Sibylle von Jagow - Female Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant

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Doktor Krollspell
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Sibylle von Jagow - Female Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant

Post by Doktor Krollspell » 16 Apr 2006 23:01

Hello all!

I was at the City Library in Stockholm looking through some volumes of the Calendar of German Nobility. There I found this woman, Sibylle von Jagow , born in Marienwerder on 30.07.1903 and died in Delmenhorst on 07.02.1971, and she is mentioned as an Oberstlt d. Luftw., Testpilotin. There was also a photo of her in uniform (as seen below).

Now, does anyone have any details or information on her? What about the uniform she is wearing on the photo? And what of the Emblem on her coat? I'm really anticipating some answers and input on this lady. There's virtually nothing on her on the Internet.

Image


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Krollspell

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Post by Vikki » 21 Apr 2006 03:24

It is an interesting picture, and I'd also like to know more about her!

Although she's wearing an officer's Luftwaffe cap, the insignium on her chest is a first style NSFK (Nationalsozialistische Fliegerkorps) Pilot's Badge---but a cloth version, and apparently a bit larger than the metal badge. Interesting that she's wearing a mid- to late-war Luftwaffe cap and a pre-war Pilot's Badge---and an NSFK Pilot's Badge rather than a Luftwaffe one.

~FV

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » 22 Apr 2006 11:38

Hello Fräulein V.!

Thanks for the input on the NSFK Badge. I've been thinking about this woman's rank. An Oberstleutnant in the Luftwaffe seems to be quite unlikely, don't you agree? I mean, a woman like Hanna Reitsch held the (honorary?) rank of Flugkapitän. Now , I think that the rank and branch of Sibylle von Jagow was purely NSFK but since this was a NSDAP sub-organization, this is not something she, her relatives or any authorities in the Bundesrepublik wishes to show after the war, so... they use a (still used) rank as Oberstleutnant insted of NSFK-Obersturmbannführer? Just a thought...

Another problem is her rank on her uniform in the picture. One pip on the collar tab looks more like a NSFK-Scharführer to me, which is a far cry from being a Obersturmführer?! Well, I do hope that there will be more input and information on this woman from fellow Forum members...

Another thing is that I've never seen her name before in any context. She's never been mentioned when it comes to list female recipients of the Iron Cross for example! And she's "Oberstleutnant" and a Testpilotin... 8O

See link for NSFK rank and insignia:

http://chrito.users1.50megs.com/uniform ... k/nsfk.htm


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Krollspell

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Post by Fredobedo » 22 Apr 2006 22:37

Hello, I think you try google, but if you don't here is one link :

http://www.zeppelin-museum.de/frauflug/texte/Persinfo1j.htm

Is it possible she was a pilot of Zeppelin ?

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » 22 Apr 2006 23:21

Hello Fredobedo!

Yes, I've found this Website already. It just seems to list different female aviators of different nationalities and eras and nothing else. I think that it's extremely unlikely that Sibylle von Jagow, born in 1903, ever piloted any Zeppelin airsihps. As far as I know, the NSFK never used them , and neither did the Luftwaffe...

Here's a link though, for some biographical information on Female aviators (and some nice pics) through history:

http://www.ctie.monash.edu/hargrave/pioneers.html


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Krollspell

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Post by Vikki » 23 Apr 2006 16:40

Hello Herr Doktor,

The rank equivalent to an "Oberstleutnant" in the Luftwaffe for a female would be rare, but completely possible, depending on the woman's service. Female auxiliaries in the various branches of service had a rank structure parallel to that of men, but with different titles and rank insignia. The female equivalent to an Oberstleutnant or Lieutenant Colonel would have been called an Oberstabsführerin. And I'm thinking along the same lines as you, but in a different direction, about the identification of this lady as an "Oberstleutnant": her rank may have been converted to the male one in the picture's caption for easier understanding, since the female rank of "Oberstabsführerin" wouldn't have meant anything to most readers.

Since she's wearing a Luftwaffe cap, the NSFK badge probably represents an award she earned before the war.

I'm also not quite sure about the single pip on her collar, as Luftwaffe women's rank was usually denoted by a series of chevrons (and loops, for Officer ranks) on the sleeve. I do know of one photo that shows a Luftwaffe Flak woman wearing this single Stern and piping around the collar, but I'm not sure of her rank, since her sleeve insignia don't show.

If Frau von Jagow was an Oberstabsführerin, it may have been because she was a Testpilotin---i.e., she may have held that rank because of the job she did.

~FV

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Post by Stephan » 24 Apr 2006 09:32

guys. How is it. The Hitlerjungen youths flying gliders - a widely used preparation for later military pilots.

Were these schools possibly organised by the NSDAP?

If so, there must have been many teachers and intructor-pilots. Probably they used women teacher-pilots too...
And somebody must test the new prototypes too...

This perhaps an explanation for an oberstleutnant aviator and leading testpilot completely unknown among military aviators. ???


A hypothese.

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Post by Flinker » 27 Apr 2006 02:32

Stephen, I appreciate your thinking. Wouldn't surprise me a bit that there were women pilots performing the tasks you cite. German women played a bigger role during the war in such daring tasks than women in the US. US women were dedicated to medical assistant work and defense ("bomb plant") work. Though I can remember my older sister working for a while at Lockheed in the wing assembly process. But, no one, and I mean no one in their right mind would ever have let her fly an airplane. With cars, she was at best marginal. She eventually did what all US women were taught and trained to do, and that work falls under the slogan "Kinder, Kuche und Kirche."

I know it was an ancient German slogan, but it seems they followed it less than we.

