Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

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Max Williams
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Post by Max Williams » 09 Jan 2006 20:23

Dieter Zinke wrote:Thank you Mike for clearing up the involvement of Fegelein in genozide and war-crimes.

But for supplement our (Andreas Schulz and myself) statement in "Die Generale der Waffen-SS und der Polizei", vol. 1):

27.07.1941 Befehl Fegeleins:
“Juden sind zum großen Teil als Plünderer zu behandeln“, “Weiber und Kinder sind wegzutreiben“, “Soldaten der russischen Armee in Zivil und Plünderer sowie bewaffnete und sabotagetreibende Zivilisten sind standrechtlich unter dem Befehl eines Offz. zu erschießen“; (SS-Kav.Rgt. 1, Regiments-Befehl Nr. 42) Amtsgruppe A des SS-Führungshauptamtes

13.08.1941 Fegelein meldet von dem Bach (erster Teil der “Pripjet-Aktion“) 13.788 erschossene Juden und “Soldaten in Zivil“. Ende August bis 13.09.1941 werden alle jüdischen Männer, insgesamt 3.500 im Raum Rogatschew erschossen
24.09.1941 - 26.09.1941 Teilnehmer und Vortragender bei einem Lehrgang zur Partisanenbekämpfung “...Wo der Partisan ist, ist der Jude, und wo der Jude ist, ist der Partisan“ des Befehlshabers des rückwärtigen Heeresgebietes Mitte, General der Infanterie z.V. Max von Schenckendorff, in Mogilew. Am 25.09.1941 werden zu Demonstrationszwecken im Rahmen einer “Lehrübung“ vor den Augen der Lehrgangsteilnehmer 30 Juden und mehrere “Verdächtige“ im Dorf Knjashizy erschossen
28.09.1941 nach Rückkehr zu seiner Einheit:
“Es wird deshalb angeordnet, unter allen Umständen mit dem SD zusam-menzuarbeiten“ und “Falls eine Einheit längere Zeit in einem Orte liegt, sind unmittelbar Judenviertel bzw. Ghettos anzulegen, falls sie nicht sofort ausgerottet werden können. gez. Fegelein“ (Brigadebefehl Nr. 8 )

27.05.1943 - 10.06.1943 beim UNTERNEHMEN “WEICHSEL“ im Nassen Dreieck Dnjepr-Pripjet SW Gomel mit insgesamt 4.018 Todesopfern, der Depor-tation von 18.860 Arbeitskräften (davon allein 10.422 durch die SS-Kavallerie-Division) und der Beute von etwa 21.000 Stück Vieh ist Fegelein führend beteilgt! Die SS-KD zerstört dabei nach eigenen Angaben 61 Dörfer. Beteiligt sind die Einsatzgrup-pe D unter SS-Oberführer und Oberst der Polizei Dr. jur. Walter Bierkamp, die 454. Sicherungs-Division unter Generalleutnant Hellmuth Koch u.a.
12.06.1943 Nennung im Wehrmachtbericht (ohne namentliche Erwähnung):
Bei der Bekämpfung von Banden im rückwärtigen Gebiet des mittleren Frontabschnitts haben SS- und Polizeikräfte in tagelangen, harten Kämpfen, die durch fast undurchdringliches Wald- und Sumpfgelände besonders er-schwert waren, weite Gebietsteile gesäubert. 118 befestigte Dörfer und Waldlager wurden gegen zähen Widerstand genommen, 162 Bunker gesprengt. Neben zahlreichen Toten verloren die Banden große Mengen an Waffen und Material.
13.06.1943 - 16.06.1943 auch beim UNTERNEHMEN “ZIETHEN“ westlich Retschitza werden noch einmal 63 Dörfer zerstört
Hitler steht während der beiden Unternehmungen in ständigem Telefonkontakt mit Fegelein, was die Wichtigkeit unterstreicht. Der Telefonist der SS-KD bezeugt später, dass auf einer Fläche von 200 x 120 km alle Partisanen ausgeschaltet werden sollten!

I think these examples do not need any commentary.
Best regards
Andreas Schulz & Dieter Zinke


Only translation!!

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Klar zum Gefecht !
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Post by Klar zum Gefecht ! » 09 Jan 2006 22:09

Here's my humble two cents opinion on Fegelein:

- I see no reason to call him a hero. His criminal role as commander of the cavalry brigade is certain. I'm currently studying german anti-partisan warfare for my master's and I'd like to insist on the fact that the cavalry brigade's reports were cover-ups: when it said "partisans", it almost allways really ment "jews". Proof for this is found in the fact that most of the time there were thousands of partisans reported killed for less than ten germans reported KIA and almost no hidden weapons found.

