases throughout Europe where they performed a variety of tasks to include ground maintenance, cooking, tailoring and boot repair, etc. as veterans have related to me.


Yes - I first heard about this reading Jay Hatheway's In Perfect Formation: SS Ideology and the Junkerschule Bad Tölz when he mentioned Dachau KZ prisoners were regularly sent to the SS Officer Candidate School as slave labor.

It's an extremely little known fact, one that exposes the lie that many SS veterans and SS apologists kept stating in the postwar years that there was "no connection" between the Waffen-SS and the KZ system. Whoops - except for the groundskeepers and janitors at my OCS. :roll:

Of course, Dr. Lallier's truthfulness not only earned him the scorn of his wartime comrades, but also his fellow professors at Concordia University in Montreal where he had been a professor for over 25 years and headed the international MBA program.


His fellow veterans and his b-school peers probably scorned him for different reasons. But good for Dr. Lallier for being truthful - sometimes it's a lonely path for a veteran to take. Very similar to Johann Voss or Gunter Grass. Or Senator Bob Kerrey.

Why does his being truthful (and subsequent distortion by the untrustworthy) earn his disrespect with his former comrades? Is there a code of silence that the man failed to heed or is it a matter of what one should know not to ever do? (speak to the media). Does "mein ehre heisst treue" have anything to do with this attitude? I'm curious. Thanks.


That is an excellent question.
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