Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

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Helly Angel
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Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Helly Angel » 11 Jun 2020 15:21

Good morning to everybody,

In these photos we can see Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, leader of the NSDAP/AO, during his official visit to Rome in late October and early November 1941, during which among other activities he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and met with Benito Mussolini. I hope you enjoy these photos, if someone can identify those present, it would be good.

Cheers,
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Br. James
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Br. James » 11 Jun 2020 16:24

Great P/R shots, Helly...sorry that Bohle is the only face I recognize (other than Il Duce) in the entourage.

Br. James

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Helly Angel
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Helly Angel » 11 Jun 2020 16:48

Yes! Likewise, they are not familiar faces.

Mark Costa
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Mark Costa » 11 Jun 2020 17:19

In the top photo -- Dr. Otto Butting head of the AO in Italy on left next to Bohle.
Second Photo -- Dr. Otto Butting and Bohle walking down steps.
Bottom Photo -- Dr. Otto Butting third from left. Dr. Siewert -- head of the AO in Rome far right.

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Helly Angel
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Helly Angel » 11 Jun 2020 17:30

Thank you Mark!!

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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Michael Miller » 11 Jun 2020 20:38

A few biographical notes on Gauleiter Bohle, from Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and Their Deputies, Volume 1 (R. James Bender Publishing 2012).

Best wishes,
~ Mike



Ernst Wilhelm Hans Bohle
Gauleiter of the Auslandsorganisation (AO) der NSDAP
(17.02.1934-08.05.1945)


Born: 28.07.1903 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England.
Died: 09.11.1960 in Düsseldorf.

NSDAP-Nr.: 999 185 (Joined 01.03.1932)
SS-Nr.: 276 915 (Joined 13.09.1936)

Promotions:
17.02.1934-08.05.1945 Gauleiter der NSDAP
13.09.1936 SS-Brigadeführer
20.04.1937 SS-Gruppenführer
21.12.1937-08.05.1945 Staatssekretär
21.06.1943 SS-Obergruppenführer

Career:
ca. 1908-00.00.1919 Attended English grammar school and junior high school in Cape Town, South Africa, then passed his Junior Certificate Examination, 1917. Awarded a Queen Victoria scholarship, he went on to attend the South African College High School in Cape Town, from which he graduated with honors in December 1919. Louis De Jong and C. M. Geyl write: “During the first World War Bohle… was the only German boy at his school, and for that reason frequently received thrashings from his schoolmates.” (De Jong & Geyl, The German Fifth Column in the Second World War, p. 278)
00.00.1920-00.12.1923 Studied political science and economics (6 semesters) at the Universities of Köln and Berlin, then business at the Handelshochschule Berlin (certified as Diplom-Kaufmann).
00.00.1921-ca. 1922 Member of the student association “Gothia” in Berlin.
00.00.1924-00.00.1924 Worked for export firms in Bergisch Neustadt near Köln and in Rotterdam, Holland.
00.00.1924-00.00.1925 Employed by an export firm in Hamburg.
00.00.1926-00.00.1926 Clerk in the Hamburg branch of a Chicago-based export firm.
00.00.1927-00.00.1927 Chief clerk in the branch office of a Canadian firm in Hamburg.
00.00.1927-00.00.1930 Chief clerk for the German representative of the Chrysler Corporation.
00.00.1930-00.06.1933 Owner of a large automobile accessories business in Hamburg.
ca. 1930-ca. 1931 Worked as an interpreter for the Egyptian Consulate in Hamburg.
00.11.1931-00.00.1932 Voluntary assistant to Reichsorganisationsleiter Gregor Strasser, assigned as Referent for South and southwest Africa, England, and the United States in the Auslandsabteilung der NSDAP (Foreign Department of the NSDAP).
27.11.1931 Parteianwärter der NSDAP (candidate for membership in the NSDAP).
01.03.1932 Officially entered the NSDAP.
00.00.1932-00.03.1933 Adjutant to the Gauleiter and Gauinspekteur of the Gau Ausland der NSDAP, Dr. Hans Nieland.
00.06.1932-ca. 1933 Organisationsleiter of the Bund der Freunde der Hitlerbewegung (BFHB, League of Friends of the Hitler Movement).
26.04.1933-17.02.1934 Leiter of the Abteilung für Deutsche im Ausland (Department for Germans Abroad) of the NSDAP (provisional appointment until 08.05.1933, then permanent), with his office at Harvestehuder Weg 22, Hamburg; this office was redesignated as the Auslandsorganisation (AO) der NSDAP (Foreign Organization of the NSDAP) on 17.02.1934. He succeeded Dr. Nieland, who officially left the post on 01.05.1933. From 03.10.1933 to 00.12.1933, Rudolf Hess exercised overall control of the office, with the actual duties being performed by Bohle. Bohle officially took over in December 1933, remaining under Hess’s authority. In a letter of 04.04.1933, Bohle had written to Rudolf Schmeer (Reichsinspekteur der Obersten Leitung der PO der NSDAP) that he saw in the Party’s foreign department “great opportunities for extension”, as it was “undoubtedly in a position to supply the offices of the Party with valuable materials … especially political information and espionage reports.” (ibid) Of his beginnings in this assignment, Bohle stated under interrogation on 26.09.1945:

… of course our organization had no predecessor and there was no diagram to work on; we had to find out—that is, I had to find out for myself—how to build up the organization and how to run it and of course, we made mistakes at first, too. I was 29 years old and absolutely new on the job; I had not been in politics before, and it took me three or four years to find out what was right and what was wrong. And I am ready to admit that I made mistakes, too; took me those years to get used to the job—managing 1½ million Germans is no small job for a young man.