- On a personal level, he is described as an opportunist. Apparently his lack of ethics was the same at Hitler's court as it has been in the Pripet marshes.

- It has been said that he was one of Himmler's favourites, but I'd like to throw another light on his role as liaison officer. I read in Reitlinger's and Höhne's books that he was not at all a part of what one could call "the himmler gang". In fact, it seems he was playing against Himmler in the never ending power struggles around Hitler. According to both SS historians, he was conspiring against Himmler with Bormann and Kaltenbrunner. Along with Bormann, he insisted that Himmler be appointed commander of Army Group Oberrhein first, Weichsel then, so as to distroy the Reichsführer's prestige. His motivation for this must have been his own personal ambition. In the end, it is much of a sort irony that it was he who "paid" with his life for Himmler's treason.
I don't know if this conspiracy theory is right...anyway, I have never read about Fegelein opposing the Nero order or making his point against Hitler. In the end, I think he was just another courtier trying to escape.

- last remark: I was very disappointed by the way Fegelein was portrayed in "Der Untergang". The movie didn't show any of his "dark" side and made him appear only as a positive character, and I think it was a mistake.

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Matt Gibbs
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Post by Matt Gibbs » 09 Jan 2006 23:30

Since the Downfall movie portrayed a very definate short period in time what of Fegelein's Dark side do you think could have been added..?
Regards
MG

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Helly Angel
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Post by Helly Angel » 10 Jan 2006 02:25

Positive character?

In the version that I saw, Flegelein was drunken, coward, trying to escape all the film, having sex with other woman who was not the wife and traitor to Hitler, all this cames from a SS general!

I think this was his dark side!

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Klar zum Gefecht !
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Post by Klar zum Gefecht ! » 10 Jan 2006 07:55

Dear Matt and Angel:

You're right about the representation of Fegelein. Coward, traitor, that was how he was represented. However, I think that was precisely what made him positive, because, despite his lack of moral qualities, it made him look human, and less mad than other characters. I don't think that was - to the audience- his dark side. On the contrary this lack of soldierly qualities is precisely what can make a character look human to the public nowadays.

Now I'm not saying he wasn't a human being nore would I have wanted a manichean representation of the character...I'm just saying that to a spectator of the movie that might not have know who Fegelein really was, he must have appeared only as a normal human person, even as a victim, and in no ways as criminal.

I agree with you, Matt, that the movie only portrayed a very short period of his life. Therefore, the script "stuck to the facts" that happened in the Bunker during that period, and it's clear that, objectively, Fegelein surely didn't do anything criminal during that period.
However, I think it that in this case it would have been in some ways the responsibility of the movie (that is oriented towards a large audience) to stylize the reality so as to make a moral point. Fegelein's monstrous past should have been somehow mentionned, even if only in a short unimportant sentence or a fictionnal sequence.
You might argue that it is almost a manipulation of the reality, but I think it is needed when there is the danger of making Nazi criminals look almost exclusively like victims. It is the liberty of art to manipulate the reality, and it some cases it can be a moral necessity.

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Matt Gibbs
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Post by Matt Gibbs » 10 Jan 2006 10:10

I believe previous posts were referring to the atrocities committed by the cavalry brigade ? These are seen to be the criminal aspects.

I agree with your representations Helly, I think some people don't see that being a traitor to Hitler is a "bad" thing, since it was such an evil and despotic regime. In terms of his personal honour perhaps this is a bad thing.

In the way news media goes about its buisness today the rest of the items in your post are almost everyday occurences. [sadly] I think the way things have been written about him in the last days were all in the film.

As seen in the directors, producer and cast interviews on the DVD the portrayal for some of the characters in the film was very difficult to do factually and strictly relating to that time only.

For example, the protrayal of Bormann, an important and powerful character at the time, but if you asked someone who knew nothing about him to point him out there's not much presence in the film.

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MGibbs

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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by JeanFabricio » 11 Jun 2010 15:24

John P. Moore wrote:I also met his brother, Waldemar Fegelein, at a reunion of the SS cavalry in 1995 and did not observe any unfriendly behavior towards him. Further, the children of several former regimental commanders, one of whom lives in California, are on friendly terms with each other and the veterans their fathers served with and they have remarked about the positive feelings towards Hermann Fegelein. It’s also worth noting that the March 1942 recommendation for Fegelein’s Knights Cross was written by an army infantry general and corps commander.


John, I'd like to "talk" to you about Waldemar Fegelein.
Can you write me a PM? I've try to contact you, but your e-mail address is blocked to me.
My address is deleted by moderator because of private protection !!
Dieter Z.


Thanks.

Maurielj@aol.com
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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by Maurielj@aol.com » 29 Jun 2010 15:28

I too am interested in John's posts. I am writing a book about the SS and Wehrmacht cavalry and would love to contact some direct descendants or veterans, if any of those are still alive.

