Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

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GWalker
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Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by GWalker » 02 Jan 2020 18:42

Good morning,

I am conducting biographical research on the wife/widow of Major Richard Sahla, killed on April 6, 1942 on the eastern front.

Her maiden name was Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire.

She would later remarry and become the wife of the German actor Karl Johns.

It is my understanding she was of the Jewish faith and obtained, by her own account, forged documents from Heinz Heydrich (younger brother of Reinhard Heydrich), so that she could escape Germany.

Any credible biographical information / photos of Dolores (deceased) would be truly appreciated.

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Greg Walker (ret)
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Almasy
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by Almasy » 17 Jan 2020 13:37

Hi, can you send me a private message ? I work about him too.

GWalker
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by GWalker » 17 Jan 2020 14:32

Good morning!

Thank you for your response.

What are you writing? Can you help regarding Delores Beatrice?

Respectfully,

Greg
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GWalker
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by GWalker » 27 Jan 2020 20:50

Her name is Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire. She was born on May 20, 1918, in Germany. She was Jewish.

Dolores married a young German officer and Olympic medalist (Equestrian - 1928 Olympics), Richard Sahla. They had one child. Major Richard Sahla would serve in the invasion of Poland in 1939. He would be convicted by court martial of murdering four Polish women while they were in jail, and seriously wounding a 5th, who was able to identify him.

Richard Sahla was stripped of his rank, assigned to a penal battalion, and was killed in action on the Russian front in 1942. His grave is lost for all time.

Dolores would lose Gerrit LaFaire, her 23-year old brother, on August 16, 1942, a victim of the Nazis. Her mother and father, both Jewish, disappeared into the camps. Both died there.

The young woman with a child to raise met and married German actor Karl Johns. Johns made a number of films for the Nazi film industry and was a favorite of Joseph Goebbels. Johns (later, upon immigration to the United States, shortened to simply "John") was born on March 24, 1905. There is no record of his parents. As Johns' wife, Dolores and her child were safe from the extermination policies of Goebbels/Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich only as long as her husband remained on the Nazis' good side.

In 1943, after hearing Johns make disparaging statements / jokes about Hitler and himself, Joseph Goebbels sent the actor to an SS run work camp (Hessisch Lichtenau), a muntions factory under the Buchenwald KZ system. Karl John would be liberated by American forces in 1945.

Before his exile the actor turned to a friend in the Propaganda Ministry he felt he could trust. The man was well educated, a musician, an equestrian, and with the means to help him if he so chose to. Karl Johns had nothing to lose by approaching him, as all was lost already.

The man, a German officer, agreed to help the actor. He provided forged documents of high quality and two exit visas for Johns' wife and child. They would escape through Scandinavia and make their way to England. The officer knew Delores, and he knew her child's father was Richard Sahla, Olympic equestrian champion and now dead and buried on the eastern front.

Once liberated, Karl Johns reunited with Dolores and they immigrated to the United States where now Karl John resumed his acting career in Hollywood. They lived quietly and well, never forgetting the man who saved Dolores and child.

Karl John passed away in 1977 at the age of 72. Dolores lived to a ripe old age before passing, and as Karl chose to be buried in Berlin, she requested the same and the two were reunited once again.

The German officer who saved this family out of friendship was, under German law at the time, guilty of treason. He'd made it possible for two German Jews (Berlin Jews, at that) to successfully escape the Nazi extermination policy at the time. Further, he done so at the behest of another "traitor" under German law, Karl John, who had dared speak ill of Nazi Germany's "messiah" and Joseph Goebbels.

The penalty of such crimes of high treason was death.

And in November 1944, the officer in question, SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Heinz Siegfriend Heydrich, younger brother to the mainspring of the Final Solution, SS General Reinhard Heydrich (assassinated on May 27, 1942, in Prague), was offered the option of suicide ("frietod") for his crimes - and to avoid the scandal that would befall Hitler, Himmler, and the SS were it known a Heydrich had saved two Jews from the policies and programs of his "mythical" elder brother, Reinhard.