Of the essential failure of Bohle and the Auslandsorganisation, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen writes:

Bohle and his closest collaborators regarded the AO not solely as an instrument of power. Both the AO’s demands and its operations were seen as a logical outcome of the victory of the Nazi movement in Germany. Spurred on by the desire not to take second place to their Gauleiter ‘comrades’ in the Reich, the AO leadership fought for the new Volksgemeinschaft to be applied also to Germans abroad. Even though most of these Auslandsdeutsche lived in a different social and political environment, they too were to indoctrinated and carried away by the spirit of the ‘New Time’… By 1937 no more than six percent of all Reich Germans abroad had become party members. While many more sympathized with the Third Reich, at no point did this amount to a potential instrument abroad….
Bohle and his men did not realize… that despite the relative unity among Germans outside the Reich’s boundaries, the political leadership would not be able to use party comrades abroad as a true instrument of power. In fact, Bohle’s organization, intended as it was as an authentic copy of the movement inside the Reich, was doomed to become a source of constant unrest and growing instability, in particular once the direction of Nazi foreign policy had become more radical, indeed, eventually, openly expansionist. Repeated assurances by diplomats and party leaders that the AO would always respect a country’s legal rights, were disproved by the reality of the policies of the Nazi regime. Even though other countries also provided cultural support to their countrymen and women, Nazi Germany was the only state (with the exception of the Soviet Union) which attempted to discipline and organize its people abroad, aiming towards uniformity, indoctrination, loyalty to the Führer, and obedience to his orders. As long as the world remained at peace, foreign countries might have had reason to believe Germany’s reassurances that it would not intervene in their affairs. Yet, as soon as tensions arose, suspicions grew corresponding to Hitler’s more bellicose behaviour. The belief spread that, one day, the Reich Germans abroad would become a Trojan Horse… In practice, however, the activities of the AO did not constitute a real threat as they were intended more for the Reich Germans than the ‘host country’… It was in the nature of things that, for propagandistic and other reasons, the AO was blamed for much, even if it was either not true, or exaggerated or based on unreliable generalizations…
Bohle’s aim to make Nazis abroad ‘favoured guests’ in their countries was evidence for either a frivolous cynicism or an almost unbelievable naïevety. The latter assumption may well be more accurate if we consider Bohle’s (young) age and his, subjectively, sincere idealism for the ‘good cause’. This was simply further proof of the inability of many party leaders involved in Nazi foreign policy to assess correctly foreign countries in all their diversity… Above all… the great majority [of Germans living abroad] had already been assimilated into the society of their country. Despite attachments to their old home country they had ceased to see themselves as part of the German people (e.g. Germans in the United States). The AO, however, refused to accept such distinctions and judged Germans abroad purely by its own one-sided ideological standards. (Jacobsen, “The Structure of Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1945”, in The Third Reich: The Essential Readings, pp. 64 & 66-67)


03.10.1933-17.02.1934 Assigned to the Stab des Stellvertreters des Führers (Rudolf Hess).
03.10.1933-00.05.1941 Hauptabteilungsleiter in the Reichsleitung der NSDAP.
12.11.1933-08.05.1945 Member of the Reichstag (Wahlkreis 31, Württemberg).
17.02.1934-08.05.1945 Leiter der Auslandsorganisation (AO) der NSDAP im Rang eines Gauleiters (Head of the Foreign Organization of the NSDAP in the Rank of a Gauleiter). Seated in Hamburg until 00.03.1935, its offices were then moved to Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Westfälische Strasse 1-5. As of 1937, its offices were located at Berlin-Wilmersdorf 35, Tiergartenstrasse 4a. By 1937, AO membership exceeded 51,000. In an affidavit to the International Military Tribunal at Nürnberg of 25.03.1946, Bohle provided a summary of the organization’s history:

1. The Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP was founded on 1 May 1931 at Hamburg upon suggestion of some Germans abroad. Gregor Strasser, Reichsorganisationsleiter at the time, appointed as its leader the NSDAP Member of the Reichstag, Dr. Hans Nieland. I myself became a volunteer assistant of the Auslands-Organisation in December 1931 and was taken into the Party on 1 March 1932. On 8 May 1933 Dr. Nieland resigned as leader of the Auslands-Organisation, having become in the meantime a member of the Hamburg Government and also, as a German who had always stayed at home, being less interested in questions concerning Germans abroad. On account of my experience and my connections abroad- I was born in England and raised in South Africa- I was charged with the leadership of the Auslands-Organisation.
2. The purpose of the Auslands-Organisation was, upon the assumption of power, to hold together in an organized way the approximately 3,300 Party members living outside the boundaries of Germany at the time of the seizure of power. Further, through it Germans abroad, who could have only a vague idea of the political happenings at home, were to be taught the philosophy and the political program of the new state.
3. Only German nationals could become members of the Party. The acceptance of foreigners or former Germans who had acquired citizenship in another state was strictly prohibited.
4. The guiding principle of the Auslands-Organisation of the Party concerning its attitude to foreign countries was found on the Ausland pass of every German national who was a member of the Party, in the following passage: ‘Observe the laws of the country whose guest you are. Let the citizens of the country in which you stay take care of their internal politics; do not interfere in these matters, not even by way of conversation.’
This principle was basic for the work and the attitude of the Auslands-Organisation with respect to foreign countries from the day of its founding up to its end. I myself referred to this in many public speeches, and in so doing coined, among others, the phrase: ‘The National Socialist honors foreign folkdom because he loves his own.’
My speeches in Porchester Hall in London on 2 October 1937 and in Budapest at the end of January 1938 give a comprehensive picture of the attitude of the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP toward foreign countries.
Winston Churchill in the late summer of 1937 repeatedly attacked the activity of the Auslands-Organisation in newspaper articles, and in his well-known article, “Friendship with Germany,” in the London Evening Standard of 17 September 1937, designated it as an encumbrance on German-English relations. In the same article he said that he was ready to converse with me in the most cordial manner about this question. The German Embassy in London informed the Foreign Office at that time that a question by Churchill in the House of Commons regarding the activity of the Auslands-Organisation would be extremely undesirable. As a result a meeting between Churchill and myself was advocated as urgent. This took place on the day of my speech to the Reich Germans in London, in Winston Churchill’s London home, and lasted more than an hour. I had ample opportunity in this thoroughly cordial conversation to describe the activity of the Auslands-Organisation and to dispel his misgivings. At the end he accompanied me to my car and let himself be photographed with me, in order, as he said, to show the world that we were parting as friends. There was no inquiry in the House of Commons. From that day Churchill never uttered a word of objection again about the activity of the Auslands-Organisation. My speech of the same date, which was published shortly afterwards in English in pamphlet form by an English concern, was very favorably received. The Times published from it a lengthy excerpt under the heading “Herr Bohle’s Plea for an Understanding.” After this conversation Churchill wrote me a letter in which he voiced his satisfaction with the result of our conversation.
6. In the trial of the murderer of the Landesgruppenleiter of the Auslands-Organisation in Switzerland, Wilhelm Gustloff, which was held in a Swiss court at Chur in 1936, the legality of the activity of the Auslands-Organisation was the subject of investigation by the court. The Defendant, David Frankfurter, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. From what I remember, I can say that the Swiss authorities, who were in no way friendly to Nazis, had to testify that Gustloff and the Landesgruppen of the Auslands-Organisation had never in any way given reason for complaint with regard to their activity. The testimony of Federal Councillor Baumann, who, to my knowledge, was then Minister of the Interior and of the Police in Switzerland, was at that time decisive.
7. I should further like to point out in this connection that also after the outbreak of the war the Landesgruppen of the Auslands-Organisation in neutral countries continued to function until the end of the war. That is especially true of Switzerland, Sweden, and Portugal.
From 1943 on, at the latest, the Reich would hardly have been able to take any steps against suppression, if the Auslands-Organisation had come into conflict with the internal laws of these countries; and suppression would have been the inevitable result.
8. Aside from the indisputable legality of the Auslands-Organisation, as its leader I have repeatedly expressed the idea that the Auslandsdeutschen would certainly be the last people who would let themselves be misused as warmongers or as conspirators against the peace. From bitter experience they knew that with the outbreak of the war they would face at once internment, persecution, confiscation of property, and destruction of their economic existence.
9. As a result of the knowledge of the situation abroad, no one knew better than the Auslandsdeutschen that any activity in the sense of a Fifth Column would be just as foolish as detrimental to the interests of the Reich. To my knowledge, moreover, the expression “Fifth Column” can be traced back to the Spanish Civil War. It is in any case a foreign invention. When Franco attacked Madrid with four columns of troops, it was asserted that a Fifth Column consisting of nationalist elements was doing its seditious work underground within the besieged city.
10. There is no basis whatsoever for applying the term “Fifth Column” to the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP. If this assertion were true, it would mean that members of the Auslands-Organisation working together with local oppositional elements in one or more foreign countries had been delegated, or had by themselves tried, to undermine this state from within. Any such assertion would be pure invention.
11. Neither from the former Deputy of the Führer, Rudolf Hess, nor from me, as the leader of the Auslands-Organisation, has this organization or members of this organization in any way received orders the execution of which might be considered as Fifth Column activity. Even Hitler himself never gave me any directive in that respect. In summary, I can say that the Auslands-Organisation at no time, as long as I was its leader, displayed any activity in the sense of a Fifth Column. Never did the Deputy of the Führer give orders or directives to the Auslands-Organisation which might have led to such activity. On the contrary, Rudolf Hess most urgently desired that members of the Auslands-Organisation should under no circumstances take part in the internal affairs of the country in which they were living as guests.
Of course, it is known that just as citizens of the then enemy countries, so also Germans were employed in the espionage and intelligence services abroad. This activity had however nothing at all to do with membership in the Auslands-Organisation. In order not to imperil the existence of the Auslands-Organisation groups, which worked legally and entirely in the open, I constantly demanded that members of the Auslands-Organisation would not be used for such purposes or that I should previously be given the opportunity to relieve them of their functions within the Auslands-Organisation.


15.10.1934-00.05.1941 Offizieller (Stabs-)Sachverständiger in allen Fragen der Auslandsdeutschen (Official [Staff] Specialist in all Questions concerning Germans living outside the Reich) on the Stab des Stellvertreters des Führers.
15.10.1934-01.10.1935 Member of the Volksdeutsche Rat (Ethnic German Council).
10.09.1935-16.09.1935 Participated in the “7. Reichsparteitag der NSDAP” in Nürnberg.
02.09.1936-07.09.1936 Participated in the “4. Reichstagung der Auslandsdeutschen” (4th Reich Conference of Germans in Foreign Countries) in Erlangen.
08.09.1936-14.09.1936 Participated in the “8. Reichsparteitag der NSDAP” in Nürnberg.
13.09.1936-08.05.1945 Joined the Allgemeine-SS, assigned to the staff of the Reichsführer-SS.
00.10.1936 Covert visit to Austria, described in the American press as follows:

Despite the efforts of the authorities at concealment, it was learned tonight that the head of the foreign department of the German Nazi party, Ernst Bohle, is now visiting Austria as a guest of Franz von Papen, the German Minister.
The German colony has been invited to hear a lecture by him tomorrow night.
From here he goes to Rome to visit the head of the foreign department of the Italian Fascist party… (“Nazi Leader In Vienna”, in The New York Times, 24.10.1936)


28.10.1936 In Rome as a member of the German delegation to ceremonies marking the 14th anniversary of the fascist “March on Rome”.
30.01.1937-27.11.1941 Chef der Auslandsorganisation in the Auswärtigen Amt. In this capacity, he had excellent relations with Reich Foreign Minister Constantin Freiherr von Neurath- until 1938- and abysmally poor ones with von Neurath’s successor, Joachim von Ribbentrop, thereafter. Under interrogation on 27.09.1945, he stated:

… Neurath was a man to whom you could speak absolutely openly…. I don’t think I hardly saw him hardly twice…. He was ousted out of the foreign office for no reason of his own. He had to go at the time… because… Hitler wanted Ribbentrop; he was very satisfied with him. That was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made. That was on the 4th of February, 1938…. [von Neurath was] a wonderful man, an excellent diplomat, absolutely a gentleman; and if he had remained foreign minister, there would have been no war; absolutely positive of him; a man of understanding; reputation outside: been ambassador in Rome and London; was an old diplomat, knew what he was talking about; and I got along splendidly with him; and his personal ways of treating his own people in the foreign office; and in my opinion, had a big influence on Hitler. It was, in my opinion, the beginning of everything that came afterwards when Neurath left… (“Interrogation Records Prepared for War Crimes Proceedings at Nuernberg, 1945-1947/OCCPAC Interrogation Transcripts And Related Records: Bohle, Ernst Wilhelm”; Publication Number M1270, Record Group RG238)


In testimony before the U.S. Military Tribunal, Nurnberg on 23.07.1948, Bohle stated:

I was appointed to the post of Chief of the Foreign Organization in the Foreign Office without the title of State Secretary [Staatssekretär] at the time because [Foreign Minister Constantin Freiherr von] Neurath said he wanted only one official [Ernst Freiherr von Weizsäcker] with this title. That remained so, as you see from the distribution lists, in order to distinguish me from the State Secretary, as such. However, in the course of time, it was found difficult to find some appropriate title for me by which I could be addressed and in December 1937 I was given the personal title of State Secretary. (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume XIV)

The following is the 30.01.1937 decree for appointment of a chief of the Auslandsorganisation within the Auswärtigen Amt:

I
For uniform care for German Nationals abroad a Chief of the Auslandsorganisation is appointed within the Foreign Office and to whom, at the same time, the leadership and processing of all affairs of German Nationals abroad within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Office will be given over.
II
(1) As chief of the Auslandsorganisation within the Foreign Office Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, director of the Auslandsorganisation of the NSDAP is appointed.
(2) His is a personal appointment and immediately subordinate to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. His field of activity, as chief of the organization of German nationals abroad of the NSDAP and his subordination to the deputy of the Führer are not affected.
(3) His official title is: Chief of the Auslandsorganisation within the Foreign Office.
III
The Chief of the Auslandsorganisation within the Foreign Office participates in the sessions of the Reich Cabinet so far as his field is concerned.
IV
The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs in agreement with the deputy of the Führer will issue the implementative regulations of this decree.
Berlin, 30. January 1937.
The Führer and Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler
The Reich Foreign Minister Freiherr von Neurath (Translation of Document 2075-PS in Office of the United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume IV)


In his testimony before the U.S. Military Tribunal, Nürnberg, on 23.07.1948, Bohle stated:

The object of my position in the Foreign Office was to coordinate the work of the Foreign Organization of the Nazi Party and of the Foreign Office, with respect to German nationals abroad. That is to say, to see to it that uniform directives were sent by the Foreign Organization to its agencies in foreign countries and by the Foreign Office to its diplomatic and consular representatives abroad... The aim was to stop all quarreling outside and to settle these matters of a basic and general nature in Berlin. (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume XIV)

Relieved of this position, 27.11.1941. On that date, von Neurath’s successor, Joachim von Ribbentrop, reported:

By the decision of the Führer, the leader of the Auslandsorganisation, Gauleiter Bohle, is to be released from his duties as Staatssekretär and head of the Auslandsorganisation in the Foreign Office, because those structures are no longer useful.

Bohle retained titular status as a Staatssekretär, without pay, until 08.05.1945. His attachment to the Foreign Office led to numerous conflicts with the resentful von Ribbentrop. Dr. Goebbels wrote of these difficulties in a number of diary entries:

10.10.1940: Bohle describes to me his difficulties with Ribbentrop and the situation in the Foreign Ministry. Things are looking rather gloomy there.
22.10.1940: Ribbentrop has demanded that Bohle shut down his Reich Propaganda Office. I reject this. Bohle agrees. He gives me an account of the truly chaotic state of things at the Foreign Ministry. Ribbentrop understands absolutely nothing about organization. And his ministry has not a ha’penny’s worth of esprit de corps.
02.07.1941: Bohle tells me about events in the Foreign Ministry. He has not seen Ribbentrop for six months. Quite a situation. Also, he is frightened that the Führer may subordinate the AO to the Foreign Ministry. This is out of the question. The state cannot rule the Party. This would be a blow to the foundations of our Party. We shall prevent it. Bohle is looking for a protector after Hess’s departure. I shall take him under my wing to some extent.


In his testimony before the tribunal given on 23.07.1948, Bohle stated:

... After Ribbentrop took over, I went to the Foreign Office very infrequently and from 1940 on, very seldom indeed... The reason was that I could not get on with Ribbentrop. We were at loggerheads right from the beginning. He had a very haughty and often insolent manner of treating his subordinates. I refused to put up with that and spoke back. He always made everything as difficult and as unpleasant as possible for me. (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume XIV)

Under interrogation by Colonel Howard A. Brundage, JAGD, at Nürnberg on 11.09.1945, Bohle gave the following statements concerning his relationship with Reichsminister von Ribbentrop:

I haven’t seen him for the last three or four years, except possibly at social functions, possibly twice, but we were rather at loggerheads, as it was known everywhere that we didn’t get on at all…. We were big personal enemies…. I don’t exactly know why, he disliked me immensely from the beginning. I would never have been taken as Secretary of State under Ribbentrop if Baron von Neurath wouldn’t have taken me in…. He wanted to take over the Foreign Division of the Party, let’s say my work, but of course, I can’t prove that. It is my firm conviction, and the firm conviction of almost everybody, that when Hess left for England… he [von Ribbentrop] filed an application with Hitler to have me fired. It was not accepted at the time: he thought, ‘now that he is without his big friend, we will be able to get him out.’ But it didn’t work. It was 1941, in June. But we were very big personal enemies, and everybody in Germany knew that, so that there wasn’t much cooperation there at all…. In my opinion, he was afraid that I might become Foreign Minister one day. I was named in several papers, outside of Germany, at that time, without any fault of mine, because I didn’t put it in, and he was very touchy on that point, of course, and he must have had some sort of personal dislike of me, combined with his big desire to take over my work…
[Did he attempt to exercise any supervision over your work at all?]
He certainly did, but it didn’t work.
[Was there any clash of ideas as to how the office ought to be run?]
There was no clash of-yes, there was some clash on some details. We never talked about general work, because we never had time for that, but there were enormous clashes between us personally… (“Interrogation Records Prepared for War Crimes Proceedings at Nuernberg, 1945-1947/OCCPAC Interrogation Transcripts and Related Records: Bohle, Ernst Wilhelm”; Publication Number M1270, Record Group RG238)


17.08.1937 Relinquished his British citizenship. In his court testimony of 23.07.1948, he explained:

Owing to my birth in England, my status was that of a natural born British subject; but I simultaneously derived German nationality from my father, who had been naturalized with the stipulation in his naturalization papers that he could retain his German citizenship when in Germany. I therefore had dual nationality... I renounced my British nationality in August 1937, in a sworn declaration before the British Consul General at Berlin... I would probably have had dual nationality even longer if I myself had not thought fit to give up my British citizenship. I had discussed the matter several times with members of the British Embassy at Berlin and with the Ambassador himself, Sir Eric Phipps, who told me that they saw no reason whatsoever for my giving up my British citizenship. However, especially after my appointment to the German Foreign Office, I thought it correct to give up my British nationality because I did not wish to serve two masters. (ibid)

[02.09.1937] Participated in the “5. Reichstagung der Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP” in Stuttgart.
02.10.1937 Delivered a speech concerning “the attitude of the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP toward foreign countries” in Porchester Hall, London (for details of this speech, and Bohle’s meeting with Winston Churchill on the same date, see Bohle’s Nürnberg affidavit in the “Notes” section, below).
Late-January 1938 Visited Budapest, where he again gave a speech explaining the AO’s role abroad.
21.03.1938 Entrusted with the “Organisation der österreichischen Parteigenossen im Ausland und ihrer Eingliederung in die AO” (organization of the Austrian Party Comrades outside of Germany and their integration into the Auslandsorganisation).
02.05.1938-00.05.1938 Accompanied Hitler on his state visit to Rome and to Naples to observe Italian naval maneuvers.
26.08.1938-04.09.1938 Participated in the “6. Reichstagung der Auslandsdeutschen” in Stuttgart.
03.10.1938 Memorandum from Bohle to Staatssekretär Ernst Freiherr von Weizsäcker:

Dear Herr von Weizsäcker:
I ask you to regard the following lines as completely private. If, contrary to my usual custom, I am writing to you and not speaking to you, it is only because as the chairman of the International Commission you have at present more important things to do and have extremely little time available.
In the last tense weeks, unfortunately, I have again had to note that in my capacity as Staatssekretär and head of the AO I have never been informed about the course of events and have had to rely on acquiring the necessary reports through my personal representative, Legationsrat Fischer. During this time countless memoranda have certainly been drawn up by you and Unterstaatssekretär Wörmann, but not a single one of them has reached me. I emphasize in this connection that I realize that I am not directly concerned with questions of foreign policy. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that my work as head of the AO, and this means also as Gauleiter of the AO of the NSDAP, is very strongly, if not decisively, influenced by the course of foreign policy ; therefore, I have a right to be kept constantly informed, quite apart from my position as Staatssekretär in the Foreign Ministry.
In addition, it is my duty to watch over the German element abroad, so that it not only does not hamper foreign policy but supports it. However, I am not in a position to do this if I do not know how things are going.
I therefore ask you personally to grant the wish I have often expressed already and to include me in the distribution list for all memoranda et cetera, especially for outgoing telegrams. As these documents regularly go to the Director and Deputy Director of the Political Department, there should be no difficulty in making them available also to the Staatssekretär and head of the AO.
I certainly believe that you will sympathize with my request, especially as the present state of affairs is intolerable, because in my frequent meetings with foreign diplomats I have nothing to go on for guidance of speech. These diplomats naturally assume that a Staatssekretär in the Foreign Ministry is informed down to the last detail.
In conclusion, may I ask especially to be regularly informed about the negotiations and decisions of the International Commission, as in this connection questions regarding the 85,000 Volksdeutsche in Czechoslovakia and also the question of the franchise of Sudeten Germans abroad are of particular interest to me.
With best wishes and Heil Hitler !
Yours,
[Signed] E. W. BOHLE
(Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, From the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry, Document Nr. 23, 2165/470558-59)


17.11.1938 Attended the state funeral for the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath (whose assassination sparked the “Reichskristallnacht” pogrom of 09./10.11.1938) in Düsseldorf’s Rheinhalle. Before the 1,500 mourners present, Bohle delivered a strongly anti-Semitic speech in which he referred to recent acts of political violence against Germans abroad (including six Germans shot in Barcelona and in particular, the Landesgruppenleiter of Bohle’s Auslandsorganisation in Switzerland, Wilhelm Gustloff, who had been shot by the Jewish medical student David Frankfurter in Davos on 04.02.1936). Bohle declared that:

Vom Rath was the eighth victim abroad of the Jewish-Bolshevik lust for murder. The shots fired at Davos, Barcelona and Paris had but one aim- Germany, the Third Reich. Germans living abroad are everywhere attending to their callings, and work as loyal guests of the states in which they live. Yet they are today targets for hatred, persecution and the calumnies of international subhumanity that concentrates all its strength upon the destruction of the resurrected Reich. The Jew, Grynszpan, by his own admission, wanted to strike at Germany in shooting vom Rath. We were hard hit. But such persons always forget the Nazi movement grows but stronger through its martyrs. (Anthony Read and David Fisher, Kristallnacht, pp. 174-175)

