Albert Leo Schlageter

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Bill Medland
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Joined: 12 Mar 2002 08:14
Location: Germany Niederrhein (Lower Rhine).

Albert Leo Schlageter

Post by Bill Medland » 05 Jan 2003 22:54

[Moved from the Polls section]

Albert Leo Schlageter lived in Düsseldorf and was executed by the French in 1923 for sabotaging the French supply line taking coal to France from the Rhineland. The Nazis (and the Weimar Republic) saw him as a hero, a freedom fighter. But in post war Germany he has been forgotten.
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Post by Angelo » 06 Jan 2003 11:55

Hi Bill,

Nice picture.

I may be wrong, in which case you will correct me, but here's what I
If I'm correct he belonged to the Freikorps and I read somewhere that
their organization was declared ILLEGAL in 1920 during the Weimar Republik.
Of course that did not mean they vanished like snow in the sun.
Some of their members apparently joined that sort of reserve depot
that was named "The Black Reichswehr", other, considered mure trustworthy were accepted in the "Reichswehr".
I know that some of them became from night to morning sporting
clubs managers and that all of a sudden the number of affiliates that
discovered a peculiar inclination for all kind of sports grew larger every
day. But that's good: "mens sana in corpore sano" (= a sound mind in
a sound body) was evidently still fashionable.
I've been told too that others took to perform all kind of arts, business and
professions, and that was certainly a good sign of versatility, an attribute
not very common in our contemporary society.
Now, I remember quite well that Schlageter was actually sentenced to
death for participating in a sabotage. In December 1922, the Weimar Republic was unable to ship a given quantity of lumber. The next month, that is January 1923, some Belgian and French units entered the Ruhr while Chancellor Cuno called for
a general strike and decided to momentarily stop all payments for reparations as scheduled in consequence of the Versailles Treaty.
So after that, the French took control of all the rail system there as
well as the general road net in the area.
If I remember well, somebody called for a secret meeting of ex-Freikorps
members, among which Lutze and Schlageter, and they decided to set
up a sort of railroad men resistance movement to slow down shipments
and eventually plan sabotage actions on the railroads.
The group was then called the "Eisenbahner" as it included quite a large
number of railroad workers.
After that, the French, in order to break any possible strike, decided to
force the "Railroaders" to go to work on threat of being sentenced to
some 20 years of prison in case of refusal and even being shot on the
spot if their resistance was deemed too fierce and dangerous.
It was in this atmosphere that the sabotage took place.
Though I don't have my book at hand now, I remember quite well how
it was described.
Some sort of wedges were placed on rail switches so to have all the trains
(I don't remember the exact number but I think there were some 5 or
6 of them) involved directed at a safe destination across the border.
Actually the saboteurs boarded the locos and began steaming at full
speed toward their destination. (I unfortunately don't remember the
names, but I do remember they crossed the Lippe River .
Unfortunately one of the trains had a loose or faulty coupler somewhere
and so a number of waggons just slipped out of their hooks. The following
train couldn't avoid smashing against those waggons causing a general
derailing of the train itself and the waggons it hit.
None of the saboteurs was wounded, though and all made it to nearby woods to avoid being captured.
Now, while the man who led the group, as well as a few others, were sentenced to death but could not be captured, Schlageter was found and
Be as it may, I remember that sometimes later, Chancellor Cuno had to resign as a result of a number of reasons, gallopping inflation, great difficulties to deal with the French, given his support to the members
of the "Railroaders", and was replaced by Stresemann.

Now, what I don't remember is that Stresemann ever glorified Leo Schlageter either personally or on behalf of the Republic of Weimar
that he was leading.

A final point: whether or not the Weimar Republic celebrated Schlageter
is to be cleared, but to expect that a post-Nazi Germany should have done it, when it is known he was a member of the NSDAP since the year
before his death and was considered as one of his most celebrated MARTYRS by the 3rd. Reich Hyerarchy, it seems to me one is just expecting a little too much.



PS: By the way, I answered "yes" to the poll.

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