Heinz Heydrich's grave, somewhere near Reisenberg, Poland, is likely unmarked and forgotten. His brother Reinhard's grave in Berlin was recently dug into for reasons unknown and remains once again unmarked.

In England, the Sahla Family fondly remembers Dolores and her child; Karl John who sought to see them escape certain death in a KZ, and Heinz Siegfried Heydrich who in saving them both gave up his life for the sake of remaining human.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." - John 15:13
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Sejanus
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by Sejanus » 29 Jan 2020 06:23

GWalker wrote:
02 Jan 2020 18:42

Any credible biographical information / photos of Dolores (deceased) would be truly appreciated.
There may be a photo of Dolores on the UK version of Ancestry.com, maybe you have not already seen it:

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/colle ... w&pgoff=11

As you will see, the above link is to an Ancestry UK search result and the second result down from the top has a photo of a woman identified as Dolores Lafaire (connected to the record(s) for Dolores Béatrice Lieselotte Lafaire born 1918, which matches your subject) with an August, 1944 date; she looks to be about the same age as Dolores would have been at that time.

In case the link won't work on your end, this is the photo from the Ancestry UK search result:

Image

I am not an Ancestry UK member and so I cannot see anything further (one must be an Ancestry member to do so), nor do I have any way to verify whatever information that Ancestry UK has is accurate or not, the source it came from, etc. So caveat emptor, but I hope this information is helpful to you.

My congratulations to you on finding a very interesting story, one I had not heard of before. Would be a great subject for a book and as your writing ability appears to be excellent I would be interested in purchasing a copy someday if it is ever offered for sale.

GWalker
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by GWalker » 29 Jan 2020 15:19

Thank you for the response. I am a member of AncestryUK and indeed the photo is Dolores. It is posted by a surviving member of the Sahla Family, her first husband and father of her child.

I am working on a two part article regarding Heinz Heydrich of which this story is a part of. When it is finished and up online I will share the link.
Greg Walker (ret)
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Jan 2020 10:48

Hi GWalker,

Was Heinz Heydrich of the same Nazi-sceptic viewpoint as Goering's brother Albert?

Were there other siblings of senior Nazis of a similar sceptical disposition?

Cheers,

Sid.

GWalker
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Re: Dolores Beatrice Lieselotte Lafaire / Sahla

Post by GWalker » 30 Jan 2020 14:10

Great question.

To date I've not found any hard evidence that Heinz Heydrich did any more than help Dolores and her child to flee Germany. And frankly, there is ample reason to believe he did so more out of a fraternal bond with Richard Sahla than Karl John tied to the love of horses and their shared professional equestrian accomplishments. I'm following up on that aspect now - recalling Reinhard Heydrich was awarded the silver Equestrian badge himself. One of Major Sahla's close friends and a fellow officer, who likewise participated in the 1928 Olympics, would go on to become head of the SS Riding School. Circles within circles.

To have helped "hundreds" of Jewish folks to flee Germany Heinz would have had to have established a clandestine organization to be introduced to potential refugees/escapees; to screen these carefully; to make pictures for new ID passes; create visas; and then distribute these once finished. The risk of such an organization, particularly with his name attached, would have been off the charts regarding betrayal anywhere along the line. Add to that he returned to his role as editor of Die Panzerfaust, aboard a special PPK train, and was more or less on the eastern front for nearly two years before his death. Aiding Dolores appears to have occurred sometime in 1943 - so I remain cautious in embracing the myth of Heinz's change of heart in mid-1942.

Still, given the chaos of post July 20th 1944 and the rampant investigations/accusations/political intrigue that occurred, once Heinz's help of Dolores was discovered it was an automatic arrest/death sentence for him. High treason for aiding a Jew to escape, and one tied so closely to Goebbels' empire via his actor Karl John...and with a child, too boot. High treason by a Heydrich, no less.

It is a fascinating new look at Heinz Heydrich.
Greg Walker (ret)
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