The following day, 18.11.1938, an interview with Bohle appeared in the London Daily Telegraph; among the Gauleiter’s statements: “The Jews lost the war for Germany and in the fifteen years after the war they have looted the country.” (Rolf Tell, Sound and Fuehrer, p. 114)
29.11.1940 Joined Baldur von Schirach on his flight from Wien for an official visit to Bucharest.
27.01.1941 Attended and spoke at the “Tagung des Seefahrtsabschnitts Ostsee” (Conference of the Overseas Shipping Division Baltic Sea) at the Haus der Seefahrt in Stettin.
08.03.1941 Diary entry of Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels:

Visit to the AO in the afternoon [of 07.03.1941]. The young Hess [Alfred], Bohle, and Schmidt-Decker are very pleasant and affable. I am now able to use the AO for my purposes. It is completely at my disposal. I speak on Propaganda and “Propaganda”, am in my best form and enjoy a very good reception.... Bohle shows me his organization. An imposing achievement which is worth seeing. The main thing is that Bohle has good people working for him.

22.05.1941 Diary entry of Dr. Goebbels:

Discuss the Hess Affair again with Bohle. He came close to flying with Hess, in the belief that everything had been ordered by the Führer. He also translated the documents that Hess took on his mission, in complete ignorance of the real intent. He believed that the Führer was intending to bypass Ribbentrop and make peace with England through Hess. A naïve assumption...

18.10.1941 In Rome to attend ceremonies marking the 19th anniversary of the Mussolini’s assumption of power in the Italian capital.
14.03.1942 Again attended the “Tagung des Seefahrtsabschnitts Ostsee” at the Haus der Seefahrt, Stettin.
01.06.1942 Attended an “Empfang von NSDAP-AO-Landesgruppenleitern” (Reception for National Group Leaders of the Auslandsorganisation), during which he presented awards to the AO representatives from South and Central America.
00.06.(?)1942-00.00.1943 Leiter of Einsatzstab “Banane” (Operational Staff “Bananas”, also known as Einsatzstab Westafrika) in Reichsleiter Franz Xaver Ritter von Epp’s Kolonialpolitische Amt der NSDAP (Colonial Policy Office of the Nazi Party). The staff was to coordinate a planned- but in light of military developments, ultimately cancelled- takeover of the colonies in West Africa. It was dissolved in 1943, as was another Einsatzstab- named “Sisal”/Einsatzstab Ostafrika- directed by Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler.
06.07.1942 Visited Heinrich Himmler at his mobile Feldkommandostelle (the Sonderzug [special train] “Heinrich”) at Angerburg/ Ostpreußen, for a meeting on cooperative work between the SS and the AO.
09.11.1943 Received by Hitler in München. The following communiqué was publicized concerning their meeting:

The Führer received Gauleiter Bohle, the head of the Auslands-Organisation der NSDAP, for a report on questions concerning his sphere of duties. The Führer expressed his appreciation for the loyalty to the Reich persistently demonstrated by the Germans living abroad, and for the exemplary conduct of the Germans living abroad and the German sailors in the fateful struggle of the nation. (Dr. Max Domarus, ed, Hitler. Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945: The Years 1941-1945, p. 2843)

08.09.1944 Attended the trial, by Roland Freisler’s Volksgerichtshof, of at least one of the 20. July 1944 bomb plot conspirators (former Ambassador to Rome Ulrich von Hassell), as evidenced by a photograph in which he appears among the visitors behind the defendant.
14.04.1945-00.05.1945 Bohle’s movements shortly before the German capitulation, excerpted from his testimony before the U.S. Military Tribunal, Nürnberg, on 23.07.1948:

On 2 May 1945 I heard through the radio that Ribbentrop had been superseded as Foreign Minister by Count Schwerin von Krosigk, and I immediately decided to report to Count Schwerin and ask him whether I could be of any use in that final stage of the war. I was then domiciled in Saxony, after having definitely left Berlin on 14 April and managed to get an army plane to take me over the Russian lines to Flensburg where the new government was. I reported to Count Schwerin who told me also to pay a visit to the new head of the state, Admiral Dönitz. In a short talk with Admiral Dönitz he mentioned that he was forming a new government and was experiencing difficulties with Himmler, who insisted on either remaining Minister of the Interior or at least chief of the German Police. The Admiral was of the opinion that any government he formed and which included the name of Himmler didn’t stand the ghost of a chance.

Postwar Prosecution & Activities:
23.05.1945 Surrendered to the 3rd Battalion, U.S. 16th Infantry Division at Falkenau on the German-Czech border, then turned over to 1st Division CIC. Held at “Ashcan”, the Allied interrogation and internment facility for senior Nazi leaders at the Palace Hotel in Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg.
25.03.1946 Appeared as a witness before the International Military Tribunal in Nürnberg (see the text of his affidavit to the Court in the “Notes” section, below).
00.11.1947-11.04.1949 Tried by the U.S. Military Tribunal, Nürnberg (“Wilhelmstrasse Case”, No. XI), with Dr. jur. Ernst
Achenbach as his defense counsel until 15.01.1948 (when he was succeeded by Dr. jur. Elisabeth Gombel). On 27.03.1948 he became the first and only defendant before any of the Nürnberg tribunals to plead “schuldig” (guilty), a fact that led to his being stamped a “traitor to the holy secrets of the SS” by other members of that organization in the dock. Speaking in the English language, he read the following statement to the court:

I think it should be the solemn pledge and foremost duty of every German who held a leading position during the National Socialist regime, to do all in his power to remove from the name of Germany the blot which the deeds of criminal brains have cast upon it. We know that a low estimate of human life and carelessness to human misery is not and never has been a trait of the German character, and for that very reason I think that we should frankly admit the atrocities that have been committed and that have defiled the German name in the world. I do not think that we should attempt to vindicate our own national honor solely by referring to crimes and misdeeds committed by others, some of which are undoubtedly on a par with what national socialism is accused of. I think we should be too proud for that. And I think- it is my firm conviction that the world will regain its belief in our national honesty only if we ourselves are honest and straightforward in our confessions and thereafter also in our will to make amends. I think we leading men have this responsibility, not only to the victims of these crimes but just as much to the German people, as such, who, with or without our participation, were misled and misguided and are today, without any fault of their own, outlawed in the world. That is what I understand by responsibility beyond that of my own work. (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume XIV)

Found guilty only on Court 5 (Membership in a Criminal Organization [the SS]), he was sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment on 11.04.1949.
21.12.1949 Released as an act of clemency by order of U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had campaigned for his release, offering the absurd claim that “Bohle was ‘a convinced anti-Nazi whose good faith is clear.’” (The New York Times, 13.11.1960)

Published Works:
Die Entscheidung draussen (1934)
Das Auslandsdeutschtum (1935)
Die Aufgaben der AO (1938)
“Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP”, in Jahrbuch für Auswärtige Politik 4 (1938)
“Unsere Kulturarbeit im Ausland”, in Schriften-Reihe des Deutschen Auslands-Instituts (1938)

Decorations & Awards:
30.01.1942 Kriegsverdienstkreuz I. Klasse ohne Schwerter
00.00.194_ Kriegsverdienstkreuz II. Klasse ohne Schwerter
ca. 1939 Spange “Prager Burg” zur Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938
ca. 1939 Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938
ca. 1938 Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13. März 1938
30.01.1937 Goldenes Ehrenzeichen der NSDAP
00.00.193_ Goldenes Hitler-Jugend Ehrenzeichen mit Eichenlaub
30.01.1941 Dienstauszeichnung der NSDAP in Bronze
ca. 1936 Deutsche Olympia-Ehrenzeichen I. Klasse
14.08.1937 Goldene Plakette des Deutschen Auslands-Instituts
00.00.193_ Deutsche Reiterabzeichen in Bronze
[01.12.1936] Ehrendegen des Reichsführers-SS
[01.12.1937] Totenkopfring der SS
16.12.1935 Julleuchter der SS
00.00.193_ SS-Zivilabzeichen (Nr. 6 906)
00.00.193_ Ehrenwinkel für alte Kämpfer
00.00.193_ Grand Officer Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy
00.00.193_ Order of Merit 1st Class (Hungary)
21.10.1940 Grand Cross of the Order of Yoke and Arrows (Spain)
29.12.1936 Star of the Order of the Condor of the Andes (Bolivia)(presented by the Bolivian Ambassador to Berlin, General Julio Sanjinés)

Notes:
* One of five children of Prof. Dr.-Ing. e. h. Hermann Bohle, a professor of electrical engineering (born 04.10.1876, died of illness 12.07.1943) and his wife Antonie, née Knode. One brother (Heinrich) and three sisters (Hermine, Marianne, and Johanna). In his testimony before the U.S. Military Tribunal in Nürnberg on 23.07.1948, Bohle stated:

... my parents were both German and German-born. They emigrated to England at the end of the last century... When my father went over to England he was about 21 years of age, and he first worked as an electrician and a mechanic in Birmingham. After he had acquired a complete command of the English language within a few years, he managed to get a position as lecturer at the Technical College of Bradford and a few years later the position of Chief Lecturer for Electrical Engineering at that college. In 1906 he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering at the South African College, so that the whole family, my parents and five children, left for Capetown the same year. In 1910 the South African College became the University of Cape Town, after the foundation of the Union of South Africa, and my father retained his position as Professor of Electrical Engineering at that university until 1935, when he was pensioned and returned to Germany to settle down in the old country. During this period he was several times elected Dean... (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, Volume XIV)

A member of the NSDAP (as was his wife), Prof. Dr. Bohle was Landesgruppenleiter of the Auslands-Organisation in South Africa, 1932-1935, and later Gauamtsleiter für Technik (Gau office director for technical matters) in Berlin as well as Leiter of the Amt für Technik of the AO. He was a holder of the Golden Badge of the NSDAP [awarded 30.01.1943], the War Merit Cross 2nd Class without Swords, the German Red Cross Decoration 1st Class, and the Goethe Medal for Art and Science). Ernst Wilhelm’s father was a staunch German nationalist, who forbade his children from speaking English in his home. He was described in a March 1942 British intelligence summary as follows:

Dogged and rabid old Nazi. Notorious for his rough and unrefined behavior. Before the outbreak of war he was employed with [the] firm of Siemens and from 1938 he was chairman of the Society of Germans and South Africans at Berlin, which with the aid of his Adjutant, ex-teacher Kirchner (formerly Cape Town), he soon entirely Nazified. Was very active politically whilst still in the Union… Is today still very interested in local matters. Was even before the war known in Berlin for his hatred of the British… Often meddles in political matters relating to England and South Africa and often pretends to know all about South African interests…

* Religion: Protestant until 00.00.19__, then left the church and declared himself gottgläubig.
* Married on 14.11.1925 to Gertrud Bachmann (a physician’s daughter, born 27.11.1904 in Wilhelmshöhe bei Kassel). One child- a son (H., born 15.07.1928). His marriage apparently came to an end at some point, as- some time after his trial- he was living with his defense attorney at Nürnberg, Dr. jur. Elisabeth Gombel (born 00.00.1912 in Hamburg). Of his wife and child, he stated during the aforementioned interrogation:

I don’t know whether my wife and child are alive…. I left them on May 7th [1945], in the morning. They they were alive, but I couldn’t get back in the evening, as promised, and they were behind the Russian lines, so I don’t know what happened to them. (Interrogation Records Prepared for War Crimes Proceedings at Nuernberg, 1945-1947/OCCPAC Interrogation Transcripts And Related Records: Bohle, Ernst Wilhelm; Publication Number M1270, Record Group RG238)

* Foreign language proficiency: Fluent in English.