Must mention that the US Army Air Corps did have a small contingent of women flying military freight, but nothing really significant. It was all DC3 stuff, big, safe and easy.

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Re: Sibylle von Jagow - Female Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant

Post by Heimatschuss » 22 Jan 2009 16:36

Hello Herr Doktor!

This picture has been haunting me for a long time. As Vikki has already pointed out this picture must be from 1944/45 due to the mountain cap which was introduced early in 1944 (Schlicht & Angolia, 1999, p.529). Most likely Sibylle von Jagow was indeed a Oberstabsführerin of the Luftwaffe auxiliaries.

The really weird element in the photo is the NSFK badge. In my opinion the photo has been retouched post-war with this badge to indicate some kind of relationship to the NSFK. I’m not an expert on NSFK insignia but from all that I could gather on the net it resembles a NSFK motor pilot’s badge except for one point. The swastika on the knees of the Icarus is missing. I take this as a hint that the retouching happened past 1945.

Such retouching of period photographs is not uncommon. You’ll find many WWII photos were decorations or promotions have been added later because the person depicted did not make it to a proper photo studio before being killed or the war was over.

The badge also appears to be much too big, almost the size of a man’s hand. From all that I’ve found on the net the badge should be just about 5 cm in diameter. Either von Jagow was a really tiny person or the badge was drawn particularly big to be visible well.

If the badge is indeed a postwar addition to the picture it’s of course hard to say if it really does reflect von Jagow’s role in the NSFK. Perhaps it was just the only NSFK symbol available to the retoucher and was used in a more general sense to show some kind of affiliation to the NSFK.

I’m just reading Zegenhagen's Ph.D. thesis (Zegenhagen, 2007) which delves deeply into the history of German aviatrixes. Zegenhagen has dug up the names of several dozen female motor and glider pilots active before 1945 even including two imposters that never flew for the Luftwaffe despite their claims. But von Jagow is not amongst these women.

Women could join the NSFK but only as a 'donating member' (förderndes Mitglied) which means they could not hold any rank there (Zegenhagen, 2007, p.338, 390). That does not mean women could not work in high-ranking positions for the NSFK. Vera von Bissing was a Hauptreferentin (roughly: chief expert) in NSFK Gruppe Mitte and even became managing director of the NSFK aircraft workshop in Eschwege during the war (Zegenhagen, 2007, p.340).

So perhaps von Jagow worked for the NSFK in some kind of capacity too. This must not be limited to the rather well documented field of motor pilots. If we assume that her badge is just meant in a general way she could also have been active in the much bigger area of glider planes that remains mostly obscure despite Zegenhagen’s efforts.

It could also be the case that von Jagow belonged to the force of female glider instructors and glider instructor assistants that the NSFK set up in mid to late 1944. These women were then to teach Hitler Youth members their first level flight training. The aim of this was getting the boys prepared for the Heinkel He 162 jet fighter ASAP thus creating a kind of Luftwaffe Volkssturm. At least three courses for such female flight instructors with about 200 participants are known to have taken place in Silesia and Hesse. Most participants already had some experience in flying gliders but some novices were also present. The women received male NSFK uniforms (female ones appear never to have existed) and were dispersed on numerous NSFK glider schools after completing their training (Zegenhagen, 2007, pp.391).
NSFK glider course 1944.jpg
Photo: Zegenhagen (2007, p.395)

References:
A. Schlicht; J.R. Angolia
Die deutsche Wehrmacht. Uniformierung und Ausrüstung 1933 - 1945
Band 3: Die Luftwaffe
Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 1999

E. Zegenhagen
>>Schneidige deutsche Mädel<<. Fliegerinnen zwischen 1918 und 1945.
Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2007

Best regards
Torsten
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Re: Sibylle von Jagow - Female Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant

Post by Doktor Krollspell » 24 Jan 2009 16:04

Hello Torsten!

Thank you very much for your well-thought answer when it comes to Sibylle von Jagow. About the possible retouching of the photograph, the edition of the Calender of the German Nobility in which I found her picture was definitely a post-war edition (if memory serves me right). I agree with all your thoughts about her, her uniform and that particular picture. The text claiming her to have been an "Oberstleutnant der Luftwaffe, Testpilotin" stood under her picture in the above mentioned book so it's just one scanned picture from there.

The book and research by Zegenhagen seems very interesting. I have to admit that when it comes to female civil or at least organizational ranks and positions within the NSFK, this is new and unknown territory for me. Thank you again Torsten for your interesting reply.


Regards,

Krollspell

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Re: Sibylle von Jagow - Female Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant

Post by nicnorris17 » 20 Jul 2015 00:52

I know it has been quite sometime since you posted this but today I was searching the internet with my mother and we came across your post and picture. This is her Aunt and she thinks she has the original of the picture. She was an airplane pilot and as soon as we find the picture I will post it and see if it helps you in any way!

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Re: Sibylle von Jagow - Female Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant

Post by Phil_B » 24 Apr 2019 12:12

This woman is a relative of me. (My mother also is a "von Jagow".) I have the family tree of the Jagow family down to the 12th century.

I think her life has to be put in a film. This is why: It has been not very common that a woman was a pilot at that time. But Sibylle was so skilled as a pilot that she became a test pilot for the German Airforce. This gave her unlimited access to the highest command center of the German airforce. This then was used by her to spy for the British during the war!!
After the war she had a plane crash. She survived but she suffered from the consequences of the crash and became very sick. She died a few years after that. I forgot when it was but I can look it up in our family book.
Sibylle was widely well known and respected for her skills and her bravery.

I know this is a very old thread but I hope some might read it though.

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