Thanks for any reply,
Mauriel

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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by PiretBCN » 28 Jul 2012 15:46

>I also met his brother, Waldemar Fegelein, at a reunion of the SS cavalry in 1995 and did
>not observe any unfriendly behavior towards him.

Has anyone else met Waldemar in real life? I believe he died only in 2000 or so. What was he like after the war? Friendly? Cold? Did he speak about the war sometimes?
Wasn't he a horse riding teacher after the war?

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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by Mark C. Yerger » 28 Jul 2012 16:21

No doubt from his award proposals he was brave and wounded in the field

Likewise in the prewar period he excelled in equestrian events

Intricacies of political or social intrigue I don't have though obvious career oriented being adjutant to Hitler and marrying into his "family"

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Re:

Post by Nautilus » 27 Aug 2016 19:21

Marc Rikmenspoel wrote:It is quite possible that he was an obnoxious character in some circumstances, and a good leader and comrade in combat. I had a hard time explaining to folks on a mailing list a few years ago my view that Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger was both a very brave man in combat, and a very unstable one in civilian life. Some folks had trouble reconciling this, since they thought that bravery in combat somehow equated with being a person of good character. I haven't studied Hermann Fegelein enough to conclude more than that from late 1941 on, more and more of the SS-Kavallerie Brigade/Division's time was spent in front line combat, and that apparently Hermann Fegelein acquitted himself well in those circumstances.
Traudl Junge, who had talked face to face with Fegelein multiple times while he, obviously, bragged, flirted and boasted, by his old habit where he tried to impress women during his appointment to Hitler, wrote:

"No sooner had he appeared than he was sitting with us at table in the Berghof. He went to Bormann's nocturnal parties, drank to the health of all the important men there, and all the women were at his feet. Those who were not his friends were his enemies until he was firmly in the saddle. He was clever but ruthless, and had some very attractive qualities, such as the honesty with which he admitted that at heart he was a terrible coward, and had won his decorations doing heroic deeds out of pure fear. He also frankly admitted that nothing was as important to him as his career and a good life" - Traudl Junge, Hitler's Last Secretary: A Firsthand Account of Life with Hitler, 2011.

Which in the light of his shameless robberies on the front (not, as common people did, steal a gold watch or some hundreds of Reichsmarks. Fegelein at some point sent home a large truck and two Mercedes-Benz cars, filled to the brim with looted goods) and desertion when things got tough makes him uncannily and farcically similar to George MacDonald Fraser's character Flashman. The scoundrel who was physically strong and talented at fighting, but coward, liar and cheater, got himself embroiled in the heat of battle by bad luck, and came out a hero afterwards.

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Michael Miller
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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by Michael Miller » 27 Aug 2016 19:33

Thanks for sharing that excerpt, Nautilus, and for resurrecting a thread that is fascinating on several levels.

~ Mike

Halfdan S.
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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by Halfdan S. » 28 Aug 2016 00:08

Reminds me of a nice little gem that I found recently in an danish archive - a card on a female refugee, described as the "mistress of General Fegelein" :-) (Don't think the danish authorities knew who he was, since they didn't have his SS-rank). Unfortunately the file itself didn't exist anymore, just the card ...

Sorry, I'll keep the name to myself at the moment ;-) The female refugee left Denmark for … a country in South America.

Best
Halfdan S.

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Re: Fegelein: Hero or Fiend?

Post by Halfdan S. » 28 Aug 2016 00:09

PS: It didn't tell when the woman was supported to have been the mistress of Fegelein - could have been interesting to know if she was the woman from Bleibtreustraße!?

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Post by seaburn » 28 Aug 2016 10:10

Marc Rikmenspoel wrote:As long as we're mentioning Gretl Braun, it is worth noting that this was a marriage of convenience, not love. Gretl had been fooling around with Fritz Darges while he was at FHQ, and when she got pregnant, Darges refused to marry her. He wasn't welcome anymore, and left for the front to rejoin SS-Panzer Reg. 5. Fegelein agreed to marry Gretl, and put a facade of respectability on her pregnancy, but there's no reason to suppose he personally had feelings for her, or her for him.
Michael Miller wrote: ...The couple married in a civil wedding at the Salzburg town hall on 03.06.1944..... When Hermann Fegelein was shot in the Reichskanzlei, Gretl was pregnant with their only child (a daughter, Eva Barbara Fegelein, born 05.05.1945.... Mike

If the dates above are correct, then surely the 'who's the daddy' intrigue has a flawed basis - if Gretl was supposed to be already pregnant by Darges when Fegelein was press-ganged in as the suitable groom, how come her daughter was born a full 11 months after the wedding? :?

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