Sources:
Auswärtiges Amt (German Foreign Office, Various Authors): Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, From the Archives
of the German Foreign Ministry
. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1951.
Barnes, James J. and Patience B.: Nazis in Pre-War London, 1930-1939: The Fate and Role of German Party Members and British Sympathizers. Sussex Academic Press, 2005.
De Jong, Louis & Geyl, C.M.: The German Fifth Column in the Second World War. University of Chicago Press, 1956.
Domarus, Dr. Max (Editor): Hitler. Speeches and Proclamations, 1932-1945: The Years 1941-1945. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1990.
Goebbels, Dr. phil. Paul Joseph: The Goebbels Diaries 1939-1941 (translated and edited by Fred Taylor). Putnam, 1983.
Hamilton, Charles: Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich, Volume I. R. James Bender Publishing, 1984.
Höffkes, Karl: Hitlers politische Generale: Die Gauleiter des Dritten Reiches. Grabert-Verlag-Tübingen, 1986.
Hüttenberger, Peter: Die Gauleiter: Studie zum Wandel des Machtgefüges in der NSDAP. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt GmbH, 1969.
Jacobsen, Hans-Adolf: “The Structure of Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1945”, in Christian Leitz and Harold James (Editors), The Third Reich: The Essential Readings. Wiley-Blackwell, 1999.
Kienast, Ministerialdirigent Ernst (Editor): Der Groβdeutsche Reichstag, IV. Wahlperiode, Beginn am 10.04.1938 verlängert bis zum 30. Januar 1947. Berlin, November 1943.
Lilla, Joachim; Döring, Martin; & Schulz, Andreas: Statisten in Uniform. Die Mitglieder des Reichstags 1933-1945. Droste Verlag, 2004.
Miller, Michael D.: Leaders of the SS & German Police, Volume I (Reichsführer-SS-SS-Gruppenführer, Georg Ahrens to Karl Gutenberger). R. James Bender Publishing, 2006.
National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland: SS-Personalakte of Ernst Wilhelm Bohle. Microfilm document collection A3343SS.
- Interrogation Records Prepared for War Crimes Proceedings at Nuernberg, 1945-1947/OCCPAC Interrogation Transcripts And Related Records: Bohle, Ernst Wilhelm; Publication Number M1270, Record Group RG238.
Office of the United States Chief of Counsel For Prosecution of Axis Criminality: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (11 volumes). U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1947.
Read, Anthony & Fisher, David: Kristallnacht: The Nazi Night of Terror. Random House, 1989.
SS-Personalkanzlei and SS-Personalhauptamt: Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Stand vom 1. Dezember 1936
- Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Stand vom 1. Dezember 1937
- Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Stand vom 1. Dezember 1938
- Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Stand vom 30. Januar 1942
- Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Stand vom 20. April 1942
- Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Stand vom 9. November 1944
Stockhorst, Erich: 5000 Köpfe: Wer war was im 3. Reich (3rd Edition). Arndt-Verlag, 1998.
Tell, Rolf: Sound and Fuehrer. Hurst & Blackett Ltd., 1939.
Williams, Max: The SS Leadership Corps, Volume I (A-E). Ulric of England, 2004.
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GregSingh
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by GregSingh » 12 Jun 2020 03:51

Gauleiter Bohle is visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Rome. October 31, 1941.
This protocol greeting took place on November 2, 1941.
Are we sure these dates are correct?

According to media releases Mussolini held a welcome reception for Bohle in Palazzo Venezia on Oct. 27th
Laurel wreath was laid down at the Memorial on Oct. 28th.
No power can sustain itself when it is represented by mere humbugs.
F.Nietzsche

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Helly Angel
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Helly Angel » 12 Jun 2020 04:06

My dates are not reliable, they are press photos and those dates are typed on the back, they may be wrong.

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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Mark Costa » 12 Jun 2020 19:49

A nice photo of Dr. Siewert the head of the AO in Rome, Dr. Otto Butting the head of all AO in Italy and Dr. Ebener the Rome German University Head.

Mark Costa
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Mark Costa » 12 Jun 2020 19:59

In the large group photo far above with Mussolini -- Dr. Rudolf Stempel is 4th from the left next to Butting. And the SS officer next to Bohle in front appears to be Rudolf Tesmann, Bohle's adjutant.

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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 02 Dec 2020 22:53

Who is who in the first photo ? I see Bohle in n°2... but for n°1 and n°3 who are they ?

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Helly Angel
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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by Helly Angel » 07 May 2022 22:09

DavidFrankenberg wrote:
02 Dec 2020 22:53
Who is who in the first photo ? I see Bohle in n°2... but for n°1 and n°3 who are they ?
David,

According the participation of the members, they are: 1) Dr. Otto Butting, head of the AO in Italy; 2) Ernst Bohle, AO Gauleiter, ?, Italian ?, ?, 6) maybe Dr. Rudolf Stempel and 7) SS Untersturmführer Rudolf Tesmann, SS Bohle´s Adjunt.

Best,

Helly.

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Re: Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle visit to Italy, 1941

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 09 May 2022 09:19

Helly Angel wrote:
07 May 2022 22:09
DavidFrankenberg wrote:
02 Dec 2020 22:53
Who is who in the first photo ? I see Bohle in n°2... but for n°1 and n°3 who are they ?
David,

According the participation of the members, they are: 1) Dr. Otto Butting, head of the AO in Italy; 2) Ernst Bohle, AO Gauleiter, ?, Italian ?, ?, 6) maybe Dr. Rudolf Stempel and 7) SS Untersturmführer Rudolf Tesmann, SS Bohle´s Adjunt.

Best,

Helly.
Yes, the 3) is an italian.

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